By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) in partnership with SOLHEALTH and Unite and Be One Nation for Earth (UB-ONE) last Thursday handed over a D1.5 million water project to Sare Nyanga Sambaka in Niani District of Central River Region (CRR) North.
The GRCS and partners provided a borehole of 10, 000 litters holding capacity of clean drinking water for the community which has been without clean drinking water for 52 years. The solar-powered water pumping and reticulation system ensured the community has clean water at their doorsteps. The community used to draw water from their well using donkeys and horses due to the depth (55meters) of the well.
The 5-year project has two components – provision of water and sanitation, and supporting the Ministry of Health in terms of primary health care.
Alasan Senghore, Secretary General of the GRCS said now the community can have clean water for their households, cattle and for home vegetable gardening. He added that their aim is to provide every community clean drinking water as well as improve their health.
He stated that at the GRCS their strategy is the provision of clean water to inaccessible communities across the country, noting that they do not discriminate but only look at how vulnerable the communities are and how inaccessible water is to them.
SG Senghore highlighted that Red Cross is beyond first aid and emergencies, noting that they work on humanitarian, development and peace.
Fatou B. Gaye, HealthCare Support and Strengthening Project in The Gambia for GRCS explained that 257 communities in Upper River and Central River Regions requested water from regional authorities and they interviewed and looked at their vulnerability. She added that after interviewing and looking at their vulnerability they streamlined the number to 30 communities but could only support 3 communities because of the COVID-19.
Isatou M Bah, Gender and Diversity Focal Point for GRCS said one cannot have good health in the absence of water. She added that looking at the triple role women have been running within families drawing water became their biggest challenge in managing their timedaily, families and domestic work.
Amadou Drammeh, Country Manager for SOLHEALTH and UBONE said they are confident that sicknesses that were caused by unsafe drinking water will cease now. He urged the community’s water committee to ensure they collect a certain amount of money from each household to ensure they have money to repair the borehole when it has a break down.
Simon Mendy, Board Member and Treasurer of SOLHEALTH said their aim is to compliment Government efforts on health and access to clean drinking water.
Jawando Bah, Alkalo of the community thanked the GRCS and partners for providing them clean drinking water after 52 years of the community’s existence.
Sainey Bah, the Alkalo’s elder brother said he left the community because of its lack of clean drinking water, noting that for people to be able to live healthy in a community it needs to have clean drinking water.
Hawa Kah, Women President of the community said they used to find a lot of dirt in the water they draw from the well, adding that the well used to also dry up with most of them not having water. She therefore thanked GRCS and partners for giving them clean drinking water which is life.
Yaya Jobe, Director of Water Resources at CRR in deputizing for the Region’s Governor thanked GRCS for their humanitarian, development and peace efforts in the country. He called, on the community to safeguard the borehole and ensure its sustainability for the benefit of the communities.