Concluding a Three-Year Water Project

Bankim, Cameroon

 

The 27th of September was a day of excitement at Government Bilingual Primary school Mvouh-Tchim! Pupils and teachers anxiously waited for the first drops of water to gush from their stand taps. “The lessons before break period became unnecessarily long after the technicians announced that water shall be available during break period,” recounts Mofor, the head teacher, while dancing and singing with joy. 

 

It has taken a long while for this to happen, starting in 2019 when the community embraced Transformational Community Development (TCD) principles. They formed committees, set priorities, conceptualised the project, fundraised, and scouted for partners. This success story is graced by the hard-working Global Hope Network International (GHNI) team, leadership, field team, and the community led by the mayor of Bankim.

 

The solar-powered water system is composed of a 120 metre deep borehole. Two 5000 litre storage and distribution tanks are mounted on a 5 metre tall tower to facilitate gravity distribution. A 1560 watt solar farm was implanted to provide appropriate energy to the submersible pump to propel water to the overhead storage and distribution tank.

 

Break period was hilarious and contained all the pupils and teachers within the school campus with excitement rushing to have a taste and feel of the precious water. Traditionally, children would rush to homes and puddles during break in search of water. Often, they would come back late for class or never return to school for the rest of the day. “This is a rare opportunity in the region given to pupils of this community to enhance more learning, prevent school dropout, and promote hygiene within the school,” explains school council president and community champion, Mamadou. His efforts have been invaluable till date. Now, the priority is to train the Water Management Committee and caretakers to maintain the infrastructure.

 

The Greenery Association Kumbo partnered with a local organisation to address school resumption. They organised an award ceremony to compensate the first three pupils in each class. The children in the school use plastic papers, rice bags, and woven fiber as their school bags. The local partner organization compensated these first three students with a new conventional school bag and all the pupils in school went home with a pencil, pen, and ruler. The mayor of Bankim was part of the ceremony.

 

This month, we received funding worth $1271 as an advance for the seed project in Cameroon. This project provides seeds, farm tools, and skills to develop the Food Always in the Home Garden (FAITH) that will help fight malnutrition in the community. The Bankim community is located in a grassy savanna with water scarcity and intense sunshine during the dry season. Typically, everything dries off and the little available water can still be harnessed for gardens. Our junior staff, Lovet, spent a day with the community demonstrating the key components of the project, while tracing the outline boundary of the garden.

 

This type of gardening is a novelty in the community and expectations are high. It will be a raised, circular garden with a pie-slice cut out for access to a composting bin in the centre. The compost bin is where all kitchen waste and grey water from hand washing, laundry, and dishes are poured. While clean water is used on the plants directly, the composting bin serves as a central soaking area that supplies nutrients to the soil, safeguarding its fertility. It’s made of three layers. The first layer is the drainage, second layer is the moisture (made of straw), and the top layer is the thickest made up of soil and dry manure. 

 

There is a presence of local materials suitable for the garden, including bricks, straw, wood, wood ash, soil, and space. A practical demonstration of the layout was given and the community is expected to complete it in the days ahead. Seeds will then be provided for planting.

 

Upcoming Plans

One of our goals is to strengthen food security through FAITH Gardens. This will not only enhance vitamins and mineral intake in their diet, but also be an avenue for income generation by marketing vegetables to the nearby villages. Hygiene in the school campus is still a major concern, as the school lacks basic toilet facilities. We will resume Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) lessons in the school now that water is available. Change can start with the children! Our upcoming plans will also have to account for the lack of didactic materials in the school as children hardly have textbooks, as well as Income Generation in the community. 

 

Most Pressing Needs

We are in need of funds to address various goals. These include toilets to be constructed on the school campus, didactic materials and a school library equipped with basic textbooks, transportation and communication, and finally a Goat Loan and Commercial Garden Loan Programme (especially for off season cultivation).

Thank you!

 

Eugene
GHNI TCD Worker

 

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