Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School New Well Project

Regional Program:
Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Latitude 8.60
Longitude -13.16

400 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and Community Profile

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!

Welcome to the School

A normal day for teachers and students of Sanaya Memorial Academy begins at 5:30 am. Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, vice principal, wakes up especially early to wash before going to the mosque for morning prayers. After prayers, he suits up and begins the long trek to his school grounds. He lives three miles away from the school yard! The vice principal is the first to arrive at the school every morning to prepare documents and time sheets for the teachers to sign upon arrival. The students arrive at 7:30 am, and at 8 am they start devotionals. The school is a Christian, but with students and teachers from all religious backgrounds. The school is the first secondary school in the Mamankie Section to have a population of over six thousand people! Some of these students travel up to six miles for school. The ones that can afford a motorcycle ride instead of walk. The others who cannot afford motorcycles will either use bicycles or get up at the crack of dawn for the long walk.

(Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

The school offers a broad range of subjects so that students have the opportunity to catch up with peers who attend better-funded schools. This school is a blessing to the community, so if a borehole is dug within the schoolyard, the blessings will continue. All the classrooms have drinking buckets with water that is fetched from a stream roughly forty minutes away from the school. Both the students and teachers drink contaminated water on a daily basis simply because there is no other option. Either drink the dirty water or suffer from dehydration, and whoever can afford to buy bottled water does so. The students cannot even afford to buy food, so it is very unlikely that they can afford water.

Water Situation

The stream yields water that is obviously contaminated. The water flows by very slowly, and thus becomes very muddy as locals fetch.

Students opt for using containers with large openings in order to see large debris such as rags, soap suds and old slippers that could easily be scooped from the water. Since the stream is far from school, a five-gallon bucket is the container of choice for the students, no larger. They will take off their shoes and socks to enter the stream with water knee-deep. Fetching water from this stream requires a keen eye and close attention not to take a tadpole or small fish back to school! After the water is brought back from the stream, twenty minutes is allowed for it to settle.

A visit to the stream reveals people doing laundry just inches away from where the students fetch drinking water. Dirty rags, leaves, and all kinds of debris was seen floating in the stream. Even some of the students and community members use the bushes just above the stream as toilets.

Students complain of stomachaches, fevers and headaches on a daily basis. Students miss many days of school because of bacterial infections they get from drinking this contaminated water. These are classic symptoms of typhoid!

Sanitation Situation

There are four usable pit latrines on campus, which all need improvements. The smell is awful and stains are all over. There is no evidence of soap or any other disinfectant – there is just water. The stalls are very small and the doors do not lock properly. As of now, the roof is the only good thing about these latrines. Open defecation is also an issue since there are only four stalls available for such a large student population. There are three hand-washing buckets, but these do not have soap available either.

The school disposes of garbage behind the latrines, and the paper trash is burnt. We will be working with the school to have a dustbin dug and a stick fence built around this area. We will encourage weekly burning during the dry season and will discuss a plan for when the rains come: trash should be thrown into the hole rather than on the school grounds.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members, teachers, and students will be trained for three days, three hours a day.

The objectives specific to Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School are sanitation, proper methods of hand-washing, and environmental hygiene. The school lacks adequate latrines for the amount of students, teachers, and staff, as well as the traders who sell food products inside the school compound. The school has access to dirt, so they could beat mud blocks to build additional latrines. We will encourage the school to construct another set of latrines, along with repairing and cleaning the ones they already have.

Members of the Child Health Club will also have a chance to build their own hand-washing stations. Students will bring a one-gallon container to construct these during training.

Plans: New Borehole

Vice Principal Ibrahim Sorie Kamara says, “Clean water, clean hands, clean hearts; clean and brilliant students. The current health situation is manageable! The constant stomachache, fever and typhoid are daily occurrence. The constant absent of students is due to the unsafe water source the school depend for their drinking water.” He submitted an application to our office, and after initial visits and reviews, the school was chosen for a new borehole. Their needs and cries for help echoed through to us loud and clear. Initially, this school was considered for a well rehabilitation. However, a closer inspection of the inside revealed that the well had not been constructed properly, caisson were dislodged across the bottom of the well, and the lining was not properly tied. It would have been like burning money to repair this kind of well; the better use of funds is to drill a borehole which will serve this school and community for generations to come.

The new well will be located on school grounds, and the households within ten to five hundred meters are also allowed to use the pump. Now that students (especially the girls) have the ability to remain on school grounds throughout the day, they no longer have to fear the sexual harassment they previously encountered on their way to fetch water.

The headman is just one person living nearby who will benefit from the proposed well. The vice principal, Mr. Kamara, is overjoyed about having a well in his school. The school was built for the thousands of students who cannot afford to attend other schools because of their high fees. Both the headman and school leadership are enthused. Mr. Kamara thankfully shared, “Generations passed and finally God has done it for us!”

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/15/2017: A Year Later: Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School

A year ago, generous donors helped build a well for students attending Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School, which is also enjoyed by the surrounding community. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Madieu Turay, with you.

The Water Project : 5083-yar-3

07/19/2016: Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School New Well Project Complete

We are excited to share that the new well at Sanaya Memorial Academy is providing clean water for students and staff. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted at the school to teach students and their parents about healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines. This water and new knowledge give students a great foothold in eliminating water-related illness at school and at home. Please enjoy this update detailing all the work that was done at Sanaya Memorial Academy, 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held on school grounds. The teachers, students, and community members were so excited to attend this training, that it was difficult to find enough seating! Students had to drag over their classroom benches, and parents found tree stumps and branches to sit on. Sessions were planned to last for three days, three hours a day, but sessions ended up stretching way past the finish mark.

On the first day, we had 50 community members, 25 teachers, and 30 students participate. That was the day that everybody brought their own gallon containers in order to construct a hand-washing station. They were so interested in learning about washing their hands and how to treat their water! On the second day, attendance only allowed for standing. There wasn’t enough room for everybody to sit! On that day, we focused on waterborne disease and what can be done to minimize its spread. We talked a lot about proper water and food storage, how to pen in animals. Before our visit to this community, it was popular for dirty, outdoor animals to be allowed inside.

Community participation was outstanding when illustrations and diagrams were circulated. The laughter was immense! Locals saw the pictures and immediately they rung a bell; there was a picture of a little boy defecating by the stream and an animal a few feet away waiting for its supper. Downstream, a woman was fetching water. That is an exact illustration of this community! Others started feeling ashamed, and inched away from training until they where out of range.

Training sessions were a huge success. The community put together a constitution about using this new well. For example, a household will not be able to fetch water if their home does not have a latrine. We met Aminata Sesay, a 14-year-old girl from the neighboring village who was at training. She’s really taken what she learned to heart! She walks six miles to school every day. Now when she walks to school, she makes sure she has a bar of soap to help her clean up before classes start. She is paying a lot of attention to her interactions during the school day. Every time she touches something, she runs to rinse her hands with water. Aminata shared, “When I get enough money, I will buy hand sanitizer just for me! I thank everyone involved for giving me the knowledge about taking care of myself and family.”

16 sierraleone5083 training

Project Result: New Borehole

Construction for this new well began on April 21st.

The team used an LS200 drill rig that has 4000 psi power that can push through beds of pebbles and small rocks. The location was selected and then cordoned off to limit access to well technicians and the community members willing to help. After attaining the proper depth that yields the best water, drilling is stopped, filter is packed, screened, and then back-filled to prevent dirt from mixing with water. After the water is bailed, a sanitary seal is made at three meters. The well pad is constructed 10 feet in diameter using granite stones and a rich mixture of cement and sand. Last but not least, the well is fitted with an India Mark II pump.

36 sierraleone5083 pump installation

All throughout the process, the community was very helpful in providing food for the team and assisting with labor. The only challenge during the construction period was for the team to be able to finish all of the good food provided by the community!

At the well’s completion, hundreds of people arrived to get their first sip of water. The lucky one was a little boy who crawled in between the legs of other adults to drink from the well. Before we left that day, Abu Makarr Turay, a senior teacher at Sanaya Memorial Academy said, “The well couldn’t have come at a better time: the start of the rainy season, when soil runoff into the stream always manages to kill a few people in the community. We are grateful for the great work the donors have done for us. Any institution or home without clear, adequate, safe water is not an effective institution!”

The Water Project : 58-sierraleone5083-dedication

04/11/2016: Sanaya Memorial School New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that thanks to your willingness to help, the Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School and the neighborhood around it will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A new well is being constructed and the teachers and students will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for this school and the greater community.

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

Thank you for caring for the thirsty!

The Water Project : 3-sierraleone5083-fetching-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffee Bullum, Lungi, Robis
ProjectID: 5083
Install Date:  07/19/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/20/2018

Visit History:
09/27/2016 — Functional
11/28/2016 — Functional
01/20/2017 — Functional
04/07/2017 — Functional
07/11/2017 — Functional
10/13/2017 — Functional
01/20/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School

September, 2017

“This project had made me stop being late to school all the time!”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a well for students attending Sanaya Memorial Academy Secondary School, which is also enjoyed by the surrounding community. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Madieu Turay, with you.

Parents used to be afraid to register their children at Sanaya Memorial because of reports on its poor hygiene and sanitation. Students not only had to leave class in search of water throughout the day, but would also have to leave in search of latrines; the four latrines at school needed buckets of water to flush. Without the water for flushing toilets and cleaning school facilities, everything was extraordinarily filthy. Now, students no longer have to leave class during a lecture to find water, nor do they have to fear using their own latrines – they have clean water right on school grounds!

5083 YAR 2

Kadiatu Kamara, pictured above, is an art teacher here. “Before, we went to the stream to fetch water and shower before going to school. But since this project came to our school and community, I stop going to the stream and fetch water to launder and shower. This project had made me stop being late to school all the time!” There’s so much clean water at the well that the school agreed to allow community members to use it throughout the day so that they too no longer have to fetch dirty water from the stream. However, Teacher Kamara told us that “one of the biggest problem that I have in this institution is our community do not have a water well. Our parents come to school to fetch water while we’re lecturing. Overcrowding at the water point, community people normally make noise for us while we’re teaching.”

5083 YAR 1

Pump caretaker and local farmer Kelfalah Kamara added that “this project has helped a lot in the improvement of this institution since last year. We use the well to fetch water for the construction of the school building, and we use the well for promotion of hygiene and sanitation.” They have even planted a school garden!

5083 YAR 4

Keeping the well at this school flowing with clean water is a key way to support this school and their community in all of their endeavors, and we’re excited to stay in relationship with them as they continue their journey. It would be ideal if the community surrounding Sanaya Memorial could have their own clean water well, and we even had a project scheduled there last year. But when our drill team showed up, a local chased them away with a machete! We have been working with the community to resolve conflicts, and they have since apologized and applied to be considered for a water project next year. We hope that the great success seen at the school will continue to have a ripple effect on their community!

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

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.