Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (Belgium)-Grand Dakar (Senegal) | Working together to strengthen the development capacities of the local actors and cooperating for a better quality of life for inhabitants

26 October 2022

For the third time, the PLATFORMAwards will put under the spotlights the best practices in city-to-city and region-to-region development cooperation. 8 projects have been shortlisted out of 18 applications. Everyday, we are presenting you two of them (sorted by alphabetical order). The 3 finalists will receive their trophies at the ceremony in Grenoble (France) on 6 December.

Discover how Berchem-Sainte-Agathe in Belgium is presenting its partnership with Grand-Dakar in Senegal:

The municipality of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe has been in partnership with the municipality of Grand Dakar (Senegal) since the end of 2007 within the framework of the Federal Municipal International Cooperation (CIC) programme. The Commune of Grand Dakar, with its surface area of 1.1 km2, is the smallest of the nineteen communes in the Dakar region and one of the poorest with a very high population density (estimated at 70,000 inhabitants).

Within the framework of this cooperation programme, the fight against poverty must be considered from the specific angle of strengthening the capacities of local institutions in the South to take charge of their own development, through partnerships between communes. This strengthening of the local level is based on three inseparable pillars:

  • good political governance
  • efficient administration
  • citizen participation in the decision-making process

The challenges for these local authorities are considerable:

  • Work to strengthen and implement operational strategies for mobilising financial resources
  • To have the necessary management tools and internal skills to support the service offer and the strategy of sustainable local development
  • Involve local actors, according to their position and involvement in the sector, in local economic development, especially neighbourhood leaders
  • Consolidate the tools for supporting sustainable local economic development and stimulate their service offer. These tools include the BDL, the local development office, a place of animation and support, and the FCDL, the communal fund for local development, a source of funding for project leaders and more specifically, in our case, women’s groups.

Within the framework of the partnership between the municipality of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe and Grand-Dakar, which has been active for 12 years, several concrete actions have been carried out in order to respond to these challenges on the basis of a programme defined by our Senegalese partners in consultation with the Belgian partners:

  • More efficient administration: Staff training seminar organised every year for the past 8 years. Themes: Civil status, regional planning, support for sustainable local economic development, this training promotes the local use of digitisation approaches, depending on the possibilities of the municipality of Grand Dakar and the resources available. Objective: To provide better access to public services via digital tools, in particular for the most vulnerable citizens.
  • Creation of a local development fund designed to support local dynamics through micro-projects, co-funded by the Belgian and Senegalese municipalities.

In parallel with the International Municipal Cooperation programme, the authorities of Grand Dakar have initiated a collaboration to cover an old rainwater drainage canal that has become an open sewer. After Vivaqua funding in 2018, a new file was introduced this year to complete the coverage of the remaining areas and fundraising is underway with the Belgian partner to complete the missing funding.

This first project was a success thanks to the perfect collaboration between the technical services of the municipality of Grand Dakar, the municipality of Berchem Ste Agathe and ONAS (Office National de L’Assainissement) in good collaboration with the neighbourhood delegates who carried out the communication and awareness-raising operations with the local residents concerned.

Subscribe to newsletter