Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program:
Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact:
500 Served

Project Phase:
Installed

Functionality Status:
Functional

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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!

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

Welcome to the Community

Kamara Taylor Street runs through Yongoroo Community, which is home to 1186 people from approximately 148 different households. (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. To learn more, click here.) The only radio station since the founding of Kaffu Bulloum Chiefdom is located in this Yongoroo Community; an old presidential lodge after the late president was converted to a radio station. This is the largest and neediest community we have visited so far this year.

A normal day can start at any hour. The community is predominately made up of fishermen who get up at all hours of the night. Prayers at the mosque are even put on hold to catch the best fish. The children, no matter what age, know the hour, minute and second that the tide comes in with what type of fish. Men have no livelihoods but for fishing. Children and women stand on land to draw nets. The schools in this community have a huge dropout rate as children stay home to help fish.

There are always people ready to work for tips. A lot of fishermen cannot afford to buy nets or even build their own boats. These daily workers have no loyalty to one boat owner, but work on a first come first serve basis. As early as midnight, women, men and children are found lined up at the beach waiting to help draw the chains and nets to shore. For many, this is how they get to eat. They don’t get paid money, but instead get paid in small fish.

Water Situation

The only source of water in this community is an unprotected spring. Children seem to be primarily responsible for fetching water for their families. It takes about 20 minutes to get through the line and fill a five-gallon container. These children use a small bowl or cup to scoop water directly from the spring, but the difficulty is getting down the steep slope to the spring itself! Once home, the water is separated into containers according to use. Drinking water is covered and kept up off the ground, and water for domestic use is kept in an open bucket.

A clinic was opened just because there are so many medical crises in this community. Community members use the beach to relieve themselves and water is left uncovered, among many other bad habits. The rate of typhoid and dysentery is high, and skin discoloration and missing hair is a common sight. Children are running around with bloated stomachs and pale skin.

Rigba Kamara, a mother and fish seller says that “…we have no control of anything. If you don’t help us we are good as dead. We bathe in the ocean, saltwater eating away the moisture from our skin, not drinking enough clean water, what are we going to do? We are simply waiting to die, I will not have any more children, one is enough! I cannot take care of one, I might die before he grows up, his life will be a mistake, I wish I never had him.”

Sanitation Situation

No more than half of households have a latrine. The branches of coconut palm leaves are woven together to make latrine walls, and a hole is dug in the center. Locals can only dig a few feet until they meet water, since they are so close to the ocean. This discourages households from digging latrines in the first place. Thus, disease spreads at an alarming rate.

Only a few households have important tools like hand-washing stations, dish racks, and clotheslines. The majority of people throw their trash in the ocean.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will be trained on hygiene and sanitation. We plan to include the local school’s child health club to help teach about good health. We are in the process of checking this area for teachers, and plan to make sure any and all teachers attend this training. Training professional trainers will be crucial in such a desperate community! When we are not there, the teachers can continue to share what they learned.

The facilitator plans to use the PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method to teach about the following topics and others:

  • Dangers of open defecation
  • Importance of facilities like latrines and bathing rooms
  • Steps of proper hand-washing
  • Disease transmission and how to stop it

Since this is such a large community, we are considering extra training sessions. We ask that each training participant bring their own container to learn how to build a hand-washing station.

Plans: New Well

A new borehole will be drilled in the central location agreed on by the community: #1 Kamara Taylor Street. We will use an LS200 drill rig, and finish the well with an India Mark II pump.

Mr. Unisa Kamara, a local Muslim man says that “The imams, mosques and all our descendants have stood by with no help. They can keep their religion to themselves! How can I go to the mosque without water? They have not done anything for us, and the religion we do not practice is helping us. Please save us, without help we are all dead.”


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Recent Project Updates


10/26/2016: Test

Test




09/15/2016: #1 Kamara Taylor Street New Well Project Complete

We are excited to share that the new well at #1 Kamara Taylor Street is now providing clean water for the surrounding community. Locals no longer have to risk their lives to fetch dirty water from a swamp that sits at the end of a dangerous path! 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 Kamara Taylor 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 at #10 Wharf Road besides the ocean. The paramount chief’s compound is located here, with enough space to host a large crowd of over one hundred!

Before we decided on the dates and times for training, we discussed the community’s schedule to ensure the best turnout. A day before the first training session, we returned for a visit to remind the community of the days to which they agreed. Community members were so excited to see us that day before, that we were positive we’d see a huge attendance the following day!

On a cool June afternoon, Friday the 10th, a total of 65 people showed up for the first training session. We consider this the most important day of training, because it’s when we teach how to build a hand-washing station and how to use it properly. Children, mothers and fathers showed up with their own plastic container in order to make the hand-washing station. We provided the rope and sticks.

4 sierraleone5085 training

We couldn’t hold the next training session until June 27th, because community members would only agree to attend on a Friday afternoon or Sunday morning. That second session drew a total turnout of 42 people. Though a bit less than the first day, this crowd was by far the most enthusiastic about learning. We taught about environmental hygiene, and took walks around the community to highlight both good and bad behaviors. A woman might take her water container to the well, collect clean water, but will contaminate it later by either handling or storing it improperly.

The most impactful lesson was on the importance of having and using a latrine. This lesson was taught at the wharf, drawing a crowd of at least 500! There is no toilet along the entire wharf. What happens when a fisherman needs to use the latrine? He hops into the water and wades deep enough. From there, we started talking about the dangers of open defecation. When we shared a picture of a child doing so, laughter erupted in the crowds. We saw children pointing and shouting at each other, “that’s you!” When the laughter died down, we got to work explaining the dangers of this practice, especially because of all the locals who have no shoes. Worm and parasite infestations often go unnoticed until it is too late.

We considered training a success firstly because of the massive turnout. Locals who attended have already constructed their own hand-washing stations and returned home to build a dish rack. Fishermen have even built makeshift urinals as an alternative to going in the ocean.

Training also resulted in the formation of a trained water user committee that will manage and maintain their new well.

1 sierraleone5085 training

Amadu Kamara, a 28-year-old university student, was one of the many who attended training. He recounts the importance of hygiene and sanitation practices in his own life:

During the Ebola epidemic, I was part of the social mobilization and sensitization of my community. All the rules and regulations implemented by the World Health Organization kept our community Ebola free. We are very proud and happy about that achievement. The strict hand-washing used then are the same techniques taught to us by the well-trained hygiene team from Mariatu’s Hope. I am happy for getting this refresher course, for me and my community members. The efforts are well appreciated. I am a student with high aspirations to make it out of this community and make something of myself. Parents and siblings are in the fish business, nothing else. My father has three wives with over twenty brothers and sisters, some who I know and some I do not know. It was a miracle to make it to the university level in this community. Old friends made fun of me for attending school, that I was never going to help my mother, that the people that graduated college and are without jobs is where will I end up; nowhere. I make it a point to always go anywhere there is a chance for me to learn. I learned immensely with the hygiene trainers. All knowledge is valuable!

7 sierraleone5085 training

Project Result: New Well

Construction for this new well began on May 10th.

First, two identical holes are dug side by side for supply and waste pits. The drill rig is set up a few feet away from the two holes. The rig is attached to five-foot long metal pipes, capable of drilling to depths of over one hundred feet. The desired depth was attained at 105 feet, pipes inserted, gravel packed, clean filled,and a sanitary seal placed at a depth of three meters. Bentonite is dropped in the hole to prevent the walls from collapsing. The well pad was constructed with a ten-foot diameter. After the pad was made, the wall was erected around the well. The pump was installed, walls painted, and the well is thus ready for a dedication ceremony!

18 sierraleone5085 pump installation

All the while, the community members helped with manual labor, women cooked food for the workers, and men secured our equipment after hours.

There were no challenges or delays during project implementation. In fact, our drill team felt so attached to the community that they found it hard to leave!

23 sierraleone5085 dedication

Headman Pa Santigie Kamara could have talked and talked trying to express his gratefulness for a water project in his community:

As a headman, the lives and property of all and any community member are in my care. This responsibility was entrusted to me by the leader of the chiefdom, the paramount chief. I am more than thankful, I am grateful, happy and downright appreciative. You have saved the lives of thousands born and yet unborn. The dangers our children faced on a daily basis to fetch water are finally over. The children and women carry the the bulk of chores. I have seen my share of difficulties and I have been praying for blessings like this. I am already on my way out and immensely happy for leaving a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I pray and hope the blessings will keep pouring in for the donors and every other person that played a role in the construction of this well. Thank you for saving our lives, we will never forget!

On July 3rd, more than a hundred people showed up for the well’s dedication ceremony. On that day, we officially handed the water source over to the community. There was a lot of rejoicing and celebration, which you can see under the “See Photos & Video” tab above!


The Water Project : 24-sierraleone5085-dedication


07/06/2016: #1 Kamara Taylor Street New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood around #1 Kamara Taylor 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 information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work progresses.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!


The Water Project : 14-sierraleone5085-breaking-ground


Monitoring Data


Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Yongoroo
ProjectID: 5085
Install Date:  08/31/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional
Last Visit: 04/13/2017

Visit History:
09/30/2016 — Functional
12/05/2016 — Functional
02/21/2017 — Functional
04/13/2017 — Functional




Contributors

Project Sponsor - The Matthew Martin Family
1 individual donor(s)


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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.