Around its Mayor, the Local District Initiated and Implemented a Project to Rebuild a Local Municipal Market with the Assistance of the European Union
01 / 1999
1- Local context and challenges
The objective of Manandono’s local district council was to develop the district by ensuring security and protection of economic activities so that its inhabitants may prosper. In this small town, with 10,000 inhabitants scattered all over the local district (95% of which are farmers), the idea of building a market met with unanimous approval.
Two years ago the local group of members of the farmer’s organisation FIFATA suggested to its regional leaders the idea of organising a large farmers’ trade fair in the village of Manandono. The Fair was a great event and it attracted many people. They realised that it would be quite profitable to sell their goods at a centralised market rather than on roadsides or along the fields where they can be swindled by unscrupulous merchants. Without a market, such merchants have the upper hand: they can see what the farmer has harvested and how fast he has to sell his goods. The fair also attracted people from the cities of Anisrabe and Tananarive, representatives of the fund investors who support the farmers’ organisation FIFATA. The mayor talked with many different people about what was possible. The idea became a project. The project became a lively, animated market, every Thursday, from 6 AM till late afternoon.
2- Involving Donors
Donor’s participation is essential. The local district’s budget, allocated by the sub-regional "department" represents 30 million FMG (4,000 euros). This is barely enough to pay for operating expenses. To invest in the building of a market, the local community needed more than three times that amount.
The system designed by the EDF (operating cell of the European Union)is very interesting. The local district manages the budget of the project. Everybody participated actively to build the market because the EDF required a 25% local participation. The local district council appointed one of the People in Charge as well as a Project Monitoring Advisor. The district selected local firms to execute the public works. For those firms it was important to build correctly, or else they might have lost their reputation in the district and its surroundings.
In Manandono, local management was very efficient. The market has been built as planned and yet the allocation has not been totally spent. The Mayor has suggested to the fund investors to build additional facilities (waste storage and processing, dustbins and butcher’s stalls). These proposals have been accepted.
The local council also acquired on-the-spot experience in management and accounting. The management tools we set up to build the market are used for new projects.
"It required more work but we feel stronger now. We know we can get things moving here. The population saw that we could be given funds and that we knew how to use them."
Rebuild and Enhance the village. That is what the mayor had decided when he left the Army to return to his native village during the last local elections. He considers that the results achieved go way beyond what he had planned.
"During my electoral campaign, I lied, I did not say that we would achieve so much."
But the local district’s history does not end, just because one successful project has been completed. The local district needs a slaughter-house, roads and, first of all to eliminate highway robbery and burglaries.
"A good fund investor should contribute to the local district’s development, not just to one little project. The local district must remain aware that it has the project and manages it. That’s how you become responsible. Not by doing everything in someone else’s name and offering the completed project as a present".
Ever since the market has existed, the FIFATA and CECAM groups of farmers are much more active. The local district would like to become twin-towns with another local district in another country.
I paid an unannounced visit to the market of Manandono. The mayor was not there, so I wrote this story with the help of an advisor I met by chance on the street, surrounded by a small group of villagers who approved or added a detail here and there. My interpreter translated the opinions and information that were voiced by these people. Later in the evening, the mayor arrived. He spoke perfect French and welcomed me into the Town Hall, surrounded by his deputy mayor and his advisor. He told me the same story that I had in Malagasi on the market square, in the same manner, without knowing was I had been told before.
In insist on this detail for it shows how transparency snowballs. The transparency between the fund investor and the territorial community concerning fund-management has led to transparency between the Team working at the Town-Hall and the population.
Interviews : RANDIANAIVO Philibert, RAKOTOVAO, Jean Théofène, RAVELOMANANTSOA, Jean Félix. Commune rurale de Manandono, Fivondronana Antsirabe 2, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
[[Written for the public debate "Actors and processes of the cooperation", which could feed the next Lome Convention (European Union/ACP countries relations). This debate, animated by the FPH, has been started by the Cooperation and Development Commission of the European Parliament and is supported by the European Commission.]