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Good Governance: Domestic Accountability, Benin, 2011

I do not feel represented
by the ruling people in my town. The people that got elected
are not doing their job because the water works in my village
have been damaged for a long time now and nobody has taken action to repair it. Once an organisation has been
established to provide cheap water it will help a lot of women. Because taking care of drinking
water is a women’s job they have to endure all the difficulties. I want to see better collaboration
to improve things with our own representatives
involved in the decision making so that we benefit from
the drinking water project. With this initiative we try to create a dialogue
between the local authority and the people that benefit
from the water services. Domestic accountability
is a way for citizens to stand up for their rights and also to face the challenges ahead. So we can say to the community:
“We are at your disposal.” “We have solutions for your problems
and for the issues that you raise.” It is not that complicated to install
waterworks in the whole country and to guarantee a big increase
in the access to drinking water. But it’s essential that all the
waterworks are still functioning in six months time and
in two years time. This requires responsibility. That is what we call domestic accountability. For example I will tell you about Ouinhi where 36 of the water
pumps were broken. But thanks to the activities
of the elected representatives we have repaired 32 pumps so now only four pumps are broken. Now the elected
representatives are communicating with the local authorities
to fix the last pumps. This initiative encourages the government to introduce domestic accountability
throughout the country. We want to implement the project
in all the other regions so that it can have the same huge
positive impact as we see in Ouinhi today. The Dutch Embassy has been working
here in the water sector since 2004. And now we are investing
seven to eight million euros per year. The objectives of the
Embassy are very simple; to improve access to drinking water but also to
sustain this access. So that, in a few years time the people of Benin
are able to organise
their own access to drinking water because it is their own responsibility.

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