Cameroon – Strenghtening of the ability of self-management of development at a local level
In Cameroon, in the village of Bankondji, in the green Western Region, ARCS, in partnership with Codebank 2000 (Commitee for the development of Bankondji) started a project funded in 2012 by the European Delegation in Yaoundé, with the aim of providing the people of the village a water supply system (which is a resource the village does not have yet), powered by photovoltaic panels, as well as of creating a commitee for the self-management of water resources, through participative dynamics which involve the community at all levels.
This project is the result of the relations between ARCS and the migrant communities in Rome, especially with the Associazione degli Ingegneri Africani di Roma (African Engineers of Rome), in the framework of the project “Migranti per lo sviluppo” (Migrants for development), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The action was started in 2012 with the involvement of both Cameroonian and Italian actors (local public institutions and management institutions), among which the ENEA, the Italian Agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development, and the NGO Haelius, which is specialized in the environmental sector.
The project provides for works for the recovery of the 8'0s' water supply system in Bankonji, which was built without any involvement of the local population and was then progressively abandoned. Involving the local community can stimulate a process of strenghtening and awareness of its skills and responsibilities, through a process of participation and continuous involvement. At the end of the project a managing organization will be formally built, which will be in charge both of the maintenance of the system and of the budget management (provided first by the partner's contribution and then progressively by the families; this will make the intervention sustainable for a long period).
The inhabitants are about 5000 and they mostly live from agriculture. They currently supply themselves with water from neighbor ponds of creeks. Women and children have therefore to walk three or four km a day and are exposed to all the risks of drinking non-drinkable water. The incidence of diseases such as typhus or cholera is in fact very high in the area. The population is very poor, but it is willing to improve its conditions. This intervention can be a starting point to approach the community and to make it responsible about a common good which is to be kept and safeguarded and to think about other future interventions.
This action has already received funds both from the Valdese Church and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation - Directorate for Development Cooperation.
In order to support the district of Bafang, ARCS has presented a new project for the improvement of coffee production and the promotion of dignified work at the EU. Its evaluation is underway.