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The DSF is paying special attention to local needs Print E-mail
Elena Ursache, DSF Project Manager, speaks of the pilot projects’ success in Burkina Faso and Burundi. Such results are due to DSF’s capacity to respond to expectations expressed at the local level

What is the DSF’s principle of action ?

The Fund launched its first operations exactly a year ago, responding in priority to requests from local African communities. The first proposals came from local associations active in the fight against AIDS, which already had experience in managing development projects. These organizations were highly familiar with the needs of the populations and as a result were readily able to design projects adapted to realities on the ground. In this regard, the Fund adheres to the fundamental principle of international cooperation for development, that is to say respect for the needs expressed by the beneficiaries themselves. We must be wary of readymade solutions imposed from the outside.

In these pilot projects, the DSF financed installations for a satellite broadband connection and IT and office equipment. What does this have to do with the fight against AIDS?

That is a Frequently Asked Question. And the answer is a matter of common sense: without a real content that meets a real need, a project is of no interest to the DSF.

Project promoters must state what the needs are, set realistic objectives, determine the action to be taken, and finally identify the ICT applications that can help to achieve their objectives.

ICT projects must of course be developed around a key development objective. That is why the DSF works in such fields as health (including the fight against AIDS), education, job creation and the environment.

A year after their launch, where do the pilot projects in Burkina Faso and Burundi stand today?

The results outdo expectations. The associations combating AIDS have done a great job, making a huge effort to take the projects forward. Over a matter of months, a real relationship of trust was built up with the DSF team. We are so pleased to have local partners who are determined to succeed and, for our part, we do everything we can to respond to their requests.

At each pilot site we are studying the possibilities of enhancing access to the network by way of WI-MAX links. Soon we shall be in a position to respond to this demand, which will enable quality access to major peripheral sites such as hospitals, city halls, etc.

How did the DSF develop its capacity of intervention at the local level?

The DSF is the first international financing institution that has a governing body (responsible for its intervention policy), which brings together Governments, local authorities, civil society and the private sector. This quadri-partite representation ensures that the needs expressed by communities are taken into consideration in the framework of regional and national strategies. Moreover, private sector representation facilitates the involvement of businesses that can contribute to the projects’ success.

In its pilot phase, the DSF has been very present on the ground. This enabled it to develop monitoring and evaluation tools for its community based projects.

Having acquired the experience, the DSF can now focus on its role of donor, yet without abandoning its primary principle: that of paying special attention to and consulting with local partners.

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