Conclusion of Saare Madia Primary School Well Project – Senegal

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Cara Steger. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was to construct a well at the Saare Madia Primary School.

Cara reports:

Their Saare Madia Primary School was constructed very recently, and was totally without water and sanitation facilities. The nearest well was over 200 meters away. (This is a correction from the original estimate.) Students would only bring enough water to clean the blackboards; if they wanted a drink of water, or to use the facilities, they had to leave the school grounds and walk to the village. This was highly disruptive to the learning environment.

Water Charity funds were used to hire a team of well diggers to dig the 15-meter deep well, and to purchase cement and rebar to build the well top.

The community brought the supplies from Kounkane on a donkey cart, and gathered rocks and sand to mix with the gravel. A local mason agreed to build the well top at half price.

Because of the timing – it was both planting season and Ramadan – the project moved very slowly. However, it is now completed and the community is thrilled!

The school director is particularly excited for the coming school year, as he has been planning a school garden since the school opened. Now that there is a well there, the school will be able to grow the okra, hibiscus, onions, tomatoes and carrots they normally had to purchase for school lunches. They are also planning demonstration plots of corn and peanuts to show the students proper spacing for field crops.

Thanks to money saved from a local mason doing the work at half price, as well as an unsolicited contribution of cement from the community, there are remaining Water Charity funds from the project. The director and I have decided to use them to purchase two locally-made water filters from Dakar to be put in the classrooms (30,000 cfa each).

Water purification has not been a high priority for community members, and the director is hoping that by educating the children on water-borne diseases and proper sanitation techniques, we will start changing this behavior at an early age. This is a very exciting time to be working at the primary school of Saare Madia! Many thanks to Water Charity for making this project possible.

We are grateful to Cara for finishing the project, and again extend our thanks to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.