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. We have continued delivering projects in 2016 and 2017, constructing two new wells supplying fresh drinking water for over 300 people.