Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Supply of drinking water in the rural areas of Subsaharan Africa

Arnaud LECLERQ student laureate

°1979 Belgium
Licence in economic sciences, Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels and Université Libre de Liège, Belgium, 2001

L’approvisionnement en eau potable dans les zones rurales de l’Afrique sub-saharienne

For the last 15 years Sahelian Africa has witnessed a general trend of radical transformations in the way of life, including the rapid evolution of the rural environment. In fact, since the nineties, the evolutions in the ways of production, the rapid urbanization and the policies of decentralization have led to a reinforcement of the communalization, in particular in a rural environment, by establishing rural communities in a lot of countries in West-Africa. In this context, new challenges arise, linked to other ways of life in common, such as the definition and management of the common (public) goods. The question of the access to drinking water becomes, together with the issue of security of landownership, the deciding element of the new citizenship, which emerges progressively in the rural Sahelian areas.

Mr Leclerq’s work has the merit of tackling the fundamental question of the management of drinking water on a rural village level, and of putting forward clear and useful lines of thinking and actions in this respect.

The importance of this work lies in the fact that Mr Leclerq has managed to outline the complexity of the issue, by combining economic, political, social and cultural aspects. He confirms the states have failed in taking charge of the drinking water management, and he examines the limits of its organization at a private level. Finally, he sets out, in a realistic and lucid way, the conditions for a collective management, thus outlining the beginnings of a communal (pluralist) management of this common good.

report by Prof. Dr. P.-J. Laurent, Anthropology and sociology, Department of political and social sciences, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium