CASA urgently needs a viable solution to improve the living conditions for its current residents and extend its services to other orphans, street children and elderly people in need.
To achieve long-term resilience, different sustainable systems have been included into the new center’s design, which will empower CASA’s residents and personnel to take their future into their own hands. Furthermore, all of the below sustainable practices and techniques will be taught to the local population and to people from different parts of Cameroon so that they too will benefit from the project.
The center will be constructed primarily with locally sourced materials, including natural (inspired by traditional building techniques) as well as recycled ones. In addition to providing sustainable and affordable materials this “upcycling” will offer an alternative to Cameroon’s widespread pollution problems. Going forward, CASA will separate and reuse all of its waste, and recycle available garbage in Edea.
1.2 NATURAL COOLING
Since Edea is located in a tropical climate, all of the center’s buildings will be equipped with passive cooling using an underground ventilation system. Mosquito nets and aromatic plants will be integrated into the design to minimize the risk of malaria.
1.3 RENEWABLE ENERGIES
CASA’s new center will produce its electricity using solar panels and wind turbines, rendering it independent from Cameroon’s frequent power cuts and high electricity prices. In addition a biodigester will transform organic wastes from the kitchen and WC into gas for cooking. This will offer a solution to environmental and health risks associated with untreated sewage, while offering a constant source of clean fuel for the kitchen.
1.4 WATER MANAGEMENT
CASA’s new center will collect and filter rainwater during the wet season and store it for multi-purpose use all year round. Wastewater will be treated on site by bio-filters before being used to irrigate crops. Consequently the children of CASA will no longer need to fetch water from the well twice a day or wash themselves in the polluted nearby stream.
1.5 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
The center will be a pioneer in agro-ecology featuring bio-intensive crops, livestock and orchards, which will produce all the food necessary to support the center. Conservation techniques will be implemented in order to insure a wide supply of goods at all times. At present due to undependable donations, the children consider themselves lucky if they receive three meals a day. Many people in Edea are in the same situation as unemployment is high and the cost of food is ever increasing.
2.1 SOCIAL ECONOMY AND SOLIDARITY
Income generating activities will be integrated into the center to assure its long-term sustainability. These will include: the production and sale of handcrafted goods, edible and natural hygiene products, as well as voluntourism, skilled labor (agricultural and construction) and the transportation of goods. These services will be promoted through CASA’s website and advertised on a billboard by the entrance to CASA, profiting from its location beside the main road running between Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital city, and Douala, the commercial capital.
2.2. TRAINING AND MEDICAL FACILITIES
Facilities dedicated to education and health will be an integral part of sustainable complex and offer their services to both residents and villagers.
The learning center will consist of a classroom, where children can take vocational training courses and study after school under the guidance of a tutor. In addition a personal learning space featuring computers connected to the Internet, a library and a workshop, will enable the children to pursue their personal interests.
The health center will dispense both traditional and modern medicine, complemented with therapeutic treatments. In exchange for these services street children and villagers will be asked to make a contribution onsite, through a system of barter.
In order to be successful the new center needs to be welcomed by the community. Through the principles of solidarity and reciprocity our aim is for the Eco-CASA project to be a catalyst not only for the residents of the center but also for surrounding communities and beyond.