National WASH Coalition
The Cameroonian WASH Coalition, formed in 2008 and was officially launched in 2009. Its members and cooperating partners include the Ministries of Water and Energy, Public Health, and Basic Education. Other partners are Centre Régional pour l'Eau Potable et l'Assainissement à faible coût (CREPA),Cameroon, key development partners like UNICEF, the World Bank, Plan Cameroon, WHO, the German Agency for Technical Development (GTZ), Cameroonian water utilities and other WSSCC members.
The coalition aims to contribute to improvements in health and socioeconomic development by promoting water, sanitation and hygiene for all. It has developed a strategic plan for 2010-2014 that will help members to better coordinate their activities. It is working to support the government in financing and prioritizing action at the national, regional and local level. It also focuses on raising people’s awareness about WASH.
Milestones and achievements
During the International Year of Sanitation in 2008, Cameroonians realized how unacceptable the sanitation situation was in their country. Two major problems within the sector were the lack of a consultative structure and the need to improve cooperation among stakeholders. For example, seven ministries were concerned with water and sanitation, though at the time they were not working together in a unified and concerted way. The government took the problem very seriously, and the WASH coalition was born out of an initiative by the Ministry of Energy and Water and some key-sector organizations to improve coordination. In 2009, then Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni officially launched the coalition.
The activities and objectives planned for the coalition’s first few years are:
- strengthening coalition activities and building partnerships at the national level, and subsequently in the regions, which will increase the visibility and reach of the coalition.
- mapping the sector through a qualitative survey of the practices, attitudes and knowledge of the rural population on water, sanitation and hygiene to better target activities;
- high priority for the coalition is briefing, supporting and collaborating with the government to increase the national sanitation budget;
- celebrating Global Handwashing Day, including a media exhibition with facilitators, to increase people’s awareness of the importance of hand washing with soap and WASH issues.
In 2010 a new national coordinator for Cameroon was appointed: Mrs. Salomé Onana Béné.