Saur Group employees make a positive social contribution in all the regions they serve
The purpose of Saur Solidarités, the Saur Group solidarity endowment fund, is to develop, initiate or contribute to all types of public interest initiative in France and abroad. These may be directly associated with the markets in which the Saur Group operates (water, waste management, engineering, leisure & public amenity, etc.) or with any other type of solidarity initiative, such as access to water supply, wastewater treatment or waste management services, social innovation, employability or environmental protection. Each project is sponsored by a Saur Group employee prepared to give up his or her own time to engage personally with the project he or she supports. This commitment forms the cornerstone of the missions supported by Saur Solidarités
Bringing drinking water to the heart of a village in the highlands of south-eastern Madagascar
When the plans developed by the Babakoto non-profit organisation based in the French region of Gard were submitted to the Saur Solidarités selection committee in October 2014, the endowment fund was very quick to come to a decision. The proposal was to build a water supply network for the rural community of Albahoma in the highlands of south-eastern Madagascar. The central challenge of the project was to abstract pure water from a source beneath a cliff dominated by natural primary forest, and pipe it to serve the community via 14 pillar hydrants. What made this facility all the more vital was that it would relieve the women and girls of the village from the daily task of fetching water from a source above the village; a source that was itself being polluted by the village.
In April 2015, Jean-François Cacace, a Saur employee and the Asset & Reporting Manager for south-eastern France, spent time living with the Zafimaniry tribe in Ambahoma. For as long as it took to install the pillar hydrants and train local people in how to build and manage pipeline networks, Jean-François experienced the extremely basic living conditions of this village deep in the Madagascan Highlands alongside volunteers from Babakoto. This non-profit organisation has worked in the region for 30 years, during which time its efforts have resulted in the establishment of around 30 schools. www.babakoto.fr
“My motivation is to put my expertise to work for the benefit of a vital cause“. J.-F. Cacace
How did you become involved with Babakoto?
J-F.C.: It’s essentially a culmination of different encounters. So I’ve been involved in a number of different solidarity initiatives over many years. But my meeting with Babakoto was really the defining moment, because it gave me the opportunity to be involved in practically delivering a solidarity project within my own field of expertise, and to put my expertise to work for the benefit of a vital cause.
So what did the assignment actually involve?
J-F.C.: Well, it lasted for two weeks, and involved the installation of a water supply network for the village of Ambahoma, with 85% of the cost being met by Saur Solidarités. We also installed an additional extension to the system to serve those homes too far away from the pillar hydrants. And because Saur Solidarités wanted to extend the initiative, we also conducted surveys of other villages as the basis for more networks in the future. The conditions we were working under were challenging, because in addition to travel fatigue, we had to adjust to making constant journeys to and from the worksites in the blistering daytime heat… The people living in these villages are extremely grateful for the commitment shown by Saur Solidarités, and I can guarantee that bringing high-quality water into the heart of these villages has dramatically changed the living conditions of Zafimaniry people. And especially the children, who now have fewer health problems thanks to a supply of better quality water, and being relieved of the daily duty of carrying buckets of water on their heads…
What have you taken away from this experience?
J-F.C.: The most memorable and striking experience for me has been meeting the Zafimaniry, an amazing set of people who live in complete self-sufficiency. They are brave and extremely courageous, and they deserve to be more widely known. The experience has also given me a huge sense of satisfaction. I’ve been able to train several local young people in how to use a GPS system so that the villagers themselves can carry out the next round of surveys.
Please view the video of this assignment.