Before, in Sake, a volunteer committee was responsible for managing the water system. The choice to create an ASUREP was made at the very beginning of the project, Oxfam showed us how other ASUREPs had been successfully implemented in other localities. As soon as the project started, an election process was set up in the neighbourhoods with the whole community. The elected representatives make up the ASUREP’s general assembly. They oversee the work of the management team, which I am the head of. We work differently from volunteer committees because we are professionals.
I used to be a teacher but I decided to work for the ASUREP to help people. This work is rewarding, because when you work hard, you can see the water flow in the town of Sake.
What has changed for the population is that now we are asking them for a financial contribution. Before, no one paid for water but it was of poor quality and not always available. We implemented awareness-raising campaigns, collaborated with the authorities and broadcasted messages on the radio, and people’s behaviours changed. We can’t force people to pay but we can make them understand that if they don’t and a breakdown occurs, we will not be able to fix it. It is their contributions that allow us to buy equipment and pay our plumbers.
After studying accounting, I joined the ASUREP and I am optimistic about the future. We have a long-term plan, we must do our best to achieve it, take courage and all work hand in hand.
There are 50,000 people in Sake and everyone uses the water managed by the ASUREP as there are water points everywhere in town. We have 3 categories of rates for water depending on the type of water point people use: public, private and commercial. Today, about 50% of the population pays for the water, we must continue to educate the rest.
I manage a water point with 4 taps that provides water to around 40 households. I am responsible for opening and closing it at scheduled times. I make sure everything is in working order and that the surroundings are clean. I am also responsible for collecting payments. Some people pay, others don’t because they don’t have the means. Others don’t want to pay even though they can afford it, when that happens, I refuse them access until they pay their share.
I manage a water point for around 80 households. Improved access to water has had a very positive impact on the area. Before, people did not build here because there was no water, but now they are moving in. And as far as health is concerned, there are fewer diseases and cholera cases.
I manage a water point for around 60 households. I decided to be an operator because I want the water point to be kept in good condition so that drinking water is always available. If it is not well looked after, the children can dammage it when playing around it. Other people have tried to be water operators but they did not have enough discipline.