Last month two members of the Cameroon Catalyst (CamCat) student team, Mikey Harper and Gervaise Turbervill, travelled to Cameroon alongside John Hackett, a Water Resources Specialist at Anglain Water and Dr Andrew Ako Ako, a Researcher at the Hydrological Research Centre, Yaounde, to conduct a week long hydrogeological study in a number of villages in the North East region of Cameroon.

The aim of the study was to gather information on the existing water pumps in the region, and understand what solutions would be most effective in solving the current problems occurring there. The information gathered would thus influence the design and implementation of the water and sanitation pumps being installed by the CamCat team in the summer of this year.

Upon arrival in Cameroon the team met with Cameroonian government officials and NGO’s to discuss the week long survey being carried out in the North East region and the planned installation of sustainable water and sanitation pumps in surrounding villages over the summer. The aim of the meeting was to encourage cross-collaboration between CamCat and the Cameroonian government, as well as with NGO’s working in the area. The day was also an opportunity to highlight to government officials the lack of strategic planning of current water resources in the region and ways to improve them.

During the rest of the trip the team conducted detailed hydrogeological surveys on three villages in the North East region to gain a better understanding of groundwater in the area. This work included the mapping of wells and water pumps already installed to help form a better understanding of existing water supplies, and help identify areas that are lacking.

With the assistance of John Hackett and Dr Andrew Ako Ako, the team were able to collect vital data to be processed and analysed to ensure that future installations of water pumps combat current problems taking place. Insights gained could then be fed back to local communities. One such insight to be relayed was that rather than constructing a well on top of a hill, it is better to build it at the bottom of the hill as the groundwater is higher. Providing this type of information to local communities empowers them to help themselves and by improving knowledge on the ground reduces the dependency on NGO’s to solve issues raised. It became apparent to the team that their analysis of the area was the first of its kind, so with this the CamCat team look to create a best practice guide for the local government to use across Cameroon.