Gambia, a West African republic, is the smallest country in Africa. It occupies a narrow finger of land, situated around the Gambia River, surrounded to the north, east and south by its neighbour Senegal. To the west it has an Atlantic Ocean coastline of approximately 60km on which its capital, Banjul, is located.
Only around 65% of the country’s population has access to safe drinking water. In some rural areas this figure is much lower, and this issue is being addressed by the Gambian government, aid agencies and a host of NGOs. Borealis and Borouge, under the umbrella of their Water for the World initiative, supported the Nyatouta Foundation in providing a safe, local drinking water source for the 1000 residents of Sankandi, a remote village in the Gambian interior.
As a small country, there are many infrastructural demands on Gambia’s limited financial resources and therefore funds available to tackle the provision of drinking water across all its communities are largely consumed by its few major urban centres1. Because of this the government welcomes outside assistance in developing solutions2, particularly in respect to the widely spread rural villages in which more than 60% of Gambians live and whose principal livelihood is derived from subsistence agriculture.
Much help is being provided to address the need for the wider availability of safe drinking water by the country’s own National Water and Electricity Company, government project partnerships such as with the African Development Bank, international agencies and a number of independent foreign charities. However, their work is in the main focused in the coastal areas with relatively large populations3. The Nyatouta Foundation, a charitable Dutch organisation with a history of working with small communities deep inland, is one of the exceptions.