How CWPs in West Africa are living with the coronavirus pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all West African countries and upsetting all activities planned by various communities. Movement is reduced in all countries with harder measures in some.

In Benin, the CWP could not organize any activity due to the restrictions of movement to the communes where the activities take place. During the period of confinement, the CWP rather focused on developing the ToRs of the activities that will be carried out later, the launching of consultation missions for the studies to be carried out, the re-planning of the activities of the different projects.

“We were quarantined for 3 weeks (and stayed in-doors) and holding meetings is suspended until further notice”, says Maxwell Boateng-Gyimah, Executive Secretary of CWP Ghana. “Now use of phone calls is increased. Rather than face to face, you have to call a lot more”, he explains how this is affecting the daily use of remote means to stay in contact with partners.

In Mali, the CWP is almost at stand-by. Working closely to support the PCA/GIRE programme implemented by the National Directorate of Hydraulics (DNH) which is obliged to revise its work plan and budget to take into account the aftermaths of the pandemic. “Since the beginning of this year, no concrete activities have been carried out”, says Alioune Bagou Diarra, Executive Secretary of CWP Mali. “since most of our activities are related to gathering people, we cannot carry out any. We have to respect the government measures limiting gatherings”. He adds that the CWP partners stay in contact only through emails.

In Guinea, the Executive Secretary, Hafiziou BARRY says that the situation is unfortunate, and the pandemic has come to complicate it more. “We were expecting some funding this year but with the Covid-19 we are in stand-by. We had a lot of projects pending with many partners, unfortunately no significant progress as of today”, he explains.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the CWP has worked for years with the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry which is coordinating IWRM implementation in the country. “Last year we had planned to organize the World Water Day for 2020 together, but in the end, we could not do anything” says François KOUADIO, CWP Executive Secretary. “We also approached the Ministry of Hydraulics with whom we agreed to carry out several activities this year but with the situation, nothing could be done. Our plans are totally overwhelmed”, adds Mr. KOUADIO. CWP members continue to stay in touch more through WhatsApp and by email.

In Senegal, the CWP is involved in many processes including the preparation process of the World Water Forum in Dakar, with OMVS, Gaston Berger University and many other initiatives are under discussion which are all blocked by Covid 19, says the chair of CWP, Dr. Adrien COLY. “This surprised us and paralyzed our efforts to revitalize the CWP. We have not been able to deploy our strategy. The campaign to recruit new members, the process of re-launching the bodies are all blocked” explains Adrien COLY.