To a certain degree, the Port-Bouet study synthesizes the problems faced by local NGOs in the Ivory Coast: the institutional barrage.
The Bank chose to launch a project for the construction of basic amenities in the village which involved genuine role sharing and had the following characteristics:
- making the town hall responsible for project management;
- involving the NGOs for their organizational capacities and in the role of social project managers;
- building new capacities for the NGOs. According to the project’s appraisal, the NGOs needed to develop competencies and know-how related to intermediate technology (paving, latrines, small diameter sewerage systems), which would enable them to avoid limitation to the sole production of leadership techniques which reduce their credibility (folkloric organization).
- the participation of local organizations at all stages of the project’s conception, financial participation and involvement in the diagnostic process and the planning proposal, and follow-up on construction and management of the amenities. On the whole, all of these aspects requiring the commitment of grass roots organizations are new to the Ivory Coast.
- The attitude of State entities had to be congruent with policies of decentralization, applying the principle of shared management and supporting the local development project.
The GREA (Regional Group for Drinking Water and Sanitation) hypothesized that observation of this process of role sharing was the route to achieving an effective local development project and durability of the amenities envisioned by the projects.
The entire process of establishing the project was blocked to a great degree of institutional causes. Different government offices effectively opposed the town hall, arguing that they had powers and competencies which could not be delegated either to the villages or to the NGOs, even if the texts containing village policy suggested otherwise, giving a certain degree of power to local communities. This opposition was compounded by the fact that the government offices limited NGOs’ usefulness for group organization.
The government’s resistance to liberalization of urban management is the most significant restraint on NGOs’ activities in the Ivory Coast. It has been at the root of many failed projects, the most significant of which was the village development project financed by the PDM (Municipal Development Programme).
The State received funds worth 8 billion (F-CFA) from the PDM, which were intended for use on a local development project. However, the refusal to transfer responsibility for the management of these funds to the village meant that, four years later, only 10% of the project had been completed.
These factors led to the launch of the PACOM project (Project to Support the Management of Municipal Operations.