Childfund The Gambia in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, and Childfund Deutschland on Saturday handed over a D14 million water and sanitation project to beneficiary communities at a celebration in Mayork village, Foni Bondali, West Coast Region.
The project’s main aim is to build capacities for sustainable access to potable water and hygiene standards in 17 remote villages in the region. The project, which took two years to be completed, started in 2014 and constructed four new wells, six pipe extensions, and one solar pump system.
Speaking at the handing over, the project manager, Ellen Schiller disclosed that the direct availability of clean drinking water in the 17 villages is sustainably secured for approximately 80,000 people and health centers. This, she said is a huge development on the livelihood of the people of the country and a great success archived.
She added that the project has provided people the better understanding on cleanliness and a sense of understanding hygiene standard, saying that seven water filters were shared between the regional disaster agencies located at schools in critical villages to deliver safe drinking water to the students in the dry season and in cases of flooding they are used to supply safe drinking water in flooded areas.
For her part, the German consular to The Gambia, Anita Martin said internationally, Germany is one of the three largest bilateral donors in the water sector and that each year the German government spends around 350 million euros on programmes and projects in this field, hence water is a priority area in any developing country.
She further underscored the importance of water on a daily basis, noting that the right to good water has been emphasised by the German government in its seventh report of human rights policy areas, adding that a bright future starts with clean water.
“A comprehensive, sustainable water project costs time, commitment, investment in people, a willingness to measure and admit both success and failures, and a passion to care for the people,” Consular Anita said.
This project, she added, will reduce the burden on women and girls walking miles at times in search of clean drinking water. She added that the project component was to provide six schools, two clinics and 10 villages with special water filters but also donated seven water filters to the National Disaster Management Agency to ensure safe drinking water in flooding areas of The Gambia.
For his part, the representative of the minister of Environment, Ello Jallow expressed appreciation with the move taken by Childfund in complementing the efforts of the government in providing clean and safe drinking water for the aforesaid communities. He added that the project focuses mainly on the country’s development priority areas with a good understanding that water supply goes hand in hand with the provision of basic sanitary facilities and sound hygienic promotional messages.
Jallow added that the Ministry of Water Resources enjoys a good working relation with Childfund in many areas especially in the area of information sharing and quality control which was based mainly on the need to avoid duplication of efforts and thereby maximising the use of meager resources.
“For water, the capital cost of providing water facilities remain the responsibility of the government and her donor partners; however, the maintenance, security and the overall management of any water point is the sole responsibility of the beneficiary communities,” he said.
The programme director, Werner Kupper said the project will go a long way in helping the people of the West Coast Region, including the ‘Ding Ding’ Bantaba Federation and Eastern Foni.
by Awa Gassama