Following the completion of the 5-year plan for Bambouti, Cameroon Catalyst expanded its work to the surrounding region, covering a population in excess of 20,000 people.
Research was conducted in 2013 to assess the most important development needs for the region. This research found that more than 50% of the population lacked access to safe drinking water, resulting in health issues such as cholera, diarrhoea and stomach problems. Water and sanitation were therefore prioritised for the work of Cameroon Catalyst.
Field Studies and First Project
To acquire detailed hydrogeological data, a field study was undertaken in February 2015 in three villages: Tongo Gandima, Guiva and Mbelle Mbeke. With the assistance of Groundwater Relief, data was collected on water table depths, water quality and the location of existing water sources. This data helped to formulate an understanding of the requirements for each village.
There were a number of bored wells with pumps installed. However, it was found that many of these projects drilled the wells to unnecessary depths, yielding little benefit while significantly increasing the cost of construction. Much greater value is achieved through the use of modern wells, or spring protections, which are typically at least 50% less expensive than a bored wells. This therefore allows much greater impact from the project funding while still meeting safe drinking water standards.
In July 2015, the first water project was completed in Mbelle Mbeke. This village was reliant on a single spring for their water and and therefore a spring protection was built to protect this source from contamination.
Now we have entered the second year of our project, we are working to expand upon the 2015 research, and build upon the experience gained in the spring protection project. We aim to construct modern wells across the region, focussed on providing safe drinking water to the most vulnerable communities. These projects will utilise traditional construction techniques familiar to the local community, while integrating additional features to protect the water sources from contamination. These include well linings, capping systems and hand pumps. In this way the projects will reduce the amount of external influence required, and empower the community to build more protected sources themselves.
To support the development and construction of these projects, a representative of Cameroon Catalyst will be based in Cameroon for 6 months from February 2016, and you can follow his progress here. Not only will this member help oversee any construction work and ensure water supplies are being maintained correctly, but they will also help teach locals about sustainability and correct maintenance practices required.
Over 50% of the regional population lacks access to safe drinking water
A field study was conducted in February 2015 to collect information on local water sources
The results of this survey can be viewed here
Be Part of the Catalyst for Change
Our fundraising target for this year is £40,000. We aim for this to fund a total of 10 modern wells at a cost of £4,000 each, supplying safe drinking water to a total of 3000 people.
As the charity is entirely volunteer run, we can keep our overheads low and ensure the money goes directly to the people we need to help. All students who wish to participate in the summer trip must cover their own costs.
We rely on support and donations to build our projects, and we need your support. We value all donations, and the funding will make a real difference to the communities in rural Cameroon. Please give what you can.
Just £10 could help us provide safe drinking water to a person. Please give what you can
A detailed cost estimate of the wells has been produced, and for reference some of the key expenditures are listed below:
Reusable Equipment and tools: £2000
Labour to hand dig wells: £300
Concrete for well linings and cover: £2000
Hand Pump: £750
Equipment and formwork for the concrete will be useable for multiple wells and therefore costs can be reduced if additional wells are constructed.