ESSACA at Yaoundé 4

Audrey Sophie Ndongo
January 29, 2024

The 'elobis' or informal settlements that have sprung upspontaneously in the shallows of Yaoundé are victims of all the problemsinherent in their location, particularly flooding and the unhealthy conditionscreated by the run-off of rainwater on the hillsides. Moreover, the entirehydrological system of the city of Yaoundé is impacted by the presence ofelobis, hence the need to look at these neighbourhoods and find solutions toimprove the quality of life of the people living there.

With the support of Erasmus plus teaching missionagreements, concluded in partnership with the Faculty of Architecture,Architectural Engineering and Urban Planning of the Université Catholique deLouvain (UCL-LOCI) in Belgium, Workshops on environmental issues relating towater and waste management have been initiated. The aim is to position ESSACAto support Yaoundé's municipalities, communities, and associations in the fightagainst flooding and pollution, by training students and teachers in theconcepts and methods of decentralised, collaborative and incremental managementof these issues.

The Commune d'Arrondissement of Yaoundé IV, which covers anarea of 5,880 ha stretching from the centre to the south-east of the city ofYaoundé and is bordered to the west by the river Mfoundi, which, like all ofYaoundé's communes d'arrondissement, has many elobis on its territory, has beenthe ideal location for ESSACA's Workshops on environmental issues relating towater and waste.  The commitment of HisMajesty Gabriel Bihina Effila, Mayor of Yaoundé IV, and his staff has enabledus to work right from the start on the various Workshops held in the area underthe agreements signed between UCL-LOCI and ESSACA.

Firstly, ESSACA welcomed Dr Jean-Philippe De Visscher,architect, doctor in the art of building and urban planning from 27 November to01 December 2018 for the design of a joint water and waste management projectin an informal neighbourhood of Yaoundé which gave rise to the film Elobi withthe participation of Olivier Chadoin from ENSAP Bx.

The work continued with a second workshop from 4 to 15November 2022 to map water and waste management in the low-lying areas ofYaoundé. In particular, the Yaoundé IV implementation site was used to surveywater networks and flows, as well as waste networks and flows, with graphicsummaries of typical situations.

As part of the same agreements, UCL-LOCI also welcomed CyrilMoukoko Ndoumbe, a lecturer in bioclimatic architecture at ESSACA, from 9 to 15November 2019 and from 24 to 28 February 2020, and Stéphane Akoa, a lecturer inurban and regional analysis, from 27 February 2023 to 10 March 2023, in orderto enrich the research work on the relationship between 'urban commons' andresearch by design, particularly in the specific case of the elobis in the cityof Yaoundé.

The last Workshop, held from 6 to 18 April 2023, aimed tobuild a prototype water and waste management system and to develop thesurroundings of a catchment area in the commune of Yaoundé IV.

Building on previous work, this Workshop also led to thedevelopment of a replicable forward-looking approach underpinned by amulti-scale strategy combining development and a decentralised managementsystem.

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