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Solidarity and public service

Friday, 07 April 2017
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The post-electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire revealed two essential values for our water and sanitation utilities: solidarity and sense of public service.

The first lesson to be drawn from the crisis is that the Société de distribution d’eau de la Côte d’Ivoire (SODECI) benefited from the solidarity of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) when it escorted trucks transporting lime to its treatment plant at Abobo, a town in the Abidjan District, where violent fighting was being wage. Thanks to the ICRC, SODECI continued to supply potable water to 500,000 people. The ICRC also showed solidarity towards SODECI by chartering a ship to convey 4,000 tons of lime, thus facilitating the supply of potable water to five million people.

The second lesson was the constant concern of officials of SODECI to accomplish against all odds their public service mission of supplying water to the populations, despite the conditions of insecurity prevailing in Abidjan, the economic capital. Their sense of duty made it possible to maintain the continuity of the service. The crisis turned out to be a positive opportunity for the top management and entire staff of SODECI to put into practice the values inculcated by Mr Marcel Zadi Kessy for more than thirty years.

The African Water Association (AfWA) is honoured that one of its members did not fail to accomplish its mission, despite the unfavourable conditions in the country. We feel that this good crisis management practice should be widely popularized in the framework of exchange of experiences on the management of crisis situations. Our Association is a forum of excellence and our members should measure up to the specific missions entrusted to them. For, access to potable water and sanitation is an inalienable right and we should encourage them to meet the challenge of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).