JANJANBUREH GARDENS, WOMEN'S PROJECT, GAMBIA
Project: Water well with solar pump for watering
Their mission: Creating a livelhood for 90 women and their children
Current status: Funding completed
In 2013, the Wassulung Women Garden was founded as a cooperative in Janjanbureh, a village on an island in Gambia River. Today, 90 women till their own small fields there, assure the livelihood of their families from their yields and cover the basic needs of their community.
Due to the acute water shortage, the existing wells in the garden run dry during the day when rainy season is over and only have a little water from 2 am onwards. That means that the women have to water their onions, the only vegetables growing under these circumstances, at night-time between 2 am and 4 am.
At our project, we want to install a borewell 30 metres deep with a solar-powered pump that pumps the water from the borewell into a water container. In this way, the women will have access to the irrigation from the container and can water their plants at any time. No longer will they have to get up at night and tie their babies to their back just to water the garden.
Wassulung Garden Gets Water Thanks to Sponsoring from European Women
By Saikou Nyang, Project Coordinator
Saturday, 23rd January 2021 marks the day on which a decade long challenge for the women gardeners in Wassulung, Janjanbureh ended. It was a day of joy and jubilation characterised by drumming and dancing as the women celebrated the drilling of a borehole that will ease their long-dreaded water constraints.
The journey began eleven months earlier, on 26th February 2020. From that day on it took almost one year until everything fell into place for a system that now nourishes the crops of the Wassulung women in their gardens.
The borehole was brought to the women through the efforts of Ulrike Bergmann, a German entrepreneur who visited the community in February 2020. At that time, she learned of the trials and tribulations that the women had to undergo in their day-to-day gardening activities.
Ulrike Bergmann is very passionate about female entrepreneurship. Through her 90-90-90 initiative she pleaded to support the women gardeners. The idea behind this fundraising initiative was that 90 women in Wassulung can be supported through 90 women in Europe with 90 Euros each.
The new borehole has a capacity to pump 4,000 litres in 30 mins, 8,000 in an hour. In two hours, it can pump 16,000 litres of water even when all the taps are functioning. The borehole machine’s (Ground Force Pump) capacity is twice the size of the garden. It is accompanied by a solar-powered water pump to ease the work for the women.
Opening Ceremony for the Project
At the opening ceremony ward chief Mr Samba Mballow thanked the donors of the project through the initiator for the laudable gesture which was a dream come true for the women of the garden. He counted the difficulties the women were facing in tending their crops all because of water problems. As a result, quite a number of the women decided to stop working in the garden due to the challenges of water scarcity. He finally extended the chief’s warmest appreciation and gratitude to the donors through Saikou Nyang and prayed for the well-being, good health, long life, happiness, progress and prosperity of everyone who have in one way or the other contributed to the realisation of this great and auspicious project for the Wassulung women garden.
Saikou Nyang, on his part expressed appreciation of been associated with this life changing process for the Wassulung women as a native and friend to the initiator of this magnificent project. He thanked the women in Prien through Ulrike Bergmann, the initiator of the project. He explained how the borehole project was made possible. It started with an initiative of 90-90-90, meaning 90 women in Europe giving 90 € to support 90 women in Gambia. “This is what led to what we are witnessing here. All this came from women in Germany and beyond who sponsored this borehole through Vision Yamalé e.V. for the women of Wassulung. The goal of this project is to enhance your production and productivity, improve your nutritional value and encourage entrepreneurship and financial standing”, he stated.
The president of the women, Mrs Maimuna Jallow out of joy shed tears for what she called “A dream come true.” In one of the telephone conversations with Saikou, she confessed: “I don’t belief that we will have a borehole. There were so many promises from other people for years now, but all were empty promises”. She counted their difficulties such as late-night watering or walking to the stream to collect water before it dries. In addition, low yields were challenges they were encountering in this garden. She prayed for the women in Europe for their good heart they have for them and thanked them profoundly.
Works on the Project
The drilling took two days: 24th and 25th December 2020. The first day the contractor’s workers drilled 31 meters and the second day, they went down to 45 meters. This is the saturated aquifer of water meaning the point where water will not be drying. This point will always have water and not only presence of water but to a point of saturation.
On the second day of drilling, the water started oozing from the hole with mud. At this point, the beginning of the filtration of the borehole started until the water became clear. This was followed by what is called the casing of the borehole: inserting the big PVC pipes. Six pipes were joined together into the hole and the side sealed with cement to hold them firm in place. Lastly, the sealing of the lip finished the drilling. Afterwards small pipes were laid throughout the garden and tap stands positioned at 40 meters apart, totalling to eight (8) taps in the garden. The installation of the whole system was completed on Tuesday, 19th January 2021 with water running in all the 8 taps with an incredible pressure.
The only challenge during the workmanship was the fact that it coincided with the Christmas and new year holidays. Many people were on vacation and getting the borehole tanks was a problem. They were in shortage until they became available on 18th January 2021. One day later the whole system was installed, and the nightmare of water shortage became history.
On Saturday, 23rd January 2021, the inauguration ceremony for the completed borehole project for the women of Wassulung was observed amidst drumming and dancing by the women. The speakers at the inauguration were the chief who expressed delight in the project and thanked the European women for the magnificent project. He urged the women through the ward and garden committee to take good care of the system and to remember that those who sponsored the system to enhance their livelihood, their families and the nation at large. He went on to state that it is their duty to maintain and take very good care of the system. “He who feels it knows it”, he concluded.
The President of the Women’s Garden on her part expressed delight and thanked the sponsors for this wonderful state of the art facility. She assured the sponsors for good care giving to the system.
Saikou in his part urged the women to take very good care of the system. He suggested to the women to hire someone who would take care of the system’s operation on a daily basis and watch over the general usage of the system. He asked them to be contributing themselves to the maintenance of the system in case something gets spoiled or needs replacement, especially the tap heads. The need to fence the area of the system is also significant to enhance the security of the system, he asserted.
Finally, he expressed appreciation to Ulrike’s initiative and the support from the women who contributed to the realisation of the project. Similar appreciation is due to Vision Yamalé through its coordinators Helke Fussell and Fabakary Jawneh for their tireless efforts in ensuring that this project is successful. Praying for God’s blessings, guidance and protection to them and everyone who participated in the implementation of this noble gesture.