August 15 2015
We set up PING Charity (People In Need Gambia) as a result of visiting a very poor village, Bafaluto, while on holiday in 2006. Using our own funds we provided this village with clean drinking water and a 5 acre fenced irrigated vegetable garden, an economic activity to ensure future maintenance of the water system.
This was exactly what the villagers had asked for; democratically chosen from various options by a voting system using white stones.
The cost was £76,000 Stg; and we personally negotiated carefully with the companies involved; one drilled the 90 metre deep borehole and installed 24 solar panels plus inverter to power the submersible pump. A second built the elevated storage tank to hold 25,000 litres of water and laid 2 kilometres of distribution pipework.
We learnt a lot from this project, both cost savings and possible pitfalls, and we were helped greatly along the way by Mr. Momodou Joof, a retired school teacher who became our “man on the ground”.
The Bafaluto “model” showed us what was possible with relatively modest funds. The population figures in the six villages which now have clean drinking water and various economic activities are approximately:
Bafaluto 1,000. Njongon 1,000. M’Bullet Ba 1,300. Kerr Wally 550. Chessey 350. Ndofan 350.
Cost of providing the Water Systems:
Bafaluto £64,000 Stg completed in 2007
Njongon and MBullet Ba, £75,000, both villages being fed from one borehole and storage tank completed 2009 (Funds from friends & family and Cycle for Gambia charity)
Kerr Wally, Chessey, and Ndofan , 3 villages completed in 2015 cost £65,000 (funds from donations, selling jewellery and personal contributions).
Cost differences arose due to exchange rate, depth and difficulty of borehole drilling and distances of distributional pipe-work distances.
TRAINING SCHOOL: An initiative started by Mr Joof and his local charity, Future Farmers of The Gambia (FFG) which encourages the youths to learn a trade to stay in their village.
BRICKS: We purchased two manually operated “Compressed Earth Block” machines, 6,500 Euros, from Auroville, India which make first class building bricks. We have built a health clinic, and some housing.
BEES: We commissioned The National Beekeepers Association of Gambia (NBAG) to train people in beekeeping; we now have this in nine villages.
JEWELLERY: Girls in the Training School are learning Jewellery making skills and Tie and Dye local fabrics.
AGRICULTURE: The extensive fully fenced irrigated vegetable gardens ensure not only a better diet buy also provide an income. These have been very successful and managed very efficiently by the women. Treadle pumps purchased with a grant from the UN Staff Charity Fund help to lift water from the irrigation wells: these are being installed July 2015.
BAKERY: Built from our own bricks, it opened in Njongon in 2012
FISH FARM: The construction team helped to build a fish farm in 2014.
We enjoy the challenge of running PING and we know our model works and is good value for money. It is difficult in the current economic climate to raise funds but are very happy to continue the work we have started. We have at least another three villages which have been surveyed, waiting for us to provide clean water.
If you can help by putting us in touch with any organisation or philanthropist who could help us financially, we are confident that we can produce the same good results again.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Pamela Morgan or Brian Harrold on 0044 7802351316.
Please email us for the full report.