Causes of the Failure of Water Supply Donor Projects in Africa especially in Nigeria.

Causes of the Failure of Water Supply Donor Projects in Africa especially in Nigeria

 I define “enabling environment” for success of donor projects as availability of constant and stable power supply, and in the absence of this, readily available fuel at affordable price and the absence of corruption. On the other hand, “a poor enabling environment” would mean erratic power supply, frequent fuel shortage as well as expensive fuel and corruption.

 The quote from the Reuters article below: “In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water” is an apt summary of why donor projects fail in most African countries.

 I wonder if there is any alternative that is open to donors as far as having cost effective boreholes without having to resort to solar power for their water supply projects.

 DEPO ADENLE

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EU falls short on Africa water projects

REUTERS, September 28 2012
By Ethan Bilby

Brussels – More than half of the European Union’s projects to provide safe drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa failed to deliver, the EU’s audit watchdog said in a report on Friday.

The report by the European Court of Auditors examined 23 projects co-funded by the EU in six African countries between 2001 and 2010. The audit found that the projects, at a total cost of 400 million euros ($514 million), often lacked sufficient supervision and that checks were not always carried out to ensure that water was fit for human consumption.

The authors said that while equipment was usually installed properly, local communities did not receive enough support to manage the projects long term.

“Fewer than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs,” the auditors said in a 43-page report.

In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water.

A British member of the European Parliament, Nirj Deva, said: “In these tough economic times it is vital that every pound we spend on foreign aid goes to the right place and achieves the right result. We can’t go on spraying around taxpayers’ cash willy-nilly with no proper regard for the eventual outcome and for value for money.”

In a statement, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, disputed some of the auditor’s findings but acknowledged that the projects could have been run better in some cases.

“There is no room for complacency and there is always a need for improvement,” Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

“I want to reconfirm the EU’s strong commitment to making sure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to clean, safe water and sanitation.”

A spokeswoman said that the Commission had improved monitoring of the projects since 2005 and that most of the projects examined in the report were started before reforms were introduced.

“This type of regular checking really proves that EU aid is under control and we are in constant communication with the authorities,” said Catherine Ray, the Commission’s spokeswoman on development issues.

Improving access to drinking water and sanitation are important steps in achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals – a series of eight challenges to increase health and reduce poverty in the developing world by 2015.

One of the aims is for the number of people without safe drinking water and sanitation to be reduced by half from 1990 levels.

The EU spent 1.01 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa from 2001 to 2010, but the World Bank and the United Nations say that between $8 billion and $11.8 billion would be required each year until 2015 to reach the millennium goal on water and sanitation. – Reuters

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2 responses to “Causes of the Failure of Water Supply Donor Projects in Africa especially in Nigeria.

  1. Until beneficairies of donors’ assistance make the link between the provided social facilities, be it a water borehole or school block, health centre, and their well being and development, these facilities will continue to be left to rot.

    In the communities where there is no fuel to power their water pumps, tens of grinding machines and motor-cycles are continually functionning no matter the cost of diesel or petrol. It all depends on priority.

    • Dear Dr. Mbonu,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Currently the practice with respect to ensuring that beneficiaries make the link between facilities provided and their well-being is supposed to be achieved through consultation and advocacy that usually precede project execution. In addition, beneficiaries contribute a fraction of the cost of constructing the facilities. This according to current belief in the donor world would ensure a feeling of ownership by the beneficiaries.

      With these three – consultation, advocacy and beneficiary contribution AND proper handing over of completed projects, sustainability should be guaranteed.

      Dr. Mbonu, I feel we cannot talk about the attitude of an entrepreneur with investment to watch and eyes on profits to be made in a grinding machine small business – as in all entrepreneurship endeavours or a motor-cycle operator in the same breath with discussion of the sustainability of donor projects owned by a community or LGA.

      The entrepreneurs in both examples above are in business to make a living and would do everything possible to ensure the grinder and motor-cycle are always in working condition while the community, represented by Water consumers Association, sees facilities as a public utility.

      DEPO.

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