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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 200 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

Alimamy Amara Road runs through Lungitown in Sierra Leone. Though Lungitown has a huge population, we consider the population of the immediate village to be about 200 people from 51 different households.

A normal day starts with an early morning wakeup call for prayers. The majority of people in this area are practicing Muslims. People get up at 4am to ensure there is ample time for the long walk to the swamp to tend their gardens. These tens of miles of marshy swampland are full of the most beautiful assortment of vegetables. The main source of livelihood for this community is agriculture. Vegetables such as okra, tomatoes, corn, garden eggs, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and onions is only naming a few of the crops commonly grown here! The plantations have to be watered very early in the morning before the sun, and late in the evening after the sun has gone down to prevent the veggies from withering during the day’s hot African sun. By ten in the morning, these local farmers and gardeners have moved on to weeding. It is a full-time job, with birds often coming to eat the vegetables; children and women normally spend the rest of their day driving the birds away with their weapon of choice: a slingshot. Children make loud noises and sing to scare the birds. At nightfall, everyone returns home with a bucket of water balanced on their head with enough water for the next morning.

Water Situation

Women and children fetch this water from the swamp that sits nearby and irrigates their crops. They must take off their shoes before wading into the water ankle-deep, dunking whatever smaller container they have into the marsh’s water. This water is poured into a larger jerrycan with a lid which the woman or child will tote all the way back home. The walk back home to the village is about one kilometer, but it doesn’t seem to phase the women and children. They travel in groups back and forth to the swamp, entertaining themselves with conversation or singing.

When the water arrives home, it is poured into larger barrels and left to settle before drinking. There are certain, less busy times of the day that locals feel water is clean enough to be drunk directly from the swamp. There’s no doubt that the water is contaminated nonetheless. The water flows extremely slowly, and other women do their laundry just a few feet away.

Sanitation Situation

Over half of households have some form of pit latrine. A typical latrine is walled in by sticks with a tarp wrapped around them. Many of these are left open, and attract flies and wild animals that look for food. Open defecation was also observed to be an issue in this area. When we visited, community members could give us a tour of all the popular places the people without latrines would relieve themselves.

Under 25% of households have a hand-washing station, and no more than half have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their things. Since this is an agricultural community, trash is never wasted. Fish remains, leftover fruit and vegetable peels are consolidated and allowed to rot so they can use it as compost. All other trash is thrown in a garbage pit.

We met the oldest member of this community during our visit, an old gardener by the name of Kemoh Saccoh. It seems that every member swings by his home to say hello at least once a day. Kemoh is proud of his good health! He boasts that all his teeth are still intact, that he’s never smoked, and eats his vegetables. He worries what will become of his children and grandchildren after he passes. “They are all dying before me. I guess I have been blessed or am I cursed? I have buried a lot of my children and other loved ones. The nearest clinic is miles away.”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations

Community members will be trained for three days in hygiene and sanitation. 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 will have their own hand-washing station.

Plans: New Borehole

The well will be located at #8 Alimamy Amara Road. This address is not in the center of the community, but it is the safest distance away from any latrines. The other locations surveyed were too close to latrines and garbage pits. In order to guarantee safe water, a small percent of the community is willing to make an extra effort and walk the extra distance to fetch water from the well.


Recent Project Updates


09/13/2016: #8 Alimamy Amara Road Project Complete

We are excited to share that the new well at #8 Alimamy Amara Road is now providing clean water for the surrounding community. Locals no longer have to walk long distances for dirty water from the swamp. 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 Alimamy Amara Road 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 the home of the chief imam, which is just a stone’s throw away from the well site. We contacted a stakeholder in the community one week before drilling started, Sidique Saccoh, so that he could make house calls to notify each family that at least one representative should attend training. Everybody here knows Mr. Saccoh because of how much he invests in his community. He employs at least a dozen locals, and always provides for those in need.

The community was more than happy to receive us. The presence of Mr. Saccoh was a huge boost to attendance and participation, since he’s so highly esteemed here. It seems more than 90% of the population here depend on Sidique for help in one way or another; during planting season he provides seedlings, he gives out fishing nets, and shows up whenever there’s a domestic dispute. More than 150 people turned out for hygiene and sanitation, not even including children! The children also came in droves, most of them students from the local primary school where we had done a sanitation project before. Since they had attended a hygiene and sanitation training already, this was more of a review. They have a passion for sharing what they know with the other adults!

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As usual, the first and most important topic we went over was hand-washing; how to build a hand-washing station and how to use it. Each participant will return home with a new hand-washing station that they built with a gallon container, rope, and sticks. On this first day of training, we also went over what makes a community either healthy or unhealthy. The posters we used depicting good and bad behaviors helped participants learn the differences. They were easily able to label these things good and bad, but didn’t understand the importance of taking the extra steps to be clean. For example, letting livestock, poultry, and dogs roam free around the home is an ingredient of an unhealthy community. Buildings pens for these animals might required extra effort, but it is important! We also highlighted the importance of other facilities such as latrines, dish racks, and clotheslines. On the second day of training we talked about disease transmission and how to build barriers. The last day, we taught about how to take care of and maintain the pump on the new water well. This training was for everybody, but was particularly important to the water user committee, who will be primarily responsible for overseeing and maintaining the new well.

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After training, we did a follow-up visit to determine whether or not the community was putting what they learned into practice. We found that at least ten households had already constructed dish racks outside of their kitchens, and we found dozens of new hand-washing stations set up. The water user committee agreed to the rule that no family without a latrine will be able to draw water from the new well. However, we only found four new latrines in the community upon our return. It is going to take time and persistence to change the minds of people who are so accustomed to using the bushes for bathroom needs. The water user committee will need to hold a series of meetings to keep everyone accountable in this endeavor to build new latrines. Otherwise, it won’t be fair to those who have made the extra effort.

We met up with Mr. Saccoh to get his perspective on the project’s progress. He said, “I am very happy for the training! I am the brain behind this project coming to my community. I provided the land for the well, I spent my money to prepare food for the drill team, and happily for that matter! I was very excited for this great investment. The well is an investment and the training is also an investment in our wives and children. You people spend your money, resources, and manpower to teach us how to live a healthy and safe life. As for me, the training is equally important as the clean water we have been given.”

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Project Result: New Well

Construction for this borehole well began on July 10th.

The well site is situated in an open plot of land addressed #8 Alimamy Amara Road. This location was confirmed to be far away from any latrines or rubbish pit.

We started by digging two holes next to the drill rig, one for water supply and one for drilling refuse. The drilling lasted for two days, with soil being sampled every ten feet to find the depth that will provide the cleanest water. We reached a total depth of 32.6 meters, installing a screen between 29.5 meters and 23.4 meters. Gravel was then packed underneath the clean fill. Pumping and resting water levels were found to be equal at 18.8 meters. To prevent the well from caving, we poured a mixture of bentonite around the 11 pipe risers. We then bailed the well to get rid of any drilling waste, and the following day the test pumping was done. We measured a yield of 70 liters per minute. The well pad was constructed with a 10-foot diameter, and was completed with a wall. After this cured, we painted and then installed the pump.

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Our drilling team shared that this was a great community to work in; the food was delicious and the people were generous enough to offer help at every step of the way. The biggest challenge we met was the weather; it poured rain after we plastered the wall so we had to do it a second time.

On July 29th, the community met at the well to celebrate. The people were already gathered before we arrived! They were jumping, shouting, and giving thanks for clean water. The community will no longer have to walk a long distance to get water, and children can instead get to school on time. Time is saved, and health is saved.

Thank You for unlocking potential for the hundreds of people who live around Alimamy Amara Road!


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07/29/2016: #8 Alimamy Amara Road New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the neighborhood around #8 Alimamy Amara Road 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!


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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, Lungitown
ProjectID: 5089
Install Date:  09/13/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional
Last Visit: 08/26/2017

Visit History:
09/23/2016 — Functional
12/05/2016 — Functional
03/02/2017 — Needs Repair
06/13/2017 — Functional
08/26/2017 — Functional





A Year Later: #8 Alimamy Amara Road

September, 2017

“Now we are not suffering or striving for water any more. We are fetching pure and clean water even going to school without being late because of this water project.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well for the community surrounding #8 Alimamy Amara Road in Sierra Leone. Because of these gifts and 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, Nanah Mansaray, with you.

Visiting this community, you can see how life has improved over the past years because the new water project has provided safe drinking water and hygiene and sanitation training introduced to the people and their community.

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Community member Fatima Saccoh says “now we are not suffering or striving for water any more. We are fetching pure and clean water even going to school without being late because of this water project.”  Before the new well, the community gathered unsafe water from other communities or streams nearby. They would walk far, up and down hills. “Thanks to this project,” says Fatima, “we now use clean and pure to drink and also for sanitary issues. We have some challenges with many other people from other communities coming here to fetch water or use our facilities and toilets, like students who are passing by, but they are using these facilities in the normal way as they have been trained by our staff.”

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12-year-old student Aminata Kargbo says the new water project has changed her life as now she gets her housework done on time and goes to school on time because the pump is very close to her. They use the water not only for drinking but for the domestic work like cooking, cleaning and bathing as well. “Now I can get up and do my work on time without going to other communities or streams to fetch water which gives the cause to be late for school usually,” says Aminata. “Now, we have access to clean and fresh water in our community. So because of this project it has helped me to improve completely in my community and school last year.”

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The pump is working effectively and they have a good drainage system, but people also need to mobilize themselves to give education time to time on how to continue to use these facilities in their community. We will continue to encourage the Water User Committee to sensitize community members to abide by the rules and work on behavioral change. Our staff will continue to do proper and effective monitoring  of the pump, to purify the water and handle it with care.


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.


Contributors

Joonbug Logistics Inc.
Sunshine Couriers Inc.
The Snider Wedding Project
2 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.