Phase One - clean water for Kunkujang

flowing tap


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Follow our blog buttonIn January 2016, my wife and I (both Lions) visited The Gambia with the intention primarily of having a holiday. Whilst there we renewed the acquaintance of ex-Lion Kebba Cham whose university fees whilst in the UK studying had been paid for by the Lions Club of Burnham which was my wife’s club at that time.

On his return to The Gambia with his degree, he started working for an NGO, with its HQ in Richmond, VA, USA called ChildFund International. He was a Development Officer with this organisation and has responsibility for the management of many small villages in the bush. One of these villages is Gunjar Kunkujang which is about 20km from Banjul. It has a central population in and around the village of about 2000 inhabitants and supports a school with 800 pupils.

We were taken to the village by Kebba and met the Chief and his elders and, on asking if there was any way that we could help, the village had two requests: (1) a mobile medical clinic to visit on a regular basis and (2) an upgrade of their water facilities to enable it to reach more people. Number 1 was arranged easily as we knew through personal contacts that the Order of Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa’s order) was seeking a second village to take their mobile clinic to every two weeks. Kebba was put in touch with the Superior of the order in Banjul and the provision was agreed

The existing water well was powered by solar energy provides 10 taps to supply 2000 people including one tap which is designated solely for the school of 800 pupils. The goal was to extend the pipes and increase the taps to about 25 – if this were done then potentially water would be available to about 10,000 people in the wider area.

To achieve this the basic infrastructure would needed to be upgraded – a new water tank to hold the higher capacity, new and larger solar panels to power the water supply and probably a new tower to take the extra weight. Quotes for this work was 1,114, 657 Dalasi which equates to about £18.5k sterling at that time. With the help of a matching grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) the work was managed in three phases (1) the installation of the new tank, panels and tower, (2) the provision of the first extension and then the final extension as stage 3

My Lions Club, Bracknell in 105D, set up a bank account which manages the funds for this project and future projects.  As a couple, we are raising funds via a mydonate page on the Internet, by personal fundraising from families and friends both as a one off gift and ongoing contributions, and also our Region Clubs who have shown interest and at least two schools here in the local area who wish to promote this as a school project. Donations are registered for Gift Aid through HMRC.

My wife and I jointly manage the projects assisted by 2 other Trustees from the Lions Club we visit the village at least once a year and conduct regular communication to get further insight into the ongoing needs of the village and schools. Our visits are always at our own personal expense so every p[enny you give goes to the project

Phase 2 - rebranding as Kungkujang Village and Schools Development Fund

As our remit on projects is now much wider, we have rebranded the project as from January 2019 as work has just commenced on providing solar power to the nursery school, it is now felt that this new title more accurately reflects the projects we continue to undertake.

Mike & Brigid Hendy