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Project information

Clean & safe drinking water for Akum

In North West Cameroon, communities are divided by conflict over land and water. Village Aid’s safe water project in Akum community will benefit over 1700 men, women and children and the livestock they rely on for their livelihoods.

December 2017 - July 2018

Charity information: Village Aid

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  • Need


    85% of people in Akum collect their drinking water from streams, rivers or unprotected wells. These unsafe and inadequate sources are often polluted by livestock. This causes illness (cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea). In the dry season, women and girls walk for two and a half hours up to four times a day to collect water, so often the girls miss school.


    Our project will provide everyone in Akum community with clean and safe drinking water. With access to clean water, health is improved and girls can attend school instead of collecting water. Our innovative water project uses local resources to collect and store pure spring water and piped to taps near to homes and settlements. We'll also form and train a local Water Management Committee who will provide maintenance, monitoring and income generation to ensure the work is permanent.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improved health in the community through year-round access to clean water


    » Building a trough means livestock and people no longer share water sources.
    » Pure spring water is collected at source and piped directly to communities through specially engineered pipework and tanks.
    » The community receives training in safer hygiene practices and supported through the local committee recruited for Water Management.

    What success will look like

    Incidences of diseases like cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea will be reduced, and there will be increased knowledge of hygiene and practices to prevent water pollution.

    Aim 2

    Equitable water access will lead to reduced conflict between farmers


    » 75% of the people involved in conflict in the region cited water as a cause. Equitable water access has been proven to reduce conflict significantly.
    » Community labour, with both crop farmers and cattle herders working together to lay pipes, encourages ownership and cooperation.
    » The water management committee will be diverse to represent all sides involved in the conflict

    What success will look like

    This will be measured by a reduction in the numbers of people experiencing conflict over water.

    Aim 3

    Improve the lives of women and girls who currently trek long distances to get water


    » Water points will be much closer to dwellings, saving women and girls round trips of up to 5 hours to collect water

    What success will look like

    This will be measured by an increase in the amount of productive time available to women and children. We'd also expect girls' school attendance to increase.

  • Impact


    The project will ensure everybody in Akum has access to clean drinking water. Success will bring many benefits. It will improve relations between crop farming and cattle herding communities, and there will be significantly fewer incidences of conflict. It will improve health and reduce incidences of waterborne disease. Women will report they have more time for economically productive activities and for girls, school attendance will increase.


    There is a risk of climate change causing drought and consequent crop failure, cattle death, low soil and animal fertility and low water tables. To mitigate the risk, water catchment protection itself promotes biodiversity and resistance to environmental shocks by planting water-friendly foliage that prevents the water table from dropping. Various protection methods are used to prevent degradation of water sources (fencing) and to prevent unhygienic practices close to the water source.


    All donors will receive a completion report when the project is complete, and quarterly updates throughout the construction.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £28,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £540 Training Training the Water Management Committee in improved sanitation, as well as repairs and maintenance.
      £1,700 Beekeeping Beekeeping is used for income generation to pay for routine repairs and upkeep
      £885 Water Catchment Protection Planting of bee-friendly plants, barbed wire fencing and trees
      £486 Cattle Trough Trough built away from the water catchment site for livestock to avoid livestock damage to the site
      £14,819 Pipes Pipes ensure the water reaches each community and settlement - equitable access reduces conflict
      £2,700 Labour Skilled local labour ensures the structure is built to last
      £6,700 Materials Construction materials including taps, valves, cement and sand
      £170 Project Support Monitoring, reporting and project management

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Community group £1,750 Conditional
    Individual £6,250 Conditional
  • Background


    Akum is a remote rural farming community in the ‘conflict hotspot’ Santa district of North West Cameroon. Over half of people in the region survive on less than $1.25 a day and the life expectancy here is below 55 years of age. Many inhabitants here have been directly affected by conflict over limited natural resources like water.


    The project directly benefits 1731 people living in Akum through the provision of clean water (647 men, 684 women, 400 children). Key direct beneficiaries are women and girls, whose lives and welfare suffer disproportionately from the impact of low clean water supply. The project will also improve relations between the cattle herding and crop farming communities as they jointly manage the water scheme.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Village Aid has worked in the North West Region of Cameroon for 20 years. Our current project, in partnership with United Purpose, will build on our success and experience through similar projects that have successfully raised clean water supply to 100% in target communities. Our 2016 midterm survey showed that in communities that we have already supported with a water catchment site, conflict over water reduced from 44% to 19% - a significant change.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sali Django

    As director of delivery partner, MBOSCUDA, Sali is an advocate for peace in the region and has been an integral part of MBOSCUDA for many years.

    Haruna Umaru

    Haruna's the Paralegal Extension Officer for Menchum Division for MBOSCUDA. He will oversee the construction of the water catchment site.

    Giorgia Nicatore

    Peacebuilding project manager, United Purpose. Giorgia supports, manages and monitors the project from United Purpose’s regional office in Dakar.

    Dave Phillips

    Dave has volunteered with us for over 10 years. He works with MBOSCUDA to support the monitoring and evaluation and also sits on Village Aid's board.


will give an entire extended family access to water permanently

“So much has changed since Village Aid helped us complete the water project here... The change in our lives is so marvellous that I have no words to express our happiness and gratitude for all that has been done. You have changed lives, especially for women."

Aishatu, whose village now has clean and safe drinking water thanks to Village Aid supporters