HistoryIn 2002, an article on water in a small Canadian publication sparked a discussion among a small group of widows and single mothers in Tobin, a section of Kumbo. The women’s discussion recounting the difficulties of living and raising children without access to clean water was printed in response to the article on water. While water was available in the village many people could not afford the cost of the connection. These costs included an application fee, the cost of the pipes from the main line to the house plus the labor and materials to construct the standpipe that supplied the water. Consequently, many families continued to rely on the polluted stream for their daily supply of water. The women’s stories sparked the interest of a small group of readers in Ottawa, Canada. The plight of the women in Tobin energized the readers to try to help. Their self-appointed task was to find ways to finance the cost of helping families obtain a connection with the existing water system. This initial response enabled seventeen families to have a standpipe bringing clean water into their compound.
The news that help had come for obtaining access to clean water spread quickly. Soon applications were arriving from nearby villages for assistance in extending their pipe-borne water systems to quarters (neighborhoods) that lacked access to clean water. And thus, what began as a small gesture to help a few families, grew over the past seven years bringing clean water to twenty-four villages.
All this is possible because of the committed committee in Ottawa that found creative ways to involve more people in their activities including fundraising, education in schools, a newsletter, and a website. Since the project began in 2003, support has grown beyond Ottawa to other parts of Canada, the USA, Great Britain and Japan. In Cameroon, the project has extended to some 24 villages, thanks to the work of Cathy Molloy and her many partners in these villages. In 2008, Mr. Visi Edwin, a civil engineer, joined the project as consultant, planner and supervisor of the village projects. A second phase of the project has been developed to train the caretakers and members of the Water Management Committee in each village to plan and maintain the pipe system, thus ensuring sustainability.
When we take a cup of this clean water I count on good health for my family because we have enough water to wash ourselves, our clothes and keep our house clean. We feel we are free from many disturbing diseases.– Mawo Mary-Fidelia, Tobin