Clean Water for Takui, Cameroon

As part of its ongoing work to support the health of the region, the Himalayan Institute Cameroon in partnership with the Honesdale Rotary has started construction on a water catchment system in the village of Takui in Northwest Cameroon. The installation will harvest water that flows from a local spring and channel it into an easily accessible and clean well.

The old Takui water tap (above) was dirty and poorly managed. Without a catchment container, the water flowed constantly during the rainy season and was often dry during the dry season.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the traditional village council and the majority of the labor has been done by local residents. “It was important for us to get the full support of the local community,” said HIC staff member Ntani Divine. “You can dig a well with only a few people, but it takes the whole community to keep a well clean and functional.”

Community members help carry small stones...

..and big stones, too!

On the first day of construction there was a huge outpouring of community support. “Even the village elders were carrying stones and concrete. Today we really saw true community spirit! The people are happy for what HI is doing to provide water for them as they have been suffering from water problems for a very long time,” said Ntani. “For those who couldn’t work, like elderly women, you will see them watching babies and babysitting the children of those people who could work. Even elderly men who could not work came out in great numbers to give courage and support to all of the workers.”

Here is a sketch of what the water catchment system will look like when it is complete.

One of the grandmothers of the village named Beri Vi Mbang, speaking in the local dialect, said, “I did not think that I would drink such beautiful, clean water in my lifetime.”

Living in the United Stated it is difficult to wrap our minds around her sentiment, to fully appreciate the value of clean water which is so often taken for granted in our part of the world. Next time you go to turn on your faucet, do a mental experiment: imagine what it would be like to have to walk over a mile every time you wanted to fill up your glass. For the people of Takui, clean water is now a little bit closer to home, and that will make a world of difference.

World Health Day

Creating Access to Health

Celebrate World Health Day by helping HI Cameroon bring affordable healthcare to even more people.

The Total Health Center at HI Cameroon provides access to affordable, holistic healthcare through public hygiene seminars, training in stress reduction, yoga, homeopathy and herbal medicines. The community is served by a clinic in our community center and a mobile health clinic that brings health consultants to remote villages. By focusing on prevention and empowerment, the Total Health Center works to place good health back into the hands of the people.

Click on the image to view more photos of the Total Health Center

Make a difference today by supporting the Total Health Center and other empowerment programs!

Water Wells for Health and Irrigation

With generous support from the Buffalo Arts Studio the Himalayan Institute Cameroon was able to complete its first community water project: the installation of two public wells in the villages of Kishong and Jakiri. Using completely local talent and resources, from rural engineer to construction workers, these two wells were completed in 2010 and are fully operational at this time. These wells are making a huge impact in the quality of life and health for the residents of Northwest Cameroon, who suffer through a serious dry season each year from November to April.

Filling water containers at a municipal tap during the dry season.

The first well was installed in Kishong Village, on the HI Cameroon Energy Farming demonstration land. A diesel-powered pump carries water from the well at the base of the land to an elevated storage tank.

The water storage tank at the top of the land is elevated on a tower to increase water pressure for the roadside and irrigation taps.

From there, the water flows to a roadside tap for free, public use and through an irrigation system to water 6 acres of Energy Farming crops, including medicinal herbs, food crops, trees and biofuel crops.

Energy Farming crop plots irrigated by the well, which is visible on the left side of the photo.

All together, the construction of the wells employed 12 people for roughly 2 months.

Sign welcoming visitors to the Energy Farming land at Kishong, where educational seminars and demonstrations are held.

Providing clean water at the HI Cameroon land also serves as a springboard for Total Health Center outreach projects that aim to educate the public about disease control, hygiene and preventative healthcare.

HI Cameroon installed the second well in the heart of Jakiri, a town located approximately 20 kilometers from Kumbo. Operated by a simple hand pump and without pipelines, this well now serves as a permanent, free water source that exists without encroaching on the present government water system. Because it is installed on the property controlled by the local ruler, it will be protected from vandalism and government intervention, and will be maintained and kept available to the public.

A rural engineer and Jakiri residents examine the freshly dug (by hand!) hole for the well.

A view of the completed well, taken from the patio of the Fon’s palace. The metal structure protects the hand pump.

Like the public roadside tap in Kishong Village, this well in Jakiri will empower the local people with free water available in their own community. We believe that clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental necessity to which every person should have reliable access. Now firmly into the dry season, these two wells are already making a significant impact in the lives of community members.

Neighborhood children enjoying a cool drink of water at the public tap supplied by the new well in Kishong.

Interested in supporting a village water project? Join the Himalayan Institute’s clean water commitment and help make a long-term impact in rural communities.  On average, a well costs $5,000. If you’re interested, we can guide you on ways that you, your classmates, coworkers and friends can fundraise to support a water project of your own. Contact our Humanitarian Projects team at 570-647-1527 or email us at to learn more.

The Sweetness of Honey

The Himalayan Institute Cameroon’s School of Energy Farming promotes sustainable agriculture methods that support farmers in becoming self-reliant and more productive. Beekeeping is an agricultural technique with numerous benefits: the bees pollinate the crops which improves the harvest and the honey they produce is valuable both as food and as medicine.

The School of Energy Farming maintains two Kenyan Top-Bar hives on its demonstration farm.

A honeycomb from the hive

Staff members clean and separate the honey.

After being processed, the honey is bottled and sold in Kumbo and throughout Cameroon.

In addition to being a healthy sweetener, honey is used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine as an excellent transport for herbs. The Total Health Center in Cameroon uses the honey as a base for several of its herbal remedies for improved digestion, treating sore throats, and overall health.

Energy Farming methods, like beekeeping, help farmers to get the most out of their land and their labor — that’s the sweetness of honey.

From Plants to Pills

The Total Health Center in Kumbo, Cameroon now creates its own high quality herbal medicine in pill form. Thanks to the new encapsulating machine, herbs grown locally by the Energy Farming program can be turned into standardized pills. This new technology will help to make the delivery of the medicine easier on the patients and the health consultants. Taking a pill once or twice a day is more convenient than having to measure out a particular quantity of loose herb and also helps to make the dosing more precise.

Head Total Health Consultant Eucharia fills capsules as Energy Farming Program Leader Lilian looks on.

The machine helps to ensure that every capsule has the same amount of herb powder.

The finished pills are bottled for sale in the Total Health Centers.

This is a very exciting step towards local self-sufficiency for the Total Health program!

Read more on cultivating herbal medicine in Cameroon here.