25 January 2013

Gambia: Jenung Kunda Villagers Complain of Pump Closure

Foroyaa has received a complaint from villagers that the Alkalo of Jenung Kunda village in the Kombo East District of the West Coast Region has locked and denied access to users to the newly installed village pump funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) under the rural water supply project and under the supervision of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources.

When the village Alkalo, Jonkong M. Jatta, was contacted, he confirmed that he did lock the new pump but that it was done for a reason. According to him, the water pump project was given to them by the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources but added that it has still not been handed over to the village.

Alkalo Jatta said the pump was supposed to be a borehole but due to the size of the village they decided to make it a pump, adding that since the contractor finished digging and fixing the pump he was told by them that they have done their work and that it is now left to the villagers to say whether they are satisfied with the job before it is handed over to them. He said the Ministry has still not handed over the pump to the village.

"I took it upon myself and allowed the villagers to fetch water from it. I closed the pump because they are allowing their children to go and play with it", he said.

He said when he saw this himself he called up a meeting of the village elders and cautioned all of them to handle the pump with care as the children spoiled the first pump given to them by CCF which compelled him to spent 4300 dalasi on his own for its maintenance, adding that the village also spent 3300 for maintenance. He said this why he would want them to agree on a rule that would prohibit children being sent to fetch water by themselves without the guidance and supervision of adults.

Editor's Note

Community living requires norms and values that would guide the behaviour of all to avoid conflict and friction. The children and women should not be left behind when elders meet to discuss how and why the utilities of the village should be utilized and maintained. This will motivate them to comply with any rules made. Village Alkalolu should rely on the village development committees for advice on how to manage village assets to the best interest of the villagers. In that way they would earn the appreciation of the villagers.

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