Cholera : Interview with Martin Le Ménager

Project Manager in the Water and Sanitation division, AFD
Published in the dossier of November 2017

What is the French Development Agency?

It is the French bilateral cooperation agency for development. Enjoying an autonomous status, it implements French policy in this area, through subsidies paid to governments expressing a need and the funding of long-term projects. Where the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is concerned, these funds come from ministries in charge of water management in countries of the Global South. We don’t decide on the projects but assist their implementation, and sometimes their reformulation, in a spirit of mutual dialogue. As the Agency is above all concerned to meet local demand, our financial support is provided within a precise scope of implementation.

You are helping fund a project to improve sanitation infrastructure in Uvira, in South Kivu. Why did you get involved?

We knew that the Veolia foundation was highly involved in understanding the dynamics of the spread of cholera in the Great Lakes Region. In particular, it has been able to support the DRC’s national water utility company (Regideso), especially its South Kivu provincial division, in drawing up a project for rehabilitating water infrastructure in the city of Uvira. We therefore had the assurance, specified in the agreement signed by the parties, that the foundation would monitor the smooth deployment of the project and ensure, among other things, that the modernized infrastructure is maintained in good condition. The project also incorporates community mobilization. The idea is that customers – who, incidentally, pay an extremely affordable price for water – are themselves responsible for seeing that the access points are used correctly. Finally, this project has an “impact study” dimension. All of these components allow us to gain experience and above all measure the project’s effectiveness over time.

Who is the beneficiary of your subsidy for this project?

We allocate the funding to the government, which then entrusts it to the national water utility company. The funding decision was made in 2012, for a sum of six million euros from the AFD. We also convinced the European Union to contribute 2.5 million euros.