Saratou, a mother of three, lives is a small community situated in the Far-North region of Cameroon.
It is a nearby community to the Minawao refugee camp that hosts Nigerian refugees fleeing from the attacks of the insurgent Islamist group Boko Haram present in the North East of Nigeria and along the Cameroon-Nigeria border.
It consists of about 1,000 settlements harboring about 45,000 Nigerian refugees.
Access to water has long been a serious problem within this community. Coupled with the presence of refugees, the situation has created enormous pressure on the usability of available water points.
"My 15-year-old daughter Mariama had typhoid,” said Saratou. “She suffered so much that I could not bear. She went to the hospital and doctors said it is because of the water she drinks… To date, we suffer a lot here because of no water in this village.”
Plan International in Cameroon, in its holistic and integrated response to the humanitarian crises and towards the refugees of Minawao camp, observed the hardship the inhabitants of the community faced. Community members had to share limited resources (like wood and water) with these refugees.
In a bid to support the community dealing with the influx of refugees, Plan provided them with sustainable access to potable water to reduce the tension between the refugees and the host community. This approach was carried out in a bid to promote peaceful cohabitation.
Two boreholes were constructed: one in the Minawao camp for the refugees and the other for members of the host community.
"We are very happy because we will not drink dirty water and we will not be sick anymore,” said 8-year-old Mariatou and 9-year-old Adamou.
The activities were implemented with the participation of children. The Water Management Committee (WMC) was also trained to follow up and ensure the water points are used appropriately by the community members and the refugees.
As a result of these boreholes, the refugees of Minawao camp and members of the host community will not trek for long hours to fetch water. Thanks to Plan’s intervention and through the support of its partners, potable water is now at the reach of these populations, particularly children.