This week we’re taking a closer look at the projects Cameroon Catalyst has successfully delivered to rural communities in the Eastern Region of the Country. During our first five years, the charity focused on issues within the village of Bambouti. The work completed made a significant impact on the village, bringing healthcare, improved education and a secure electricity supply.
2010 – Medical Centre
In 2010 Cameroon Catalyst constructed the January Hope Medical Centre in the Village of Bambouti. Since then the centre has been providing Bambouti and other nearby villages with a vital level of basic medical care. It has also provided Bambouti with an additional clean water source, further reducing illness in the village.
In 2016 Cameroon Catalyst partnered with two local charities, Christian Missionary Fellowship International and Hope Clinic Bertoua, who have established a satellite clinic at the centre. This partnership has further increased the centre’s range of services, its capacity and its reach. Since 2016 the centre has been used for vaccination campaigns and 678 children have been vaccinated at the centre since this January alone! Having provided life changing services for almost a decade now, the centre’s reputation and impact on the community continue to grow!
2011 – Carpentry & Mechanical Workshop
With a shortage of training opportunities for young adults in the community, Cameroon Catalyst designed and commissioned a brand-new building for the purpose of teaching trade skills to members of the village. Constructed in 2011, the Papa Gaspard Carpentry & Mechanical Workshop has provided the community with general teaching facilities, which include a specialist area for training in carpentry and mechanics.
Since then, the workshop has been used for agricultural training for the school allotment scheme and for helping other cooperatives. The management of the building has subsequently been taken over by Christian Missionary Fellowship International , who seek to use if for local healthcare training. It is hoped that all this training will provide the next generation with the skills necessary to provide for their families and their community long into the future.
2012 – School Buildings
After years of neglect, Bambouti’s only school building had become run down and dilapidated. All that changed in 2012, when Cameroon Catalyst constructed two new teaching blocks, each with capacity for 80 students. A national newspaper heard of this project and wrote a report on Cameroon Catalyst’s work, criticising the government for their neglect of the original school building. The prompted the government to provided further funds to renovate the original school building. The village now has 2 school-houses which provide education for the local children.
The local community manages the buildings and runs the school, allowing Cameroon Catalyst to continue its work in other nearby communities. Currently 264 children are enrolled in the school, receiving an education they otherwise would have not received.
2013 – Solar Electrification
For our 2013 project Cameroon Catalyst partnered with Energy for Development, a UK organisation based at the University of Southampton delivering renewable energy solutions in energy poor and economically disadvantaged communities. The project delivered an “Energy Hub” comprising a Solar Power system with integrated battery storage to provide reliable and affordable electricity to the village.
The Energy-Hub has been hugely beneficial for the work of the January Hope Medical Centre. The electricity produced powers the centre’s vaccination fridge and lighting, enabling hundreds of local children to be vaccinated and allowing the centre to continue operating after dark.
The Energy-Hub has also had an impact on the village’s economy. Each month it generates a healthy income from phone charging, a barber shop, a video room and battery powered lamp charging. Previously, energy and lighting could only be obtained through diesel generators and kerosene lamps, but now the locals are able to work and connect with the world in cheaper and more reliable manner.
2014 – Housing Improvements
In 2014 Cameroon Catalyst collaborated with the charity Betterworld Cameroon, a charity which, among other things, promotes and trains people in sustainable housebuilding techniques. Since then, locals have been trained to construct houses using these sustainable housing techniques and four houses have been built in Bambouti.
These houses have provided accommodation for staff at the January Hope Medical Centre and the local Cameroon Catalyst built school, allowing the staff to work full time in the village. These houses also serve as an example of how safe, affordable and desirable housing can be produced by the locals with the skills and resources available to them.
2015 to Present – WaSH: Wells
Over the past four years the Cameroon Catalyst Southampton Student Chapter have designed and constructed five wells in five different villages in the East Region of Cameroon. These wells provide clean water for almost 1,000 people who previously had no or insufficient access to clean water. As the team return to Cameroon each year to assess the wells and plan for the construction of new wells, the same statement is being heard again and again: Fewer people are getting ill from water borne diseases!
In the larger villages, these wells have become increasingly popular; with people choosing to collect their water from the Cameroon Catalyst well, even if it means queuing! These wells have also greatly increased accessibility to water; no longer are the elderly or disabled forced to descend into steep, slippery sided gorges for their water, which in the past had led to serious injury.
Our wells are located in the villages of:
– Mbele Mbeke (2017)
– Mbange (2017)
– Tongo (2017)
– Garoua Yaka (2018)
– Petit Bello (2019)