SMILE Pump Technology for Hosting Families in Gambia

January 1, 2007

Since 1982, there has been an ongoing conflict in Casamance, located in southern Senegal. It is estimated that over 5,000 people have been killed, and over 60,000 people have been internally displaced, with about 15,000 people seeking refuge in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.

In December 2006, a flare-up in rebel activity caused around 7,500 people to flee the Casamance into Gambia. The main problem was the increased demand for drinking water for human and livestock consumption. The existing wells did not provide sufficient drinking water, and was often polluted.

The project provided SMILE pump technology for families hosting refugees from Casamance, Senegal

Project Outline

The Smallholder Irrigation for Livelihood Enhancement (SMILE) project made small-scale irrigation technologies affordable. Manually drilled tube wells are operated by rope pumps and treadle pumps. Rope pumps are made of durable locally available materials, easy to maintain, and can lift large quantities of water with comparatively less effort.


The SMILE team selected 3 local NGO partners to support the installation of pumps and the training of locals on how to use the pumps. Water management committees were set up in each community.

Achievements include: the installation of 16 rope pumps with wheel covers for domestic and livestock, 7 locally dug wells were improved, 5 pumps and hosepipes were installed for garden purposes, and 10 tube wells with pumps were created.

It is estimated that each pump is being used by 40 households, and over 5000 people have gained access to better water. The installation of pumps and well covers has greatly increased hygiene, decreased the incidence of disease, and gathering water has become a less labor intensive task. It improved food security (and thus, nutrition and income) through better irrigation, health through cleaner drinking water, and reduced the amount of time women and girls spend collecting water.