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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 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.

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, home to 1186 people from approximately 148 different families. (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.) It is a community largely dependent on fishing, with boys being groomed from an early age to fish. The young girls in every community are raised to be either young brides or taught to sell fish.

A normal day in this community starts at 4 am. Women as well as men begin their day with a dip in the local stream. It is a scene to behold: women, children, and in-laws bathing side by side with no regard to relationship. After morning prayers, women pack baskets full with fish to transport inland and sell. The women travel as far as Makeni and Kono to sell their fish, dried to endure the one to two days’ journey. Women spend the night drying these fish (they chew kola nuts to stay awake), seasoned with salt to withstand the dusty and treacherous roads to communities that have no access to saltwater. Salt with monosodium glutamate is used as a preservative.

The men and young boys suffer the daily grind of being fishermen. Since being a fisherman is the most significant source of income, the women must delegate all cooking duties to a daughter, if they have one. The daughters are responsible for day to day running of the household. Once young ladies learn these domestic duties, they are normally given off to older men for marriage.

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.

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.

Denke Kenah is a 70-year-old famous folklore storyteller who lives in this community. He is known all over the country! He is knowledgeable about each tribe and its history. He says that his people have “no knowledge of what is healthy and unhealthy. Children walk around with no shoes, no pants… The unsuspecting children expose [themselves] to worms, bacteria… We are thankful of the effort your organization is making in providing clean water and educating my people on how to live a healthy life.”

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

– How to prepare, handle, and store food properly

– Disease transmission and how to stop it

Since this is such a large community, we are considering extra training sessions. The plan is to train for three days, four hours a day. We ask that each training participant bring their own container to learn how to build a hand-washing station.

Plans: New Well

This community is huge. This will be the second borehole we have drilled in this community. It will be drilled in a location agreed on by the community: #28 Kamara Taylor Street. This is located further down the street from the first well, giving many more community members the opportunity to access clean, safe water. We will use an LS200 drill rig, and finish the well with an India Mark II pump.

The people in this community are so thankful. They have been thirsty for so long! They have also been hurt by so many broken promises. They are excited beyond belief to have us drilling this well. It is a privilege to be able to drill this well and be part of the greater good for this community.

Recent Project Updates

12/19/2017: A Year Later: #28 Kamara Taylor Street

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with the community surrounding #28 Kamara Taylor Street in Sierra Leone. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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, Nanay Mansaray, with you.

The Water Project : 5088_yar_2

09/19/2016: #28 Kamara Taylor Street New Well Project Complete

We are excited to share that the new well at #28 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

To catch the most crowds, hygiene and sanitation training sessions were held in two different locations: the mosque and the wharf, the busiest gathering places in the entire community.

Our contact person is the chairperson of the water user committee who has been elected to oversee this water and sanitation project. As usual, we met with the entire water user committee to schedule the best time and place for training. A week prior to the training, a follow-up call was made to remind the community about the date and time.

But fishing is so important to the people here, and we find it hard to get them to leave their boats for even a mere two hours! After two failed training sessions, our trainers decided to take the sessions to the masses at the wharf and mosque. This took training attendance from a handful to hundreds at a time!

Participation was good, but there were many distractions we’d have to wait to pass. When a fishing boat would draw near to shore, all of the women and children who were listening one minute ago, would the next minute be rushing off to the ocean! The next day, we took training to the mosque. Conveniently, there were downpours after prayer, so all of the worshippers were stranded in the building! They were a literal captivated audience for three hours.

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The first and most important topic covered in training was hand-washing. During our initial visit to the community, the only hand-washing station we could find was in the mosque.  We taught locals how to use just a plastic container, rope, and sticks to build a station. Some other topics we talked about were good and bad hygiene, disease transmission, and the need to have and use a latrine. To teach about these things, the training facilitator used group discussions, illustrations, and question and answer sessions. Since the illiteracy rate is so high here, the illustrations were most effective in communicating proper, healthy lifestyle change.

After our first day of hand-washing training, over one hundred families had installed a station at home. Change was visible immediately after training; dish racks, chicken coops, latrines, and urinals could be seen popping up throughout the community. Areas that were not clean when we first visited became free of garbage, since many homes hand added rubbish pits. In fact, latrines are quickly becoming most important to these families, since the water user committee has decided on a rule that bans latrine-less households from fetching water at the new well.

Foday Kargbo, a local trader, enjoyed what he learned at hygiene and sanitation training. He said, “The training is a welcome addition to the improvement of the community. The badly needed help came with the message… cleanliness is next to godliness!”

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Project Result: New Well

Construction for this new borehole well at #28 Kamara Taylor Street began on July 1st.

The well was constructed in an open area of approximately three acres. The spacious area made it easy for the LS 200 drill rig to be maneuvered. The two supply and waste ditches were dug a few feet away from the base of the rig, giving the wet rotary drilling easy to access water. The machine was able to reach a depth of 28.9 meters within a day. The distance between the top and bottom of the screen is 6.1 meters. The gravel pack was put at 18.2 meters, using local gravel from freshwater that prevents dirt and sand from entering the 5-inch diameter casing. The borehole is eight inches in diameter with the sanitary seal installed at four meters. After the pipes were installed and the water bailed using an electric submersible pump, the yield test proved this to be a successful well. We gave the team a go on constructing the well pad and wall. The dimensions of the pad are ten feet in diameter, using granite stones with a rich mixture of cement to ensure the longevity of the final product. The pump was installed a day before the dedication of the well. The well was chlorinated before handing it over to the community.

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All the while, the community was very helpful in providing our work teams with food and accommodation. The able-bodied men were there to offer us help with manual labor.

Fatmata Sesay, the owner of the land on which we drilled the well, was very excited about the project. She was happy to help her community in any way possible. She has many grandchildren, and is grateful they no longer have to make the long trek to the stream, since water is only a few steps away. “If everyone in the community makes small efforts to improve of uplift the community, things won’t be so bad. I have never been to school or know anything about hygiene, but I know the water we have been drinking for years is not safe. That I know for sure. The donors have never been to our country or community, but they care enough for us and provided clean water. Not only that clean water, but the message of training on how to live healthy lives for today and for a very long time.”

We handed the well over to the community on July 8th. Since it was a Friday afternoon, we were able to draw a huge crowd. Many of these were children, because children are always delegated the task of fetching water in Sierra Leone. These children were so excited, singing and clapping for clean water. We were surprised to even see some fishermen who dropped their nets long enough to come celebrate with their families. Children were rushing and running over each other to be the first to get a sip of clean well water.

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07/06/2016: #28 Kamara Taylor Street New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood around #28 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!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bulloum, Lungi, Yongoroo
ProjectID: 5088
Install Date:  09/02/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/21/2018

Visit History:
09/23/2016 — Needs Attention
12/05/2016 — Functional
12/13/2016 — Functional
02/22/2017 — Functional
04/13/2017 — Functional
07/13/2017 — Functional
10/20/2017 — Functional
01/21/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: #28 Kamara Taylor Street

November, 2017

My life has been changed a lot since this project was completed in our community because I have access to safe and clean water every time I want and I also go to school on time.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with the community surrounding #28 Kamara Taylor Street in Sierra Leone. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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, Nanay Mansaray, with you.

You can see that daily life of the community has improved because people are still using their tippy taps, hanging their clothes on a clothesline rope, using a digging pit for their waste disposal and even building kitchen drying racks for food preparation. These changes were caused through this water project and the health education training that was introduced in their community.

Using tippy-tap

The community is finding the new well provides water for more than just safe drinking. “A big change in our community happened when we are about to build the mosque” says caretaker Pa Issa Koroma. “We didn’t go down the hill to fetch water we just easily fetch water from the pump for the construction of the mosque. Plus, the community people fetch clean and safe water for consumption and cooking.”

9-year-old Kai Kamara shares how he has been affected by access to safe water. “My life has been changed a lot since this project was completed in our community because I have access to safe and clean water every time I want and I also go to school on time,” Kai explains. “Even in our house we have clothesline, use the toilet and we wash our hands. Now children are not allowed to defecate around the house. So, for these reason our lives have been changed.”

This community still needs to improve on their sanitation practices. Some toilets are still not roofed and there are no covers on the mouth of the pit latrine. Our staff will continue to chlorinate the well every three months, monitor and maintain the well if needed.

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 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


National Art Honors Society at Old Mill High School
Living Word Shanghai Gr. 5 & 6
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
Warren Hills Regional High School/Human Rights Club
Bronx Charter School for Excellence
Madison High School
Bellmore Girl Scouts Troop 947
2016 VBS
Old Trail School
DST Los Angeles South Bay Alumnae Chapter
Huntington Independent School District
Urban Community School
St. Patrick School
Columbus Air Force Base Chapel Father's Day Donation
The Hermosillo Family
2G - Room Helpers - 2016
Jubilee Christian School
Sigma Theta Tau International, Upsilon Kappa Chapter
92 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

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.