examples of projects co-financed by the EU
Improving food security through concerted actions
Despite strong economic growth, Mozambique remains one of the world’s least developed countries. More than 54% of the population lives below the poverty line and the level of malnutrition remains high. As a country that suffers regularly from periods of drought and floods, it was hit particularly hard by the rise in food prices. A project costing 7 million euros for the 2009/2011 period, fully financed by the EU with the support of the Mozambican Government and the FAO, made it possible to improve food security and the living standards of farmers in several rural communities by increasing agricultural production, local seed production and introducing seed quality controls.
The results were more than pertinent. After benefiting from seed and fertiliser subsidies during two successive agricultural seasons, 25,000 farmers saw a 50% increase in their maize and rice production. Also, thanks to the support provided, 1,036 seed producers – two-thirds of them women – produced 23,000 tons of certified seeds while Mozambique’s National Institute of Research produced 1.3 tons of basic seeds that will be certified following multiplication. Finally, the project made it possible to rehabilitate five regional seed quality laboratories and to train their staff.
“The results to date have been very positive,” believes Elisabeth Waziweyi, one of the project beneficiaries. “But production always entails a risk: you can win or lose everything. Life is not a question of waiting for the storm to pass; life is about learning to dance in the rain,” she concluded.
An integrated approach to eradicating the guinea worm
Ghana is number two on the list of countries stricken by guinea worm disease. Until recently the greatest number of cases was recorded in the Savelugu-Nanton Province of northern Ghana. You catch the disease by drinking water contaminated with infected larvae. Since the introduction in 2007 of a project 75% co-financed by the EU working in partnership with UNICEF the picture has changed dramatically. The figures speak for themselves: between 2007 and 2010, the number of people infected by the parasite fell from 3,358 to just eight, a 99% fall! The project is targeting 40,000 children and their families, with the aim of benefiting 1 million people by the end of 2011.
Growing to as much as a metre in length, the guinea worm lives in the body for a year before emerging through an extremely painful skin blister. It can only be removed at the rate of a few centimetres a day and sufferers experience intense pain during the several weeks this takes. There is no treatment to combat guinea worm disease. Prevention is the sole solution.
The partners adopted an integrated approach to eradicate guinea worm disease: easy access to drinking water, the cleaning of sanitary installations and increased hygiene awareness among the population. This approach not only made it possible to eradicate the disease almost totally but also enabled women to shed the debilitating burden of having to fetch water from water points that were often far from their villages. “In 2007 we had more than 20 patients at the same time in this centre alone,” says Benni Lariba, director of a centre to combat the guinea worm in Savelugu-Nanton Province. “A year later we have just nine children at the centre and we hope there will be none at all by next year.”
Increasing awareness among populations
In 2008, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, head of the European Commission delegation, and Mrs Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF representative to Ghana, made a two-day visit to the region to assess the project and strengthen cooperation between the partners and members of the communities. They were accompanied by the famous reggae musician, Rocky Dawuni, who is supporting the UNICEF campaign for clean water.
“Ghana has made significant progress towards eradicating guinea worm disease. The last remaining cases can and must be eliminated and we must do so by supporting the efforts of the communities, the government and the international partners,” declared Mr Sebregondi during a concert by Rocky Dawuni at the Tamale sports complex. A little later Mr Sebregondi and Mrs Haque appeared on a popular Ghanaian television programme to speak about the campaign to reduce cases of guinea worm disease in Ghana. “Access to clean water and improved sanitary installations will certainly make it possible to reduce the number of cases and improve the health of women and children in the region, but at the same time populations must be made more aware of preventive methods and good hygiene practices,” added Mrs Haque.
Niger, an example of coordination and consultation
The EU and the Malian Government are committed to the joint Country Assistance Strategy that aims to achieve better complementarity between donors by working together on a joint multi-annual programming. An example of this is the approach adopted by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) (2008/2013), which was drawn up in close coordination with the EU member states present in Mali. “In concrete terms,” as Giacomo Durazzo, ambassador and leader of the EU delegation to Mali, pointed out in 2010, “we are seeing a better division of labour.”
The Support Project for Administrative Reform, Decentralisation and State Reform (PARADDER) will benefit from management assistance provided by the Belgian Technical Cooperation and the German GTZ. The Support Programme for Implementation of the Office du Niger Contract Plan (PAMOCP-ON) will benefit from increased parallel budget support from France and the Netherlands. The Support Project for the Private Sector will benefit from the delegation of management to the AFD (French Development Agency), which is co-donor alongside the World Bank. Finally, the contribution to the drinking water supply project in Kabala will be in the form of a delegation agreement to formalise the medium-term withdrawal of the EU from the water sector.
The rice granary of Mali
The Office du Niger was the initiator of the oldest and largest irrigated zones in West Africa. Developed in the 1930s in the interior delta of the River Niger, it was supposed to become, according to the initial plans, the principal supplier of cotton to the textile industries of colonial France, West Africa’s leading rice granary and a centre of technical and social innovation. Subsequent political and economic events caused a significant downward revision of these ambitions. Nevertheless, the Office du Niger today possesses considerable agricultural potential: 1 million hectares of land, of which just 90,000 are cultivated, thanks to irrigation provided by the river upstream of the Markhala Dam and its distribution channels.
As Office du Niger Director Kassoum Denon told the Journal du Mali in February 2010: “We would like to achieve 200,000 hectares by 2020. The Office du Niger possesses an incredible potential that has yet to be exploited. That is why we must increase the irrigable surfaces but, as you know, this is very costly. The office is therefore open to approaches from private operators seeing to exploit plots and produce feasibility studies for generating wealth from the zone.”
Providing a support framework for these private operators is indeed one of the many challenges to be met by the Office du Niger. As Ambassador Giacomo Durazzo pointed out when launching the activities of the Support Programme for Implementation of the Office du Niger Contract Plan, financed by funds from the 10th EDF, these include better water management, which not only means repairing irrigation systems, but also reviewing agricultural production strategies that are at present highly concentrated on very thirsty crops such as sugar cane and out-of-season crops. (is this a direct quote?)
This new Support Programme, inaugurated in September 2010, for a total of 30 million euros, envisages the creation of 2,500 hectares of additional irrigated land that will directly benefit the area’s poorest family farms. The programme also includes construction of a collector drain extending along 42 kilometres to evacuate waste water and protect agricultural land.
“The programme that we are inaugurating today marks the continuity of a fruitful cooperation begun more than 20 years ago between the Malian Government and the European Union,” declared Giacomo Durazzo. “Part of this sum will be paid in the form of budgetary support, which shows the high level of confidence we place in the Office, and is also why we have high expectations that the Office will undertake to meet the performance criteria linked to the allocation of budgetary aid.”