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IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre



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RSS Atayong

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My view is based on my personal experience in Cameroon. One or two years ago UNICEF organized a national seminar in Yaounde with this big idea of bringing WASH closer to the people at grass-root level but since then I have heard nothing about WASH in Cameroon again. At least at the regional level where I am in the North West Region.

It is true that we need to mainstream some of these concepts in policies but the political environment differ in different countries. Going by policy in Cameroon will definitely take a long time and may even end on papers. I think that WASH in schools program needs to broaden its approach such that while it is pursuing the policy level or political level progress, some practical strategies should be put in place. I give the example of diplomatic missions which though are pushing the government to develop policies, at the same time it is supporting communities with what is known as small embassy grants. If the WASH in School program could make such facilities available to schools even on a competitive bases we could be talking of a number of sanitation and water facilities in many schools as well as changing habits.

There are equally NGOs who need just a little push and they will make the difference but the opportunities are not there.

Notwithstanding it is an important program which should be continued with improvement. There is already an outbreak of cholera in Cameroon now in almost all regions with thousands infected and hundreds dead.

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