Natural resources are the basis of economic development and are in some countries including Cameroon, the main source of foreign exchange earnings, particularly developing countries. The depletion of forests have devastating consequences on the environment as waters dry off, land degrades, desertification intensifies and many more. The global change in climate has resulted from industrial pollution of the atmosphere, which environmental equilibrium can only be achieved through new technologies and the conservation of forests. The quest for fertile farmland and poor logging methods are visible evidence of erosion, environmental degradation and desertification. Agricultural production on the other hand in Less Developed Countries has been badly affected as the temperature of the atmosphere increases coupled with acid rain from industrial countries. The natural environment we inherited from God has finally changed into an artificial one.
In a bid to address some of these issues, CREDEV works in collaboration with forestry experts, the government(s) and donor(s) to bring long-term solutions that protects the environment. Our conservation programme is specifically aimed at protecting water resources and watersheds, raising the awareness, social and economic significance of it value, involving the local communities to ensure quantity and quality of drinking water. The natural resources on which poor communities rely on for their livelihoods are fast being depleted, making life more difficult and meaningless for them.
Agriculture employs more than 70 per cent of rural people and where forests exist; they exert great pressure on it due to its fertility, building materials and fuelwood. It is on grounds of these issues that we design forestry programmes to conserve natural resources and establish community forests for the subsistence of poor communities. For every water supply project, the conservation and reforestation of the catchment basin is a core activity. Moreover, it equally accounts for a substantial part of water planning to boost the sources yields.
Watershed protection improves water resources, the soil and aquifer water retention capacity and creates a microclimate; an attribute to water adequacy.
Furthermore, where forests do not exist, afforestation and agro-forestry programmes are introduced in the communities. In the Western Highlands and Northern Provinces, where few natural forest stands exist, agro-forestry is in high demand, being savannah regions. In these regions, community forests are consociations of exotic species of fast-growing trees. Agro-forestry has also served as a source of soil nutrient replenishment, erosion control, fuelwood, building material production and many more. Small-scale forest entrepreneurs have established smallholdings, which have served as a major source of income. Poor people do not have the means to afford for chemical fertilizer and so use agro-forestry to improve crop productivity on their farms. The promotion of agro-forestry reduces environmental stress on natural forests by farmers in search of fertile farmland. . Eco-farming is an agricultural practice that benefits the subsistence farmer a great deal. It provides smallholding farmers with green manure for the replenishment of nutrient deficient soils and fodder for their ruminants. Agro-forestry, if properly managed can boost farmer’s yields making subsistence farming profitably, reducing hunger in poor communities.
Cameroon is a tropical country situated between latitude 2° and 13° N, and 8° and 16° E, with a superficial area of 474,926km² and a population of about 19.50 million inhabitants following the 2005 demographic survey (MINPLADAT). The mean population density is 23.6 inhabitants/km² with a growth rate of 2.38%. The main features of relief are rather paradoxical. The low lands are thus, situated mainly inland in the north whereas the coastal plains are relatively narrow. The Cameroon dorsal in the centre is a region of highlands cutting the country into two from Mount Cameroon. Being in the equatorial region, she enjoys an average annual rainfall and temperature range of 400mm-9895mm and 20°C - 28°C respectively with four main vegetative zones notably: the Sahelian, Sudanian, Guinean Savannah and the Equatorial dense Rainforest zones. The latter covers over one thirds of the country, that is, about 16million hectares of which
3.5million form the rainforest, being the permanent estate from which it is possible to exploit wood under license. The Sahelian, Sudanian and Guinean savannahs are the zones particularly of interest to our operation programme. They form part of the arid, semi arid and woodlands of Cameroon.
Rural communities lack basics such as clean drinking water, storage facilities for their farm produce, access roads to transport their produce to markets, houses and small irrigation schemes for their smallholdings. CREDEV has the capacity to design and implement these infrastructures for poor communities. We have extensive experience in the development and execution of rural water supplies, small bridges, small warehouses, farm buildings, building construction and small irrigation schemes. At the head of this programme is a rural infrastructure technologist with more than 15 years of experience with the public and private
RURAL WATER SUPPLIES
CREDEV is currently developing rural water infrastructures for poor communities in the North West, particularly in Donga/Mantung Division. Water is a prime need to the existence of humanity and where it does not exist or scarce in quality and quantity, the community becomes
a fertile ground to breed infectious diseases. Mbaw - Tikari Plain is a region where clean drinking water is very scarce in the 5-dry months of a year. Dry season is a period of transhumance in this region during which, cattle from the surrounding highland communities including neighbouring Nigeria are grazed. People drink from the same streams with cows, whose consequence is catastrophic and appalling. The result of consuming this surface water is chronic dysentery, filariasis (lymphatic), diarrhoea, typhoid and many more in this community.
During 1995 - 1998, a blood dysentery epidemic nicknamed as; come no go; spread throughout the plain like wildfire. At least one in five persons affected died and 1500 people died as a result of this infection. Medical experts from the Ministry of Public Health and the two closest renowned hospitals; Banso Baptist Hospital and Shisong Catholic Hospital, could not stop its spread with any therapy. The end result of their research was that bad drinking water was the source of infection. The absence of clean drinking water in communities is a great hazard and a source of rapid spread of diseases. People are very scared of the recurrence of this epidemic sometimes and so CREDEV has intervened in water supply provision.
We have the capacity and the technical know-how to intervene and provide these structures, improving their living standards.
Mbaw - Tikari Plain is situated between latitude 5.5° - 6.5°N and longitude 10.5° - 12°E with
a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. The temperature range is 14°C to 38°C with the average being 24°C and the average annual rainfall is 2000mm.This is the region of CREDEV's sphere of influence or activities. Being a derived savannah situated at the ecotone of the tropical rainforest and the savanna, her vegetation is made up of scattered terminalia, riverine forest stands from which timber like iroko and mahogany are exploited.
The soil is colluvium/alluvium with high calcium levels, making the exploitation of underground water unsafe for consumption. The underground water as a result possess brown colour, odour and taste - Cameroon Red Cross (2002 - 2004), when treating borehole wells sponsored by UNHCR in nomad refugee settlements during the Nigerian Cattle Refugee crisis.
The aim of our programme in this region is to reduce the incidence and impact of water related diseases. The objective is to provide clean and safe drinking pipe-borne water from the surrounding sandstone hills. Besides high calcium levels from the bedrock, the hand-dug local wells are undaunted with surface water due to high water table levels, since its drainage is imperfect and less than 1%. Local hand-dug wells in the communities are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and frogs and surface water easily flow or seep into it.
The cost of constructing a modern borehole well is as much as what we require to provide pipe borne water to a small community. Borehole wells are not suitable for dispersed and/or large settlements. The settlements here are linear and people do not have to travel over 300m to fetch water from a constructed point. In addition, poor communities cannot afford for spare parts of pumps, let alone its maintenance. This is why pipe-borne water by gravity is the most suitable option.
Feasibility studies on regular spring sources are being carried out in these communities since in 2004 by CREDEV.
There are more than 30 communities in this region badly in need of safe and clean drinking water. We want to provide each community with a separate water scheme and where not possible, a joint scheme from the only regular stream/spring can be used to supply neighbouring communities. Mbaw - Tikari Plain is an enclave region of poor people in need.
It will take about 10 years to provide portable water to these communities should we secure funding. CREDEV is on grounds of the above research appealing to donors to assist this region financially and materially to enable us realize this programme.
The population of rural communities is reducing in size as a result of: out-migration in search of better living standards, economic hardship, lack of amenities - electricity and clean drinking water; deaths resulting from hunger, poor nutrition and HIV/AIDS; let alone access to health services and education. Families are malnourished due to poor harvests resulting from subsistence agricultural practices, pests and drought. Poverty is on the rise with families living on less than one dollar per day. What I am saying is that some households send their children to light fire in the other neighbour's kitchen every morning, because they cannot always afford to buy a box of matches or use a spoonful of cooking oil for the day's meal in a household of six. Describing it as living on less than one dollar per capita is unfounded and the best description is living in gloom and oblivion as they have no future.
CREDEV works with poor communities in a bid to address these issues by designing programmes that can bring about social change. We are in particular interested or targeting women and children who are the groups of people that suffer most in the communities. The African woman contributes enormously to the subsistence of her household and in many instances is the breadwinner; but still treated in some communities as objects of pity or property.
In rural communities, women do at least 60% of the work in a household and are the most active in development programmes. They constitute the key actors in Cameroon’s rural economy, yet they are a disadvantaged group in the society. We promote women's initiatives that will reduce hardship economically and increase access to health services.
Food processing is an economic activity in demand by the majority of rural women. They need basic machines to add value to their produce before sales and also to grind their staple foods into flour before cooking. There are communities that do not have a corn-mill and people have to travel over 8km to grind corn into flour. The family might stay for a day on roasted tubers only because they had no flour to cook food. Women still die in the communities during delivery because they gave birth in the house either due to lack of money to afford for delivery costs or access to health services. We equally promote rights-based issues including policy making, reproductive health rights, leadership training, decision-making levels, formation of support groups and much more. We are promoting their access to health services by lobbying for support either to construct health facilities or equip existing health centres, or lobby for medical intervention where need arises. We believe that women should be given a chance and be fairly treated like other sexes in the society.
Children are the most vulnerable of all age groups in rural communities. Where health services do not exist they have the highest death rate and where there is no access to education, they end up as juvenile delinquents or street children. They are hardest hit in an outbreak of an infection, since they are less resistant than adults. There are schools where children mount wooden planks on bricks to use as desks and the teacher/pupil ratio is 1/300. At least one-thirds of rural children do not go to school or drop out of school either too early yearly due to several factors. These range from lack of basics such as school texts, exercise books, uniforms let alone fees and many more.
The situation is so pathetic to the girl-child as some are not even sent to school.
Girls either drop-out of school due to early pregnancy or marriage, increasing the bulk of destitute in the society. In a community of this kind, the illiteracy rate is too high as they will not have enough personal development. An economy cannot be developed when children are not given enough health care and education. In a bid to address these issues, CREDEV is lobbying for financial and material assistance to construct classrooms and supply desks for children's education; buy books and basic writing materials to improve the learning conditions in the poor communities. We also want donors or persons to help sponsor the payment of teachers in these schools that do not have teachers if we have to meet the millennium development goals.
This is a rural water supply project covering two villages: Nking and Mbiripka situated close in proximity to another. The location of the villages is 6.3°N and 11.2°E in Mbaw Plain found close to the Cameroon/Nigeria border, a remote region of the North West Province. The system of supply shall be by gravity (pipe-borne) from a spring source, whose flow is 0.75 l/s at a height of 75m. The project structures comprise of a catchment including collection/spring chamber, one inspection chamber, 20m3 storage tank, 3,044m of pipeline, 6 stand-taps, one control chamber and 6 soakaway pits. All these structures shall be constructed in reinforced concrete and stone masonry. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist these villages.
This is dry ecosystem, more specifically deciduous montane dry forests covering over 20 communities, situated between Latitude 5.5° - 6.5° N and Longitude 10.5° - 12°E. The ecosystem of the communities is a mix of natural and productive landscapes, some completely devastated for agriculture. We are designing rural water supply projects for these communities to be supplied by gravity. The surrounding hills geology is sandstone, whose forests are being devastated because of its fertility for agriculture. Watershed management or catchment protection is an integral part of a water supply project as our objective, the reason why this programme has been initiated in April 2007.
The problem context of the project is the drying out of insequent mountain water resources, erosion, drop in soil water or aquifer retention capacity, increase in turbid water rate, women travelling long distances to fetch fuelwood, increase in growth of algae in effluent streams and a toll of suffering by women to fetch for fresh and clean drinking water. The causes of the problem are deforestation of montane forests, the main regulator of valuable water bodies; overland surface runoffs; bush fires, agriculture and timber exploitation.
The project will address these causes through reforestation, conservation and agro-forestry methods to restore the ecosystem. A nursery of exotic and indigenous tree seedling species shall be established. CBOs and farmer groups shall be trained on nursery establishment, tree planting, agroforestry and conservation. Amongst these shall be the raise of awareness campaigns to influence change in behaviour, transfer of knowledge and skills.
We also expect communities to benefit from workshops which will enhance them in policy making to manage their resources, control bush fire and exploit timber judiciously and recognise the values of forests and non-timber resources. This should enable them reap the social/economic benefits of forest resources.
We shall train CBOs and farmer groups to be our working partners from the inception of the project, transferring knowledge and skills building their capacities. We will encourage endogenous development to ensure continuity, and women will form the bulk of participants.
A permanent nursery comprised of over 1,000,000 in-situ and ex-situ tree seedlings shall be established for this project. It shall maintain this quantity and shall distribute over one thirds yearly to the above groups to conserve and reforest ecosystems. We shall work with them on the field carrying out agro-forestry and forest conservation extension programmes.
The project will contribute to the conservation or more sustainable use of natural resources promoting agro-forestry in productive landscapes and protection of indigenous species. It will conserve water resources and watersheds and control the exploitation of timber by designating these areas as protected zones at local policy levels. Through training, education, workshops and publications; it will improve the knowledge and learning initiatives of the communities. This will raise their awareness on the values of forests and ecosystems reducing poverty. It will amongst others, restore ecosystem services such as erosion control, regulate water flows, manage drought risks and carbon sequestration reduction.
The project addresses poverty aspects by restoring the ecosystem, which is the regulator of their water resources. The conservation of water will ensure the construction of water supplies by gravity improving their health. This is an area whose soil has high calcium levels, unsuitable for underground water extraction. It will also address fuelwood needs and boost food production through agro-forestry at farmer group levels.
It will also enable farmer groups fight poverty through the production and sales of organic food and honey. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to read from any donor(s) willing to assist these communities.
NWANTI WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
A programme to supply clean drinking water to a community of 3505 inhabitants. There is a primary school with 450 pupils in this community. The envisaged water scheme is supply by gravity. This would be from five dispersed spring sources located 180m above the village; the total yield of these springs is 1.25 litres per second in a deforested montane measuring 50 hectares. The structures shall be constructed in stonework and reinforced concrete.
The tank capacity is 30m3; total pipe-length is 6672m; 2050m being for the mains from the catchments and storage tank and 4622m being for the distribution network. This shall be in sizes of 63mm, 50mm and 32mm. Additionally, 9 (nine) stand taps shall be constructed.
Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist this community.
A water supply programme for a rural community of about 3000 inhabitants. The envisaged water scheme is pipe-borne water supply by gravity from a spring source. The construction comprise of a catchment with a spring flow of 1.47 litres per second, 1 collection chamber 1.75m x 1.30m x 2.20m, 1 inspection chamber 2.50m x 1.40m x 2.25m, 10m3 capacity storage tank, 6 stand taps, 6 soaking pits 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m, 2 control chambers 80cm x 80cm 100cm, all built in stone masonry and reinforced concrete and the installation of 2.35km of pipeline in pvc /galvanised pipe. There are two primary schools here with an enrolment of 650 pupils. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist this community.
NGURI PRIMARY SCHOOL"CENTER">
An infrastructure programme, consisting of five classrooms to be build. Children are studying under sheds with no permanent structure being a newly created school. The project is under feasibility studies. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist this community.
NGU GIANT WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
A programme to supply clean drinking water to the community of Ngu with a total population of 5,150 inhabitants. The pipe-borne water shall be supplied by gravity to this community. The only regular stream, the Kwong flows from the sandstone hills and has a flow of 5.667 litres per second, adequate to meet the present and future demands of the inhabitants of this earmarked administrative unit headquarters. The construction include one catchment, a stilling basin dam, one dynamic intake filtration, one slow sand filter, one reservoir of 115m3, 8.465km PVC pipeline, one inspection chamber, ten valve chambers and thirty stand taps. It shall supply water to 375 pupils in the schools of the community. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist the community.
This is a programme to establish a seedbank with the goal of promoting agroforestry and environmental programmes in savannah regions in Cameroon. The objectives of the project are to set up a forest and crop genetic resource base to promote the establishment of fuelwood plantations, community-based forests, fight desertification and agricultural production so as to sustainably manage natural resources.
The project shall be established in Mbaw-Tikari Plain and shall cover close to 300 hectares of land already acquired. This is a social investment project from which CREDEV shall have to generate income to promote her environmental and social change programmes making us self-financing on completion. The seedbank will also reduce poverty by employing youths in this region where the unemployment rate is more the 70% and promote agricultural productivity.
The project shall also be part of our contribution to the world seed programme initiated by New Forests Project - USA. It shall serve as a Training and Research Centre in Savannah areas on agro-forestry and would enhance reforestation, afforestation, fight against desertification and boost food self-sufficiency in this region and also the economy. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor interested at institutional capacity building.
NGOMKO WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
A water supply programme by pipe-borne through gravity for a community of 3300 inhabitants. The envisaged water scheme is supply by gravity from a spring with flow of 1.75 litres per second. The structures shall be constructed in stonework and reinforced concrete with a storage tank of 30m3 capacity. It has 6.8km of pipe-line with 9 stand-taps. 275 pupils in a primary school shall also benefit from this project.
The project is still under studies. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist this community.
BANSOBI WOMEN'S CORN-MILL PROJECT "CENTER">
A programme to empower women economically and alleviate the suffering of trekking up to 8km to grind corn into flour. These women live in a similar situation to that of Stone Age as they still grind corn using stones in their homes. The project would relief this community from malnutrition improving on their health. Funding is still being sought and we shall be grateful to forward the draft proposal to any donor willing to assist this community.
AKUM-KAPCHO WATER SUPPLY PROJECT"CENTER">
This was an extension and rehabilitation programme of pipe-borne water supply by gravity to a community of 5800 inhabitants. The water needs of this community had increased since it was constructed in 1976. It consists of 2.8km pipeline and six stand-taps. 750 pupils benefited from this project already implemented. Queen of Peace Parish, Catholic Mission Njimafor - Bamenda with funds from the Canadian High Commission - Yaounde Cameroon, sponsored and funded the project respectively. CRREDEV supervised the implementation of this project for the above Parish in 2004.
AKUM – KAPCHO WATER CATCHMENT PROTECTION PROJECT"CENTER">
Catchment protection is an integral part of our water supply programme, which also complies with natural resources management objectives. Akum – Kapcho Water Supply Project is situated in the valley of a montane, whose vegetation is composed of a small sparse natural bush including raffia palms and xerophite/pyrophite environment. It was initiated in January 2004 during the construction of the water supply project. The valley has a cartisan spring whose yield is 0.95 l/s and was constructed to supplement the existing water supply of the community that had increased two fold. Cattle were permanently grazed here extensively and a pen was located at the adjacent side. The real task was to relocate the cattle pen elsewhere and then to change the ecosystem sere to a climax community. Another aspect was to contain the raffia palm owner to exploit his palm sustainably without damaging the existing ecology when tapping palm wine.
In a typical situation like this, the traditional ruling council headed by the chief of the village is always involved in order to effectively manage conflict. Given the importance of water to the existence of humankind and the existing state of water scarcity in the community, the pen owner was asked to relocate to another site. The condition was favourable in that he was compensated for the cost of the pen and also given an alternative good site. The pen owner immediately relocated after compensation to the new site. An injunction was granted banning grazing in and around the environment. Changing the sere to a dynamic equilibrium was the next activity. The raffia palm owner was allowed to tap raffia wine on condition that, he does not damage the forest with bushfire since he complained that this was the only asset he had for his family’s subsistence.
The process began with the establishment of an in-situ and ex-situ nursery species of tree seedlings. There were four species of in-situ plants that grew around whose seeds were collected for propagation. Three others were planted directly as cuttings during peak rainy periods and one of these was not sapwood. In addition to the in-situ tree species were ex-situ species ordered from New Forests Project – USA.. It comprised of fast growing trees like Gliricidia sepium, Acacia Mearnsii, Cassia semea, Cajamus cajan and Cassia spectabilis. A nursery of 6000 tree pots was set-up to produce seedlings to cover an area of 8 hectares headstream. A permanent team of 6 nursery employees worked on the nursery for over two years, till the trees were big enough for planting out.
Meanwhile, planting out using cutting stocks was going on during rainy peak periods in organised communal work schedules. Almost every community adult was involved as the work was scheduled Quarter after Quarter in order to be effective, not only on human management but in learning of the arts. A-Frames were used to set-out planting distance of which, in-situ species cuttings were planted at 20m from each other for the spaces to be filled with ex-situ species. The planting continued up to the third year (2004 to 2007), which is changing the ecosystem from plagioclimax to a climatic community today. Other activities included the digging of ditches 80cm x 50cm deep above the catchment whose landscape is steep in a process to enhance percolation of surface water.
The spring yield has increased from 0.9l/s to 1.32l/s now of which, the forest hasn’t yet attained a dynamic equilibrium. Our objective of improving on soil water retention capacity to boast water yields is being achieved. The activity was self-sponsored by the community and CREDEV, a good example of participatory approach in community development. CREDEV provided the material/expertise and the community supplied labour. In an area where fuelwood is scarce; the catchment forest is being turned into a community forest for their fuelwood needs in future. This will be attained provided bushfire is completely abstained from.
GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOL SABONGARI-NGOM "CENTER">
HOPE FOR CHILDREN; a United Kingdom based international donor organisation funded the book donation to this secondary school. It was handed over in May 2006 to the above school found in a typically underprivileged community. About only one in five of the indigenous community of Ngom is literate and the objective was to enhance this.