What the Sukuta project involves

Our previous article, below, gave the background to how SSS became involved with, and is fronting, the renovation of the largest Lower Basic (primary) school – Sukuta – in The Gambia. This blog focuses on what the plans are, and what we hope to deliver within eighteen months.

Based on discussions with the school leadership and the regional director of education, we drew up a list of the priorities that would renovate the school and make it fit for the 2020s. These are:

 We will double the school's water storage capacity via solar-power

  

There is no piped water at the school. The supply comes from a well, it is too small. We will double its capacity.


As a rseult, we will increase the number of water standpipes from one to eight, locating them next to toilets, the food serving area and sick room

  

There is currently only one standpipe in the school, to serve 2,000 children. We will be increase this to eight, placing them near toilets, food serving areas and the new sick room  

We will completely rebuild the unhealthy and unsafe toilet blocks

  
The toilets at the school are unsafe, insanitary and unhygenic. The Sukuta renovation project will rectify this.
 
We will build and furnish the school’s first sick room, training staff in first aid skills 
 
  
There is no sick room for 2,000 students at Sukuta, but there is a space just ready to install one!
 
 
 This is the sick room we resored in Sohm. We plan to build and equip a facility like this in Sukuta, for the first time. 
 
We will restore the school's termite-ridden and unusable library
 
  
Infested and unusable library in Sukuta - 2,000 students denied access 
 
 The library in Sohm was in a similar position, before we restored it. We will repeat this in Sukuta 
 
We will extend the schools inadequate computer room

  
 
The computer room is well equipped, but too small for all pupils to gain access each week 
 
  
We will extend it to the pillars. The photo shows builders in discussion with school staff and education director  
 
We will give the providers of school meals shelter and water
 
Children get their lunch-time meals from (overwhelmingly female) vendors who sell very basic (bread or rice-based) food in the school grounds. There is no adequate shelter for either the women or the food and no running water to use in its preparation or for the children to wash.  Sheltered accommodation, with a water supply, will be provided for the women and children.
 
 

Our funding proposals to date, will pay for all of the above

There are, however, two outstanding elements of the nine-part project for which funding has yet to be identified.  We will seek the money this over the next few months,  so that all aspects of the project can be completed in one construction exercise. The unfunded elements are:


Refurbish and make fit-for-purpose the existing, but unfit, school hall
 
 
  
This is the dilapidated school hall, which is out of commission. We hope to be able to fund its restoration 
 
  
Because there is no hall, all large meetings take place outside. This is a meeting of the PTA, convened to consult on the school renovation project.
 
 
 This is the hall we built in Sohm, that now acts as an assembly hall, gym, meeting centre, performance area, prayer room and the main village hall
 
Establish the school's first staff room 
 
There is a disused classroom and storage area that with a little adaptation could be transformed into the school's first staffroom, for its 70 plus teaching staff. It is our aim to fund this 

All of our proposals have been put to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, the school’s governors and its PTA, and they have been enthusiastically endorsed. The food vendors have been consulted and are delighted by them and will be involved in their design and layout of their new area.

Getting the band back together

Having defined the scope of the project, we obtained quotes from the construction company- Future in Our Hands - that we have worked with successfully in a variety of building projects in Sohm. It began as a Swedish NGO dedicated to training Gambian people in construction skills. It has gradually emerged to become a building company, jointly Swedish and Gambian managed, that operates almost exclusively in the not-for-profit sector, with an on-going commitment to train local labour in building skills.

In all of our dealings with them, to date, they have provided a high standard of work, to spec, on time and on budget.

We are confident that working with Lamin Saidy, the former deputy head at Sohm and now at Sukuta and the construction company that delivered in Sohm that we will be getting the band back together to deliver the renovation of The Gambia’s largest primary school, over the next eighteen months.

The third article of this three-parter on Sukuta, to appear in two weeks, will explain how we have managed to fund this major and exciting project.

 

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