Providing Portable water through Protecting and Harnessing Spring Catchments in the North West Region of Cameroon

We Identify communities with water scarcity, pinpoint potential springs,ensure transfer of technology and elect leaders to take lead roles.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Save Your Future Association

Year founded

2005

Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Cameroon

Headquarters location: City

Bamenda

Location(s) of impact

North West Region of Cameroon

Website

www.syfaglobal.org

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

This initiative is trying to address lack of portable water and spring catchment protection in the North-West Region of Cameroon. Population pressure has pushed many rural farmers to move uphill in search of fertile farmlands located in watershed. They slash and burn the bushes, use chemical pesticides which pollutes the streams. The cutting of trees exposes the catchment and this has gradually led to disappearance of springs. Above all lack of water has resulted to spread of water borne dieseases.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

To solve this problem, we are identifying communities with water crisis and engaging them to start implementing various strategies of harnessing and conserving spring catchments. The spring catchment is the structure that harnesses the water at the point where it is drained from underground. The outside is built with cement and stones and the inside is filled with gravels of smaller size gradient. Water from spring is channeled through a pipe to a collection chamber and into a reservoir built with stones, sand and cement for storage and finally through pipelines and stand taps. Overflow is used for irrigation. The catchment is protected 50m radius by planting agroforestry trees and grass species. In villages we have worked, the community elects the father/mother of the project, who is trusted by the community. He/she knows his community better than us and is the main person to mobilize the population, organize meetings and schedule work.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Since 2009, we have constructed more than 50 springs that is providing clean water to more than 150000 people in villages of the North-West Region of Cameroon. Most of these communities who use to drink from exposed polluted springs have testified that they don’t have stomach ache and typhoid anymore hence a healthier community. Planting agroforestry trees protects the water catchment and the greater aquatic ecosystem in several ways. Firstly, trees shade the area, helping to minimize evaporation of water and a consequential drop in the water table. Secondly, shallow tree roots help to stabilize the water table. Thirdly, large, dense tree leaves help to trap water during precipitation events, allowing the water to infiltrate into the aquifer instead of running off. Fourthly, trees prevent erosion and runoff which in turn recharges the aquifer. Also, farmers are able to sell agroforestry seedlings and fruits thereby increasing income by 20%.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Once a spring is identified, the community provides 20% of the project’s cost. We then raise the rest of the funds through grants and individuals in and out of Cameroon. Annual donations from individuals = $10000, grants $25000, earned income=$2000, SYFA-USA=$20000. More to that every household in the community pays an annual due for consuming the water and the amount goes for maintenance.My story shall be published in a children’s book in USA in 2019 titled: I AM FARMER to be introduced in all primary schools across USA ( Grades 1-5). By then, I will be doing book tours to raise funds through crowd funding to sustain this work.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Compared to other organisations, we transfer technical knowledge and inspire the community to be at the forefront of the project, engaging them to take lead roles and see the project as theirs. The Father/mother of the project is always charged to transfer same skills acquired to other villages .My team and I always keep in touch with project Fathers/Mothers after the project and make occasional site visits ( twice a year) and phone calls to ensure they are managing their project well.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

In 2002 When I was a student at agricultural college in Bamenda, one day while working in the farms, I was very thirsty and there was no drinking water. I drank dirty water from a running stream and it infected me with typhoid. I almost lost my life. I started doing research and got statistics from Regional Hopsital of thousands of people who have died of water borne related diseases. At first, the government thought that building many hospitals will solve the problem, but nothing really changed.This automatically became a turning point in my life and I vowed to contribute to solve this problem as long as I live to save humanity. I therefore specialized in spring water catchment conservation and agroforestry and continued doing further research till date to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact

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Photo of RAJIV GUPTA

good idea