A community of 350 people including 136 children of the Bakolle Primary School in Bakolle Village in Cameroon, will benefit from new, hygienic toilet facilities, thanks to funding from event industry charity Meeting Needs.
A donation of £4,000 at the beginning of this year has led to the completion of a block of four toilets above a pit latrine despite a series of challenges that held up the project. The local Centre for Community Development and Environmental Restoration (CENCUDER) had hoped voluntary labour would dig the pit needed, but they encountered an unforeseen five feet thick layer of rock that required professional removal. Then bad weather made transportation of materials difficult despite the fact that these were sourced from the nearest towns possible. This meant some part of the funds had to used for the hire of motorbikes to carry the materials in places where the vehicle could not pass easily. In some places, motorbikes had to be pushed or and “head loads” had to be used to enable getting through. This resulted to the loss of some items while others arrived in a bad state. The materials included cement, rods, aluminium sheets, nails, tiles, rafters and purlins, binding wires, paints, buckets, cups and pipes.
However, the project has been completed and will lead not only to a more pleasant lifestyle for the villagers, who were using the bush for their toilets. It will reduce the spread of disease and improve health levels across the community. The PTA committee has introduced a compulsory level of £1.30 to be paid by each pupil at the beginning of each academic year for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the constructed latrines.
Meeting Needs chair Jennifer Jenkins said: “This project shows what can be achieved in long term change to people’s lives with a relatively small sum of money. But it also demonstrates that we can only help – it also needs a big commitment from the local community to be determined enough to overcome huge obstacles to deliver these results. This was a great partnership of which Meeting Needs supporters can be justly proud.”