2,000 Cesspools for a better life together

Constructed at a district level – in Hamdallaye, a village of Bamako – the Sikidiya cesspool operation followed in the footsteps of a previous experiment for garbage collection which was totally new to Mali at the time and whose fruits have been of benefit to the project: the re-creation of a solidarity social network and a genuine district life in terms of neighbourhood links; the implementation of a dynamic for consultation, negotiation, and, indeed for response, thanks to a committee of elders; and the entire communitys appropriation of projects for local improvement and sanitation. It was within this specific context, schooled by the authentic practice of local democracy, that the Sikidiya cesspool operation was carried out. It involved the unconditional support of the Districts technical services and the somewhat mitigated (or rather, uneasy) support of the District Council, represented by its Mayor.
Hamdallaye is a popular district of Bamako, located on the flank of a hill to the north-west of Malis capital. The soil, which rocky, is difficult to dig. Since the individual drainage systems (latrines, drainage canals) were 90% non-functional, the majority of the inhabitants tipped their liquid waste onto the public streets. This phenomenon of liquid waste, which is extremely damaging and unhealthy (stench, proliferation of viruses, the promotion of malaria etc.), became unbearable for the districts inhabitants once the street had been cleaned thanks to the Basaya garbage collection operation, which was launched by the Jigui NGO at the end of 1991 (80 m3 of garbage collected per day). From its earliest phase in November 1993, the framework of the Sikidiya cesspool operation was guided by the logic of drainage and improvements in hygiene, at both collective and domestic levels. Given the price of a cesspool (originally estimated at 75,250 FCFA) the population was incapable of covering the real cost. The Jigui NGO therefore proposed a suitable financial deal and a budgetary division which would be acceptable to all parties: the population was responsible for 37% and 63% was covered by the Special Devleopment Fund.
Construction began on April 24, 1994 and 1,800 cesspools1 had been constructed by December 31, 1995; the total budget was 100 million FCFA.
The technical framework of the operation was provided by the Bamako District, through its hygiene and drainage services. The district participated enthusiastically in meetings and organization. The Jigui NGO played a coordinating role. Only the Mayor of District Council IV, on which the Hamdallaye district is dependent, displayed any reticence. However, thanks to the diplomatic intervention of the Council of Elders, this attitude had been abandoned by the end of the operation.
Through a snow-ball effect, other districts of the capital have attempted to reproduce the experiment which, until then, was unique to Hamdallaye.
Kalanban-coura (6 cesspools),
Bamako-coura (30 cesspools)
Oualofobougou, Dravela, Kati and
Djeliobougou have all invested,
although timidly, in a similar approach.
Sikidaya summed up in figures
60% of the cesspools were constructed inside concessions, as compared to 40% constructed outside. 75% of the cesspools were out the PO5 type, 10% were PO3, 7-8% were PO2 and 3 and 1-2% were PO1.
Share covered by the beneficiary according to the type of cesspool:
PO1-10 035 FCFA
PO2-18 365 FCFA
PO3-17 575 FCFA
PO4-23 955 FCFA
P5-28 565 FCFA
The reimbursement currently being made by the population is 500,000 FCFA per month.
The Jigui GIE deducts 1,750 FCFA per cesspool for operations.
If the district had acted as operator, the cost would have been 10,000 FCFA.