By Tale Steen-Johnsen
(Newsletter, March 1998)
It is ironic that Cabinda, the most oil-rich province of Angola suffers extreme poverty. Cabinda is an important income-generating part of Angola, comprising one-third of the country’s export revenues. Nevertheless, while Cabinda has been systematically pumped for oil, very little has been done to improve its local infrastructure.
kvinnemenn.jpeg (26968 bytes)Cabinda belongs to Angola but is physically separated from the rest of the country by Congo-Kinshasa. The population is 200,000 ca., 150,000 of whom live in Cabinda City. There are approximately 150,000 refugees from Zaire in the region. In 1956, Angola received the administrative responsibilities for Cabinda. This move was primarily to relieve Portugal of the financial burden that came with maintaining Cabinda as a colony. It was at the same time that the liberation movement MLEC (Movimento de libertacao do enclave de Cabinda) began to take form.
The Fight for Freedom
In 1963 the liberation movement came under the name FLEC (Frente de libertado do enclave de Cabinda). When the Portuguese left the country in 1975, FLEC attracted many of Cabinda’s people due to Angola’s unwillingness to grant Cabinda its freedom.
Rich but impoverished
Cabindakart.jpg (24339 bytes)
The Cabinda enclave is rich but at the same time, extremely impoverished. The province is rich on oil and therefore represents an attractive resource for Angola.
Cabinda comprises one-third of the country’s export revenues. Nevertheless, while Cabinda has been systematically pumped for oil, very little has been done to improve its local infrastructure. Due to the enclave’s isolation from the rest of the country, Cabinda has not taken advantage of the numerous health-related projects given to Angola. The result is that Cabinda still battles with extreme poverty and bad infrastructure. In addition, the oil industry in the province has created environmental problems that has an immense negative impact on Cabinda. Cabinda needs assistance in satisfying its people’s immediate needs.
Yme’s projects in Cabinda and Angola
The project’s overriding goal is to improve the health conditions through water and sanitation projects in both Angola and Cabinda. This will be achieved through two main activities: a water and sanitation seminar, and the actual improvement of the water systems in villages of the Cabinda enclave.
The water seminar is planned to gather 15-20 participants with connections to the water and sanitation sector. These will include both Angolan authorities, international bodies and NGO people working in this sector. Through this seminar we hope to increase local capacity in implementing appropriate technology, and to establish institutions to improve the water and sanitation conditions in the country. In addition, Yme would like to catalyse local and national co-operation.
The Water Project in Cabinda
By Tale Steen-Johnsen
The project in Cabinda is big and a great economical challenge. Yme has began to map out the enclave’s need for improvement in the water and sanitation sector. In 1997 a feasibility study was done in this area. The contract Yme signed with NORAD has a 5 year perspective. The goal for 1998 is to secure water supply in four villages.
The goal is an improved health situation
Achieving a sustainable health situation demands commitment in many various fields. In addition to the technical installations, it is important that Yme inspires the local to take responsibility themselves for running and maintaining the water and sanitation system. We will, therefore, initiate the founding and the training of water committees which will be engaged in running both the technical and the economic aspects of the project.
Yme acknowledges that access to clean water and a decent sanitation system in itself is not enough to improve the health situation. To achieve this, there must be a change in attitude among those people who have been affected by this project. Therefore, we will include health seminars and information dissemination activities in parallel with the technical implementation.
In July/August, the first phase of the project will be carried-out. This includes establishing contacts at a local level together with identifying and building a structure for practical training and implementation of the project.