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The social water management in the Central African Republic (Kabo)
December 2014 – February 2015

Groupe URD carried out a study on social water management in connection with the “Programme to improve access to water for people vulnerable to food insecurity in the sub-prefecture of Kabo in the Central African Republic”. SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL has created and rehabilitated around forty wells and has set up water point management committees so that they are managed sustainably. This study aimed to analyse the long-term sustainability of water points and management committees, and establish the most effective method of social water management to improve long-term access to clean water in this unstable region.

The CAR has been affected by a series of crises in the last 15 years which have left it with weakened governance, chronic poverty and growing insecurity for the population. This very uncertain security situation has made it difficult to implement humanitarian and development programmes, and has made the CAR a perfect example of the ‘contiguum’ concept.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been active in the Central African Republic since the beginning of 2007, following the civil war between different rebel groups and the government led by François Bozizé. The fighting between the séléka and anti-balaka militias to control Bangui in 2013 has led to mass displacement in several areas. The insecurity in the country has also made it more difficult for local people to drink and eat by making access to the fields and agricultural inputs, and management of water points, more difficult.

For several years the people of the sub-prefecture of Kabo, traditionally an agricultural area, have suffered a series of shocks (floods in 2012, political instability, violence, increased tension between crop farmers and herders due to the crisis, and inter-faith conflict). These have led to almost constant population displacement and have had a very negative impact on their livelihoods.

As part of its WASH activities in the region, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL (SI) has created or rehabilitated around forty wells. In order to ensure that these were sustainable, SI has also created or reinvigorated water point management committees (COGESs), which were responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure.

This study aimed to analyse the sustainability of the COGESs and the water points which have been established during the project in order to learn lessons about the factors which helped to achieve sustainable access to water: in other terms, it tried to establish what social water management method was the most effective for this programme in order to improve long-term access to clean water.

The methodological approach has been based on the principles of the A.B.C.D. approach (Approach focused on Behaviour Change Determinants), which are: analysis of practices/behaviour, understanding their determinants, and identifying levers and blockages for behaviour change.

The A.B.C.D. approach is an anthropologically-based approach developed by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL to develop WASH project strategies with optimal, long-term impact in terms of reducing water-borne diseases. Its aim is to help develop operational strategies for WASH projects and to increase the coherence between infrastructure construction, awareness-raising and community mobilisation [1].