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.
I am the eldest of seven children so in many ways I have to replace my father and take care of the family. My mother is a hard working farmer but counts a lot on me. Having running water in our compound is more than we can imagine.– Flora and Isidore