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Cross-boarders Blue Deal: Mali and Burkina Faso

13 December 2021

Via the Blue Deal programme, World Waternet has Water Operators' Partnerships in Mali (Dji Don) and Burkina Faso (Faso Koom). From 28 November to 2 December, an exchange trip was organised for the Malian wastewater operator ANGESEM to Burkina Faso to visit the Burkinabe wastewater operator ONEA to exchange challenges, approaches and opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, to complement ANGESEM’s knowledge of wastewater valorisation following the feasibility study conducted by SanfiSana, visits were carried out to utility and household scale biodigesters.

Contribution by Eleanor Treadwell


During the flight from Bamako to Ouagadoudou, it was inspiring to look down and see the water that runs through the continent from a different perspective and see how little national borders mean to rivers, and how connected we are.


View during the flight to Ouagadoudou


Connectivity was a central theme to the visit of ANGESEM, the wastewater treatment plant operator of Mali, to Burkina Faso. There were two main topics to be addressed during the study visit. First, exchanging approaches, problems and examples of wastewater treatment plant functioning and organisation with the Burkinabe operator ONEA. Secondly, ANGESEM intended to learn more about valorisation of wastewater for biogas following the feasibility study conducted by SafiSana at the Bamako Sotuba wastewater treatment plant. To get a thorough understanding of how biodigesters function, the group visited sites at utility and individual household scale to better understand the transformation process.


Site visit to the Zagtouli WWTP in Ouagagoudou

Joint challenges

During the two-day trip to ONEA, the director general, the secretary-general, the departmental directors and all other employees were impeccable hosts. There was a deep understanding about regional challenges and many jokes were shared and much agreement on the mutual problems experienced by the neighbouring countries. ONEA’s laboratory, faecal sludge plant, wastewaterplant and training centre were some of the sites that were visited, as well as presentations from the Department of Sanitation, General Management and Control and Secretary General. The professionalism, openness and availability of ONEA was highly appreciated by the Dji Don team and we look forward to further regional cooperation.


Dynamic discussions in the conference room, ONEA, ANGESEM, and Faso Koom

Wastewater as a resource

The valorisation of wastewater as a resource is a growing theme around the world as it becomes more accepted to see the value wastewater; “c’est un resource, pas un dechet!” it is a resource, not a waste, as the Head of Sanitation at ONEA evocatively states. Therefore, ANGESEM was interested to learn more about opportunities of biodigesters. ONEA has a biogas plant connected to its industrial wastewater plant that has been operational since 2017, this plant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation produces gas that fuels the plant and surplus is sent to Burkina Faso’s national grid. This largescale installation was an impressive site. To better understand the process in more detail in a simpler form, we visited a one-household scale installation outside of Ouagadougou. The biodigester programme in Burkina Faso is funded by SNV, who also trained masons to build the biodigesters and connect the gas to the house for cooking and powering lamps. Compost is also produced that replaces synthetic fertiliser to diversify the farmer’s crops. It was inspiration for all to witness in close contact a low cost, circular and sustainable solution!

004.pngL= biodigester of ONEA in the industrial zone ; R= the one-family biodigester of Jaques (center)


The study visit was part of the Blue Deal Programme which has partnerships in both Mali, Dji Don, and Burkina Faso, Faso Koom. The logistics and realisation of the visit were thanks to the partnerships in the respective countries. For the planning and facilitation process, the Faso Koom team was essential to the successful realisation of the trip. At present project synergies are still to be developed, but a sound base for future cooperation was formed with comradery, hospitality and good humour between Malian and Burkinabe colleagues. Many thanks to all who participated in the successful realisation of this visit!