Village Water System Part 1

  • Education
  • Water & Sanitation
  • The Gambia
This project is led by Declan Dwyer-McNulty, a Volunteer from New York

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Establishing a solar-powered water supply system for the local village will increase villagers' access to potable water. The project will install a borehole well and solar-powered water pump at the eastern edge of the village, and establish a network of eight strategically located taps throughout the village. Currently, there are only four operational public hand pumps, three of which are located on the north side of the village, and one public open well, which serves the residents of the far southern edge of the village. And this project which, is considered as phase 1 of the improve supply to the community will served the most disadvantage site of the village where the families entirely depend on the existing open well identified above. The community has raised over $5,000 to finance the second component of the water supply system in the community, and the PCV and counterparts will start fund raising to support the second phase after successful completion of phase.

Difficulty accessing water is a regular topic of conversation, particularly as is relates to the workload of women - who perform most of the water-intensive household tasks, and villagers' aspirations for developing gardens and tree nurseries and keeping small ruminants or poultry in their compounds. During the PCV's Community Needs Assessment interviews with members of each household in the village, and in discussions with the VDC, WMC, and Community Health Nurse about the welfare of villagers, improving access to potable water was consistently identified as the first or second community development priority. Following initial project development meetings between VDC executives, WMC members, the village chief, the PCV, PCTG's grant specialist, and representatives of the water system installation company Water Point, the VDC has held two general village forums on the water systems project and numerous executive board meetings to coordinate fundraising and future management of the project. The VDC Chairman is in close contact with PCTG's grant specialist, the PCV, Declan Dwyer-McNulty, and the head of Water Point. Water Point estimates that the project will cost approximately 1.6 million dilasi, and the counterpart informed the VDC, WMC, and village chief that the community should raise 20 to 25% of the project cost. Currently, the village has raised approximately 420 thousand dilasi (just over 25%) through the savings of the Community Forest Committee, the recent sale of lumber from the community forest, and donations from an association of emigrants living near the coast. Community and executive committee meetings to update the WMC's policies for the new water system are pending.

It has been clearly communicated to the village that the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of this system is their responsibility, and that they need to be willing to make financial contributions to ensure the village can cover future costs. The community has raised 420 thousand dalasi before the start of the project. Currently the WMC charges a monthly fee to households for use of the village hand pumps, and a monthly fee to cattle owners for use of the village cattle borehole. It remains to be determined if the current taxing policies will be adequate to maintain the new system. The PCV will work closely with the WMC to help foster thorough and transparent financial reporting, forward-looking financial planning, and adjusting by-laws and policies as appropriate based on community feedback and experiences once the system is in use.

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