The 2013-2015 crisis did not spare the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui. Some of its neighbourhoods, such as those in the 3rd and 5th districts, were badly affected, which worsened the living conditions of their inhabitants. Major works have been carried out since 2015 by the Agence Française de Développement as part of an urban renewal project financed by the European Union Trust Fund for CAR, the Bêkou Fund.
In the 'Camerounais Douala' neighbourhood of the 3rd arrondissement, residents were deeply affected by the floods, as Oumar Ladji testifies: "During the rainy season, when it rains, the water enters the houses. If it happens during the night, we don't sleep. We have to empty the water all night". In addition to the damage caused by these floods, the stagnation of water favoured the emergence of diseases.
In order to improve the drainage of this rainwater, the Bouagba water collector was rehabilitated over 923 metres.
The rehabilitation also aims to make displacements safer for pedestrians. "When it rained, it was very dangerous to cross the drain, because the water rose so high that it submerged the bridges. People were swept away like that," says Nina Yandele, Acting Head of the Cameroon Douala district.
According to Ms Yandele, the rehabilitation of the sewer and the development of the service roads adjacent to it are a real success. "Before, we didn't even know that there was a lane on each side of the canal," she says. "Today, thanks to these lanes, you can get to the market quickly and access the taxi stops more easily".
Achour Tribunal, who runs a kiosk a few streets away, in the 'Sangha Bibalé' neighbourhood, attests this ease of movement. His kiosk is strategically located on one of the roads rehabilitated by the project. "Since the works, the road has become busier, and I have more customers," he says.
The THIMO approach, beneficial for young people
The implementation of the work was done using the THIMO approach. This entails involving the beneficiaries in the construction works by allowing them to work on the sites in jobs that require few qualifications. Achour Tribunal was himself a labourer in the THIMO framework. He explains: "We were many young people who were hired for the works. This allowed us to earn an income."
More than 1,500 labourers were able to work on the various sites of the Urban Economic and Social Reconstruction Project (PRESU). Nina Yandele, the acting head of the Douala district of Cameroon, is very satisfied with this approach: "The PRESU work has brought a lot of benefits to my district. It has especially changed the mentality of the young people. Thanks to THIMO, many of them have been able to save money in order to set up their own business. They even ask for similar projects in order to work again."