From the 31st of August to the 4th of September, with the support of the UNHCR, IEDA Relief launched the activity ” Gutter Cleaning and Rehabilitation Week” in order to restore the gutters which are currently blocked with sand, leading to shelter floods when the rain overflows. This activity was created in order to improve the living conditions and reduce the difficulties that refugees currently face during the winter season in the Goudoubo camp in the North of Burkina Faso.
The rainwater irrigation system in Goudoubo was initially built in 2013. The gutters were created with the aim of conducting rainwater towards natural gutters. Unfortunately, reduced financial means meant that this gutter system was not able to undergo the proper maintenance, and eventually started obstructing with sand, thus flooding the shelters in the camp due to the constant overflowing of water. Water stagnation often causes swarms of mosquitoes, which have become a hazard at the Goudoubo camp in every rainy season.
It was because of this that IEDA Relief’s Camp Management team, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), led the cleaning and rehabilitation activity for the gutter system, with the aim of reducing the difficulties that refugees face in everyday life and eventually increase their level of well-being. The strategy that was adopted for the week was essentially based on the participation of the refugee community as well as other partner organizations in the camp.
During the evening of Thursday the 27th of August 2015, a General Assembly was held with all the refugees in order to inform them and explain the goal of the activity. Through this meeting, refugees showed their engagement and contribution to the activity.
IEDA Relief played an important role in the event, by identifying the different dysfunctional areas of the gutter system, advocating on behalf of refugees for the maintenance of the gutter system, raising awareness among the refugee community for the need of cleaning the gutter system, supporting and motivating refugees for a larger participation, by creating the mapping of the gutter system along with the UNHCR and by purchasing and making available the material for the operation.
To implement the activity, IEDA Relief created three teams of at least 20 people, which included diggers, in charge of digging the channels following the initial indications, the “shovelers” who were in charge of emptying the sand from the channels, and finally the collectors, who were in charge of removing the sand and rocks for the creation of dykes the long of the gutters.
During these five days, the teams cleaned and rehabilitated the gutter system of a total length of 6.8 km. The system will now be able to channel rainwater to natural drainage ending in the river of the village of Goudoubo. In addition to this, shelters that were previously flooded will have reduced in number. Thanks to IEDA Relief, rainwater will no longer stagnate, which used to cause serious health problems and make the place prone to swarms of mosquitoes.