BUJUMBURA July 24th (ABP) – Professor Elias Sentamba told a check by ABP on Thursday that non-profits (ASBLs) are the best suited actors in community development. He started from the fact that the success of community development projects requires awareness of the beneficiary people and in turn requires the intervention of non-profit organizations.
Professor Sentamba said without awareness even the best development actions are avoided by the people or last for the time that the external donor or the non-governmental organization (NGO) will spend with the beneficiaries for lack of ownership.
Thus, Professor Sentamba cited two kinds of action namely mono-finalized actions and multi-finalized actions.
Mono-finalized actions are actions that are easy to succeed as long as the technical and financial means are in place, he said. This is the case with the establishment of a school or a health center in an area where children and the sick crossed long distances to go to school or seek treatment, especially when the funds allocated to construction of those infrastructures are available.
On the other hand, Professor Sentamba added that multi-finalized actions are difficult actions to succeed because they require a change of mentality. This is the case with family planning, the fight against bush fires, the protection of the environment, the fight against prohibited drinks, the fight against corruption and which can meet with passive resistance from the people.
For example, he pointed out, non-profit associations can propose a reallocation of funds granted by the National Communal Investment Fund (FONIC) to direct funding towards income-generating actions and employment for young people and not the construction of schools or health centers that the people can build themselves.
The non-profit organizations can also propose a management of community health policy such as hygiene, the fight against dirty-hand diseases where the people are involved with no distinction.
Using Alexis de Tocqueville’s words, Professor Sentamba said that communal associations and therefore non-profit organizations are to democracy or community development what primary school is to science.
For Professor Sentamba therefore, non-profit organizations should be inspired by the fable of the “stone breakers” by Charles Peguy. To say that, the actors of the civil society should quite simply “give their all,” he specified.