Sabab Lou transfers ownership of the solar systems to Gambian villages
As of February 6 this year Sabab Lou and her Gambian NGO, Rural Development Organization (RDO), have transferred the ownership of the solar pumping- und irrigation systems to the villages participating in the project. In future the 4 villages of the Upper Baddibu-Distrikt take responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the systems, which provide clean drinking water to the villages, but also enable the villagers to carry out market gardening. Sabab Lou has implemented the project 2010 starting first with the village of Chamen. The women there cultivate vegetables in a 2 ha garden and can generate income in the dry season. Thus they cannot only feed their families, but can also save money in order to maintain the garden and the system.
In the following years Sabab Lou and RDO have replicated the project-idea and transferred it to 3 other villages neighbouring to Chamen. Together all 4 villages have roundabout 2200 residents, the total garden area encomprises 11 ha, expected yield of vegetables is about 15 tonnes annually.
On September 9, 2014 we on behalf of Sabab Lou and RDO announced the long expected step: We are going to transfer the ownership of the systems in which we invested a total of 180,000 EUROS to the villages.
The women and men of the villages promised that they are going to take responsiblity for the systems. In the period between September 2014 and February 2015 we jointly built up structures with the villagers, informed them and trained them so that are able to manage their projects. We established committees being responsible for special tasks, e.g. planning of produce and sales of the garden products, surveying and maintaining the systems, keeping books, listing income and expenses and building reserves. These savings were made on their own initiative, and the villagers had been very proud of it. Finally, on February 6 we signed the transfer contracts. A most important and almost ceremonial act, meaning that Sabab Lou will partly withdraw from the project.
But this we intended from the beginning. In a quite verbal sense we feel as development workers and not as permanent helpers. In this case we could develop something together with the villages, and it was good to do so. Now they can continue on their own. We shall join them in a modified way. Read more on that in one of our next blogs.