Nearly all rural Gambians obtain their water from underground aquifers. Most small villages in the Gambia have open wells, with or without handpumps. Small water supply systems usually consist of a borehole, a raw water main supplying an evelated tank. This UNCDF project provides more advanced pumping systems as well as appropitate technologies for pH adjustment and disinfecting bacterial contamination. UNDESA provides overall support to the national Executing Agency (Department of Water Resources) in technical oversight of the implementation of the project programme. UNDESA implements substantive activities, related to the achievements of the project objectives, in particular the preparation of a water strategy and other substantive outputs.
The overall purpose is to improve the health of the rural population through the provision of save water and through increasing people's awareness of environmental health and sanitation issues. The project aims to develop a decentralized management system, adopting a participatory approach towards the implementation, with the objective of promoting ownership at different levels and eventual sustainability.The project aims to construct 120 new hand dug wells, improve a further 60 existing open wells and in the larger villages, construct piped water supply schemes. The project supports the Government's objectives to alleviate poverty, promote the basic needs of the rural population, encourage economic growth and promote decentralization of the decision making process.The project will work in the rural areas of three divisions of Gambia, where poverty is predominant. In addition it will focus upon vulnerable groups within these poorer communities; i.e. women, who bear the greatest burden of water collection, and children, who are most vulnerable to water borne diseases. It will thus contribute to the UNDP's policies of sustainable human development and poverty alleviation.