Sare Njobbo Well Project – The Gambia
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
After the ferry crossing at Bansang, the South Bank Road heads due southeast while the River Gambia heads due north before turning due south a few miles later. The land within this space is remote, even by Gambian standards. The largest village, the only one large enough to be shown on GoogleMaps, is Chargel.
To the east of Chargel is the remote village of Sarre Njobbo. The community consist of 50 compounds. 100% of the community ‘s population are from the Fula tribe, and predominately depend on subsistence farming and nomadic herding to earn their living and to satisfy their basic needs.
The community has no drinkable water. A significant portion of the community’s time is spent traveling several kilometers (more than 30 minutes’ walk) to fetch water from the village of Sare Ngallen. As a result, few girls are in school. (Most unusually, men also help fetching water by driving a donkey cart on which to carry water back to the village.) With temperatures exceeding 120 degrees in summer, it is a difficult task, even for young, strong women. Once the rains come, it becomes a treacherous and muddy walk.
The project consists of digging a hand-dug well in Sare Njobbo village, lining it with concrete, covering it, and installing a German-made hand pump.
The steps to taken are to dig the hole for the well, using pick axes, spades and pulley. For the first part the men of the community will do the digging, and after it gets deeper, the contractor’s personnel will take over.
Once water is struck, a rented diesel pump will pump water out of the hole so that digging can continue below the water line. (The project will be done in June, just before the rains, so that the water table will be at its lowest.)
Once the hole is complete, it will be lined with concrete, then covered and a German handpump installed.
The community will host and feed the team that will dig the well and they will also participate in physical labor such as providing sand, water and gravel for the professional team responsible for building the well, and will also provide 40% of the labor for digging the well.
900 people will benefit greatly from this project.
Mike McConnell, Managing Trustee, GambiaRising, and Former Country Director for Peace Corps in The Gambia from 2007 through 2009. GambiaRising’s Community Coordinator, Ismaila Cham, will oversee the project. Ismaila is a teacher living in Chargel.
Monitoring and Maintenance
GambiaRising’s Community Coordinator and project manager will visit the site regularly every 2 months to check whether the hand pump is properly used.
Upon the completion of the project, the project manager will work with community leaders to select a monitoring committee of concerned and caring people and will conduct a workshop for them in which an expert will be invited to sensitize them on the importance of taking good care of the hand pump. The invited expert will train them on how to use the pump to maintain its durability.
The selected monitoring committee will be inspecting the hand pump monthly to check if it is working properly.
A mechanism will be created in which community contributions will be collected and saved for future minor maintenance.
Let Girls Learn
Most of the burden of fetching water for Sare Njobbo has fallen on its young women – wives and daughters. The community has pledged that if they have a steady, local water supply, they will begin enrolling more of their daughters in school.
Although the funds to get this project underway have been provided by an anonymous donor, we continue to accept donations so that we will have funds on hand for the next project in The Gambia. Please use this Donate button, and your donation will be attributed to this project and the Peace Corps Volunteer will be notified.