Hanging in the balance
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CTA. 2001. Hanging in the balance. Rural Radio Resource Pack 01/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57191
Femba John of Babungo village in Cameroon explaining to Martha Chindong how a dispute over access has left the villagers with no clean water source.
Hanging in the balance CUE: Water supply projects can run into problems for many different reasons. Martha Chindong visited Babungo village in Cameroon, where the lack of water is particularly severe. The villagers have to walk several kilometres to fetch water, and the stream that is used as a water source by the local hospital is heavily polluted. Yet Babungo is a village which has already benefited from a water supply project, so why is there still this problem? Femba John, a resident of Babungo, told Martha why he thought the project had failed, and also explained how a conflict over access to a water source had still not been solved, despite long, protracted arguments in a law court. IN: ?Well we began quite successfully? OUT: ?arguments no decision was reached yet? DUR?N 2?44? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Femba John of Babungo village in Cameroon explaining to Martha Chindong how a dispute over access has left the villagers with no clean water source. Transcript John Well we began quite successfully but with time the whole project collapsed. The reason is that most of the water wells dried up and the whole system was not well maintained. Chindong Why do you think this maintenance was poor? Was it because the villagers were not actively involved in the project? John The first reason is that experts advised us to plant water sustainable trees at the source, a thing that we did not do quickly and in good time. So with time the water wells dried up. Secondly people were very enthusiastic about getting drinking water so they carried out the project haphazardly. If you go round the village you will see many pipes which are exposed, they were not deep enough and with time they have been eroded and exposed. Chindong Can we say this was due to lack of sensitisation of the rural people? John I think also lack of sensitisation but mainly because the people were too enthusiastic about getting the water quite in time. If they had taken time and worked gradually and carefully maybe they would have had a long lasting project. Chindong Now when you were working, you worked with the people up the stream. Did you first of all consider the people who used to live on that stream? If not have you ever had any conflicts because you took water from that stream and deprived other people of their water rights? John Not at all. We took water from an area which was uninhabited therefore we had no conflict with anybody. The problem came with time when we discovered that existing springs could not supply the village with potable water and therefore we had to look for another source. And it is from that that our interest started conflicting with his. Chindong What type of conflicts existed? John He claimed that the area from which we were tapping the water belonged to him and that we did not come to him for permission. But truly speaking it was part of Babungo. Chindong What have you done with this problem now? How have you tried to solve it? John We have come round a negotiating table and we are agreeing some way. He?s accepting to finance part of the system that he destroyed. Chindong Ok so when you people had conflict, he went and destroyed the source of the water? John Yes he brought a machine probably a D10 to close off the new catchment we were building and the matter was taken to court. So after a lot of protracted arguments no decision was reached yet. End of tape.
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