Strategic and planning support to rural roads in Burkina Faso
Programme "Pistes Rurales - Désenclavement à l'Est (PrEst)", SDC / Helvetas
The Government of Burkina Faso has declared the improvement of rural transport as being a privileged means in its socio-economic development and poverty reduction agenda. In 2002, SDC started the programme “Pistes Rurales – Désenclavement à l’Est (PrEst)” aiming at, in a decennial perspective, the existence in the region of a locally managed and sustainable network of rural roads. Within an action research approach, the PrEst acts since as a catalyst for innovative methods (e.g. labour-based technology, rural roads master planning) and as facilitator. Skat has been mandated in regular intervals from on 2004 to perform appraisal missions, develop operational planning documents, assure the strategic follow-up of the programme and to backstop the implementer's team.
Implemented by Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation), the PrEst in its start-up phase (2002-04) has put in place the enabling mechanisms and was able to test the approach during first realisations. The intervention strategy in phase 2 (2004-08) focused then on the transfer of competencies and safeguarding of the investments whilst the new realisations (200 km) and maintenance of the roads were regarded as training tools for the local state, civil society and private sector actors.
Seen the topicality and the pertinence of the programme the current phase 3 (April 2008 - March 2011) capitalizes on the achievements and experiences of the past in search for a scaling up of the approach and for putting in place regional financing mechanisms for rural roads maintenance and construction. Further the institutionalisation and/or privatisation of the support services provided so far by the project unit of PrEst are engaged throughout this probably last phase of the project. During a mission in February 2008, Skat supported the local PrEst team in developing the project document for this phase 3 through a stakeholder consultation and participatory planning process.