An interview with Mathieu Dapke

Can you describe the current project between the city of Aplahoué and the city of Ramonville Saint-Agne?

The current project between the city of Aplahoué and the city of Ramonville Saint-Agne is the rehabilitation of the water supply network of Dékpo, a town of more than 25,000 inhabitants, with the resumption of the piping, the supply of electrical energy with a relay of the water supply network.
25,000 inhabitants with the resumption of the piping, the supply by electric energy with a relay in renewable energy, with a cost of approximately 150,000 euros.

Why did you decide to set up a decentralized cooperation?

Decentralized cooperation is prescribed and authorized by the texts of the law on decentralization in the Republic of Benin and allows Beninese communes to establish decentralized partnership relations with other communes throughout the world, in order to share experiences, good practices, culture and if possible in the accompaniment for the mobilization of resources for the realization of projects agreed upon within the framework of the cooperation So, before the elaboration of his third Communal Development Plan, Mayor Casimir SOSSOU (mayor between 2015 and 2018) undertook a search for decentralized cooperation to help the commune, having a modest budget, to find support in order to mobilize more funds for the implementation of projects. And it is in this context that during one of his trips to France, he had the opportunity to establish on behalf of the commune, a relationship that will be sanctioned by an agreement signed in December 2017.

How did you decide to work with the city of Ramonville?

The communes of Aplahoué and Ramonville have signed two decentralized cooperation conventions that give them guidelines on cooperation. Essentially, the two communes have chosen to work in the water and sanitation sector. The two agree on the projects to be carried out and are accompanied by an NGO such as HAMAP-Humanitaire as an assistant to the project manager.

Why did you choose to work with HAMAP-Humanitaire?

We chose to work with HAMAP-Humanitaire, because this NGO has the necessary expertise in mobilizing funds and engineering adequate in the conduct of development projects. These qualifications give HAMAP-Humanitaire the ability to manage the funds collected for the implementation of projects, which convinced the two municipalities to entrust it with the delegated project management for the implementation of our projects.

What does a partnership with a French city bring you?

The partnership with a French city brings us :
– Exchange visits between the two cities
– The mobilization of funds for the implementation of projects of community interest
– The sensitization of the users of the works for the perpetuation of the assets
– Capacity building of community actors

What are the difficulties encountered during decentralized cooperation?

The main difficulty lies in the changes of power at the head of the municipalities where the divergent wills and political choices undermine the decisions contained in the established conventions, which can sometimes lead to the rupture of pre-established relations.