Donations designated for Tree Nursery and Women’s Garden Water Distribution System in The Gambia will be used to construct a system of underground pipes and tap-fed concrete reservoirs that distribute water throughout a community tree nursery and women’s garden. The tree nursery/garden was started in the village of Darsilami by the Association for Food and Environmental Security (AFES), a community-based organization which formed as a response to environmental challenges in the area.
Deforestation and declining soil quality are common throughout The Gambia due to removal of wood for cooking and extensive clearing of land for farming. AFES members observed this and decided to start a tree nursery to provide a cluster of five villages with free trees to plant in community woodlots, and also to give individual farmers and homeowners the option of buying seedlings to plant on their properties. In addition, the AFES nursery sells seedlings to the Gambian Department of Forestry to promote regional reforestation. AFES also encourages women to grow onions on the ground of the nursery, as it is one of the few spaces in the village that is fenced well enough to keep animals away from the crops.
Though AFES has made great strides, its nursery’s main water system is limited. This results in much of the available area not being used, and in damage to tree seedlings as a hose is moved over them to reach plants far from the water source. It also forces women to spend long hours at their gardens pulling water from hand-dug wells. In addition, it has prevented AFES from completing projects that will contribute to their financial sustainability, such as planting a fence of living trees along its perimeter that will not need repairs, or planting fruit trees throughout the nursery for income. This project therefore aims to improve the water system so AFES can continue providing communities with seedlings, and working with farmers to promote reforestation and sustainable agriculture
Natalie and her host community in The Gambia were awarded a PCPP grant during her service, but upon Natalie being evacuated the grant was dissolved. Natalie currently lives in San Diego, California.
NPCA invests 85 percent of the total donations directly to support this project and 15 percent where needed most to support service administration and our overall mission.