top of page


Written by Abigail Chifusa ( Global Schools Project Officer).

Three students at St. Marcellin Bilingual Academy (MBA), Carrière-Yaoundé, Cameroon were winners of a Global Schools Advocacy essay competition on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), which was organized by Global Schools (GS) Advocate, Kenneth Toah Nsah.

The competition attracted 94 grade 12 students at the school. The three winners were motivated with cash prizes. The first winner, Faith Leinyuy Jerinyuy, was awarded with a 3000 Central African CFA Franc (FCFA) cash prize. The second winner, Desmond Ngwan Ngeh received a cash prize of 2000 FCFA and Dalansi Jaila Mngarmogha being in third place was awarded with 1000 FCFA cash prize.

Below are the essays written by the three winners of the Global Schools Advocacy essay competition that was organized by Advocate Kenneth Toah Nsah at St. Marcellin Bilingual Academy.



First Place Winner.

It is often said that water is life, meaning that it is part and parcel of the lives of all living things.

Clean water can be defined as a pure liquid, which should not have germs or pathogens in order to be fit for human consumption.

Sanitation on the other hand is ensuring that one’s environment is kept clean at all times, such that it does not become a health hazard for its inhabitants.

Where there is clean water and a clean environment, citizens will not develop diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and all the water-borne diseases we contract when we drink impure water. These diseases very often lead to high death rates which in turn have a negative impact on a country’s per capita income.

Clean water and a healthy environment contribute to a country’s economy since people will be attracted to settle in areas with clean water and other social amenities. In addition, most factories will be set up in those areas owing to the availability of water which they need for production. The availability of water for all citizens will equally prevent certain societal ills from happening, for example, the kidnapping of children who travel long distances to fetch water near kidnappers.

Personal hygiene requires that we have water readily available to us. 70% of our everyday activities require the use of clean water, for example, cooking, bathing, drinking, cleaning the house, and doing laundry.

The unavailability of clean water also contributes to students going late to school since they have to go across their towns and villages to fetch water to bathe before going to school. And this is time-consuming.

In order to remedy these problems, national and local governments, such as the Cameroonian government and the Yaoundé city council, have to make sure that they use the taxpayer’s money for the purpose for which it is intended. By this, I mean the following: Governments should see to it that each village, quarter, town, and family has good potable water. Governments should ensure that there is the regular maintenance of broken water pipes and the regular treatment of the water in reservoirs. The drilling of boreholes should be carried out in areas where pipe-borne water cannot be generated. Most importantly, governments should educate their citizens on the negative consequences of throwing household refuse and other unused materials into the streams flowing through their cities and villages. This causes environmental pollution and equally makes the water a health hazard for many who may not have pipe-born water in their homes. The disposal of such materials into the streams also greatly contributes to floods when the rain is heavy. In this way, governments can ensure the availability of clean water and solve related environmental and health problems.



Second Place Winner.

Clean water is water which has been treated and made fit for drinking, bathing, laundry, and household chores.

Meanwhile, sanitation refers to keeping oneself and the environment clean so as to avoid certain forms of pollution and diseases caused by unhealthy environments.

In my city of Yaoundé, clean water and sanitation are still a far-fetched dream in the sense that the few water pipes available do not even have water all the time, not to talk of clean water. Water pipes are often broken and not repaired or replaced by the water company. One only sees them coming around to distribute water bills each month. Since there is no regular supply of water, better sanitation does not exist. Household refuse is dumped indiscriminately everywhere. Incinerators do not exist and even where most people dump refuse, the city council does not clear it immediately, leaving it to rot and become an environmental health hazard for those who live around the dumping site.

In order to solve these problems related to clean water and sanitation, my proposal to the government is that they should employ more workers to monitor the availability of clean water and the sanitation of the environment on a regular basis. There should be a good plan for the sustainability of the water projects available in the various quarters of the city. In that way, the water and sanitation problems of the citizens will be minimized if not solved.



Third Place Winner.

Water has been described as a universal solvent whose molecules are made up of the elements hydrogen and oxygen whereas sanitation on the other hand is the ability to keep oneself and the environment clean so as to stay healthy.

Clean water, we are told, should have no taste, smell, color and germs. For this to happen, we have to make sure that the water we get from the rain, underground, and lakes are properly treated before use. Without a good source of clean water, sanitation cannot be possible.

In Yaoundé, the government’s inability to provide garbage containers and to collect and dispose of the accumulated garbage makes the issue of sanitation a very complicated one. When the garbage is left to decay in the container, it becomes a breathing place for mosquitoes which in turn transmits the malaria parasite. In short, it causes uncountable health problems to the inhabitants of the city.

For us to have clean water and sanitation, the city council has to provide clean water to all the households. This should be followed by strict supervision of how the water is used and maintained. The city council should also acquire garbage disposal vehicles and see to it that the council workers are doing the work for which they are paid. Individuals should boil and filter water before drinking, especially if it comes from a doubtful source.

In conclusion, the city council has to do everything possible to make sure that the citizens have clean water to drink and that their sanitation is not neglected as it can greatly reduce their lifespan.