Agricultural training school completed in Njongon

April 03 2009

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.

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Our first village Bafaluto

April 03 2009

OUR FIRST VILLAGE:  BAFALUTO

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.

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Tractors and Bricks in Njongon

April 03 2009

A New Tractor and Brick Making in Njongon village

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..

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Articles Section added

March 11 2009

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.

Cycling in Cyprus for PING

February 23 2009

CYCLE FOR GAMBIA
CYPRUS 2009!
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
November.
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.

Update from The Villages

January 05 2009

Hi
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

Project development

July 05 2008

The second village of Njongon has been started,this village is on the north bank which is very poor. It does not have the tourists coming accross the river but as it was Momodou’s own village it was the automatic choice for our next move.
The market garden is 5 acres with 8 wells as the village has more people,some 800 in total.This has been completed and the fence surrounding the whole area is being finished in September 2008.
Njongon is also the area where the Future Farmers of the Gambia,a charity set up by Momodou 30 years ago,was trying to develope a training school for the young people. The idea was to teach them animal husbandry and agricultural/rural activities to keep the young in the rural areas. They have historically moved away to the towns and all the desperate conditions with few jobs. At least Momodou dream was to build a school with accomodation to keep them on the land and over the last few months this has been achieved. They have a training hall and four accomodation rooms located half a mile from the main village. The boys have been involved in all the building and setting up of the centre and we are thrilled with their progress.

News Coverage with the BBC

July 02 2008

We have visited the BBC in London at their request. We were asked to complete an interview with two journalists who had travelled to The Gambia a few weeks ago.They had interviewed our villagers in Bafaluto and witnessed the difference our project had mae to these peoples lives. They had greater depth of feedback than we had experienced and it was very rewarding. They are putting a programme together for BBC World Radio which is to be aired in the next few weeks and this will be on their web site for a few weeks after that.
The Observer Travel Section also completed an interview with us to show how a holiday became a mission, this will appear soon as well.

Brick Machines

June 30 2008

Two hand driven brick machines have arrived from Auroville SE India,at a cost of 4000.00 stg ,it only took 3 months to get here but the villagers have been busy building a stock pile of oyster shells during that time.The oyster shells are burnt on an open fire and they become lime ash.This will be mixed with earth and a little cement to make real bricks able to survive the wet season. Our villagers will be able to improve their own houses and then sell the bricks to neighbouring villages. We also intend to make our own bricks for the next water tower,saving money.

Latest News

April 01 2008

BBC World Service Radio recently visited The Gambia & went out to chat with the folks in Bafaluto, to see & hear first hand what difference Clean Water & the Market Garden had made to their lives. The feed back from the BBC journalists,Vicki Broadbent & Lesley Curwen, was wonderful to hear albeit a lttle embarrassing ! We met with Vicki & Lesley at BBC Headquarters in London & gave them our side of the amazing story. When it’s broadcast we’ll add the clip to the website.
On the same visit to London we met with Louise,the Travel Feature journalist of The Observer, who is planning an article on how a holiday in the sun can be pretty life changing for us and for hundreds of Gambians.