Fula Bantang Senior Secondary School Well Project – The Gambia

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION, in cooperation with GambiaRising.

Fula Bantang, The Gambia

Community Description
Fula Bantang is a rural Fula community where most of its members are farmers and cow herders and have little income otherwise. The community has received assistance from the Catholic Education Secretariat in the form of a clinic and a basic cycle school built within the village.

Education is important to many of the members of Fula Bantang, but in many peoples’ minds, it is still second to farming. This is due to the immediate benefits that farming provides. It is not uncommon for students to be pulled out of school for a time to help their families on the farms.

Due to the rural nature of the village and surrounding villages, tradition holds very strong. Women tend to be married off at a young age (often before finishing school). Due to the lack of a close senior secondary school, it is not uncommon for boys to be sent off to continue their education after grade nine while their sisters stay in the village or get married off.

The community where this project is to take place is composed of Fula Bantang as well as surrounding villages, with the potential that this project will support students from all over the country as the secondary school grows and expands.

GambiaRising is a small, committed team of Gambians and Americans working to make it possible for deserving Gambian students to stay in school. The community realized the need for a senior secondary school and has been working together with GambiaRising to build the school.

Problem Addressed
There is no source of water at the school. The school has very limited funding because, in The Gambia, schools’ funding comes from the national level. At that level, most of the development money comes from grants and from NGOs whose resources are limited. The rural communities do not have the funds to assist.

There is clean water available to the village in the form of a tap system. Unfortunately, this water is only accessible from one solar pump, where access is limited to three hours each day because of a lack of capacity.

Project Description
This project is to build a well at a secondary school.

The well will have a Mark II hand pump as well as a solar pump to provide for the needs of the school and the surrounding community.

The water will be used for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as to irrigate the school gardens and farms.

The water table is 13 m deep and the driller has provided assurance that the water will be reached, as well as a guarantee that the well will last for over forty years. The well will be lined with concrete rings, and sealed to excluded contaminants.

Construction of the school was started in the old Fula Bantang football field next to the clinic, under the direction of Kebba Sanyang (the school’s headteacher), Raphael Jawo (a community member and teacher), and Musa Mballow (a community member and head of the school management committee).

Workers from the local communities were hired to build the school. These same workers will also build the well.

The steps for completing the well are as follows:

  • Have a community meeting to inform the community about the construction and to take community members’ input on the planning of the project
  • Identify a contractor for the project
  • Identify the most suitable site for the well on the campus
  • Purchase the required materials
  • Commence work on the well
  • Monitoring and supervision of the construction, done by officials from CES (Catholic Education Secretariat) as well as selected community leaders
  • Hand over the project
  • Establish a water committee among students at the school.

Throughout construction, day and night watchmen will be employed to look after all the materials and equipment belonging to the school.

Water Charity and GambiaRising are jointly funding this project, with Water Charity funds used for the building of the well and installation of the hand pump, and GambiaRising funds used for the construction of the solar pump.

Project Impact
More than 1,000 people will benefit from the project, including students, community members, teachers, and clinic workers.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Tim Solfest, Peace Corps Volunteer

Mike McConnell, Managing Trustee, GambiaRising, and Former Country Director for Peace Corps in The Gambia from 2007 through 2009.

Monitoring and Maintenance
After construction, the well will be consistently monitored and maintained by members of the school, including the watchmen.

This project falls under the Water Charity Let Girls Learn Initiative – Worldwide. The designation is given to projects with the objectives of, and in the spirit of, the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn program.

The project will provide the only source of water for the school. In addition, it will provide members of the community with another source of water that is closer to some compounds, and will lessen the number of time women spend carrying water to and from the well as well as waiting their turn to fill their buckets.

The well will also make water available to the St. Lazarus Clinic, located next door. All women from Fula Bantang and surrounding communities who are pregnant or have young children come to the clinic, which is the site of monthly health clinics.

This project is part of our ongoing  Western Africa Water & Sanitation Program.

This project has been made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

This project has been completed. To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.