Posts tagged ‘Aaron Kaah Yancho’

September 20, 2016

Ethiopia: African Water Ministers Root for Web-Based Pan-Africa Water Sector Monitoring and Reporting System

Aaron Kaah Yancho
September 20, 2016

The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) has called on African member-states to adopt and strengthen the web-based Pan-Africa water sector monitoring and reporting system recently launched in Stockholm, Sweden during the World Water Week.

This is in recognition of the critical role of monitoring and reporting in evidence-based decision-making in the water and sanitation sector at national, basin and regional levels.

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AMCOW Executive Secretary made this call yesterday at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, venue of the training workshop on water and sanitation sector monitoring for member-states and stakeholders.

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AMCOW Executive Secretary

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, AMCOW Executive Secretary

According to Dr. Kanangire, the web-based Pan Africa Monitoring and Reporting System “represents AMCOW’s innovative response to addressing the data challenge in Africa where Member-states use different data management methodologies and standards which do not permit effective comparison of countries’ efforts in achieving regional commitments.”

The newly launched M&E framework aspires to assist Member-states, working in collaboration with the AMCOW Secretariat and the AUC, in adopting and perfecting a common reporting format that will facilitate annual reports to the AU on the basis of data and information collected at national and sub-regional levels.

“This will, in the long run, result in a continent-wide credible monitoring and reporting system that will regularly provide critical and strategic information on the status of water development and its use (usage) for various purposes to facilitate informed decision making by African Governments,” says the AMCOW Executive Secretary.

Commending the workshop initiative as being of timely essence, the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, in her welcome remarks expressed optimism that the web-based monitoring and reporting system will “significantly reduce the reporting requirements on our already overburdened statistical departments across Africa.”

The AUC Commissioner restated the need for Africa to stay on course towards realizing the target of the Africa Water Vision 2025 which envisages “an Africa where there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, regional cooperation, and the environment.”

“Translating that vision of the Africa we want into reality makes it incumbent upon us to consolidate the gains of our achievements to-date by utilising the opportunity presented by this web-based Monitoring and Reporting System to revitalise our on-going efforts at developing, managing and utilising our water resources in a way that unleashes Africa’s development potential,” Hon Tumusiime added.

An appreciable number of the workshop participants from South Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana described the training as very crucial and timely as it kick-starts the process of developing the 2016 Africa Water and Sanitation Report for submission to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Governments in Africa.

Organised by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the series of workshops which began today comprises Monitoring and Evaluation Focal Persons from Water Resources Ministries in Anglophone countries in East, North and West Africa will end tomorrow while that of English speaking countries in Southern Africa will follow immediately at the same venue.

Francophone countries from Central, East, North and West Africa will converge in Abidjan from the 26th to the 27th of September 2016 for French version of the training.

August 23, 2016

Nigeria: WaterAid Nigeria Launches New 5 Year Country Programme Strategy to Support Universal Access to WASH Services for Nigeria By 2030

Aaron Kaah Yancho
August 23, 2016

The WaterAid Nigeria has launched its 2016 – 2021 country programme strategy – laying the foundation for the fifteen year path to achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone everywhere in Nigeria by 2030.

Over the next five years, the organisation will focus on increasing citizens’ access to quality, equitable and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services built on a strong sector and engaged communities.

Globally, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for drinking water was met five years ahead of the 2015 schedule. However, billions of people – at least 1 in 3 – still live without a decent toilet.

Despite documented progress of people having improved access to water in Nigeria, the country failed to meet the MDG targets for both water and sanitation and consequently, nearly 45,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria still die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by the nation’s poor levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Unclean water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in Africa.

Unclean water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in Africa.

Although the 2015 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) shows an increase in water coverage for Nigeria from 40% in 1990 to 69% in 2015, the percentage of the population without access to sanitation is falling – from 38% in 1990 to just 29% in 2015.

This wholly unacceptable situation causes untold suffering, affecting human and sustainable development, particularly in the lives of women – who carry the burden of fetching water and caring for sick children; and for girls – who may be forced to miss school because of the absence of toilets there, thus limiting their exposure to education and consequently, opportunities to make choices that could help them overcome lives of poverty.

The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) give hope for tackling the WASH crisis in Nigeria as the country is signed up to achieving these Global Goals. WaterAid Nigeria launches its new strategy with a commitment to seizing this historic opportunity to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and inequality and to accelerate transformational change through a shared vision of universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Speaking on the new strategy, WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Michael Ojo said:
“Our new strategy is an ambitious and challenging one but we look forward to an exciting journey that will impact positively on child health, education, livelihoods, the environment and addressing poverty and inequalities. Our strategic objectives target strengthening systems to reduce WASH sector blockages; empowering citizens to demand their rights and participate in WASH decision-making and strengthening partnerships to influence the WASH sector and increase access to sustainable WASH services. We will continue to work with the government, colleagues in the development sector and through our partners, to ensure universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all in Nigeria by 2030.”

WaterAid International’s Chief Executive, Barbara Frost, who is on a working visit to the country, added that: “WaterAid Nigeria’s 2016-2021 Strategy is a monumental and impressive roadmap to changing the course of history and reaching those who are poorest and most vulnerable in Nigeria with safe water, sanitation and hygiene. These life-saving and essential services are fundamental to both human and national development and delivering on them will transform the lives of millions of Nigerians. Achieving universal access for all in Nigeria is possible with the right political commitment, funding, collaborations and innovative thinking.”

Mariame Dem, Head of Region, WaterAid West Africa said, “WaterAid Nigeria has a crucial role to play in achieving universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all Nigerians by 2030. Getting it right in Nigeria will make a huge impact on improving WASH access rates not just for the region but for Africa as a whole. Nigeria must live up to its status as the giant of Africa and leverage on the enormous potential and opportunities within the country to make some real progress for all Nigerians in this area.”

Since its inception in Nigeria in 1995, WaterAid Nigeria has grown from a small organisation located in one state to an attractive national brand. Innovative and internationally tested programme delivery approaches have contributed to quality programming both on the demand and supply sides of WASH services at national, state and local government levels. Millions of Nigerians have benefitted directly from our provision of WASH infrastructure in communities. Still many more, from access to WASH facilities provided indirectly through our collaboration and assistance to government and other stakeholders.

May 3, 2016

A Global Wave of Actions to Break Free from Fossil Fuels Begins

Aaron Kaah Yancho in Cameroon
May 03, 2016

A global wave of peaceful direct actions lasting for 12 days has kicked off today across six continents targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, under the banner of Break Free.

2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and the impacts of climate change are already hitting communities around the world. From rising sea levels to extreme storms, the need to act on climate change has never been more urgent. Added to that, the fossil fuel industry faces an unprecedented crisis — from collapsing prices, massive divestments, a new global climate deal, and an ever-growing movement calling for change. The time has never been better for a just transition to a clean energy system.

To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change – from international groups to local communities to individual citizens – will unite to ensure that strong pressure is maintained to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to implement the policies and additional investments needed to completely break free from fossil fuels.

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

Climate-related natural disasters including floods, storms and heat waves have steadily increased across the globe over the past 40 years. Photo by Muchunguzi Emmy

People worldwide are providing the much needed leadership by intensifying actions through peaceful civil disobedience on a global scale as so much remains to be done in order to lessen the effects of the climate crisis. This includes demanding governments move past the commitments made as part of the Paris agreement signed last month.

In order to address the current climate crisis and keep global warming below 1.5C, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the shift to 100% renewable energy. During Break Free people worldwide are rising up to make sure this is the case.

In Africa, the actions are taking place in Nigeria and South Africa.

In Nigeria, in the Niger Delta actions will be held in three iconic locations to show what happens when the oil goes dry, and the community is left with the pollution and none of the wealth. An action at Ogoni land will demand an urgent clean-up of decades old oil spills and underscore how it is possible for citizens to resist the power of the oil corporations, and keep their oil in the ground where it belongs. Another action will be on the Atlantic coast, where Exxon’s offshore wells frequently leak, impact fisheries and harm coastline communities’ livelihoods.

In South Africa, two actions will take place each with hundreds of people highlighting the local impacts of coal and climate change. The first on 12 May will see people gathering in Emalahleni, one of the most polluted towns in the world, to speak out on the effects of climate change. The second on 14 May is focused on the Gupta residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

February 7, 2015

Cameroon: 26 Years after Lake Nyos Disaster, Memories Still Fresh

Aaron Kaah Yancho
February 07, 2015

On August 26th, 1989, Cameroon’s remote village of Nyos witnessed a strange scientific occurrence in lake water history.

A volcanic mountain cracked and sunk into Lake Nyos, causing a volcanic eruption that left over 2,000 people and animals dead in one night, leaving West Africa with the worst natural disaster of all times.

Lake Nyos after the disaster

Lake Nyos after the disaster

The Five for National Geographic Channel reported that the tragedy was a complete mystery as victims both young and old collapsed dead besides the many unconscious survivors that badly needed medical attention. The dead were swollen with rashes and burns all over their bodies.

On that fateful day, as the residents were getting set for sleep, a heavy down pour weakened the already fragile rock walls over the lake, forcing it to give way, killing people who were 25KM away from Lake Nyos. A survivor recounted how they heard big rocks falling into the lake area.

Gilbert Kihmah, a survivor described the atmosphere before the disaster as a mixture of gun powder and rotten eggs. But as dawn approached, the smell had escaped into the atmosphere. Kihmah recalls that there was overwhelming shock and anxiety in the air.

As the news spread, the whole nation began counting its dead and Africa faced a difficult crisis in modern day Lake history. Survivors like Fr. Antony Bangsi were weak and unconscious with an urgent need for medical attention. “In our unconscious state, death was unavoidable,” Bangsi said.

As the village of Nyos witnessed the death of 600 people in addition to more 500 deaths in the villages of Soa Mbum, Fonfuka and Buabua , this lake that provided a lifeline to these communities had become their worst enemy.

Unanswered Questions

This disaster has since left many unanswered questions about what could have led to this tragedy.

Scientific researchers, lake experts and volcanologists reasoned that although crater lakes near the equator like Nyos do not have seasonal and temperature changes, lake water circulates releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a faster rate as the world temperatures change.

Prof. Haraldur Sigurdsson, a volcanologist at the Rhodes Island University in South Africa said that these volcanic lakes are too deep and are sheltered by high imposing rocks. Therefore, water at the bottom of the lake hardly mixes with water at its surface. “Any carbon dioxide that accumulates at the bottom is trapped there”.

He adds that any massive rock falls into the lake triggers the carbon dioxide saturated water beneath to overturn. This, according to him is what happened on that day.

Prof George Kling, a lake expert at the University of Michigan in USA confirmed Sigurdsson’s theory and concluded that a dead densely cloud of carbon dioxide had spread over the lake.

Controversy Still Prevails

Today, controversy still prevails between Scientists, Lake Experts and Volcanologists whether such carbon dioxide in the lake could have been able to cause such unbelievable death and destruction.

The Cameroonian government took advice and installed self-powered vent tubes to prevent another deadly buildup of carbon dioxide at the bottom of the lake. An automatic alarm system was also installed at the lake’s gateway to alert residents of any potential dangers.

Degassing Lake Nyos to mitigate the effects of future disasters

Degassing Lake Nyos to mitigate the effects of future disasters

Impending Danger

Recently volcano logical research has being blowing a new alarm on a looming disaster over the Lake Nyos.

In 2005, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the United Nations Environment Program UNEP issued a joint report warning that the lake wall had seriously sagged and could crumble within a decade. The report recommended that the walls of the lake be solicited with concrete or some of the lake waters be released to ease the pressure on it.

An official with Cameroon’s Institute of Mining and Geological research which monitors the Lake has however refuted allegations of any dangers around this Lake. “But our government has the project under consideration, but it’s not a priority issue” He said on conditions of anonymity because he lacked authority to speak for or behalf of the Cameroon government.

If the lake wall collapses again it could kill far more people than the incident of August 1986 according to the Five for National Geographic TV channel. Carbon dioxide might travel as far as 50km to the Cameroon boarders with Nigeria. “The dead toll could be much more devastating and alarming,” the channel reported.

Engineers think that it’s no longer the Questions as to whether the worse will happen by the question is when that will be.

October 26, 2014

Cameroon: Bamenda City Grapples With Poor Sanitation

Aaron Kaah Yancho
October 26, 2014

In the city of Bamenda, in Cameroon, there is nothing abnormal with renowned boarding schools disposing their human wastes in a nearby stream. But as a result of this irresponsible garbage management, the smell of effluent hangs in the air and it’s certainly upsetting to residents and visitors there.

“This is part of the social crisis we face every day in the city,” Njuakom Philip, a resident of Bamenda laments.

Bamenda is one of Cameroons’ fast growing cities with some 800.000 inhabitants. Overtime achieving access to basic forms of sanitation and safe water in this city has been a tough battle for the city authorities.

Over half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits

Over half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits

Proper sanitation guarantees a health environment and sustains human existence and development but in Bamenda more than 90% of the people there have no access to basic forms of sanitation. This is worrying.

Environmental experts like those at the Society for the Promotion of Better Earth attribute this situation to lack of basic education on how sanitation can eradicate poverty and misery in communities.

“We are lagging behind in educating people on the basic forms and needs of sanitation.” Dr. Michael Ngu of the Society for Promotion of Better Earth says.

Visitors to Bamenda have always wondered how residents of this city survive using water from sources contaminated with effluent. Like several other visitors, Solange Nschange says she finds this situation, “shocking and annoying.”

Over the recent years in Bamenda as well as in villages across North West Cameroon statistics have indicated that bad altitude and ignorance have been responsible for social and environmental problems encountered by the people.

But also in several other urban centers in Cameroon, open defecation along streets or emptying household residues and garbage on streets and in gutters is nothing new.

“Human wastes at all times contaminate streams and the limited portable water sources,” a Bamenda three council staff George Moforsa laments.

This water is then used to clean bikes and vehicles which transport the city dwellers. George fears this can lead to a vicious cycle of disease infections.

Then there are other troubles heaped on forgotten city blocks where hustlers and prostitutes congregate. Life here brings with it a constant strive just to exist.

“In these blocks pools of stagnant water beside roofless latrines are many, fresh graves dug besides ancient wells are a style.” George further narrates.

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

According to an NGO fighting for the protection of livelihoods in Cameroon under the banner of WA Cameroon, for these inhabitants diseases are common and in every second, poverty and misery has a human face and name.

“We see women who are suffering and living in abject poverty as a result of poor sanitation and water needs in all neighborhoods,” says Judith Awondo, who coordinates the gender project in this NGO.

The city’s lone slaughter house is weighed down by age and absence of a veterinary officer to check its sanitation facilities makes matters worse as water from nearby streams is constantly used to wash meat meant for human consumption.

“The fact that no one cares means the worst is yet to come,” Solange Nschange remarks.

The scarcity of land and the poor drainage system in the city are other factors affecting sanitation according to the local council authorities.

Constant erosions and lack of proper waste disposal scheme fosters the vicious cycle of poverty. “This is not only a sanitation crises but an environmental disaster yet policymakers are only focused on maintaining their political seats while all these issues get ignored,” George of remarks.

But, according to Dr. Ali Festus, a Development Expert in Bamenda says significant change can only come through collaboration between policymakers and the local people.

“Experience has also confirmed that education is a key factor in helping people to find a solution to their crisis,” he insists.

Dr Festus also underscores the importance of community media in tackling this social problem.
He says community media has a daunting task to reinforcing the importance of sanitation and water for human health and development.

Also a strategy by local council authorities in Bamenda, Cameroon to award cash prizes to the best neighborhoods in terms of sanitation and hygiene is paying off miraculously.

“Thanks to this that a moral code for sanitation and water is emerging slowly across the city,” Dr Festus says.

October 25, 2014

Making Water Flow: The Story of Mpaka Community in Cameroon

Aaron Kaah Yancho
October 25, 2014

The Mpaka village is made up of five large families. With some 1500 subsistence farmers predominantly from the m bo-tribe, cash crops like coffee, and palm wine, as well as coco yam’s, cassava and corn are the major source of income for the locals.

Situated in the bare sub-division, the Mpaka village is located some 140KM from the Douala Metropolis, Capital of the Littoral Region of Cameroon. While the warm, humid climate is good for agriculture and livestock production, still more than 60% of the population lived on less than 3,000 FCFA (USD 6.6) a week.

Wanting to do better, the community got together in an “initiative commune kodio o christo” to help each other improve food self- sufficiency and family incomes through keeping on particular animal: pigs.

Some women of Mpaka community

Some women of Mpaka community

An important first step was getting help and training from Heifer Cameroon. They did not just want ideas on animal husbandry but they were also keen to learn how to successfully manage themselves as a group, next, the families got on with the building of pigsties ready to start their new pig businesses. In 2004 Heifer gave 22 pigs to 20 farm family farms.

The success of the pig project was remarkable and immediate. Within months of receiving the pigs, the farm families had reared the next generation of piglets and was able to “pass on the gift” by donating some of the piglets to the next group of families. The income earned from selling the other piglets helped the first group to expand their pig herds.

But pigs were not the only change in the community. Manure from pigsties was being taken into gardens and used on the crops and this led to a significant improvement in food crop production.

The achievements of the group send positive reverberations throughout their community that touch the lives of other women, men and children too. As recognition for leading the transformation in the Mpaka community, the group President NGO-MISPA received the international golden talent award of that year from HPI, for all the positive accomplishments.

“The women shared their thoughts and worries about a development project that could assist the entire Mpaka community with me,” recalls committee President Ewane, “and we jointly identified a water scheme as a major problem for us all.”

Water supply was definitely the next thing the community wanted to change. In 2008, the group decided to use part of the funds from the gold talent award to apply for a water project under the European Union program- national du development du basin Mougoukam.

In 2009 the water project was approved for some 13,000,000 Fcfa [28,888 USD] with the community to provide 10% of this total cost. The group members acting like a driving force behind the project made instant contributions (415,000fcfa) and led by example the digging of the water catchments some 4 km from the Mpaka village.

Involvement of all community members including women, youth and the men has been of critical importance in Mpaka Community Water project.

Involvement of all community members including women, youth and the men has been of critical importance in Mpaka Community Water project.

An effort which is the equivalent of an investment of 1050, 000fcfa. Sure enough, the clean drinking water was soon available to all. The group President – Ngo Mispa who won the golden talent in 2004 said at the time “Today is my happiest day in this village. At last I have a legacy. Potable water to all inhabitants of Mpaka village through my efforts is great pride for me and the community, though I was not blessed with children I’m sponsoring two of my step sisters children in high school with proceeds worth 426,000fcfa (946.6 US Dollars) from my personal pig project.”

Ndjode Noel, chief of infrastructure for “program national du developpement du basin MOUNGOUNKAM” appreciated the role of Heifer Cameroon in galvanizing development in this community.

He said, “we succeeded to realize this water project because of the highly dynamic sprit of the women of kodio O christo who led by example. They took the lead is all aspects and I was overwhelmed by their collective spirit of sharing. They lodged and fed our technicians free of charge. This motivated us to realize the water filters in record time.”

As the women persisted creatively in their work, and in time, others began copying them and this accelerated development in other areas.

With pride rejuvenated in the Mpaka village, the farm families are continuing to reap rewards from their effort and enthusiasm.

“Our triumph over poverty is inspirational” says HRH Essoh Jean Marc, head of the Mpaka community and father of 6 children. Who also proudly declares that “the partnership between Heifer and his community led to visible improvements in pig farming, and enthusiasm for community action. The fencing of animals shunned the animosity that once existed between farmers and has improved sanitation, health care and nutritional value of the families.”

Acknowledging that the group Kodio o christo ushered in a new era, with many ground breaking activities within a short time, the proud village head thanks members of the kodio O christo for motivating and spear – heading development.

According to the village head the women provided 800,000 Fcfa (2,000 USD) in labour and cash for the constructing of a primary school, benches and corrugated iron sheets worth 200,000Fcfa (440 USD) for the Eglise Evangelique du Cameroon and some (601,000) Fcfa (130 USD) to sustain the church activities.

He continued praising the women for generating 2, 045, 000 fcfa (4,544USD) for the electrification of the village while owing this success record to Heifer International Cameroon , HRH Essoh Jean Mare termed the pig project as revolutionary in the lives of the kodio o christo women.

One of Heifers International cornerstones emphasises that for any community project to succeed, it must have the full support and investment of all community members irrespective of gender and age. Adopting

With community members living their dreams, thirty nine year old Essoh Theodore whose mothers was in the first farm families to be assisted sounded convincing to the employment opportunities Heifer Cameroon training and assistance created in the village.

“after dropping out of school, I left for Douala in search of a job and painfully earned a monthly wages of 25000 fcfa (60usd) for many years. When Heifer retained my community for pig farming, I returned to the village for pig and crop farming, immediately I met my vision even with out any little knowledge on pig farming. With income generated, I diversified into the extraction of palm oil, earning 15000 Fcfa (33.5. USD) weekly. To enhance production I employed two youths on a wages of 10,000 Fcfa (222USD) to work on the oil mill,” he testified.

Essoh Theodore’s success, relocated to the village some youths who had gone for greener pastures in the cities, like Edingha Billa and Essoh Christian who were able to generate 375,000 Fcfa (8,333USD) in one year. A sum both boys had never dreamt of while working in the city.

According to another young man Ewane Jean whom Heifer trained on entrepreneurial skills “Mpaka youths who concentrate on agricultural and lives stock development are better than those in the city”. A youth group called “association des Jeunes de koki Mimbo de Mpaka” now holds and venerates this vision of encouraging youths into pig farming and agriculture.

Since a balance diet makes for a healthy population, 49 year old Mbilla Odette acknowledges that the trainings on hygiene and nutrition brought about awareness on diet and good health. “We have pass on the on knowledge to some 56 community members on nutrition, resulting to the slaughtering of 154 pigs for domestic consumption” one year old boy Essoh Raul is one of the thirty six kids whom after a balance diet restored his protein deficiency and is now running to school happily. Sounding proud and elated another mother Essoh Jeanette affirmed that she often took ill but with Heifer intervention, she became healthy as she eat vegetables an pork high sources of protein and fat.

Manure from the pigsties led a significant improvement on farm produce. “The community produced 60.3 tons of corn 200 tons of cassava, 130 ton of coco yams and 36 tons of assorted vegetables “Confirmed another farmer. Since 2008 some farm families offered 10,750 kg of organic manure to some 78 families within the community saving some 215,000 Fcfa (477.7 USD) that would have been spent on inorganic fertilizers.

A peace corp. volunteer Nicolas Valeria hailed Heifer International Cameroon for planting enthusiasm in the kodio o christo women with a pig project to catalyzed development initiatives aimed at impacting the community “I’m impressed with the inhabitants of the community for the pig project. As a good practiced, I will assist them transfer this knowledge to the next generation.”

Essoh Bertin 44, who now owns a compost heap from where he collects manure for his garden, reaped the rewards last year when he sold tomatoes and bought 3 piglets to start a personal piggery. With livestock and food crop production providing the life line to riches ,Community members are turning to sustainable and integrated agriculture with or with out support.

Starting with just two pigs each and with fears never to over come poverty and hunger, they are hopes and renewed life in the Mpaka community. No doubt the pig population has increased from 100-260 as of December 2013 and this has eventually improved the economic potentials of the community.

Members of “Grope d’initiatve commune kodio o christo have passed on 26 piglets to other families in mbarebeng and majibo neighbourhoods, as a sign of extending and making that long time dream of building a poverty free Mpaka.

Nonetheless for Mpaka locals Heifer Cameroon has helped their women to demonstrate their abilities in overcoming countless obstacles, the fresh energy and changes are now opening up opportunities for the people to “make the water flow”, and to live better lives.

September 6, 2013

Water Demands in Cameroon

Aaron Kaah Yancho
September 06, 2013

Water is central to human existence: The former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said that access to water and sanitation is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

But where is water?
Without improved access to clean water and sanitation the important task of defeating poverty and hunger can never be achieved anywhere in the world. Often than not the economic consequences resulting from lack of potable or clean water and better sanitation are always underrated in the developing world.

In Buea, several children and women spend hours fetching water (Picture by by the writer)

In Buea Cameroon, several children and women spend hours fetching water (Picture by by the writer)

More focus is often on politics and sports. Yet Hygiene related illnesses have a direct impact on the economic growth of any nation. The cholera outbreak in Cameroon in 2011 costed the state not only billions of money to combat but also resulted into loss of many lives, time spent by women to collect water through long distances prevent them from doing other beneficial activities for their livelihood and girls from attending school.

In the Far north Regions of Cameroon the issue is even worse as only 5% of households have access to water according to Heifer International Cameroon report in 2010.

Nonetheless improving access to clean or safe water and sanitation is significant not only to reducing poverty and misery in the rural communities of north Cameroon but also in achieving the millennium development goals for good health including maternal and child mortality, fight against HIV and AIDS, water related diseases and malaria.

In Sub Sahara Africa, more than 2 million of children die annually from water related diseases, poor sanitation and hygienic conditions. But the word water appears nowhere in the Millennium Development Goals of UN.

Having access to safe water and basic sanitation is vital to everyone's life

Having access to safe water and basic sanitation is vital to everyone’s life

Today, a Millennium Declaration includes a commitment to empowering women and achieving the gender equalities in our societies. Improving water and sanitation is a vital task on empowering women anywhere in the continent.

Water and Sanitation Go Together
Experience shows that women and girls suffer a lot due to lack of access to good drinking or portable water and private sanitation at homes. Women and girls must fetch water for domestic use and other needs at home.

In the far north regions of Cameroon on average, girls and women must walk 4miles carrying 5 gallons of water or tend 20 to 30 litters on a Carmel back. If homes lack water these young girls will not attend school, this explains why majority of the affected when water related diseases breaks out are girls and women. In this region, poor water management has often led to the spread of dangerous diseases like dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, polio and even tape worm.

This is also an underlying factor for the death of many children in these rural communities each year. Repeated episodes of these diseases have left children and their mothers only at a brink of survival “malnourished and too weak to engage in any farm activity”, an Oxfam report on the area remarks.

Water scarcity also leaves families at the mercy of contaminated water. In high times of need people drink from the same sources where animals drink and bathe under the soaring heat? The growing number of HIV and AIDS patients in these areas is very susceptible to diseases due to these bad water sources.

This social concern has left most families orphaned and in abject poverty. Limited water sources is also a breeding conflict among grazers, farmers and with unsustainable land management many needy families are becoming “environmental refugees” as they move to find farming land every year.

Agricultural production depends on water so people, who depend on land, depend on water as well. The loss of water sources as a result of climate change affect women too severely as they depend on land property to survive in these rural communities of Cameroon.

The Lake Chad River basin with 42 million people is one of the poorest regions in the world today. The shrinking of Lake Chad river basin that was once a mighty source of water has put the region into chaos.

Women make over 80% of those in want. Looking at the importance of fresh water and its increasing demand in the Agricultural industry in this region and beyond, the need by governments around this River basin to protect and manage this water source is very crucial. Through according to the UN millennium development goals, many states around Africa and the world are committed to ensuring environmental sustainability and to fight the vanishing of environmental resources to climate change.

One way in doing this adequately is by addressing unsustainable water consumption patterns or uses’, this can be very vital in halting environmental degradation patterns for development and peace. According to a UN water report, 3.4 million people are will be living in places defined as water scarce by 2015 with lake Chad River Basin topping the list. This is a call for urgent action.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

July 7, 2013

Cameroon: Water Insufficiency Hampers Food Production

Aaron Kaah Yancho
July 07, 1013

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for all families in Cameroon Rural areas. Over the past years rapid urbanization has been placing a stress on the existing water sources and infrastructure in the country. Mounting pressures on these natural resources has also led to land and water degradation. Yet with the population growth, food crop production will need to increase by at least 60% to meet demand. Interpreting this subtext will mean more water will be needed to boast this sector.

The (International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, 2005-2015) presents an opportunity to promote a sustainable water management in Agriculture and to eradicate poverty and care for the earth.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

Statistics prove that irrigation farming systems which represent only 20% of the world’s farmland produces about 40% of the world food supply and 60% of cereals much more than rain fed agriculture.

The longer dry seasons in Cameroon (4 months in the coastal regions of Cameroon and 7 months in the Sudano Sahel regions) has been hampering rain fed Agriculture very severely.

In the Ngokentujia division of the North West Region of Cameron Rice production use to be a predominant food staple. The scarcity of water in this plain has made rice production very difficult. More than 80% of farmers in the area now lack a primary source of a staple and income.

Mary Nyagha Ngum is a subsistent farmer who today is not undermining the role that fresh water and rain had played in the cultivation of rice in the area.

“We didn’t think protecting the water sources upstream was important until now,” she remarks.

The overcutting of trees upland affected the water catchments that supplied fresh water for this farming. The creation of the Upper Noun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA) to reinvigorate rice farming and to development drought resistant species have not helped things. Water scarcity and the high temperatures have continued to mar the sector.

In the coastal Regions of Cameroon and some parts of the North West Region one in five farmers depended upon fishing farming for a direct livelihood. Today more than 70% of fish stocks are already depleted in these regions. This is already posing serious challenges to this main food source which was also providing employment opportunities.

“I now depend only on imported fish to have my meals well prepared,” Isaiah Ngufor a Fish Farmers in the region says.

Some needy farmers who cannot afford an income like Isaiah to buy this fish virtually feel cheated either by nature or circumstances. Water has become just these farmers’ biggest needs. The changing rainfall patterns and the stultifying effects of climate changes predict no good thing in the near future.

Along the Lake Chad river basin the overexploitation of water for irrigation by some development organizations has drained all wetlands upstream leaving the farmers downstream stressed.

“This has been posing a big challenge to the sustainability of farming in the area,” Micheal Nouh, a researcher working for Green Peace in the area remarks.

Dried up Part of Chad Lake Basin

Dried up Part of Chad Lake Basin

Along the coastal region of the country where most cocoa, rubber and banana plantations are located the inappropriate use of chemicals fertilizers in these farms has led to the pollution of streams and rivers habitat for endangered animals species like snails which are a high protein and money source for the local farmers.

Joe Nchemty, a member of one of the common initiative groups working to eradicate poverty in this community says the loss of these snail habitats has deprived the communities of their main traditional meals. “We are suffering,” Joe says.

Like everywhere in the world where water is actually needed to move agriculture, greater efforts are needed to help these farmers produce more food of better quality with less water. Only then can local governments be proud to be fighting poverty and caring for the earth.

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