This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
This project summary has been redacted for security reasons to omit the specific project location.
Xxxxxx, Tambacounda, Senegal
The community is made of 8,200 people, most ethnically Pulaar, who are proud to live in what was pre-colonially the capital of the Boundou region (now Tambacounda). The community is composed mostly of women, children, and elderly, as many young men have migrated to find work.
More than 60% of the Xxxxxx population lives below the federal threshold of poverty, leading to food insecurity. The economic decline among the population is explained by:
1. the low post-colonial productivity of their primary economic activity, agriculture because of:
a. significant loss of soil fertility due to desertification,
b. lack of availability of agricultural training, therefore
c. an inaccessibility of many small operators to credit, and
2. the lack of technical training in other sectors:
a. the only training for young people available is within the family, for that ever-shrinking percentage lucky enough to have been born in a family with prior skills (and this of course is rare for women, who start families early), and
b. stories of success from Dakar and abroad lure the men to pursue career options elsewhere, often after having started a family of his own. Thus, young men leave behind young wives with no employment skills, and young children, who are food insecure.
The problems to be addressed are water availability in the fields. There is a single well, which only provides water during the rainy season.
There are 8 gardens in Xxxxxx, which are not sufficient to meet the demand for vegetables of its 8,200 citizens.
This project is to build a well, with a solar pump, to serve the water needs of the community.
A small community of volunteers in have given 2 hectares of registered land for the creation of a market garden, intercropped space for staple grains, and a fruit tree farm.
35 committed members have signed an agreement form to work for shared plots, attend ongoing trainings until August this year (with a break until November when cold season gardening begins).
Also, the agriculture club (15-19 students, which has helped the PCV plant and maintain trees) at the local high school will be attending all trainings.
1. From April 2017 – June 2017, a hand dug well will be constructed. At an excavation of about 1.5 meters in diameter, a local well company (head mason Mr. Sumare and 3-4 of his workers in tandem with one local metal worker) will dig two meters per day. The two meters dug will be supported by concrete poured from the top (between the sides of the excavation and temporary framework made of rebar) that becomes the permanent lining to the well, daily. This process will be repeated until the water table is reached at 30-35 feet.
The bricks will be made on site. The metal worker is scheduled to come every few days to make the new rebar rings and hooks for the next 4-6 meters until the water table is reached. Then, concrete rings, built by the head mason on site, will be sunk below the water line. Then, small gravel will be sunk to the bottom of the well as a sort of filter. The top of the well and below the ground for 3 meters will consist of a concrete and large gravel barrier for people to stand on while accessing water. This will channel draining water into a basin and keep rain or contaminated water from going into the well.
A tree nursery will be started in April, with a hands-on training and distributed maintenance calendar for members of the group.
2. In June 2017: After the completion of the well, a local volunteer from The hydraulics office will test the water for contamination, and conduct a safe irrigation training for 35 group members, high school students and any interested community members. This office will construct an “irrigation only” sign, to be installed on the day of training. The health PCV will train on dangers of unsafe drinking water, and importance of hand washing.
3. In June 2017: a solar pump will be transported and installed by a company in Dakar that specializes in solar pumps. Amadou Gakko, a solar pump technician will train 35 people, and additional high school students and interested community members on use, maintenance, and sustainability of the solar pump. Another PCV will give lesson on the dangers of uncontrolled slash and burn practices, so that local farming can scale up, as well as live fencing (with live fencing seed distribution).
4. In July 2017, pre-rainy-season staple crop lessons will be taught, cultivation of land will be carried out, and trees from the nursery will be planted. Post-rainy season (August 2017), 35 community members will harvest local crops and market garden, and distribute among 595 inhabitants.
Over 500 people will benefit from the project.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Monitoring and Maintenance
The PCV, and group lead Sada Dieng will be present every day to oversee progress. The responsibility for maintenance of the project will go to the 7 volunteers, with whom the PCV is conducting project management training with her counterpart using PDM (Project Design and Management) Peace Corps curriculum in March. However, until August (year one of the project) the PCV will be working closely with the volunteers to launch the project successfully, teach record keeping, and teach financial and business management so that the project may sustainably continue for years to come.
In addition, business planning by Sada Dieng and youth member Dienaba Thiam has demonstrated the group’s ability to cover any maintenance costs, be it the purchase of repairs or new tools that may arise after grant funds are exhausted. The community group will manage this fund, having been trained on project management by PCV.
Certain educational activities, like live fencing, will lower maintenance costs and increase the sustainability of this project and the future projects started by members of the group. The inclusion of local experts including technicians, health and water specialists, farmers, and business people in planned teaching events will create a series of stakeholders who can maintain the momentum of technology dissemination after the initial project is completed.
The arable space will be maximized by an accessible supply of water. The project will result in increased access to fresh local food, which will boost the economy and increase the nutrition of the local population.