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Moulvoudaye is a subdivision in the Mayo-Kani division, Extreme North Region of Cameroon. Bagnai village is a remote area with a population of about 1,000 inhabitants and many nomads coming there during the dry season in search of water for themselves and animals. Its inhabitants are Tupuri, Massa, Musgum, Fulani and other minor tribes. Their livelihood is agriculture and cattle rearing. Bagnai like most of the other villages in the Extreme North Region of Cameroon is a semi-desert area with rainfall only for 3–4 months (July–October) and 8–9 months (November–June) of severe dry season. Considering the penetrating effects of the Sahara Desert due to climate change, the importance of water in Bagnai-Moulvoudaye cannot be over emphasized. During the dry season there is no water anywhere on the surface of the earth. Rivers always get dry very fast, which leads to a lot of movement from one area to the next in search of water. Lack of potable water causes destruction of many farm lands and crops as well as giving rise to health issues such as cholera and typhoid which are very common in these villages.

The Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis (TSSF) have been ministering in Moulvoudaye for the past 45 years, working with the Good Shepherd parish and inhabitants of this area in educational, social and pastoral ministries. The sisters witness that it is a typical rural area with a lot of misery and very high illiteracy rate, where more than 60% of the population (especially women) have not even had elementary education due to poverty and early marriages. The OFS is not present in this part of Cameroon, but the TSSF sisters are committed through their Franciscan charism to helping the underprivileged of this area.

Over the years the TSSF sisters have made four attempts to improve the situation of water by digging wells manually, but it has always been a failure because of too many rocks. For many years villagers and their cattle used to drink from only one source of potable water. Everybody used to come to the water point to get water for drinking, cooking, bathing, doing laundry, building, water for animals and plants, etc. Due to their home needs each family took more than 30 minutes to pump water which they could use for at least a day. Many spent the whole day just to carry water, some slept waiting in a queue, others were fighting or going home without water.

The goal of “Well4Africa” water project was to drill and construct a simple borehole which would provide Bagnai villagers with potable water throughout the year without shortages. Bagnai-Moulvoudaye water project included the drilling of a 65-meter deep well, construction of a manually operated pump and fencing of the water point for hygienic reasons.

The Good Shepard parish with the assent of the Yagoua diocese’s bishop has provided a land plot for the borehole where everyone can have access to this water free of charge. The community has formed a committee (including the head of village and people with technical knowledge) to assure the maintenance, sustainability and security of this water project. The local community has contributed towards the realization of this water project and will continue to collect small annual amounts according to their means for the well’s maintenance.

The water project’s beneficiaries are more than 2,000 people from Bagnai village itself and other neighbouring villages. Women and children are especially happy because now they can use their time for the benefit of their families and do not have to spend many hours to fetch water for daily needs. The villagers are able to grow vegetables and solve their health issues.

The works were implemented by “Fondation Bethleem de Mouda” from October to December 2023. The amount donated to the project was EUR 9,000. The aim of “Well4Africa” social initiative is to ensure human right to water and to drill boreholes in poor African areas where the Franciscan Family is present. For possible ways of donation, please refer to https://well4africa.eu/index.php/donate

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