Through a long-established and strong client base across the African continent, the Gambia has become familiar territory for laboratory autoclave manufacturer Priorclave Ltd.

In December 2006 during a recent visit to one of their clients, MRC, the Banjul research centre for tropical diseases, Product Manager Lee Oakley was able to re-visit a personal project begun in the summer of 2006 that was to affect the lives of many children at the nearby Old Yundum upper basic school in the village of Brikama.

Imagine life without easy access to water or sanitation. Imagine conditions so bad that no one wanted to use the toilets?. Such were the circumstances that confronted Lee and his wife Justine, a teacher at the Chalvedon School in Essex, while on holiday the previous year. They were taking time out to research the possibilities of setting up communications with another school. That happy circumstance was to lead to the construction of a well that would change the lives of many five and six year olds, as well as others, for ever.

On their return to the UK, various fund raising activities were undertaken and together with donations from friends, from Chalvedon School in Essex and from Priorclave, enough money was raised for a well to be built in the school grounds.

The school is only four years old and on Lee’s return visit he finally saw what the generosity of Priorclave and the other donors has given to this school. The headmaster of ‘Old Yundum’ has informed Lee that the water is used not only by the school itself but also by the surrounding community.

They now have a vegetable garden, which they can use to grow food to take home to the families and also to sell in the local market to raise money for the school.

The next project is to install pipe-work and a pump so the water can be pumped directly to the toilets and kitchen as well as to the vegetable garden.