Fondation SUEZ

Marked by commitment and innovation, 2020 was a special year for the NGO Aquassistance

We look back at a special year focusing on innovation and commitment for Aquassistance, the NGO run by current and former employees of SUEZ. The association's volunteers provide skills and equipment to help vulnerable communities all over the world in three fields of expertise: water, sanitation and waste management.
Aquassistance began 2020 with four assignments in Egypt, India, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. At the beginning of March, in view of the expected lockdown and health risks, the association decided to suspend all international assignments. While this measure slowed the association's work, it did not put a complete stop to it: the dozen or so expertise assignments planned in advance of project launches, to assess feasibility, stakeholder capacity, and budgets, were postponed by about a year; ongoing projects, meanwhile, continued and Aquassistance maintained contact with local businesses and service providers to ensure work on the ground progressed. Today, the NGO oversees 72 ongoing projects.

The year provided an ideal opportunity to carry out substantive work on funding requests, particularly in relation to the Oudin-Santini law which enables local authorities and water agencies to allocate up to 1% of their budget to support actions for international cooperation and solidarity. It is as though the COVID-19 pandemic, which really put the spotlight on the vital importance of water and hygiene, sparked a new wave of solidarity and interest in decentralised cooperation.

"We also used 2020 to strengthen our existing partnerships (Action Contre la Faim, Electriciens Sans Frontières, Solidarité Internationale, Première Urgence Internationale, etc.) and set up new ones, with Eau-sans-Frontières Internationale and Fondation Energies pour le Monde (FONDEM), for example," said Philippe Folliasson, Executive Director of Aquassistance.

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