That is what we saw on the faces of the villagers last week in Njongon and MBullet Ba.
Thanks to all the people who have helped us raise the funds,and especially to all the people from Cyprus who contributed 60,000 euro to the project.in 2009.The total project was delivered on time and in budget working out at a cost of 30 euros per head of population.
The Borehole is 300 ft(90 mts) deep. There are 48 solar panels with a heavy duty invertor providing energy to the submersible pump drawing the water up to the storage tank ,capacity 25,000 litres of water. The village youths had dug 4.5 km of trenches to run the pipe distribution to the standpipes. Incredibly hard work in such high temperatures.
M’Bullet Ba has its standpipes in the centre of the village at the end of the long 3km pipeline and Njongon has its standpipes spread around the village. The two villages worked together and share the responsibility for the central area where the borehole and solar panels and tank are located. This area is securely fenced off but will have a full time security guard at night.
Using our own bricks & trained construction team we will build a proper Production Facility adjacent to this area which will house our 2 brick making machines. We have a tractor & trailer which will bring raw materials to the machines & gives us the ability to deliver finished bricks to future customers. This building activity provides good employment for a number of men & contributes to the Village Development Fund
The population of the two villages is well over 3,000 people who now have clean drinking water for the first time,and they have economic activities to pay the for future maintenance. There is a maintenance contract in place and arrangements in place already for collecting a levy from each family.
The market gardens are looking good with three harvests a year being achieved by some .The tractor is being used to till larger areas of land adjacent to the villages.
The training school is still teaching the local youths about agriculture,bee keeping,animal husbandry and tie and dying. Their education has increased to include plumbing, carpentry and general construction .
The villagers gratitude was immense but we had all worked as a team and their trench digging was substantial , indeed critical in achieving the end result. The women were also essential in the organisation of this work and really appreciate that their kids will have clean drinking water. No more gathering sticks to boil water ,they just turn on the tap !
We are however very aware that all the families still have the back-breaking task of carrying water from the Stand pipes to their homes. This is done in 18/20 litre yellow containers, that’s 18/20 KGs each. Alot of this is done by the kids. We have identified a product which contains 90 lts of water & can be easily “rolled” home, it’s a Hippo Roller (www.hipporoller.org) . They are manufactured in S Africa and to date the company has made in excess of 300,000, distributed mainly in Southern African countries. Our target in 2010 is to bring in a 20ft container of these at a cost of $21,000 (Euro 16,000) On our website we will be offering people the opportunity to buy a single (or more ) Hippo Roller, cost $125 (Euro 90)
We also spent time in Bafaluto our first village where after 3 years the tank is being maintained and water flows around 11 standpipes. Their market garden is doing really well and has brought significant economic development to the village. There is even a Beauty Salon & a Business Centre primarily selling cement & building blocks to the folk who are attracted to come & settle in Bafaluto.
No sooner were the celebrations over but we were taken to an even poorer group of villages a few kms down the road who are desperate for clean water! So please act now and help us because we have proven that we have a successful, “good value for money”, model that really works in providing a long term sustainable source o Sheer Joy
We are delighted to report that the Cycle for Gambia team raised 60000 euro.
This was pledged or collected by the team from Cycle for Gambia while we were in Cyprus and it gave us a great deal of muscle to negotiate with the water system & solar energy company.
Straight off the flight we went to the company’s offices and started to examine what could be achieved with the additional funds. We were already 3/4 of the way through Njongon’s water system and now we could begin to look at the third village M’Bollet Bah. A large village of over 2,000 folk. Initial estimates looked like 84,000 Euro would be needed to complete Njongon AND put a full system into M’Bollet bah, so we decided to rethink things & to go to the villages over the next few days and discuss it with them.
You need to appreciate Gambians do not jump up and down when you say you have money coming, they have heard it all before from other NGOs and government departments, and then nothing happens. We learnt this from our first village of Bafaluto that they only celebrated when they saw actual work being carried out.
After visiting Bafaluto the next day and seeing the success and the impact of the clean water, babies and mothers were healthier and they had a great market garden.
We were uplifted with what had been achieved with our help and their hard labour.
Back to the North Bank, we talked to the leaders in Njongon who agreed to help dig the trenches for their water distribution system and to reduce the distribution network from 2.5km down to 1.5km to save money. They were very sympathetic & aware of the difficulty of raising money during these times of recession.
Following this meeting we came up with a possible alternative approach for M’Bollet Bah. Could we service M’bollet Bah from the already completed Njongon bore hole? Could we increase the pumping capacity, with more solar panels, could we upgrade the inverter and finally could the water be gravity fed over 3 km to Mbollet Bah. We did not want to incur the cost of an intermediate pumping station.
We took this new idea back to the water system & solar energy company and they set to work investigating the feasibility. A few hours later they gave us a “thumbs up” & soon came up with a price for this revised system. M’bollet Bah villagers had already agreed to digging the trenches for their distribution pipes.
We now can get clean water to 3000+ villagers (1000 in Njongon and 2000+ in M’Bollet Bah) for just 52,000 euro more! A saving of over 30K.Wonderful value for money!
Any extra funds can be used to increase the distribution network or provide Hippo Rollers (www.hipporoller.org), since the 52,000 will provide an absolute minimum number of stand pipes in each village: a lot of carrying of water will still be necessary, but it will be Clean Water.
Reaction in M’Bollet Bah is cautionary as they have heard it all before, but Njongon are very happy as they already have their water tank and bore hole completed. We were delighted that they readily agreed to reduce their distribution network to help their neighbour. and had no complaints about the delays in their water being finished as we have to wait for new upgraded equipment to arrive. They said they couldn’t be comfortable having a full water distribution system if it meant their neighbour didn’t have any clean water at all. It was quite humbling & a lesson for all of us, how readily Njongon were willing to settle for less to ensure their neighbours got something .
The leaders of M’Bollet Bah have been trying to get clean water for over 14 years and have had many promises but nothing ever came of them. At our meeting with them the chief was offering to stand down, as he had not been able to achieve this basic requirement for his people. They are proud people but this group of middle-aged village elders (male & female) begged us to help them. We found this really tough and we are so glad that all the effort Sunil, Dave, Leslie and the rest of the Cyprus team have put in allowed us to tell them we will make their dream of Clean Water a reality.
Long term we can see the benefits from our first village, Bafaluto , and the impact on health with many less infant mortalities in the last year, healthier adults, a better quality of life for the women (the women in M’Bollet Bah currently have a 4 km round trip to carry 25lt of water which then needs boiling, not to mention the work of gathering the sticks for the fire!), more education time for the children, more people staying in the villages and people moving into the village due to it having Clean Water. All families pay a small amount into a village fund for the upkeep of the water system and maintenance of the market garden fencing.
The borehole is 80/90 metres deep and the quality of the pump, inverter and solar panels are top class. With good maintenance they will have many many years of clean water.
We need more funds to take the water around M’bollet Bah, about 15k euro to have taps available in different parts of this large village.
We were asked to look at another project which is 10km north past Njongon, towards the Senegal border, with three small villages who could operate off one borehole, one tank, & one set of solar panels & pumping system and then we’d pipe water to the 3 villages.
But Njongon & M’Bollet Bah projects will be brought to a final conclusion before we think of moving on to another project sometime next year.
If you can help, please donate today, we are really making a difference on the ground and it is a joy to see!!!
The Gambia had a pretty bad wet season this year and they had houses damaged and one of the brick machines shelters blown over, but the villagers are working hard at establishing a new more secure location for the brick machines and brick production is starting again this week.
The tractor is ploughing big areas for commercial planting and is very useful moving raw materials & finished bricks.
Momodou Joof has still got 20 to 24 young adults in the training school learning about the brick-making, general construction, bee keeping and all aspects of rural agriculture.
We are lucky to have some supporters also very actively involved in raising finance and taking a personal interest since they visited the projects last year.
Edwina Grant took out a OH projector and teaching materials, which are being used in the newly built training centre to bring more info to the students.
Our friend Sunil Mystry from Cyprus visited the projects last spring and is currently putting the finishing touches to the training for a 750 km bike ride around the island, he will be accompanied by two friends
Check out their web site www.cyclingforgambia.com
They plan to start the Cycle on 1st November and have done a fantastic job getting support & have featured on local radio and in newspapers, their target is to raise 60k. This will cover cost of the complete Clean Water system in Njongon a village of 850 folk.
Thanks to Ciclisport Ltd. Moneymore Northern Ireland for providing the bikes for the ride around Cyprus .
Maya Coxon also visited The Gambia with us and has taken a keen interest in the bee keeping project , financially supporting the two villages and getting involved in how it all works by getting a beehive of her own in the UK.
The solar panels to pump the water up to the water tank are ordered and should be in place with clean water running before Christmas in Njongon.Village.
Brian and I will be in The Gambia in November to negotiate the costs for the next village and set out the strategy for 2010, plus check back on how Bafaluto, the first village, is progressing.
If you can help with a donation of any kind, maybe as a Christmas present to a friend or you would like to visit the projects please call us on;
The Training Centre at Njongon has enrolled more students now and they are being organised by Mr Joof in several useful ways.
The bore hole at Njongon has been dug and capped,which is the first stage for our project to have clean water for this village of 800 folk . The second stage is now the construction of the water storage tank .Here are photos of the tank being constructed,
The commercial company doing the building have their own team but are also using our own students from the FFG training centre,so the students are learning the techniques as well as providing the bricks from our two brick machines,which has kept the price down.
The girls (who are also attending the Future Farmers of the Gambia training centre in Njongon) have been experimenting with dying fabrics and will be able to sell these in the market . The colours are fantastic as you can see in the photos.
Training Centre completed in Njongon.
The boys and girls who have started to attend the Training Centre in Njongon are fulfilling a life long dream of Momodou Joof our partner in the Gambia.
Over 25 years ago he set up the Future Farmers of the Gambia to provide training for the rural youths. It seemed like it would never happen but with a lot of work by the young people, some help from Swedish friends and our donations for the building materials we now have a school which can take up to 20 students . They can stay on site full time and learn all aspects of agriculture and animal husbandry. This knowledge & skill will encourage and enable them to stay in the rural area and develop market gardens and animal breeding and discourage them from the towns with their bright lights & inevitable problems of urban poverty & unemployment and all that that leads to.
This year there is no charge for the course, hopefully this will avoid any dropout. It is expected that we will get government approval & this will allow us to levy a small fee & “perhaps” attract some Gov’t support. Currently there are beehives, a garden, a brick machine to train on, some animals and very importantly, use of the new tractor which can be hired out with the students to local villages. Under supervision they can learn and earn some income for the Centre.
We are still looking for help to provide toilets and showers but the project is ‘ploughing’ ahead with a very enthusiastic bunch of students.Here are photos showing the buildings at the training school as they developed over the last 4 months to completion.
Bafaluto has now had clean water for 15 months and used 6,500 Cubic Metres, which translates to about 21 litres per person per day . World Health Organisation calculates that folks need between 35 litres/ day to live a healthy life. The most recent figures I found on the web for usage in USA showed a daily average per person of 80 gallons, (at 3.8 liters / US gallon) that’s 304 lts / day.
The benefits are so obvious, everyone looks so much healthier and the children have clear skin and bright eyes.
The Garden Committee are well organised using a specfic donation for new ropes and buckets and also kept some of the funds for seeds. They hope to expand their small plots and make larger commercial areas for tomatoes in the next harvest as at that time there will be a better market demand for those.
Another group are getting involved in the beehive training and an account is being set up to bring the bee hive revenue (about £800 a year all being well) into the village cooperative contributing to the water maintenance. The 4 folks looking after the bees get a 1/3, another 1/3 goes to theVillage Development Fund and a 1/3 is saved to provide additional beehives & training for other villages. Here are photos showing the growth in the garden at Bafaluto in March,the beehives ready for placing in the jungle,the harvest starting and the garden committee receiving a cheque for new ropes ,buckets and seeds.
Another eventful trip to the Gambia with terrific results.
On arrival we were asked to consider purchasing a new tractor and to delay the solar panels needed too later in the year for the water project because the Gambians felt they could make money almost immediately with the tractor.1) It would be very helpful to move the brick making forward by providing a delivery service 2) It would greatly reduce time getting raw material (basically earth) to the brick making site. 3).Much larger tracts of land could be cultivated. 4) A delivery and ploughing / harrowing service could be offered to adjoining villages.
The Indian Government are supplying Aid in the form of tractors at a budget price to help the villages. $18,000.00 US dollars but payment is split over 18 months which we considered to be a very good deal and best use of our limited funds at present.
The tractor, a Mahindra model 585, (Mahindra is the 3rd largest tractor company in the world, making well over 100,000 per year in India). It comes with a 5 ton trailer, a 3 disc plough and 7 disc harrow. It was delivered before we left and there was great excitement & thanksgiving.
We paid the deposit on the water storage tank and it will be ready in 3 to 4 months, and the bore hole is paid for and is being completed shortly. This will give the brick making activity and the tractor time to be start bringing in money which will contribute to the final payments on the water tank.
We then need to find the funds for the solar panels & water distribution ( about 34,000 sterling) to complete the Njongon water project this year.
We are satisfied that on completion of this water project Njongon will be very self sufficient and we can move onto the 3rd village in 2010.
The contract for the maintenance of the water system has been agreed and signed even before the job is completed, which shows Njongon’s commitment to looking after the facility and maintaining funds to do so.
The garden in Njongon is doing really well: the growth since it started in December is fantastic and the ladies have set up a bank account with funds being collected monthly to maintain the fencing and the wells .We supplied new ropes and buckets and seeds which are being collectively looked after by the Garden Committee. They hope to have 2 or even 3 crops this year and are widening the variety of seeds each time.
The introduction of bees has been successful with the bees arriving into two of the hives even before the training has been completed. We have put 20 hives into a natural habitat beside the Training Centre and they have a group of 4 villagers looking after them and collecting the honey and using the beeswax as waterproofing for the bricks.
Thanks to all of you who have made all this possible by your donations. Here are some pictures showing our new tractor and our first bricks coming off production. The garden in Njongon before irrigation and after 8 weels were added and 3 months growth. Plus the beehives being delivered to Njongon..
The new “Articles” section in our site will feature blog postings from various fundraisers and supporters of the PING Charity. You will be able to read first hand accounts of those involved in raising money and awareness for People In Need Gambia.
If you would like to be a contributors then please use the contact form to get in touch, we are happy to hear from all those who wish to support the charity.
CYCLE FOR GAMBIA
Sunil Mistery of TwinCommunities, Dave Metcalf,owner of Paphos! Spa Tonic,and Personal Trainer, ScottReid have started their training for a fundraising round Cyprus bike ride that will take place in
The inspiration for this cycle challenge is Sunil!s recent visit to Gambia with Brian and Pamela to see the work of PING Charity.
Their aim is to cover the 600 kilometer journey in 7 days and raise 60,000 Euros for PING Charity to fund a borehole and water storage tank in a Gambian village.
Gambia is Africa’s smallest country. Half of its 1.6 million population is living on less than $1 per day.
Anyone interested in cycling them please contact PING and we will put you in touch with Sunil.
We will have a blog on line soon so you can follow the run up and the event with Sunil and his gang.
You can donate through the PING site specifically for the Cycle Challenge.
We are just back from The Gambia and things are moving on well, Bafaluto village has already used 4000 cubic metres of water from the borehole, that is 4 millon litres in about ten months, and their vegetable garden is coming on well with the second and third planting in some places, chillies, sorrel corn, courgettes, lettuce and tomatoes are all growing in addition to their original crops and we are experimenting with some more seeds all the time.
The brick machine is in place in Njongon and the training is started, the first training bricks will be used to fix some of the houses which fell down in the bad rains this summer and then we intend to build an oven to cook bread and such, in the village at Njongon and follow this with one in Bafaluto, they are built like pizza ovens and fired with wood. They will be able to sell the bread in the village and to surrounding villages. Currently they have to travel 7 kms to buy fresh bread
We researched the bee keeping in more depth this trip and are planning 40 beehives for each village to get the honey making started. Also it will complement the brick making since we can use the bees wax to waterproof the bricks. The honey can be sold through the National Beekeepers Association for profit for the village cooperative to ensure the maintenance of the clean water installation the market garden fencing and irrigation wells. More on this later.
Njongon have their 5 acre vegetable garden area well cleared and the 8 irrigation wells completed as is the perimeter fencing, This will give a significant economic activity to support the clean water project. 72 plots have already been allocated by the garden committee.
Our next step is clean water for Njongon but we need 55k sterling to complete the75 mt deep borehole , storage tank, solar panels& submersible pump and the distribution network. In The Gambia we were getting competitive quotes and since returning we have met with some European companies who are also giving us prices. We intend to make our own bricks for the water tank. Unfortunately we can’t start the water project until we have all the money in hand since there are legal contracts to be signed before the commencement work, so please tell your friends and their friends about us ; every little bit helps.
We intend to make Bafaluto (650)and Njongon(800 )self sustainable before moving onto the next village, but we were delighted with the work being done and commitment of both communities. It was great to hear from the mothers that with only ten months of clean water in Bafaluto their children & they themselves could notice & feel the benefits of readily available clean water.
There is a real buzz about the whole village and they send their heartfelt thanks to all of you who have helped.
Any questions just e mail us
Regards Pamela and Brian