Burkina Faso: Launch of the campaign “Clean Hands to fight COVID19” for 71,000 inhabitants of the Centre-Nord and Hauts-Bassins regions
Picture caption: EPGF technician testing a foot-operated hand washing station to be installed near a standpipe managed by VERGNET BURKINA (photo credits: EPGF).
Stop the spread of the pandemic using the most efficient method currently known for rural areas of Africa: hand washing with soap
As suppliers of innovative and sustainable services for drinking water in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, UDUMA and VERGNET BURKINA (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) are committed to protecting their users and their teams and are helping in the fight against the pandemic by launching the campaign “Clean hands to fight COVID19” for 71,000 users in Burkina Faso. “We will provide a foot-operated hand washing station and soap for the users of 80 UDUMA standpipes in the Centre-Nord and Haut-Bassins regions and we are funding this ourselves,” states Jean-Christophe KI, Managing Director of the company VERGNET BURKINA, which supplies UDUMA services in Burkina Faso.
This campaign, as well as the requirement for the pump operator to wear a mask and social distancing rules implemented at the water distribution point, aims to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic using the most efficient method currently known for rural areas of Africa: hand washing with soap. A campaign that is all the more important in light of the study Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017 (Joint Monitoring Programme, UNICEF, OMS, 2019) which found that 92% of inhabitants in rural areas of Burkina Faso do not have soap and water at home to wash their hands.
A 100% “made in burkina” campaign to support the local economy
VERGNET BURKINA and UDUMA have agreed to provide all the funding necessary to cover the equipment and running (soap, water, maintenance, etc.) costs for as long as possible. This campaign “Clean Hands to fight COVID19” will therefore have no impact on the price of the water services that had previously been agreed with the national and local authorities. “We will even provide a foot-operated hand washing station for each of the 9 communes that will be part of this pilot scheme, to help them overcome this terrible health crisis,” assures Lucie KABORE, Operations Manager at VERGNET BURKINA.
The “Clean Hands to fight COVID19” campaign is 100% “Made in Burkina”. The foot-operated hand washing stations are produced by EPGF (Ouagadougou), the masks are made by the Ouagadougou-based company ANGE CONFECTION using traditional Burkina Faso woven cotton cloth known as Faso Dan Fani, and the soap is produced by local factories. “We are particularly committed to supporting the national economy at the moment, given how much it has been affected by the health crisis” specifies Jean-Christophe KI.
Call for ideas to extend the campaign to benefit all users of the UDUMA services
“We need water now more than ever to be able to provide sanitation and hygienic conditions to protect against the virus. We are lucky to have a local operational team; we owe it to them to do our part. Thanks to everyone’s support, this campaign is likely to be rapidly extended to benefit all 208,000 UDUMA users in Burkina Faso, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire,” adds Mikael DUPUIS, Deputy Managing Director of UDUMA. “We are reaching out to experts, industrial partners, financial institutions etc. who wish to contribute to the project.”
UDUMA MALI: Launching of a new, innovative and sustainable (15-year long) drinking water service for 560,000 villagers in the Bougouni region
The Malian company UDUMA MALI SA (subsidiary of the French group ODIAL SOLUTIONS) officially launched its new, innovative and sustainable drinking water service on Tuesday 26 November in the village of Tiéfala (commune of Koumantou, cercle de Bougouni, region of Bougouni). “We are delighted that the UDUMA MALI service is now operational and experienced by so many villagers, local authorities, community leaders and our partners: the National Agency of Hydraulics (DNH), the Regional Agency of Hydraulics (DRH) and the NGOs AQUA FOR ALL, AKVO and SNV-MALI,” says Thierry BARBOTTE, General Manager of UDUMA MALI. This service will continuously supply 560,000 villagers from the Bougouni region over the next 15 years, through a fleet of 1,400 manual pumps. UDUMA MALI has already signed public service delegation contracts with 11 decentralized local authorities in the Cercles of Bougouni, Kolondieba and Yanfolila.
Continuous drinking water at an affordable, unique and fixed priced : 10 CFAF (0.015 euro) per 20-Litre can
3 out of 4 Malians live in rural areas and rely on manual pumps for drinking water. However, one in two pumps is regularly out of order. “This situation leads to ever longer and more difficult water chores, maintains a high cost of maintaining pumps, causes a deterioration in sanitary conditions and amplifies the phenomenon of rural exodus,” deplores Abdoul Hamid ABDOU, Project Manager of the NGO SNV-MALI. It should also be noted that investments in untapped boreholes in Mali are currently estimated at nearly 66 billion CFA francs (100 million euros).
As part of this project, UDUMA MALI is managing and renovating 1,400 manual pumps on behalf of 30 municipalities in the Bougouni region, through public service delegation contracts. UDUMA MALI equips manual pumps with water meters and data loggers, outperforming them in E-PUMPS. And, by charging an attractive, unique and fixed price for water (500 CFAF per m3, or 10 CFAF per 20 L canister, i.e. 0.015 euros), UDUMA MALI undertakes to manage the E-PUMPS fleet continuously (maximum interruption of 72 hours) over the long term. “In concrete terms, in a village that has chosen to delegate its drinking water management service to UDUMA MALI, each inhabitant has an electronic card enabling her/him to buy the quantities of water she/he needs from approved fountains,” explains Youssouf SIDIBE, UDUMA MALI’s Project Officer.
The ODIAL SOLUTIONS group set up a pilot of the UDUMA MALI concept in Burkina Faso in 2016. This UNICEF-funded project was an opportunity to successfully test the technical feasibility and social acceptance of connected water pumps (E-PUMPS) and e-wallets in 152 villages.
A private investment of 1.31 billion CFAF (2 million euros) in a global budget of 3,28 billion CFAF (5 million euros)
“UDUMA MALI is injecting CFAF 1.31 billion (€2 million) of private funds (bank loans) into this project, whose overall budget is around CFAF 3.28 billion (€5 million),” says Oumar MIKOTA-KONARE, UDUMA MALI National Coordinator. The remaining CFAF 1.97 billion (€3 million) is provided by Dutch cooperation, of which CFAF 656 million (€1 million) finances NGO partners in their activities to raise awareness among the population (SNV-MALI), but also in monitoring (AQUA FOR ALL) and mapping (AKVO) the project. UDUMA MALI is also considering various financing options for its future projects: crowdfunding, impact investors, etc.
Thanks to its social and technological innovations, UDUMA MALI received the Coup de Coeur du Mali Prize of the 2018 PRIX ORANGE DE L’ENTREPRENEUR SOCIAL 2018, two Water and Sanitation Trophies (categories “research and innovation” and “water resources development”) as part of the 3rd edition of the FORUM NATIONAL DE L’EAU ET DE L’ASSAINISSEMENT (COUNTRY WATER PARTNERSHIP OF BURKINA FASO, PNE-BF), the “Innovative Business Model” Prize of the OBSERVATOIRE DU DEVELOPPEMENT INTERNATIONAL 2019, and the Coup de Coeur Prize of the ETIENNE MARCEL PRIX DE L’ENTREPRENEURIAT RESPONSABLE 2018.
A service that contributes to the achievement of many sustainable development goals
The UDUMA MALI service guarantees (1) universal access to drinking water, (2) better health in rural areas, (3) the creation of more than 1,450 income-generating activities in the Bougouni region for the next 15 years, (4) better access to education (less time-consuming water chores), (5) better economic inclusion of villagers, (6) greater attractiveness of rural areas, (7) more transparency in the drinking water sector and (8) more sustainable water resources management.
UDUMA MALI is thus actively participating, with the help of the Malian and Dutch governments, in the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It contributes in particular to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and 17 (Partnerships for the achievement of goals).
The desire to improve water services in the small villages of Africa is impelling more and more stakeholders to look increasingly towards solar pumping in stead of manual pumping. The objective is laudable, since the aim is to facilitate the lives of users by means of a more modern technical solution. However, at a time in which the sustainability of systems is put forward as being paramount, it may be useful to analyse the situation by taking into account both the technical and the economic aspects simultaneously, rather than considering them separately.
Solar energy: an energy with limits to its durability
Free and infinitely available on a human scale: these features of solar energy are necessary prerequisites for the sustainability of solar systems, although they alone do not suffice.
Let us consider first the technical aspects. Even if solar panels come with a 25-year guarantee for the preservation of 80% of the productivity rate, with complex implementing modalities, the other system components offer, at best, 1 to 2-year guarantees, with lifetimes that remain as yet undetermined. Replacement of these components must therefore be taken into account.
From an economic point of view, beyond the initial investment which remains more significant compared to manual pumps, replacing these technical components and delegating operation and management to a professional come at a cost that has to be borne by the users, and will therefore be reflected in the water service tariffs incorporated in the selling price of the water service.
Reliability and viability: the conditions of a water service
While the maintenance costs of manual pumps are relatively under control today, covering these costs by water service sales remains dependent on deploying reliable technical solutions and optimised management systems. Operating costs of a solar-powered system therefore need to be estimated, along with the impact of an improved service on consumption.
Since maintaining an affordable water service tariff is necessary to ensure no one is excluded, the viability and the economic equilibrium of the system depend on the balance between the operating costs and the water consumption at the point of distribution.
Envisaging the systematic replacement of manual pumps with solar pumps, without resolving this issue, would at best be risky, at worst catastrophic. Under these conditions, how can we speak of sustainability if we disregard the system’s economic equation? Would this not mean reproducing the errors of the past?
An equation to be resolved technologically and economically
Solar energy is undoubtedly a solution for the future of Africa, but it is not a miracle cure. We need to maintain a rational approach, and above all qualify the economic limits of the model. For now, our estimates, based on the current solar technologies and average consumption, leave us sceptical about the economic viability of solar solutions for small centres comprising just a few hundred, or indeed a few thousand inhabitants. Drawing on our experience, the experience of our partners and our daily observations of the users, we are currently seeking solutions to solve this difficult equation and determine the limits and conditions of viability of these systems. It is only by doing this that we will be able to extend more widely, and without compromising the sustainability of the systems and services, the use of solar pumping solutions, including to small villages of only 400 inhabitants.
It is important to remember ‘more haste, less speed!’
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
CEO, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
170,000 euros to invest in mobile-based cashless payment facilities
The newly created Malian company UDUMA MALI is one of the 12 grantees of round three of the GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) Utilities Innovation Fund, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development. “This € 170.000 grant will be used to invest in mobile-based cashless payment facilities for a project that is going to provide 560.000 rural people with drinking water in the Sikasso region (Mali) for the 15 coming years”, explains Thierry BARBOTTE, Chairman of the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and Director of UDUMA MALI. “In 2018, UDUMA MALI has entered into public service delegation contracts with the first 11 out of the 30 targeted municipalities.”
3 Malians out of 4 live in rural areas and provide themselves with drinking water by means of manual pumps. However, 1 pump out of 2 is regularly out of service. “This existing situation implies more time-consuming and exhausting water chores, has a high cost for the pump upkeep, affects the health conditions and contributes to the rural exodus”, states Nicolaas VAN DER WILK, Operations Manager of UDUMA MALI. Furthermore, boreholes made unusable by defective pumps represent nearly 66 billion CFA francs (100 million euros) in lost public investments.
Mobile technologies at the heart of the UDUMA model
The project, under the tutelage of the Malian Ministry for Energy and Water, is offering an alternative to this situation for the Sikasso region. The Malian local authorities are going to entrust the management and the operation of 1.400 water points equipped with manual pumps to the private operator UDUMA MALI. The operator guarantees a continuous water service (72-hour max downtime) for at least 15 years and renews a large part of the equipment.
UDUMA MALI will be charging a fixed user fee per consumed volume (500 CFA francs/m3, 0.76 euro). The water pumps will be equipped with digital water meters. The water service is provided by a caretaker (1 on each pump) and a mechanic (1 per 50 pumps), whose remunerations evolve with water consumptions. The new water service delivery model is expected to create small-scale income-generating activities for nearly 1.500 women in the Sikasso Region.
The GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund grant will enable UDUMA MALI to deploy mobile-enabled devices for cashless revenue collection, combining Mobile Money and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies. Nicolaas VAN DER WILK explains: “The M4D grant will be used to gain the required technological expertise, but also to spread awareness among the end-users on how to use these technologies. The grant-funding will absolutely help us jump-start operations in Mali”.
The M4D Utilities Innovation Fund and the GSMA
The Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund was launched in June 2013 to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy, water and sanitation services. Across three phases of funding, grants were competitively awarded to 53 organisations across Asia and Africa. Seed grants were awarded for early stage trials, Market Validation grants for scaling or replication of business models.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.
Drinking water, DSP, Mali, Management, News, PPP
Launching of a sustainable drinking water service for 264,000 first recipients
Picture caption: Vincent de Paul SIDIBE, Mayor of Wassoulou-Balé and President of the Cercle de Yanfolila, shaking hands with Nicolaas VAN DER WILK, Operations Manager for UDUMA.
On Friday 9th November 2018 in Bougouni (Mali), UDUMA MALI S.A. entered into public service delegation contracts with the 11 municipalities (264,000 inhabitants) Danou, Debelin, Keleya, Kokele, Koumantou, Sido and Zantiébougou (Cercle de Bougouni), Sere Moussa Ani Samou, Yallankoro Soloba and Wassoulou Balé (Cercle de Yanfolila) and Kébila (Cercle de Kolondiéba) out of the 30 municipalities targeted in this project which aims at providing 560,000 rural people with drinking water in Sikasso region (Mali) for the 15 coming years. « The signing of these contracts is a milestone in this project. The last step before the rehabilitation of the water points and the start of the service », states enthusiastically Nicolaas VAN DER WILK, Operations Manager for UDUMA.
Creation of a business activity for nearly 1,500 people
Supported by the Malian MINISTRY FOR ENERGY AND WATER, the UDUMA Mali project brings together the Malian NATIONAL AGENCY FOR HYDRAULICS (DIRECTION NATIONALE DE L’HYDRAULIQUE), the Malian enterprise UDUMA MALI S.A. and the NGOs SNV MALI, AKVO and AQUA FOR ALL. The Malian local authorities will be entrusting the management and operation of 1,400 water points equipped with manual pumps to the newly created private operator UDUMA MALI S.A. The operator will guarantee a continuous water service (72-hour max downtime) for at least 15 years and renew a large part of the equipment.
In return, UDUMA MALI will be charging a fixed user fee per consumed volume (500 CFA francs/m3, 0.76 euro). The water pumps will be equipped with digital water meters. The water service is provided by a caretaker (1 on each pump) and a mechanic (1 per 50 pumps), whose remuneration evolves with water consumptions. The new water service delivery model is expected to create a business activity for nearly 1,500 people in the Sikasso Region.
UDUMA MALI injects 1.3-billion CFA francs (2-million euros)
The selection of the 11 first municipalities for start of operations in 2018, approved by the REGIONAL AGENCY FOR HYDRAULICS (DIRECTION REGIONALE DE L’HYDRAULIQUE) is based on cartographic analysis of the water points. “We led an on-site survey including the inventory of the water points and an assessment of the current payment and consumption methods in these 11 municipalities”, specifies Abdoul Hamid ABDOU, UDUMA Project Manager for the NGO SNV-MALI.
As a reminder, UDUMA MALI injects 1.3-billion CFA francs (2-million euros) private funds (equities, impacts investors, banks, etc.) in the project with a total budget of 3.3 billion CFA francs (5 million euros). The remaining 2 billion CFA francs (3 million euros) are provided through a subsidy from the Netherlands MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, of which 600 million CFA francs (1 million euros) are dedicated to public awareness raising (SNV-MALI), reporting (AQUA FOR ALL), mapping and monitoring (AKVO).
Providing 560,000 rural people with drinking water for the 15 coming years
Picture caption, from left to right: Minister for Energy and Water Mr. Malick ALHOUSSEINI speaking and Thierry BARBOTTE, Chairman of ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and General Manager of UDUMA MALI, speaking.
The UDUMA consortium, composed of the Malian Direction National de l’Hydraulique of Mali (DNH MALI), UDUMA MALI S.A. (ODIAL SOLUTIONS’ Malian subsidiary), and the NGOs SNV MALI, AKVO and AQUA FOR ALL, officially launched the UDUMA Mali project, in attendance of Minister for Energy and Water Mr. Malick ALHOUSSEINI, in Bougouni on Thursday 11th January 2018. The project aims at providing 560,000 rural people with drinking water in SIKASSO region (Mali) for the 15 coming years. “Starting 2018, UDUMA MALI will enter into public service delegation contracts with the first 11 out of the 50 targeted municipalities”, states enthusiastically Thierry BARBOTTE, Chairman of ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and General Manager of UDUMA MALI.
3 Malians out of 4 live in rural areas and provide themselves with drinking water by means of manual pumps. However, 1 pump out of 2 is regularly out of service. “This existing situation implies more time-consuming and exhausting water chores, increases the price of pump upkeep, affects the health conditions and contributes to the rural exodus”, explains Nicolaas VAN DER WILK, Operations Manager of UDUMA. Furthermore, unused boreholes because of defective pumps represent nearly 66 billion CFA francs (100 million euros) in lost public investments.
Creation of nearly 1,500 jobs in the SIKASSO Region
The project, under the tutelage of the Ministry of Energy and Water, is offering an alternative to this situation for the SIKASSO region. The Malian local authorities will be entrusting the management and operation of 1,400 water points equipped with manual pumps to the newly created private operator UDUMA MALI S.A. The operator will guarantee a continuous water service (72-hour max downtime) for at least 15 years and renew a large part of the equipment.
UDUMA MALI will be charging a fixed user fee per consumed volume (500 CFA francs/m3, 0.76 euro). The water pumps will be equipped with digital water meters. The water service is provided by a caretaker (1 on each pump) and a mechanic (1 per 50 pumps), whose remuneration evolves with water consumptions. The new water service delivery model is expected to create nearly 1,500 jobs in the SIKASSO Region.
UDUMA MALI injects 1.3-billion CFA francs (2-million euros)
The selection of the 11 first municipalities for start of operations in 2018 is based on an analysis of the water points. “We have just ended an on-site survey including the inventory of the water points and an assessment of the current payment and consumption methods in these 11 municipalities”, specifies Abdoul Hamid ABDOU, UDUMA Project Manager for the NGO SNV-MALI.
As a reminder, UDUMA MALI injects 1.3-billion CFA francs (2-million euros) private funds (equities, impacts investors, banks, etc.) in a project whose budget amounts to 3.3 billion CFA francs (5 million euros). The remaining 2 billion CFA francs (3 million euros) are provided through a subsidy from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of which 600 million CFA francs (1 million euros) dedicated to public awareness raising (SNV-MALI), reporting (AQUA FOR ALL), mapping and monitoring (AKVO).
2018 will be an intense teaching year
For several decades, Official Development Assistance has mainly followed the same approach: lend to the cities and give to the countryside. The laudable objective was to provide “free” funding for essential services, such as water, energy, sanitation, health and education, in the poorest communities.
The assessment of these actions in rural areas is unfortunately very poor because, as is well-known, this infrastructure has never really been efficiently maintained. Countless pieces of equipment have simply been abandoned after a few years. Even worse, this financial waste has been overtaken by a social tragedy behind the statistics, which only take into account the systems and not their effective, sustainable operation, and so do not in any way represent the often tragic reality on the ground.
RURAL AFRICA HAS LONG BEEN MIRED IN A WAIT-AND-SEE ATTITUDE
This already very negative finding is even further aggravated by the behaviour encouraged by aid policies. Considered by many as incapable of funding basic services and therefore treated as a simple cost factor, rural populations are mired in a pernicious fatalistic, wait-and-see attitude. They are suffering even more for this attitude now, as the scarcity of public aid is depriving them of the funding they have become accustomed to.
However, the popularity of mobile telephones has demonstrated the extent to which people, even in rural areas, are willing and able to fund the services they need, provided that they work well. What is true for telephones will also be true for other essential services such as water and energy.
RURAL AFRICA SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A GENUINE ECONOMIC ACTOR
It is therefore high time to consider rural areas as genuine players in the African economy. Over half of the continent’s population still live in rural areas and, rather than deploring their alleged inability to adapt to the rules of the market economy, it is our duty to offer them models suited to their specific geographical and financial context.
The aim is to give these dispersed, cash-strapped rural populations access to basic services, especially water and energy, at a cost that is affordable to them. In this way, their freedom of choice and dignity that has been taken away by poorly conceived aid for far too long will gradually be restored to them.
2017, A MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER IN AFRICA
2017 is a milestone in the history of access to drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our young subsidiary UDUMA, the first private operator offering people in rural areas the possibility to pay for the sustainability of the water supply services through regular contributions by the volume they consume, recently signed its first Public Private Partnership. More than 500,000 Malians will benefit from this service, starting April 2018 and for the next 15 years at least.
Sub-Sahara African governments are increasingly interested the public service delegation proposed by UDUMA. However, the transition from the « one-time procurement of equipement » paradigm to the « public service delegation to a private operator » paradigm will take more than the blink of an eye. This requires working hand in hand with all stakeholders, and explaining and reassuring.
2018 will thus be a year of intense teaching regarding the « UDUMA » management model and its advantages : universal access to drinking water, improvements in public health and jobs creation. I am convinced this challenge will be a success.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS