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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 196 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional



Community Profile & Stories

Ebola’s Impact

Ebola has been a tragic reality for the people of Sierra Leone over the last two years. Though considered stable at the moment, the country is still very cautious. We still receive periodic reports of people being quarantined due to showing symptoms of Ebola.

Our teams have remained safe and are on the front lines of Ebola prevention through this water, hygiene and sanitation program.  Your support acknowledges and celebrates their selfless work and bravery.

The entire team continues to express their gratitude for your support of communities in Sierra Leone, and we can’t wait to celebrate safe water together!

Background Information

This community is off of Mahera Road, which runs from Rotifunk to the beach. This community has a mix of airport workers, teachers, pastors and imams, mechanics/fitters and carpenters. There are a lot of schools in the community, as well as churches and mosques. It is very close to the market, schools, and the busy Rotifunk Junction: the hub of Lungi.

They grow cassava, corn, groundnut (peanuts), potato leaves, and garden eggs here. This location is not close to the swamp, so farmers are limited to growing things that don’t take too much water.

The community is a mix of Christian and Muslim people, and everyone gets along. Sierra Leone is known for not only its beautiful beaches, but also for its religious tolerance. People wake early in this community, and begin their day with prayers by 5AM. Muslims go to the mosque, and Christians gather with their families at home to sing and pray before beginning their day.

After prayers the children sweep around their houses, then fetch enough water to wash dishes dirtied from the night before. Their moms or older siblings will reheat leftover rice for breakfast. After doing their morning chores, the children will eat their breakfast, get washed and dressed for school, and head out for the day. If the mother is a petty trader, children may instead go and help her get set up at the market.

After school, the children return home, wash their uniforms, and help prepare the evening meal. Their mother will have one of her friends watch her market stall while she quickly runs home to prepare the evening meal. After the children are finished mashing peppers and onions or groundnut (peanuts), they go to after-school lessons, which are extremely popular here; it’s an easy way for teachers to earn extra money. After the mother finishes food preparation, she will go back to the market to watch a friend’s stall so she can then go home and cook. Everyone works together! After the children finish their extra lessons, they head to the market to help their mother break things down to bring home.

The father is probably working, and when he gets home, he’ll eat, get washed and go pray. Women are very active with social and prayer groups at their local churches. In the evening, the men will go to the Ataya Base, which is a place for men to drink green tea and raw groundnut and play cards or play draft, which is like checkers. They do draft competitions every month and provide a prize for the winner, which is usually someone buying them tea and groundnut. The women enjoy playing games with each other too, but less frequently than men. The game the women like most is called lodo. It is a board game using dice and seeds.

The men also like to go to the cinema to watch their favorite soccer teams. The favorite teams here are Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona. We’re told that the cinema-goers tend to get very rowdy and shout at each other. At times, there is even a fist fight!

On the weekends, laundry gets done. The weekends are also a time when friends get together. This time of year is very busy with a myriad of weddings; it is common to see vehicles driving down the road, all decorated, the bride standing up with her head sticking up through the sun roof waving at everybody. In front of her are her are all her friends dancing, shouting and rejoicing. It’s really so much fun!

The Current Source

Being a very large community, there are multiple places people can gather water, though not nearly enough to adequately supply all of the residents. Though there are a few protected wells with hand pumps, others rely on an unprotected open well that is susceptible to contamination.

People fetch water from this well using a rope with a five-gallon bucket tied to the end. They drop the five-gallon bucket down into the well to fill it with water, and then the person draws it up out of the well and pours the water from one container to the next. People will carry their water in another five-gallon container, a bucket, or a large basin. When a child reaches the age of five years old, they start by carrying water in a one-gallon container. By the time they reach eight years old, they are expected to carry a five-gallon container of water on their head.

Once the five-gallon containers reaches home, it is is poured into a large bucket with a cover. A shared cup is kept on top which each family member uses to drink.

Adding a new protected well with a hand pump will be a great aid to this community.

A letter of application was submitted by one of the community stakeholders. A field visit was done to the community. There was space available without a latrine for a distance of more than 30 meters. The community was agreeable to have the well drilled there. The landowner will present their land documents so we can write up an agreement that the well will always be community property and the landowner can never erect a wall around the well to prohibit the community from using the well.

The community is willing to help with labor, drinking water, food, security and good toilet facilities. They are also willing to participate in the hygiene training and will do the practical. The community will help keep the children from the work area. They will also provide prayers for the donors and organization workers.

The community has set up a WaSH committee and they will supervise the day‑to‑day running of the well.

Sanitation Situation

Based on an initial baseline survey, we found that there are 30 houses with a total population of 196 people, with 80 of them being children who will access this new well. The community was fairly clean and the members were excited about the prospect of water coming. The average household size is 6.5 people with 2.7 children and 3.8 adults per household. Open defecation is not an issue here, although some people urinate, as is the culture. 100% of the population have pit latrines and use them. 96% have bathing shelters. 60% have rubbish pits. 76% have kitchens. Kitchens are outdoor kitchens. The majority of the population has clothes drying lines, with 70% having dish drying racks. A very small population have animal houses. A tiny population, 6.67% of the population, have a hand washing station with soap and water present. Nearly 90% of the population store their water up off the ground in a clean container.

Though there is still room for improvement, these indicators show that the community has a positive attitude toward sanitation and hygiene.

Training Sessions

Based on this information, we will absolutely be demonstrating how to construct tippy tap hand washing stations and expect 100% participation. The beneficiaries will provide their own one gallon containers for the tippy taps. By doing this, they will be sure to take care of them. The one gallon containers are very affordable and very sustainable. The community will provide the containers while we provide the soap, netting and the rope.

We will also be discussing the importance of a rubbish pit. We will discuss disease transmission and how to block it. For the 30% without a dish drying rack, we will be calling on the community to demonstrate how to construct a rack.

Training will happen over at least 2 sessions of not more than two hours, and at least two community meetings.

This additional water point will be a big help to this community and will take some of the pressure off of nearby hand pumps. Once the project is completed, the Ministry of Water Resources will do water quality testing.

We will be partnering with a local pastor who will show the Jesus film upon the completion of the well.

Project Results: Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at the well site, central to most in the community. As part of our planning, we met with the water user committee to select dates for the best turnout.

Attendance was mind-blowing. This community had been hoping and praying for a new well, but they got even more than that: knowledge of how to live a healthy life!

The training was a big success. The first day, women, men and children showed up with over-sized containers and sticks in tow. They used the sticks and containers to make their own hand-washing stations. Eighty people showed up for the first hygiene training! We brought the evangelism on the second day, and attendance was even higher. Though a mix of Muslims, Christians, and neither, most people wanted to hear the words of God. There was a great spirit of generosity among the large group as they reflected on how a donor would give so much without even meeting them.

Due to the low percentage of households with hand-washing stations, the importance of washing hands was the first and most important topic discussed. Open defecation was not an issue, but the importance of not urinating openly and publicly was another important training topic. By the end of training, many families had already started on constructing new facilities like a bathing room in order to practice the personal hygiene they learned about.

Baimarro Kamara, a sixty-year-old man with no source of income yet still an active member of the community, with his gallon container in hand, was present for all three training sessions. He was very excited and appreciative of the new borehole. “I have lived a good life, but my children will live a better life. A first in history, my community to have a constant and safe water supply! I do not have many more years, but my children and grandchildren will enjoy it for years to come,” he said.

A New Well

Construction for this borehole began on March 23rd. The community started by digging holes for the drilling waste to be dumped. An LS200 drill rig was used to bore through the sandy soil. The cleanest water was reached at 81 feet, where the depth was confirmed to be adequate. The well pad was constructed and left to cure, the well flushed and chlorinated, and then an India Mark II pump was installed.

The biggest challenge to the construction process was a collapse at 100 feet, causing the total depth to be settled at 81. The community actively participated throughout, cooking meals for the drilling team during the days and providing security overnight.

After construction wrapped up, Musu Hillary Kamara was overwhelmed with thankfulness. “The donors are not religiously-biased; they are willing to help any community, whether Muslim or Christian! Most communities in this chiefdom are Muslim, but Mariatu’s Hope and The Water Project get the job done regardless of religion,” she said. Musu Hillary Kamara’s burden has been eased; she now has more time to study, more freedom, and less time worrying about her own safety.

A committee has been put in charge of the well’s management and maintenance. It will encourage a monthly fee to help with upkeep, and will store money in a bank account set aside for future pump repairs. Overall, having this committee will encourage the community’s self-reliance. If there’s ever a really big repair to make, the committee has Mariatu’s Hope contact information.

Community members gathered at the well for its dedication, and celebrated and danced, praying that God would keep the water flowing for a long time. Everybody was more than ready to take a first drink of the well’s fresh and clean water. Enjoy the photos that bring this thankfulness celebration close to all!

Thank You for your generosity that unlocks the potential of people who live on Mahera Road!


Recent Project Updates


07/05/2016: #2 off Swarray Dean St. New Well Project Complete

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood of #2 off Swarray Dean Street in Sierra Leone now has a source of safe, clean water. The new well is finished, and the community has been trained in sanitation and hygiene. We just posted the latest information from our partner in the field.

Take a look, and Thank You for caring for the thirsty!


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03/15/2016: Swarray Dean Street Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood near Swarray Dean Street in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone, will soon have a new source of safe clean water. A new well is being constructed and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for this community.

We just posted an initial report from our partner in the field including information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work progresses.

Thank you for caring for the thirsty!


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02/16/2016: Update From The Water Project

You’ve been assigned to a project! Check it out! And we’ll share more once the work begins!


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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos


Monitoring Data


Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Rotifunk, Lungi, Sierra Leone
ProjectID: 5080
Install Date:  06/15/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional
Last Visit: 07/28/2017

Visit History:
09/13/2016 — Functional
12/05/2016 — Functional
04/24/2017 — Functional
07/28/2017 — Functional




Contributors

Project Sponsor - In Honor of Larry and Terry Weber


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Country Details

Sierra Leone

Population: 9.7 Million
Lacking clean water: 47%
Below poverty line: 70%

Partner Profile

Mariatu’s Hope works with vulnerable communities and individuals to inspire hope through Maternal Care, Infant Nutrition, Safe Water Access, Proper Sanitation and Health and Hygiene promotion.