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Hello, welcome to my blog! This is where I’ll be posting information about my experiences in The Gambia this summer. I’ll be making regular posts while I am there.

For anyone who doesn’t know yet, on May 4th I will be travelling to The Gambia with two other students (Danielle Ahadzie and John Iezzi) for an engineering internship. We are all Civil and International Development Engineering students at Western. As part of the program, we have the option to do a placement overseas in a developing country between third and fourth year. We are all very excited to about this opportunity to go to The Gambia this summer!

We will be working with Soil and Water Management Services (SWMS) for the three months that we are there (SWMS is a part of the Ministry of Agriculture). Two years ago students from Western also went to The Gambia with SWMS, so we will attempt to build on their work. SWMS works to help Gambian farmers increase and maintain productivity by reducing erosion and managing the available water for irrigation. These issues can become quite complex in The Gambia as much of the River Gambia’s water can become saline, especially during the dry season (up to 200km inland, see map image below, click to enlarge). Torrential downpours in the rainy season can also cause massive amounts of erosion. It is our hope that we will be able to help combat these issues as well as gain valuable engineering and international development experience.

On top of this we will be working with a Canadian company that is expanding to The Gambia. ‘Growing Necessity’ helps farmers make smart decisions; essentially which crops to grow and what kinds of fertilizers to use in order to maximize productivity, depending on the soil properties of their land. The company works by collecting soil samples and sending them to soil testing labs then relaying the results back to the farmers.

We will also be taking part in a three week course hosted by the West African Community Development Training Centre (WACD-TC) where we will learn about development in The Gambia and have the opportunity to interact with local community members.

Well there’s a bit of info on what I’ll be doing while I’m there! You’ll have to check back here every once in a while to stay up to date! I will try to make another post before flying out next Wednesday.

Thanks for reading!



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April 2011
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