A Sustainable Method of Water Extraction for School-Community Gardens in Niger, West Africa

EPA Grant Number: SU833148
Title: A Sustainable Method of Water Extraction for School-Community Gardens in Niger, West Africa
Investigators: Jambeck, Jenna
Current Investigators: Jambeck, Jenna , Blanchard, Whitney , Brown, Katie , Corrigan, Tim , Morris, Kim , Polzin, Matt
Institution: University of New Hampshire - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2006 through May 30, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability , Nanotechnology


The challenge of this project is significant in the developing world, specifically in the Air Massif region of Niger, the poorest country in the world. A sustainable water extraction system is needed to irrigate community gardens. These gardens produce a basic need, food, for children attending boarding schools, as well as produce a cash crop for funding of these boarding schools, which receive little or no funding from the government. With schools offering education, better nutrition, and a place for the children of the semi-nomadic Tuareg people to live, more parents will be supportive of children attending school, and more children will become educated (current literacy rate is less than 12%). The University of New Hampshire’s Students Without Borders, a student organization of Engineers Without Borders, recognized the difficulty in crossing cultural boundaries to develop appropriate technology in a region with limited resources and SWB is partnering with a not-for-profit organization, RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara, that has worked in the area since 2001. Currently either animal-powered water extraction with trench irrigation or gasoline powered pumps with drip irrigation methods are employed. While drip irrigation is the preferred method, utilizing non-renewable resources for energy is not. This project proposes a wind-powered low-technology pumping system to provide the daily water needed to irrigate the community gardens. The sustainable method of water extraction will reduce fossil fuel use, emissions, and increase yield of the gardens, thereby increasing resources available to the schools. A pilot project will be implemented in Niger and be evaluated by the local community through measurement of an increase in crop yield and attendance at the boarding school. The results of the pilot project will be disseminated in both Niger and the U.S. Future projects will be designed based upon the success of the pilot project, thereby increasing opportunities for education in Niger. The results of this project will also be used to educate the University and local community about sustainable water extraction and the developing country issues in Niger.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

irrigation, conservation, water resources, community based, agriculture, developing country, sustainable development,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, green design, sustainable development, sustainable water use, conservation, agriculture, sustainable agriculture, wind energy

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report