WASH-Project in Mile 16
Cucurrently we are working on the WASH-Project in a community of Buea that is called Mile 16. But first of all
What is WASH?
WASH (WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE) is an essential cornerstone of human health and quality of life. If WASH standards are not met in a community, the health and environment in that community will suffer tremendously.
Where is Mile 16?
Mile 16 is a community in Bolifamba, Buea which is 2 miles away from Buea Central. It is made up of about 30,000 inhabitants and the community’s economy thrives on small farmers and small shop businesses. However Mile 16 is a low income community that faces a lot of challenges including poor health outcomes, poverty, drug use, unemployment, poor education outcomes, early pregnancies, high rate of school dropouts and promiscuity .
The Yanou foundation and Royalty are two other local NGOs in Buea, Cameroon. Yanou and Royalty launched the Mile 16 community development project to empower youths and revitalize the struggling community. They partner with us specializing in health systems and healthcare development, and to address the WASH initiatives within their overall proposal.
Starting the WASH-Project
Ryan, a medical student from the USA carried out this research and his objective was to analyze and assess the context of the water, sanitation and hygiene within Mile 16 and purpose recommendations, action and the goals that could address the WASH issues in the community both short-term and long-term. With permission of the Chief of Mile 16, Ryan and his team administered a short questionnaire in the community of Mile 16 over the course of two weeks in June 2016. Surveys were administered by a fieldwork team composed of individuals from Royalty, GMF, and the Yanou Foundation. By asking those questions they found out, that the usage of water in Mile 16 is closely connected to various diseases like malaria, typhoid or skin rashes. People defecate into the same streams they used to bathe themselves. They throw their trash into the same water they used to wash their clothes. So Ryan and his team established: There is a problem with the water usage in Mile 16! Christiane is a licensed nurse and a bonafide health care provider. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing from the Higher Institute for Applied Medical Science and a Higher National Diploma Medical and Biomedical Sciences. Christiane is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Medicare Foundation; she founded Global Medicare Foundation in 2013 with the goal of making access to health and health education and information to the most interior parts of Cameroon where there is little or no presence of any health facilities. Bent on making her dream a reality, Christiane has been working alongside a committed team of staff and volunteers to reach out to many communities and people in need.
Continuing Ryan’s work
Luise joined our team in November 2016 to pick up from where Ryan has left of. With her background in Medical Anthropology she wants to identify the WASH problems in the Mile 16 community and obtain sustainable solutions to WASH-related problems. Her plan is to do a qualitative research, to find out WHY people use their water in a way that makes them sick. After understanding the problem completely, she wants to find sustainable and long-lasting solutions for it.
What have we done so far.
As a next step we held meetings with Royalty, another NGO that is very passionate about the people in Mile 16. To get even deeper into the topic we went around the Mile 16 area to look at the various streams, tabs and springs. We were shocked to see how bad the situation is!
Finally we were able to make our first interviews with health experts from two hospitals in Mile 16. They gave us their views on the WASH problems and thought about possible solutions with us. What are we going to do? Now that everything is set, we are going to meet the people of Mile 16 and we will talk to them about the way they use their water!. As soon as we have made the interviews we will analyze them and see what people think about their own situation. Having that knowledge it will be easy to work out a plan to help them to prevent diseases that are connected to water-problems!