The inhabitants of Niamey 1 Municipal District (ACN1) suffer annual flooding episodes, which are caused and exacerbated by a combination of several factors such as type of housing, heavy rains, poor urban planning, poor management of solid household waste, lack of civic-mindedness and inadequate communication and awareness. Taking a pre-emptive approach, with a good social and behavioural change communication strategy for solid waste recovery, particularly organic waste, could have a dual impact of reducing the number of floods or mitigating their effects, and improving adaptation and enhancing the resilience of vulnerable residents to the impacts of climate change.
In order to achieve this, a literature review and exploratory interviews were carried out, followed by a questionnaire distributed to 120 households in ACN1. Focus group interviews (ten) and individual interviews (ten) were also organised. Once processed, the obtained data led to the following results:
R1: Residents are at risk of flooding, depending on their neighbourhood and type of housing.
R2: They know that there is a relationship between poor waste management and flooding, but do not make the connection (directly or indirectly) between climate change, flooding and their behaviours, particularly when it comes to their management of solid household waste.
R3: They are willing to change their behaviour, to practise composting to assist the passage of rainwater, especially if this creates jobs. The key factors are information and communication, enforcement, and urban planning.
R4: The inhabitants are prepared to act, to take control of their living environment and to be agents of change, without waiting for outside help. The proposed strategy is based on the principle of community-led total sanitation (CLTS), a process of community involvement and empowerment.
R5: The Jeunesse FM 99 MHz community radio station in Goudel could be an operational tool for reaching the targets of change: women and young people.
The results of this study were shared with all the actors in the area. The Jeunesse FM 99 MHz community radio station in Goudel was the most reactive, partially implementing the communication plan via programmes about civic-mindedness, flood risks, waste management and the peril of plastics. However, a lack of resources has limited the duration and variety of these programmes. Nevertheless, this experience should continue – this time with the intervention of experts on civil protection, the environment, etc.
The community approach is advised, and since flooding is a technical issue and not a political issue, it is also recommended that these matters should not be politicised. Resources are essential in order to achieve the set objectives. It may also worth involving public technical services to
explain the phenomena.