By Kimbi V in Jakiri
The Senior Divisional Officer for Bui Division, Nzeki Theophile has lauded the efforts of the Jakiri Council in the fight against poverty through the Five Years Action Plan initiated in 2007. While in Jakiri, Nzeki Theophile noted with satisfaction that the five years action plan of the council is an eye opener in poverty alleviation in the entire Bui Division. To Nzeki Theophile, the Jakiri Council has succeeded in bringing back the community development spirit which for some years now has died in many municipalities. In presenting his five years stewardship during the last budgetary session that took place on December 27, 2012, said the Jakiri Council Five Years Action Plan has been successful giving that his administration was able to raise access to potable water from 40% to over 93%.
Shang Lawrence, in his presentation disclosed that when his team took over the council they toured the entire municipality and “following participatory consultations” which took them to the nooks and cronies of the municipality; Jakiri Council was able to formulate a collective vision based on the problems presented by the people. From the vision, Shang Lawrence noted, the council was able to develop a Five Years Action Plan with particular emphasizes laid on the five priority needs of the people as expressed during the participatory consultations.
Access to potable water, said was the priority, which was followed by access to farms to market roads, access to electricity, access to education facilities and access to proper health care. And it is on the basis of these needs expressed by the population that the Jakiri Council worked out its development strategy as well as out-source for potential partners.
In presenting the balance sheet on Access to Potable Water as top priority in the municipality, the Mayor of Jakiri revealed that recent studies carried out by the Ministry of Public Health, were indicative that more than 70% of health problems in his municipality were water related. These water related ailments Shang Lawrence said accounts for more than 50% of down time and as such results to low agricultural productivity. In order to overcome these problems and the constant water shortages in the dry season, Jakiri Council initiated seven mini water supply networks in the communities of Sabongari, Taron, Ngoylum, Nsom, Ntutty, Kov-Wong and Ran. And through the support of the American Embassy and the Tadu Dairy Cooperative, the Council also succeeded in the construction of a 5km potable water supply network for Ntur and another 15km pipeline to bring fresh water from the Kilum Mountain forest to the village communities of Tarshem, Shukov, Nkarkui and Tavirer. He said the process to extend the pipeline to Yer and neigbouring communities of Kumbo Central (Ntseni, Mbah and Melim) are ongoing. Still in the domain of improving access to potable water, Shang Lawrence also revealed that his council signed a convention worth 350 million FCFA with the Council Support Fund-FEICOM for the construction of seven water schemes to serve the villages in the municipality. The villages are: (Mboh-Njong, Kwa-Nso, Ndzerem-Nyam and Anseh worth 50 million FCFA), (Mokam: 50 million FCFA),(Mensai: 50 million FCFA), (Ntohtti: 50 million FCFA), (Bui: 30 million FCFA), (Lip: 20 million FCFA) and the rehabilitation of the Sob Water scheme worth 72 million FCFA. Five of the above mentioned projects were successfully realized and water is flowing in those communities while two of them are nearing completion.
As such, Shang Lawrence noted with satisfaction that when they were elected into the council five years ago, access to water stood at 40% (24 villages having access to potable water) and as their five years mandate elapse, 54 villages out of 58 now enjoy clean and potable water) estimated at 93% access to water.
As the Jakiri Council has succeeded in alleviating the problems of access to water, the Mayor of Jakiri Council also observed that such as a success is likely to reduce down time and as such increase agricultural productivity. Working in close collaboration with development partners like SODEPA and the Tadu Dairy Cooperative, the Jakiri Council rehabilitated 30km of earth road linking six communities. And in order to ease the evacuation of farm produce, a 10km earth road was also constructed to create an access road to the productive area of the Bui valley. Another 30km earth road was rehabilitated from Vekovi through Nkar, Mensai, Sob, Wvem, Faakui and Tarshem. Further more, the Jakiri Council also rehabilitated the third 35km belt way which runs from Jakiri through Noiy, Mboh-Kijah, Wasi-Ber and Shiy. The Mayor also revealed that with the framework of developing farms to market roads in the municipality, some twenty bridges were also constructed to ease the movement of farmers and farm produce. He however lamented that the actions have been slowed by the lack of adequate social structures such as the road management committees.
One of the major impediments to rural infrastructure, the mayor said is the absence of adequate electricity power supply in rural Jakiri. Working in collaboration with the Tadu Dairy Project and the Government of Cameroon, Jakiri Council succeeded in extending power supply lines from Nkar through Kisemjam, and Shukai to Vekovi. He further revealed that the Jakiri Council as also started work on the assembly of Pilot Mini Hydro Electrical Power Supply Grid in a locality known as Shiy and Wvem in collaboration GRC and ADEID. This project he added will solve the problem of inadequate electrical power supply in his municipality.
Taking into consideration that Health is Wealth and prevention is better than Cure, the Mayor of Jakiri Council in presenting the results so far achieved in five years in the health sector revealed that majority of their actions were geared towards pre-emptive measures of disease such as the provision of potable water, regular collection of garbage and the constant sensitization of the population on waste disposal. But since prevention alone is not good enough, the Jakiri Council explored other avenues to make sure that population stays sound and in good health. In making sure that these objectives are realized, Shang Lawrence disclosed that Jakiri Council had to seek partnership collaboration with the Bui Family Union-USA. This collaboration resulted to the donation of delivery beds and some essential hospital equipment to the council which were distributed to the following health centers, Vekovi, Kwa-Nso, Sob, Wasi-Ber and Mbokam. The council also recruited qualified Laboratory Technicians and other essential staff for each of the above principal health centers.
On improving access to basic education, Shang Lawrence observed that one of the biggest problems to rural transformation is the lack of skilled labour. The mayor said that apart from rehabilitating existing classrooms and distributing minimum packages to schools, the Jakiri Council also recruited trained teachers who were deployed to some schools.
On the sustainable management of natural resources, the mayor decried the abusive exploitation of the Savanna and Montane ecosystem which has degenerated to scarcity of water, food and medicines. According to the mayor of Jakiri, mitigating to sustain a sane environment is very necessary and constitutes one of the major axes, if not; the access to water program which is at 93% could not be sustainable. “As such working in close collaboration with the Ministries of Environment and Nature Protection, Forestry and Wildlife, the National Community Driven Program-PNDP and SNV, studies are underway for the protection of the main watersheds in the municipality”. He said the Jakiri council has earmarked the Vekovi, Ntunir, Mengu and Tarshem watersheds as the main water sources in the municipality. And furthermore, the Jakiri council has already passed a resolution diccouraging the abusive planting of eucalyptus in watersheds.
In the domain of good governance, Shang Lawrence reiterated that in order to ensure that the current infrastructural investments are sustained by its beneficiaries over time, there is an urgent need for communities to develop a better sense of ownership. He said the notion that every project implemented by the council is a property of the mayor, his deputies and councilors is what the Jakiri Council is trying to wipe-off the minds of the population. Especially with the advent of decentralization, the Jakiri Council intends to build grassroot social structures such as village development associations in order to better solicit their active participation in their own development. As the Jakiri Council is working in collaboration with VSA and the American Peace Corps implement the Transparent, Accountability and Participation Program-TAP to empower Council executive, councilors and community leaders on their roles and responsibilities. As a result, the Community Action Center-CEAC and VSO assisted the council to reorganize 50 village development associations.2013, he said will be a year for the Jakiri council to strengthen its participatory approaches which will be more community oriented. With a budget of 412, 148,572 FCFA, voted for 2013, the mayor concluded that they will only use this year to dot the (i)s and cut the (
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