Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program:
Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact:
441 Served

Project Phase:
Installed

Functionality Status:
Functional

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Stories and Community Profile

One never knows what challenges will stand in the way of bringing clean water to rural communities. We are sad to report that the project to construct a new well began at Robis Village, but was cancelled for the time being due to dissension within the community. We hope to return to that village in the future and successfully bring clean water.

Our partner has decided to engage with a new community for a project. Below are the details for a well that will be drilled in Lungitown, Sierra Leone:

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.

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!

Please enjoy the following report comes straight from the field, edited for clarity and readability:

Welcome to the Community

#10 Carana Street runs through Lungitown, Sierra Leone. The area around Carana Street is home to approximately 441 people from 52 different households.

A normal day starts and ends with fish. This is a fishing community where everybody eats, breathes, and dreams fish. There are three mosques and one church in this community. Religion is important here, but when there’s an opportunity to catch fish, everything is dropped. Fish in these parts are worth more than gold or diamonds. Fishing is the only source of sustainable income, with agriculture as a far second.

Lungitown is occupied by the Susu tribe, the peoples who inhabit most of the coast of Kaffu Bullum Chiefdom. They are a relatively peaceful people who live alongside the smaller Temne Tribe. A majority of the Susu speak Temne, which is a very easy language to learn.

Children in Sierra Leone really suffer the most in each household. The children fetch water and do chores while the adult men head out to sea to fish for the day. The women also wait at the shore to help the men draw in their nets. Once the fish are in, the women are also responsible for cleaning, drying, and then selling the fish at the market. At an early age, children have no choice but to stop school to help the family. Daughters are sold at a young age as wives to the more prosperous fishermen, to somehow gain their favor. What future do these children have? I met a young boy mending a fishing net with amazing ease, and thought of the opportunities he could have if only he attended school.

Mr. Mohamed Turay is a local council member and representative of his community. He applied to our organization a year ago, and had been offering money and prayers at the local mosque until news of acceptance this year. When we arrived for the first time, he offered us a seat in his best chairs and had even bought bottled water and soft drinks for us to enjoy. He couldn’t hide his excitement when he heard we wanted to help his Lungitown community. Adults and children gathered around to hear about the process, watching and listening with rapture. Ever since the day Mr. Turay got the news of this project, he’s been calling our office to check the status. All of the excitement and welcome around this project encourages us that it will be a success.

Water Situation

Children as well as adults head down a steep hill as early as 2am to get in line for fetching water from an unprotected spring. Drops of water to be exact! There used to be other water sources, but they’ve been condemned. Though the unprotected spring might not be impressive, the hill is. It took me forty-five minutes to crawl down that hill to evaluate the spring. When I say crawl, I literally mean crawl. My first attempt was on two legs, but the children were waiting and advising me to take off my shoes and socks. I didn’t listen to the advice, and was instead on all fours as the children climbed up and down with ease. They have so much practice carrying their heavy buckets of water up and down that incline, while I took a detour zig-zagging around to find the easiest path.

Since the spring at the bottom of the hill has a low recharge, a tiny cup is used to scoop water. It’s a long process to fill a water container! It takes at least 30 minutes to fill one that is 20 liters. Children can’t carry such a large container when it is full, so multiple trips with a 5-liter jerrycan are necessary. Even with 5 liters of water, children have to work together to get the water up the hill and back home. Water is so scarce here that any water brought home is immediately used for either cooking or drinking.

The most obvious negative consequences are the bloated stomachs. There are skin infections and blindness, not to mention the constant cases of diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera. Mama Fudia Dumbuya is a sixty-year-old grandmother of nine and a mother of seven. Her grandchildren stay with her. Most meals have to be skipped in order to afford the high cost of drinking water. Mama Dumbuya is too old for the long and dangerous walk down the hill, and her grandchildren are too young to go down by themselves. “I used to be better looking than this! And the children walk around with sun-bleached hair and stomachs looking too large for their ages.” Her and her grandchildren’s survival is dependent on the coconut and mango trees that were planted by her parents. “We need help,” she added.

Sanitation Situation

How can anyone be excited about hygiene and sanitation when there’s not even enough water for drinking? I watched a little girl wash her school uniform, but not the way one would imagine. She washed her white shirt in the spring water, and it only looked clean from afar. She used a damp rag to rub dirt out of her pants, since there wasn’t enough water to clean both items.

Many households here have pit latrines, but they are saved for guests. Thus, I found them to be clean, because locals instead head down to the beach to relieve themselves. There are very few hand-washing stations in the area; out of the 52 households we could find only two places. We’ve included pictures of these two stations in the “See Photos & Video” section.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will be trained for three days in hygiene and sanitation. Since this is such a large community, extra hours may be taken each day to ensure that all topics were covered thoroughly. The facilitator will use the PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method to teach participants how to make their own hand-washing stations, wash hands, construct proper latrines, and many other topics. By the end of training, each household that participated will have their own hand-washing station.

Plans: New Borehole

The well will be drilled at #10 Carana Street, which is an address in the center of the community. Residents will form a water user committee that oversees and maintains the new well. They will also form a constitution that the community needs to follow if they want to draw water from the well. For example, a household should have and use a latrine before benefiting from the new source.


Project Photos


Recent Project Updates


10/18/2016: #10 Carana Street New Well Project Complete

We are excited to share that the new well at #10 Carana Street is now providing clean water for the surrounding community. Locals no longer have to descend the steep hill to fetch water from an unprotected spring. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines. This water and new knowledge give the community a great foothold in eliminating water and sanitation-related illness. Please enjoy this update detailing all the work that was done around Carana Street and make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab above to find new pictures of the finished project.

Thank You for unlocking potential in this community. You made clean water a reality, and now you have a chance to make sure it keeps flowing. Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and hundreds of other projects!

Project Result: New Knowledge and Hand-Washing Stations

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in the shade of a huge mango tree opposite the well site. To prepare for training, we kept in touch with local leadership. Our go-to person, Mr. Mohamed Turay, is the elected district council representative. He knocked on doors a week before training to invite as many participants as possible. This councilman also invited families to bring jerrycans in order to construct their own hand-washing stations. Households that lacked dish racks, latrines, clotheslines, and animal pens were encouraged to construct those before the conclusion of training. Households without the proper facilities will be restricted from fetching the new well’s water.

People were very excited to participate in training, and attendance was higher than we expected. The three days of training attracted more than 250 people, all with their jerrycans and eagerness to learn.

9 sierraleone5082 training

The first day, we started off with a hand-washing lesson. The facilitator led groups of locals in the construction of hand-washing stations. These were made with the jerrycans participants brought, along with our contribution of rope, sticks, net, and soap. Once our hand-washing stations were made, we could use them to teach participants the proper steps to hand-washing. Later, we used illustrations to help participants talk about what daily habits make a community healthy or unhealthy.

2 sierraleone5082 training

On the second day, training was delayed until the afternoon because of heavy rains. The afternoon hours actually allowed for even more participants! This huge group learned about disease transmission, again through the use of illustrations and group discussions. The final day was the longest day, since we end by making house calls. During these visits, we make sure that each household has the required facilities such as a pit latrine and hand-washing station. We also meet with the water user committee to teach them how to oversee and maintain the new well and its pump.

Training at Carana Street was extremely successful. 80% of the households we initially surveyed who had been lacking latrines had constructed them by the end of training. Many of these same households had constructed dish racks, too! Ya Konie Kamara is a mother who sells fish in the local market. She had never learnt about good hygiene before, and was very grateful for this opportunity. At the end of training, she said “It is never too late for miracles! I am a very happy person, more than words can explain. This isn’t even for me, it is for my children!”

YA. KONIE KAMARA

Project Result: New Well

Construction on this borehole began on July 3rd.

The well is located at #10 Carana Street, the final site chosen after the first site failed.

A large area was cleared, and two holes were dug for the drill rig’s supply and discharge. The drilling process lasted for two days, with samples being taken at every 10 feet to find the best depth that would yield the cleanest water. We reached a total depth of 95 feet, and gravel pack was placed at 90 feet. Clean fill was added to 70 feet, and eight risers were fitted with a rich concrete mixture. The following day, the well was bailed using an electric submersible pump. The well pad was constructed, walled, and the static level was measured again to ensure a proper quantity of water. The static water level is a steady 60 feet. Finally, the new pump was installed and the well could be handed over to the community.

23 sierraleone5082 pump installation

All the while, the community supported our work team by providing food and water throughout the day. They offered helping hands for the heavy lifting, and provided overnight security for our equipment.

The handing over ceremony was on a rainy Friday, but luckily enough, the skies cleared right before we began. The community sang and danced to celebrate clean water. Children, men and women lined up to get their first taste of clean water that they so desperately needed.

Mohamed Turay said, “I was so disappointed when the original site chosen for the well proved to be the wrong decision. I gathered all the people in my council to pray for this opportunity not to escape use. The water now is clean and good to drink. God has answered our prayers and we are happy the donors didn’t give up on us! Now we can enjoy clean water in our community. This is the season for cholera, but we are saved! This is the first borehole ever in our community, which will be greatly looked after. When you are thirsty and someone you have never known offers you a glass of clean water; there is no feeling greater.”


The Water Project : 34-sierraleone5082-handing-over


09/21/2016: #10 Carana Street New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood around #10 Carana Street in 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 an introduction to the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you updated as the work progresses.

Check out the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for caring for the thirsty!


The Water Project : 4-sierraleone5082-fetching-water


07/26/2016: Important News of Your Project

We are sad to report that the project at Robis Village has been cancelled for the time being. We hope to introduce you to a new community in the near future. Click the green “Read About the Community” banner for more details. And Thank you for your help and your patience in the task of bringing clean water.




Monitoring Data


Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bulloum, Lungi, Lungitown, #10 Carana Street
ProjectID: 5082
Install Date:  10/18/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional
Last Visit: 05/19/2017

Visit History:
09/30/2016 — Functional
12/05/2016 — Functional
03/06/2017 — Needs Attention
03/06/2017 — Needs Attention
03/06/2017 — Functional
05/19/2017 — Functional