January, 2022: Kingsway Secondary School Well Complete!
We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable borehole well at Kingsway Secondary School. As a result, the students and community members no longer have to rely on unsafe water to meet their daily needs. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.
The drilling of this new borehole was a success, and clean water is flowing!
Mariatu pumping clean water!
"I am happy today my school is now having a new water source with a hand pump, and I can now get enough water to drink at school," said Mariatu K., 14.
We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The ceremony was attended by several local dignitaries from the Ministry of Water Resources and the Port Loko District Council. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Osman Bangura and Mariatu K. made statements on their community's behalf. Students, teachers, and officials danced under the hot sun and played together with the water, rejoicing about the new well.
Principal Bangura celebrating clean water.
"I speak on behalf of the board of the school, the administrations of both the junior and senior secondary sector, and the community of Bombeh to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for your kindness and love in donating a borehole with hand pump water point in our school compound."
He continued, "We are very grateful to God for providing for the donor to bless us with a water facility in our school compound. This is one of the greatest generosities we have ever received as a school, because water is life."
The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The community provided space for the team to store their belongings, along with meals for the duration of their stay. The following day, the work began.
Our team dug two pits next to the drill rig, one for the drill's water supply and another for what the drill pulls out of the borehole. In some cases, we order a private supplier to deliver the water for drilling since water access is already a challenge.
Day one of drilling began with the team filling the two pits with water mixed with bentonite, an absorbing, swelling clay. Next, the team fixed a four-inch carbide-tipped bit to the five-foot-long drill stem. They started the mud pump to supply water to the drill rig so that drilling could begin! The team took material samples after putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole. We labeled the bags so we could review them later to determine the aquifer locations.
On the second day of drilling, the team expanded the hole and cleared it of mud. After reaching a total depth of 28 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to clear any mud and debris from the drilling process. We then protected the screened pipe by adding a filter pack. The team hoisted the temporary drilling casing to fortify the pipes with cement.
Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days before conducting a yield test to verify the water quantity. The well has a static water level of 12 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel India MkII pump. Water quality test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!
Joyful for clean water!
Before conducting any hygiene training, the training team met with the school's administrators to inform them about the proposed multi-day hygiene and sanitation training at their school. They all agreed on a date and time. The principal and vice-principal of the school embraced the news with great joy and gave their word they would inform the teachers and students and encourage participation.
We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting. Rosaline Ngekia and Isatu Sesay held the training attended by 25 teachers and 1,000 students. They trained teachers first and then broke off into groups to teach the students while the trainers rotated to assist them.
The teacher training.
Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, worms and parasites, dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.
One of the most interactive sessions was learning about the causes of diarrhea. The introduction of this topic triggered many questions from the students. Students believed that diarrhea comes from eating palm oil and vegetable oil in the same food or chewing raw groundnut. Some even claimed that diarrhea is routine flushing of the stomach. Many students gave their views about how diarrhea came about and tried to answer each other's questions.
After hearing from the students, Mr. Osman Bangura, the school principal, highlighted some causes of diarrhea. He helped the students realize that diarrhea usually occurs when people consume contaminated food and water. He also explained that severe worm infestations could lead to diarrhea.
Rugiatu K., one of the students, stood up and explained to her classmates that the first treatment for diarrhea should be Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). She even helped describe the local home remedy of ORS encouraging students to use clean water and was given a round of applause.
Principal Bangura pumping clean water.
Principal Osman Bangura commented, "The hygiene and sanitation training has really been helpful to me and the entire school. Through this training, I have gained a lot of ideas that can be of great benefit to me since I now have the ideas on how to take care of myself, the teachers, and the students."
Ramatu B., 18, said, "The COVID-19 part of this training is so valuable to me and my fellow students. This training has helped me with the knowledge and skills on how to prevent myself from this virus. Today I have learned all the COVID-19 guidelines that I am to be practicing in and out of my school and community. "
We asked Ramatu what it was like to be out of school last year during the pandemic. "During the sit-at-home period, I used to miss everything about school, especially my friends who some of them stay in other communities and we only saw each other at school. I missed my teachers and classmates also."
Now that she is back to class, she said, "Going to school makes me happy because I want to be educated, have a job, and change the lives of my parents."
When an issue arises concerning the well, community members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.
Thank you for making all of this possible!