Niamina Water Filter Project – The Gambia

This project is made possible through the collaboration of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Niamina Dankunku and Niamina West Districts, Central River Region–South, The Gambia

Community Description
Remote, rural villages along the river that are all struggling with clean water access, and the related health issues.Kalikajara Village, The Gambia

Problem Addressed
Many of these rural villages struggle with clean water access. For numerous communities, the government installed handpumps in the 1990s.  However, due to low capacity to maintain or repair these pumps, many of them are breaking and broken. This leaves women and girls,those traditionally responsible for collecting water, with little choice but to walk farther in search of working water points.

However, some communities have no option but to resort to pulling out broken pumps and turning protected wells into open wells.  Villagers using ropes and buckets to draw water are at high risk of contaminating their water sources and spreading debilitating waterborne diseases like dysentery and diarrhea.

In addition, when pumps are dismantled, handpump components commonly go missing or are stolen and concrete slabs are broken and damaged, leaving no possibility of fixing them. Similarly, some villages have never benefited from drinking from protected wells, and instead have relied on open wells for generations.  Locally dug open wells are not only sources of dirty water, but also physically unsafe and pose a safety hazard for the very children and women who use them.

Project Description
There are at least 5 villages in the Gambia Lifewater Project’s (GLP) program area that currently rely on open wells for their drinking water. (e.g. Si Kunda, Kalikajara, Borehole, Colley Kunda, Modikaya). 3 additional villages have functioning handpumps, but have water quality/taste issues. GLP proposes to pilot the use of Sawyer Point One filters for at least 4 of these villages, improving the health for approximately 1,000 people. Filters will be communally owned by the village but individual households where they are installed will be responsible for caring for them.

A total of 50 Point One filters will make up this project.   3-5 Sawyer filters will be installed in each village at the household level to provide clean water for the whole community and evaluate local reception of the new water filtration technology for potential future distribution. Water Charity proposes to conduct a series of 3-4 trips to each village.
  • The first will re-assess the water situation, sensitize the village, and demonstrate the use of the Sawyer water filter, and ask the village to choose 3-5 households to pilot the filter. Careful attention will go towards placement of the filters so that they will be evenly dispersed throughout the village and not concentrated in one area.
  • The second (ideally 1-3 days later) will re-visit the village and assess the proper placement and waterproofness of the material of the pedestal on which the Sawyer filter and bucket will rest. WC will also if there is an opportunity to install a larger capacity bucket/water container with multiple filter outlets.
  • The third trip will involve installing Sawyer filters with appropriate-sized food grade buckets and handing them over to households, along with instructions. Special care will be placed on showing responsible households how to care for and maintain/backflush the filters.
  • The fourth trip (if possible) will monitor usage of the filters and troubleshoot any issues for immediate attention and for future planning.
Si Kunda Village, The GambiaProject Impact

It is envisaged that the whole roll out for 4 villages will take up to two weeks to implement once initiated. Again, this project is expected to benefit up to 1,000 women, children, and men. This is part of Water Charity’s ongoing FIlters For Life Program – Worldwide, and this filtration component will complement The Gambia Lifewater Project’s ongoing pump repair and installation works and general hygiene and sanitation improvement projects.
To date, GLP and Water Charity have rehabilitated or installed 40 pumps in 26 villages in Niamina West and Niamina Dankunku, benefitting more than 14,000 local Gambians with improved clean water access.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Jeremy Mak, a member of the National Peace Corps Association and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The Villages will be responsible for the maintenance of their filters.  Additionally, local GLP and PCV workers will be able to monitor the success of the project, as well as contact us at Water Charity to expand filter distribution as needed.

Jeremy has done a large number of projects with Water Charity.  Starting as a PCV, then as an RPCV, and including quite a few ambitious programs to repair or provide new pumps in communities where their old pumps had ceased functioning.  Water Charity has funded these Gambia Lifewater Pump projects readily, and will continue to work with Jeremy through a new round of pump and filter projects.  To see a complete list of projects that Jeremy has worked on with Water Charity, CLICK HERE.  In fact, while doing this water filter installation project, Jeremy was simultaneously doing a well handpump installation project in 5 nearby villages!  This project can be seen HERE.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0 – This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Gamrupa Danmark.

This project has been completed!  To see the results, CLICK HERE.