12 December 2019

Thirty-two Malians visit Burkina Faso for knowledge exchange

From the 1st to the 6th of December 2019, 32 Malian water managers travelled to Burkina Faso, to learn more about how decentralized water governance is organized by their ‘neighbour’. World Waternet and VNG-International both support local water committees (Comités Locaux de l'Eau, CLE) in Mali and Burkina Faso to successfully implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Now, the time was right for some in-depth knowledge exchange between the two countries!

IDEAL (Inclusive Decisions At Local Level) is a programme by VNG-International implemented in seven countries, including Mali. The aim of this program is to involve citizens in local governance so that local authorities can better deal with fragility risks. Their focus in Mali is on water, and in that context, VNG-International has been supporting CLEs in the Sankarani region. In turn, World Waternet supports CLEs in Burkina Faso and works on decentralized water management with the Direction National Hydraulique (DNH) in Mali.  

Welcome photo at International Airport of Ouagadougou

Moreover, World Waternet has supported the setup of regional water authorities (Agence de l’ Eau) in Burkina since 2011, which are also involved in integrated water resources management and water allocation, but then for in a larger area than CLEs. In that respect, Burkina Faso has gained valuable experience of local water governance in the past years. VNG International and World Waternet joined forces and organized a ‘study tour’ to Burkina Faso for thirty-two Malians active in CLEs to learn from each other and exchange experiences.

Wastewater treatment plant of the National Office of drinking Water and Sanitation in Kossodo (Ouagadougou)

The Malians faced an eventful week in which they visited a number of Burkinabe CLEs,  Agences de l’ Eau and the Ministry Water and Sanitation. They were quite impressed by the gender strategy, implemented by the Permanent Secretary of Integrated Water Resource Management of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation (SP/GIRE), which resulted in a more than 60% female workforce.  

Visit of the protection zone around Loumbila Dam

They acquired useful knowledge on sustainable management of water resources and flood protection. Moreover, they gained helpful insights into how to set up water authorities for larger catchment areas, based on the best practices of the Burkinabe Agences de l’ Eau. They also took home some important tools to better involve water users (households, famers, miners, enterprises, fishermen ) into the CLEs and encourage water uses to pay their water bills, for improve their financial stability. 

Visit of the invasive plants grubbing activity at Loumbila Dam

VNG-International and World Waternet have expressed their interest to further collaborate in the region on integrated water resources management. The first months of 2020 will be used to further elaborate on this. 

Gully treatment visit upstream of Loumbila Dam