Welcome Back! …and on World Water Day, no less.
Welcome home to Angeline, Ashley J, and Harry, who returned from Cameroon today!
(Jonathan is doing some personal travel and will return shortly.)
It is only fitting that today is also World Water Day. According to the UN, 748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water. That’s about 10% of all human beings on Earth. Not only is access to clean water a basic human right, but it also provides measurable benefits to human health and well-being, productivity, safety, and dignity.
748 million is a daunting number. To make things a little more manageable, our EWB team is currently concentrating its efforts on the roughly 226 residents of Mangi in Northwest Cameroon. They currently get their water from a dammed-up creek bed just beneath a farmer’s field and some ranchland. Surface water runoff contaminates and adds turbidity (cloudiness) to the water Mangi residents use for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing their clothes. And the children of Mangi must haul all of the water they use every day up a steep path from the valley below.
The theme of this year’s World Water Day, as declared by UN-Water, is Water and Sustainable Development. In keeping with this theme, EWB-DC’s project in Cameroon aims to provide a clean, accessible, and sustainable source of drinking water for the residents of Mangi. On this implementation trip, our team began installation of the pipeline and break-pressure tanks required to transport water from a protected spring to the community center over a mile away. When the system is completed, the water it supplies should contribute to better community health and more time for the women and children of Mangi to spend on activities other than gathering water. UN-Water sums up the purpose of our project succinctly and powerfully with two of the sub-themes for WWD:
Water is Health and Water is Equality.
Our team also worked on the critical tasks of interacting with the full community of Mbokop, of which Mangi is a part. They traveled to the other Mbokop villages of Ntayi, Mburtu, and Mbotop. They also had multiple meetings with the Water Committee—a group of community representatives that is responsible for fundraising, maintenance, and governance of the water system. Building the capacity for self-sustaining maintenance of the water system within the community—and eventually without the intervention of EWB—is critical to the long-term sustainability and success of the project.
With Implementation Trip 2 wrapped up, we will now focus on compiling accomplishments, challenges, and lessons-learned from our two recent implementation trips. And it is never too early to begin planning and fundraising for Implementation Trip 3!
Our travelers had an amazing trip and were truly sorry to leave. But we won’t be gone long! World Water Day may only last 24 hours, but our team is committed to work throughout the year for the residents of Mangi and all of Mbokop. We hope to return soon. If you’d like to help with this effort, feel free to contact us or contribute using the links at the top of this page.