U2G: Knowing all the humanitarian work you’re accomplishing in different sectors; which rules have to be followed when choosing a new project?
Maxime D.: All projects must be submitted by local partners. Our aim is to strengthen local capacities to set up efficient projects (based on a detailed socio-economic analysis) to the benefit of local communities, being able to suggest a coherent action plan to tackle the situation.
If the local partner meets these criterias, HAMAP-Humanitaire would decide to establish a partnership agreement and work together to define a strong global project, in order to provide population with realistic solutions to enhance their living environment.
U2G: Do you keep the collaboration going on after a first project is implemented with a local partner?
Maxime D.: Once our partnership is strong enough (after a few years of mutual collaboration and 1 or 2 pilot projects), HAMAP helps its partner to grow slowly towards the implementation of bigger projects for local communities in order to reach more beneficiaries, or to replicate successful projects in other villages.
U2G: How do you manage to control every project and to follow up on their quality?
Maxime D.: Follow-up and control is part of our mission. We control ourselves all projects we are in charge of via Skype, phone, mail check-up with the partner on the field… But this is only complementary means of regular supervision missions directly on the field, carried by professional coordinators and/or engineers (if technical mission) from HAMAP. In any case, financial and budgetary controls are thorough, before, during and after all projects.
U2G: You’re incorporating in their villages a lot of new concepts and systems that locals need to understand and get used to (aka water and/or sanitation systems, etc.). When it comes to work alongside the local communities, what is the cultural adaptation process like?
Maxime D.: We can’t know better than them the local situation and context, we rely first on our local partner, who must seek for approval/support of any kind of local authorities in order to involve everybody in the project.
Technical solutions must be adapted to the local context (quantity of water available, quality of this water…). Thorough trainings of managing the water and sanitation networks are systematically part of our projects.
Providing hygiene awareness of the youngest and women in particular, as well as useful information about water are mandatory if we want to really have an impact on their mentalities and be a vector of change in the coming years.
U2G: What are the conditions you keep in mind to accept (or not) volunteers to collaborate in your projects?
Maxime D.: In some countries we organize short medical missions, to support local health teams in remote villages, for instance. At least two professional doctors must take part in the mission to deal with the most complicated cases.
Missions of this type are open to all (up to 12 participants) whether he/she shows real interest and capacity to integrate and work as part of a team.
Participants can also help the logistics aspects (delivery of medication under the supervision of the doctors, register consultations for statistics) of the mission and deliver basic hygiene classes to children (demonstrate how to properly clean their hands, etc).
U2G: How does transparency work in HAMAP? Why are donations so important for you?
Maxime D.: HAMAP-Humanitaire lives mainly off public subvention to finance its projects around the world. French Water Agencies, French ministry of Foreign Affairs and many local authorities such as cities trust us and trust in our approach for development.
Private donations are still limited and are an axis of development for us. Donations give us the opportunity to speed up the financing of our projects and in the end reach more beneficiaries in need all around the world.
We publish (and disseminate) every year our annual financial report, which is certified by an independent expert accountant. Our projects are regularly controlled on the field by our donors/institutional funders, focusing on financial aspects. Their conclusions are always public.
Pictures: HAMAP Humanitaire web.