Conclusion of Bati Njol Health School for Women Garden Well Project – The Gambia

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

The project was to build 3 community wells for the irrigation of the women’s garden.

Shawn reports:

The 3 wells have been completed.

The first well was completed on time, but the project was delayed due to the observance of a Muslim tradition called Ramadan, a month-long hiatus from most strenuous labor due to the fasting from all food and water.

The second well, started before Ramadan, was completed just after the fasting was over.

The third well then took about a month to be constructed.

The wooden posts were put into place on the wells and the community purchased the rope, to be used with bidongs and containers to draw the water up.

The water table was found not to be too deep. The community contribution was admirable, despite the difficulties in the farming season. Aside from the well construction team, the village labor consisted of men and young boys collecting sand and gravel, while the women brought water to help mix the cement.

Before the wells were started, a chain-link fence was constructed in place of the local “stick-fence” that only lasts through a season or two before being destroyed, usually by livestock and the nature of West African wind and rain. This helped to secure a place for the beds to be started just as the first well was constructed.

The garden committee had every woman register her plot by giving 100 Dalasis (about $3), securing her a place in the garden. They have since purchased a variety of seeds, involving dry-season vegetables, such as onion, salad, bitter tomato, carrot and a few others that are a first to the community. In the past it was difficult to garden these vegetables due to a lack of water in the garden.

The community and I are now working on developing the garden, planting a live fence of Moringa and Sisal. Peace Corps is planning on coming out to Bati Njol to hold a few small trainings on improved gardening techniques.

Thank you for all of your help! I’m glad we could work together.

We are grateful to Shawn for completing this important project, and again wish to thank Dr. Nancy Thaler Gabbert and Shawn’s other friends and family for providing the funding.