Stand Taps for Handwashing

Nkar, Cameroon


The community of Nkar has, within the past months, gradually become self-sufficient in water. This is attributed to the gracious concerted efforts of GHNI and its partner organisations. The initial water project supplied over 12 quarters (neighbourhoods) but population growth overstretched the system so that it could barely supply less than half of the quarters. This compelled many neighbourhoods to resort to valley puddles and streams with poor quality water while trekking long distances to procure water. 


Currently, all 12 quarters are well served with water, both in quantity and quality, with over 25 public stand taps, 6 washbasins, and hundreds of private, functional stand taps. “It has been a welcome relief for women and children who carry the bulk of the water burden in the community,” states the Water Committee chairman. The water system developed by GHNI is currently supplying 10 litres per capita per day for the population of more than 6,900. This alone provides the bare minimum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The concerted effort with other partner organisations will lead to a higher recommendation, particularly in the dry season.


Several communities in the northwest of Cameroon currently face a war crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions by non-state armed groups and the activities of the belligerent forces hinder a lot of humanitarian work. In this community, water is a blessing associated with hygiene and sanitation, therefore increased knowledge when possible will alleviate the effects of the pandemic in the community. This move towards awareness started this month with members of two stand taps users trained on hand washing with soap as a means of fighting the pandemic and other infections. This effort shall be supplemented next month by a workshop about stand taps and to train women and youth leaders on local production of soap, alcohol-based hand gels, and better fitting masks using locally available materials.


In the context of the war crisis in the northwest and southwest of Cameroon, a woman from Nkar is currently lodging as an internally displaced person (IDP). She recounts her ordeal as follows: “I am Juliet, a mother of four, married to a traditional practitioner. I have four children with the youngest, Daniela, aged four years. The military came to my home searching for my husband, and when they did not see him, they took me to the military barracks and tortured me for a day. They accused my husband of giving magical charms to non-state armed groups (NSAG). Two days later, they returned and surrounded my home and had me and my children beaten. I was forced to leave the house with my children immediately while abandoning everything behind. My husband is equally on the run and I think he should be around the border with Nigeria seeking safety…” As a humanitarian gesture to help her start a new life, this woman received some washing items composed of a drinking pail, water jar, hand wash basin, a cup, and two pots. She and her children are overwhelmed but are still in need of food and other basic needs as the pandemic and war continue.


Thank you!


GHNI Assistant Regional Field Leader