All Saint Catholic Bilingual Nursery and Primary School Bayelle located at Mile 2 Nkwen, Bamenda 3 Sub-Division, Mezam Division, North West Region of Cameroon, was created in 1958 with an estimated enrollment of about 150 pupils. At the time of the project, the School had a total enrollment of over 2000 pupils, 55 teachers and a total of 30 classrooms.
Before SHUMAS intervention, All Saints Catholic Nursery and Primary School had just a single toilet block of 3 compartments for both the pupils and the teachers with constant unavailability of potable water in the school due to the failing supply from CAMWATER. Considering the heavy school population, the toilets available were grossly insufficient and inadequate and the lack of water in the school presented more fears than in the past. This was due to the health hazards witnessed and the importance of potable water availability for hand washing to combat these health hazards (COVID-19 and Cholera), coupled with the significant increase in the number of pupils in the school. The enrollment of the school was growing significantly due to the fact that the school is one of the few located in a safe, accessible and protected zone of the restive city of Bamenda in the NWR with the ongoing Anglophone crisis. This school has therefore been the center of attraction for parents seeking education for their kids. The affordability of the school also attracted many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to send their children to the school thereby increasing the enrollment and the need for improved sanitation in the school.
The lack of water in this school hindered lessons and led to an unconducive learning environment. Some of these effects included
- With the advent of COVID-19, the pupils constantly needed to wash their hands as one of the preventive measures. Without water pupils and teachers could not practice basic prevention methods of hand washing further exposing them to the pandemic and others.
- There was no potable water on campus making it impossible even for pupils to quench their thirst. Pupils sometimes could not concentrate due to thirst and sometimes lose learning time looking for potable water to drink.
- The absence of water resulted to dirty classrooms because there was no water to clean the classes. Hence the continuation of health hazards in the school.
- There was a looming fear of a cholera outbreak and other diseases was persistent because pupils could not wash their hands after visiting the toilet.
- Teaching learning time was lost in search of water for cleaning or drinking in the school by pupils and teachers. Teaching and learning time was also wasted queuing up to use the toilet which was greatly insufficient for a school of over 2000 pupils. A pupil could spend more than 30 minutes waiting on a queue to be able to use the toilet.
SHUMAS and partners Building Schools for Africa (BSFA) looking at the teaching and learning situation in All Saints Bayelle decided to carry out a project in the school comprising of;
- Drilling of a 70m water borehole for the school
- Construction and installation of a 6m Water tank stand with a 5000l tank
- Construction of one stand tap for the school
- Construction of a 6 compartment toilet block with hand washing facilities
- Creation and empowerment of the water management committee for the school
This project was officially handed over to the Catholic Education Family by the Director General of SHUMAS MFORMI NDZEREM STEPHEN NJODZEKA in the school campus in the presence of the Manager of the schools for Bayelle Parish, the Head teachers of the school, the staff, the PTA executives, the pupils and the Bayelle community.
The manager of the school who doubled as the parish priest for Bayelle appreciated SHUMAS and Partners for their kind gesture of providing constant water and toilets to the school which will go a long way to safe even the community that suffer from water crisis. He extended the Bishop and Education Secretary’s appreciation who could not make it due to other duties. The PTA chair of the school also in his speech appreciated SHUMAS and Partners for their support and promised that the school in the community will take proper care of the structures.
The Pupils representative who was a class six pupil expressed their joy in having a well-constructed toilet and constant water in the school. She went further by pointing out the issues the constant water will solve which included; the pupils and teachers will be able to quench their thirst at any time, the problem of sitting in dirty classrooms as well as trekking for long distances and missing lessons will be solved as there will be enough water to cleaning, the problem of missing lessons in search for water would also been solved and the washing of hands as a preventive measure of COVID-19 and cholera will be achieved as a result of constant water for hand washing.
The Director of SHUMAS in his inauguration speech called on the beneficiaries take proper care of the donations for sustainability which would allow future generations to benefit from the project as well. The Pupils, School Authorities and Parents of All Saints Bayelle were so impressed and very grateful for the great gesture in the form of donations from SHUMAS and partners BSFA-UK and promised to take proper care of the structures.