The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the entire globe, including West African countries and upsetting virtually all activities planned by various communities. Movement has reduced in all countries, and with what looks with harder measures in some.
According to the Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso-based Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP-WA), its Country Water Partnerships (CWPs) in the sub-region are not an exception to the challenging trend.
It disclosed that, in Benin Republic, the CWP could not organise any activity due to the restrictions of movement to the communities where the projects are ongoing. During the period of confinement, the CWP rather focused on developing the terms of reference (ToRs) of the activities that will be carried out later, the launching of consultation missions for the studies to be carried out, and the re-planning of the activities of the different projects.
“We were quarantined for three weeks (and stayed in-doors) and holding meetings was suspended until further notice,” disclosed Maxwell Boateng-Gyimah, Executive Secretary of CWP Ghana.
“Now use of phone calls is increased. Rather than face-to-face, you resorted to calls a lot more,” he added, explaining how the situation is affecting the daily use of remote means to stay in contact with partners.
In Mali, the CWP is almost at a stand-still, it was gathered. It was supposed to be working closely to support the PCA/GIRE programme implemented by the National Directorate of Hydraulics (DNH) which is obliged to revise its work plan and budget to consider the aftermaths of the pandemic.
“Since the beginning of this year, no concrete activities have been carried out,” said Alioune Bagou Diarra, Executive Secretary of CWP Mali.
“Since most of our activities are related to gathering people, we cannot carry out any. We must respect the government measures limiting gatherings,” he added, pointing however that the CWP partners stay in contact only through emails.
In Guinea, the CWP Executive Secretary, Hafiziou Barry, described the situation as unfortunate, adding that the pandemic has come to complicate it more.
“We were expecting some funding this year but with the Covid-19 we are in stand-by. We had a lot of projects pending with many partners, unfortunately no significant progress as of today,” he explained.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the CWP has worked for years with the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry which is coordinating Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) implementation in the country.
“Last year, we had planned to organise the World Water Day for 2020 together, but in the end, we could not do anything,” lamented François Kouadio, CWP Executive Secretary.
“We also approached the Ministry of Hydraulics with whom we agreed to carry out several activities this year but with the situation, nothing could be done. Our plans are totally overwhelmed,” added Mr. Kouadio, stressing that CWP members are staying in touch through WhatsApp and by email.
In Senegal, the CWP is involved in numerous processes including the preparation process of the World Water Forum in Dakar, with OMVS, Gaston Berger University and several other initiatives under progress which were all blocked by Covid-19, said chair of the CWP, Dr. Adrien Coly.
“This surprised us and paralysed our efforts to revitalise the CWP. We have not been able to deploy our strategy. The campaign to recruit new members, the process of re-launching the bodies are all blocked,” disclosed Coly.