Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 265 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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If they can, the 265 people of Gbonkokabongo travel in groups to the stream because the bush isn't safe. Deadly snake and insect bites are a common occurrence. During the dry season, razor-sharp grass hangs down along the path, and uncovered skin becomes riddled with irritating cuts that need soothing ointment to heal. And the thick vegetation provides ample hiding spots for anyone with bad intentions to conceal themselves.

Unfortunately, the only other option here is a borehole well in the next village that is far away, prone to seasonal drying, and often overcrowded. This means that the swamp, with all its issues, is the people's only option. As if the hazardous journey to fetch the water wasn't enough, water-related illness from drinking the water is a given whenever someone drinks it.

"I was born and raised in this community and have seen my fair share of ups and downs," said Nancy Conteh, a 40-year-old trader in the above photo. "Our biggest challenge over the years has always been continuous access to safe drinking water. It takes 42 minutes for a round trip visit to the stream, a distance that discourages people from doing simple chores such as cooking in the village."

"I fetch more than twenty buckets of swamp water every day," said 17-year-old Mansaray, in the below photo.

Mansaray explained that she uses swamp water for tending her family's crops but makes the long journey to the next village's borehole for drinking water to avoid illness. "I have spent more time waiting in line than actually fetching water," she said. "The new borehole has a lot of people that depend on it."

Because fetching water from the swamp and the neighboring village are both tedious and time-consuming, Mansaray collects rainwater whenever she can. "I look forward to the rainy season more than any other time of the year. Water is plenty and I get relief from carrying buckets of water to tend the gardens."

The continued use of swamp water continues to put the lives of community people in danger. The proposed project is going to do away with long and dangerous walks to the stream and allow people more opportunities for doing productive things.

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, Gbonkokabongo 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


12/22/2022: Fodaya Community Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Fodaya. As a result, the 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.

"I am happy today because I have access to safe water in my community. Before, I was struggling to fetch water. Today I am happy because I could complete my domestic work such as cooking, laundering, bathing, and bathing my children. I will no longer allow my children to go [to] the swamp to collect water, and I will not be walking far distances to access water," said 41-year-old trader Nancy Conteh.

"It was not easy to fetch water in this community. I would wake up early in the morning to fetch water from the stream. After that, I would rush to the house [to] take my bath and prepare to go to school. Sometimes I [was] late for school, and my teacher [would] flog me or give me work to do at the school field," said 14-year-old Salifu K.

He continued: "Now I will no longer be walking far distances to access water, and I get access to water easily in my community. I will go to school on time and spend more time on my studies."

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 Ministry of Water Resources and the Ward Council. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to this water project and reminding the community members to take good care of it.

The headman expressed his thanks and appreciation for the tremendous work in their community and his happiness and honor that such goodness came to their village. A youth from the community, Alimamy Bangura, said he is happy for the water well in their community because before he faced constraints accessing safe water but now all the constraints are over. Then, Nancy and Salifu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

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 16 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.

Yield testing.

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 12 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel pump. Water quality test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

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.

A memorable topic during the training was the session on good and bad hygiene. During this lesson, an elder from the village pointed his finger at the poster which showed an image of a boy defecating behind a house. He said repeatedly that the act of open defecation has been practiced in his community. At first, when he mentioned it, the other participants were embarrassed, but after he finished making his points, everyone gave him a round of applause. They realized that the unhygienic practices of the community were a contributing factor to the sicknesses they experience.

"I personally believe that the hygiene and sanitation training [has] made a lot of positive impacts and [is] still making [an] impact in the lives of the people of Gbonkokabongo Fodaya village," said field officer Alie Kamara.

Building a tippy tap.

"The training was valuable to me because now I understand the importance of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS). Before, I thought ORS is just for children or those that are sick, but now I know the importance of ORS [which] will help [with] dehydration. Similarly, the knowledge I received on the importance of handwashing will make me practice the act of handwashing regularly and reduce the contracting of diseases," said 55-year-old farmer Pa Morlai Conteh.

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!




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.


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