Farming Gambia

The construction of a local hydroponics system – Kairoh Garden, Gambia

Kairoh Garden is a lodge ( in the Gambia with 2 locations: at the coast in Tanjeh and upcountry in Kuntaur. Part of its activities is the support of entrepreneurial activities for the youth. Kairoh Garden combines social entrepreneurship care for orphans and other needy children who are taken up in local families, and tourism in one business model by using the revenues from tourism for investment in the future of the youth. It is not easy to find jobs, especially in the inner part of the country, in Kuntaur. Kairoh Garden has a long history of being the local connector between people who are visiting Gambia and local groups and activities, special about education, entrepreneurship and agriculture.

Lodging and supervision

Circumstances are very basic. There is hardly internet, no electricity, no storage facilities let alone cool storage. Also living circumstances are very basic in a very quiet but also beautiful landscape.

In this assignment that is cooperation between Planetary Service, and Kairoh Garden, which is a guesthouse managed by a Dutch Gambian couple, operating as a social enterprise that also takes care for orphaned young people.

Assignment 2023/2024

The rainy season only lasts three months, while during the rest of the year only pump irrigated vegetable gardens are cared of by women groups. Gardening by means of hydroponics could solve the problem of minimal water availability. A former group has already conducted an experiment with growing vegetables with hydroponics. This was meant to familiarize local school teachers and youth with this approach for gardening.

For the next occasion the students are expected to build further on this experience and build a number of hydroponics tables of timber, metal and plastic and introduce the functioning of it to the target group, special the woman farming groups upcountry. The size of the system is somewhere in between a first experiment and a full-blown up scaling. One of the farmers takes the lead in the regular functioning of the system and it is meant to be a model and learning site for the local farmers.

In the process the students will also plan for a larger scale introduction of hydroponics systems for the local farming groups. They will investigate suitable design, availability of materials, expected revenues. They will also investigate options to reach more distant markets with dried products such as vegetables, spices, etc.

The project is prepared in the Netherlands in that the more sophisticated technical parts (solar water pump, fertilizers etc.) are sent in advance and germination of the seedlings is taken care of locally also in advance, so that as soon as the hydroponics system is ready, it can be tested in practice.

Summarizing the students are expected to:

1. Raise funds on top of already available funds
2. Build the system together with staff members and students of the local school upcountry in Janjanbureh
3. Introduce the farmers and woman groups into the functioning of the system
4. Explore how a bigger system can be installed, on the basis of this experience
5.Explore more distant markets for farmers

    This assignment is suitable for many study backgrounds. The technology is not too complicated, but it takes an open attitude of cooperation with local teachers, students, womangroups and farmers, to find the right solutions and introduced the system through them. The assignment is apt for mechanical engineering, life sciences, management students, industrial design among others.

    Although the above-mentioned internship assignments are primarily targeted at students in agriculture, students with a background in other study programs are also welcome, if only they can contribute to the above-mentioned activities and objectives.