Central River Region Handpump and WASH Improvement Program – Phase 2 – The Gambia

5 villages in Niamina Dankunku and Niamina West Districts, Central River Region-South, The Gambia. The villages are Choya, Madina Wallom, Dankunku Fula Kunda, Sare Gynalko, and Brikama Lefaya.

Community Description
These 5 villages are smaller ethnic Fula communities that are largely under-served by government and NGO agencies. These poor, pastoral and farming villages enjoy few basic services, and as a result, health outcomes are fairly low. For the most part, their subsistence livelihoods are tied to the growing season and cattle herding.

Central River Region Handpump and WASH Improvement Program – Phase 2 - The Gambia

Problem Addressed
Water access is a main issue throughout the area, mostly due to breaking and broken water pumps. This adds a huge burden to local communities, especially women and girls, as they are traditionally responsible for collecting water for household use.

When pumps break and cannot be fixed, women and girls must walk farther to find other working water points. As pumps are breaking, the remaining operational water taps are increasingly stressed by rising water needs.

Lower access to water also means less water to drink, bathe, and water animals and crops. For these farmers, it simply means less opportunity to raise income and provide for their families.

In addition, general health, sanitation, and hygiene standards remain low, due to poor levels of awareness and bad practices.

Project Description
This program is to improve water access and sanitation conditions across five villages.

Firstly, 3 German Mark II handpumps (2 in Dankunku Fula Kunda and 1 in Mt. Carmel, an elementary school in Sare Gynalko) will be repaired.

A previous Water Charity project fixed the two 22-year-old pumps in Fula Kunda last year. However, both are now experiencing problems. One no longer draws water, and the other one has a leak in the cylinder, requiring locals to prime the pump every time water is drawn (the water seals no longer work).

This decrease in water access has forced local women and girls to walk to neighboring Dankunku to fetch water there. The distance and physical burden adds greater hardship to their lives and takes time and energy away from other productive pursuits.

This project will also fix the 17-year-old handpump in Mt. Carmel’s garden. The housing, handle, axle, and bearings have broken completely, and the pump no longer draws water. It broke 4 years ago, leaving schoolchildren without a water source in their garden. The school’s other pump and borehole tap are too far away to supply water to grow short-term vegetables.

This project will carry out comprehensive inspection, maintenance, spare parts, and repairs on all 3 pumps so that they are in working order.

Secondly, this program will fund scheduled maintenance for the 3 Bluepumps installed by Water Charity in 2012 in the Choya, Si Kunda, and Kalikajara Pump Project. A dedicated crew from local Bluepump distributor SWE-GAM will travel upcountry in the next month to Choya, Madina Wallom, Brikama Lefaya villages to pull out the rods and cylinder of these pumps to inspect parts for preventative and precautionary servicing.

The Bluepumps are much more durable that the Mark IIs and deliver much more water, and it is a priority to ensure their continued operation. Surrounding villages are also heavily relying on these pumps for drinking and watering their animals.

Thirdly, this program will conduct a modest soap distribution in Choya and Brikama Lefaya villages. A mix of regular and antibacterial soap will help assist beneficiaries who chronically experience soap shortages (due to lack of money to buy adequate amounts for growing families) to fight lingering skin infections.

Central River Region Handpump and WASH Improvement Program – Phase 2 - The GambiaFourthly, this program will carry out some activities originally envisaged under the Brikama Lefaya Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Improvement Project. It will construct a new toilet in Brikama Lefaya village to replace an old toilet that was filling up, caving in, and whose slab breaking. It will also construct up to 5 showering slabs in the same village to provide improved areas for bathing (rather than perching on top of a single block or a discarded piece of metal corrugate, villagers now have a safe place to comfortably bathe).

Currently, the villagers bathe themselves in reed-screened areas behind mud houses. These areas have no flooring, so the used water pools, creating an unsafe environment for algae and bacteria. Creating concrete floors with rebar supports and soak-away drains will give villagers more comfortable and hygienic places to shower.

Lastly, this program will purchase a kit and parts to build rocker micro-irrigation pumps for gardens on a future trip. Rather than painstaking watering plants one at a time by a bucket or container, the construction of irrigation kits and water reservoirs will help locals more quickly and efficiently distribute water for their short-term crops. 3 to 5 of these pumps will be built for gardens in different villages.

Project Impact
1,300+ people will benefit from the project, including those from the following villages:

Choya – 450
Madina Wallom – 150
Dankunku Fula Kunda – 400
Sare Gynalko – 250
Brikama Lefaya – 50

In addition, villagers from Sambang, Dankunku, and Buniadu who use Brikama Lefaya’s Bluepump, and those from Jamara, who use Madina Wallom’s Bluepump, will benefit.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Jeremy Mak, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

This is Phase 2 of a large-scale program to undertake a series of projects to (1) repair and install handpumps and (2) to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in the region.

To read about Phase 1 of this project, and its successful conclusion, CLICK HERE, where you can also read about the other projects completed under Jeremy’s direction. Links on that page will take you to the individual projects in that phase of the program, and you can navigate through the entire Gambia Lifewater Program to date via the links below this post.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date


Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will give you “naming rights”, if that is something you would like.

Any contributions in excess of the Dollar Amount of the Project will be allocated to other projects directed by this PCV and/or projects of other PCVs in this country.

Dollar Amount Needed

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