FRAR is an acronym in French for “Fonds Régionaux d’Aménagement Rural” which can be translated by “Regional Funds for Rural Infrastructure Development”. The FRAR programme was implemented by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire during the 70’s and the 80’s with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS-HABITAT), now the UNHABITAT Agency.

The underpinning of the FRAR Programme was a systematic “pro-poor” focus aiming at reducing regional disparities by setting-up a transparent rural infrastructure schemes selection and implementation process. For ensuring ownership of the built infrastructure, the process was based on a true “bottom-up” participative planning. In this planning process, the beneficiary villages would choose themselves the type of infrastructure assistance they wanted, and would commit in writing to participate financially, or in kind, in the construction of their infrastructure scheme if the later was selected. The magnitude of the financial or in-kind contribution would vary from poorer to richer regions, the Programme contributing less in the richer regions, and more in the poorer regions.

The FRAR Programme was further giving technical assistance to the villagers and local authorities in providing full architectural and engineering design services for ensuring that the social infrastructure buildings (schools, health centres, community buildings, etc.) would be fully adapted to the needs and local conditions of the users. In order to strengthen public procurement compliance, the programme was then assisting in the tendering and selection process of artisans and small entreprises for the construction of these buildings. Once the contractors were selected, monitoring and assistance was provided to the villagers and local authorities for the construction supervision, until the handover of the built infrastructure was completed.

Bob Hardy FRAIC was successively in charge of the architectural and engineering design of the social infrastructure buildings, and later the Chief Technical Adviser (CTA)/Project manager. More substantive content on the “FRAR” Programme, and its multiple advantages in small-scale rural infrastructure development, will be published and discussed here on the SHOTRACOTE-MOFATE/network web site.