In January of 2018, a team from Engineers without Borders from the Netherlands visited three water systems in northwest Cameroon. Engineers without Borders is an NGO comprised of professional engineers who use their technical knowledge to improve the lives of those living in developing countries. The primary objective of their visit to Cameroon was to assess existing water infrastructure, meet the communities and provide recommendations for water supply projects. They provided the communities with reports which outlined some basic measures that could be put in place to immediately improve the water supply situation in the villages they visited.
From April 15 to 20, Cameroon was happy to host these engineers again, who returned to assess the tasks undertaken by the villages since their last visit and to provide further technical guidance on improving the water supply scheme into the future.
Two EWB engineers, CAMAAY’s project Director Patrick Chung Ndifon, two support staff, and some members of the village visited the MBAM and Bonguive community water supply systems to assess the current problems and to look for ways to improve them. Local disputes in the villages and a shortage of supplies interrupted some of the progress in the project. While there are challenges, the communities are working towards better practices with the increased knowledge and technical assistance from the organization and with the support of CAMAAY.
In the Ngiukei water supply scheme, the water management committee has already started gathering materials for the expansion of their water supply scheme. Stones were transported to the proposed site for the construction of a small dam. The team presented the simple design for the dam–stones, a hoist, and gravel–to the village construction team. The villagers moved to the stream and went immediately to work. They broke the stones into smaller particles and constructed the temporal dam with the supervision of the engineers. A stick was used to temporarily replace a hoist during construction. Once the dam is completed, the stick will be replaced by a hoist and the connected pipes will transport water to the village. A sedimentation tank will help filter the water along the pipeline before the water gets to the storage tank and distributed to the stand taps.
At the end of their visit, the engineers gave CAMAAY and the villages a number of recommendations including suggestions for rainwater harvesting and the shift from concrete water tanks to plastic tanks in reduce water contamination. CAMAAY is hopeful that Engineers without Borders will continue to send delegates to teach locals strategies for improving water quality and supply. With their help, CAMAAY and locals can spread these practices around villages throughout Cameroon and achieve a sustainable future. You can read the Engineers without Borders’ report on Oku here.