This weekend, the Mali Water Project's Executive Board elected to postpone its first site assessment trip to Konilo-Coura until May 2011. Although the organization has raised over $19,000 to date, the majority of these funds, including those obtained from the Public Engagement Grant (see below), are restricted to the summer site assessment trip. In addition, the team believes that making one longer trip during the summer will be a more efficient use of these funds, and allow more money to be used for the projects that we are developing with the community of Konilo-Coura. We believe that next semester's class can make major progress on the garden project, conduct valuable research on water and health and further develop the organization. In addition, we have an opportunity to collaborate with Malian students as Dr. Sanogo is currently working out arrangements to have Malian students conduct a preliminary assessment of the site for us.
The Mali Water Project has won a grant of $11,987 from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This grant will be used to revitalize the community garden project in Konilo-Coura that has struggled due to the difficulty of accessing water from two relatively deep wells without any pumping system. The project will aim to equip the garden with a pumping system as well as a storage tank and irrigation system. In addition, the grant includes funds for numerous projects aimed at engaging the Champaign-Urbana community, including the development of curriculum for local schools and the establishment of a partner garden relationship with the Douglass Park Community Garden in north Champaign in collaboration with C-U Garden, another student organization at UIUC.