Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 474 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/19/2022

Project Features


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Menika Village's water crisis is unbearable for the people who live there, especially the women and children who do most of the water-fetching in the community. It's impossible for them to fetch water without getting soaking wet. The long journeys to the swamp and back while juggling multiple containers and struggling to lift them eat up so much of the community's time and energy.

"It has always been so frustrating that I cannot fetch the quantity I need to bring home after a long time and struggle at the well," said Aminata Bangura, 42, a local trader. "After being long at the well, I have [a] limited time to cook and bathe, and [I] go to bed very tired."

"I have to wake up very early every day to fetch water," said 16-year-old Mariama S. in the photo below. "The [swamp] is always overcrowded. [There are] a lot of struggles to fetch water. Sometimes I can only be fortunate to fetch [a] little amount of water, which would not be enough to serve the entire family."

Aminata explained that because it's so difficult to acquire water, she puts off tasks that need to get done, like laundry, bathing, or even cooking. She and her family often go to bed hungry rather than sending anyone back to the swamp for more water to cook dinner. Other times, they have resorted to paying for water even though they don't have a lot of money to spare.

Mariama also has trouble performing day-to-day tasks because of the community's water situation, like laundry and helping her father to clean fish to sell at the local market.

"I only have [one] school uniform I need to wash after school, but it is also difficult to fetch water every day after school," Mariama said. "There was a time I washed my uniform late, and it did not dry 'til morning when I had to wear it soaked to school. My friends mocked me, and I became discouraged that day. I only lauder my clothes and relatives’ clothes once a week because I become fatigued after spending more energy fetching water from the swamp."

"I am always worried when my father returns home with fish from the sea, because [then] I have to fetch more water to process them," Mariama said. "Sometimes it [is] a half-night task, which affects my schooling in the morning."

Aminata and Mariama's energy is also leeched from them by water-related illness. The swamp's murky and foul-smelling water regularly infects community members with typhoid and dysentery, and both of our interviewees complained of constant stomach pains and headaches. Getting water from this treacherous swamp in the best of health would be a challenge, let alone when their bodies are constantly fighting waterborne disease.

Not only is the water difficult to reach and contaminated, but it is also home to venomous snakes, whose bites have hospitalized several people.

"My elder sister fell at the [swamp] because she was chased by a snake while carrying water to [her] house," Aminata said. "She broke her foot and [has] not [been able to] do any work for over two months now. I have to help her do some of her domestic activities. This is a bad situation which is hard for us to bear."

We have plans to build the community a new well right in the center of town, which will free up so much time and energy for Menika's people. With more time and health on their side, who knows what they could accomplish?

What we can do:

New Well

Where we will be drilling is centrally located and will relieve many people of the long journey to fetch water and the challenge of accessing clean water.

Our team will drive over the LS200 mud rotary drill rig and set up camp for a couple of nights. Once the well is drilled to a sufficient water column, it will be cased, developed, and then tested. If these tests are positive, our mechanics will install a new India Mark II pump.

By drilling this borehole, Menika and the surrounding community will be provided with plenty of accessible, clean drinking water.

Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.

Community members will learn how to make a hands-free handwashing station called the "tippy-tap." We will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals. We will highlight the need to keep restrooms clean, among many other topics.

This training will also strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this new well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help in solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates


08/16/2022: Menika Community Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Menika Community. As a result, community members no longer 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.

Happy community members celebrating!

Aminata Bangura, a 48-year-old petty trader, shared, "I am incredibly grateful to you for the new water well you have provided for us in this community. It was difficult for me to go down the high hill [to] fetch water and climb the hill with a bucket of water on my head. This caused pain in me at those moments, but it is now quite good for me to fetch water from this new water well that is near to my house."

Aminata Bangura (in the white headscarf) celebrates water with others.

"I am happy for the new water well next to my house. I will now fetch enough water from this new water well to do all my housework easily and on time," said Aminata K., 16. "The new water well has reduced challenges I had at the time of fetching water. I used to fetch water from the swamp and the water well at the center of this village. The distance from my house to the water well is far, and it was always overcrowded."

Aminata K. (with blue headscarf) happily splashing water.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Government Water Ministry and the Port Loko District Council. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to this water project and reminding the staff and students to take good care of it. Then, Aminata Bangura and Aminata K. made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Officials at the well.

New Well

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 and meals for the duration of their stay. The following day, 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 challenging.

Day one of drilling began as the team mixed water with bentonite, an absorbent clay, in the two dug pits. 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!

After putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole, the team took material samples. We labeled the bags to review them later and 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 17 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to remove any dirt 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.

Bailing.

Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days before conducting a yield test to verify the water quantity. This well has a static water level of 14 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel pump. Water quality test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

Pump installation.

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we called and visited the local water user committee to understand the community's challenges and lack of sanitation facilities. We shared the findings from our discussions with the committee members to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training began. For example, we identified households without handwashing stations or ones that may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members worked together to improve hygiene and sanitation at home.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when members from each household using the water point could attend a three-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, COVID-19, worms and parasites, proper dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, the importance of using dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

Learning about disease prevention.

"This training is valuable to me because the three days of training [have] brought to my knowledge a lot of things concerning hygiene and sanitation. This taught me how to take care of myself, my household, and my community as well," said Aminata Bangura, who was quoted earlier.

Using a tippy-tap to wash hands.

A memorable session during the training was related to worms and parasites. When asked about the causes and dangers of worm infestation, a community member shared her experience of worms nearly taking her little girl's life. She recalled that her second daughter had been critically ill, and everyone thought she would die when traditional medications failed to cure her. She took her daughter to the hospital for further investigation, and after tests, she was diagnosed and treated for worms. Thankfully, her daughter recovered, and her mother now follows the doctor's instructions of deworming her children every three months.

The Water User Committee members with their training certificates.

Many participants were glad to learn the true causes of worm infestation, such as consuming undercooked or contaminated food or water, particularly with unclean hands, and promised to do their best to avoid those practices to save themselves and their children.

Conclusion

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!




06/21/2022: Menika Community Borehole Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Menika Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!




Project Photos


Project Type

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


Contributors

Project Sponsor - Park Valley Church
19 individual donor(s)