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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 110 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

We thank God for the intervention... for our new, safe water source right in our community. It is pure, clean and tasteless!

Mr. Momoh Sillah

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with Mariatu’s Hope of Sierra Leone. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

Baya Village is home to the Susu tribe. It is a very small community that depends on farming, gardening, and trading. Most of the Susus are Muslim, and they have a very small mosque where they attend prayers. They lack other basic facilities such as a hospital, school, market, community center, and others.

The first person to settle in this community was named Thaimu Sillah, later crowned as chief and called Pa Alimamy Sillah. During that time, there were many tribal wars, so he named the village Baya which means “no evil shall enter into it.”

Farmers plant crops such as pepper, okra, cucumber, rice, garden eggs and palm, which is later processed for palm oil. Water is required for these income-generating activities.

A normal day begins early in the morning by 5 am. People go to the mosque to pray while the children are still in bed. Women warm leftover rice for their families’ breakfast. Children take their baths, put on their uniforms and walk to school in Samaya Village. It is about five miles from Baya Village to this school.

Sometimes, they give their children le500 (five hundred leones) (approximately 7 cents) for lunch. After the children have left for school, some of the parents go to the farm while others go to the market to do business. Children return from school around 3:30 pm. After school, children go searching for water for their parents to use. If parents are still at the farm, then the children will join them there. At around 6 pm, they start cooking dinner. After eating, they clean up before returning to the mosque for prayer. This is when most people go to bed, but on moonlit nights children will stay up to play. There is no electricity in the village.

Water Situation

If those living in Baya want safe drinking water, they need to walk for one and a half miles to get to a drilled well in the neighboring village of N’Baimbaya. This well is monitored by us on a quarterly basis, and we can confirm it is working as intended.

But this is a long trek for water, so locals often opt for a closer source. There is an open water source in a swampy area at the edge of the village, surrounded by grass and bush. Wild animals like snakes and monkeys make their home in these bushes, posing danger to the locals as they venture to fill their water containers. Buckets are dunked under the muddy water and filled, while a neighbor bathes or washes their clothes. Nonetheless, people use this water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and all other purposes. After drinking, people are known to suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, cholera, rashes, typhoid, and parasites.

72-year-old farmer, Mr. Momoh Sillah, told us:

We have been waiting from 2016 for this project. When we want pure drinking water, we go a far distance to get it. Our children are deprived of good health because of the poor water we have. We are like a war front, always alert with medicines because sickness will come our way at any time because of the poor drinking water. Even yesterday my granddaughter was seriously ill and is now admitted at the Government Hospital. She has worms in her stomach. We spend more in medication which always makes our lives deteriorating. We cry out for help but we receive none from Government. We are happy to receive this project in our community since we have been waiting for it. We pray it will come soon.

Sanitation Situation

Every household in Baya Village has its own latrine, however rudimentary. Pits are shallow, covered with slats and clay, and walls are made of thatched palm leaves. Pits are left open throughout the day, attracting flies and larger scavengers to their foul odor.

There are quite a few clotheslines for drying clothes washed at the swamp, but there are no dish racks for drying utensils. Hand-washing is not valued here. There are no hand-washing stations. A few families think to pass around a water bucket before meals, but they don’t know how to wash their hands properly.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.

No hand-washing stations were observed here. After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a hand-washing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for hand-washing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.

These trainings will also strengthen the water user committee that manages and maintains this well. They enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Plans: New Well

As of right now, a drill location has not been decided upon. As we get closer to the start date, we will hold several meetings with the community so that they can point out locations where they’d like the well. We will discuss this with them and find the best and most suitable place with equal access to the entire community making sure that everyone is in agreement.

Our team will drive over the LS200 mud rotary drill rig and set up camp for a couple of nights. Once the well is drilled to a sufficient water column, it will be cased, developed, and then tested. If these tests are positive, our mechanics will install a new India Mark II pump.

This community has battled drinking dirty swamp water and walking long distances in search of clean water. By drilling this borehole, Baya Community will be provided with plenty of safe drinking water.

Recent Project Updates

12/01/2017: Baya Community Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a new well in Baya Community, and it’s now providing clean water! Hundreds of people here no longer have to rely on 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 Baya Communiyu 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, our caretakers, and our mechanics maintain this well and hundreds of other projects!

Project Result: New Knowledge

We used our first community engagement meeting to vote on members for the water and sanitation committee. These 13 committee members were then responsible for recruiting their neighbors for hygiene and sanitation training. They passed this information to the mosque, and the village chief also joined them in going house to house to call everyone for training.

Our trainers used the results from our baseline survey to know which topics deserved the most attention. Sessions were held in an open space in the center of the village. And since the weather was favorable, all training could be done in the shade of a tree. Over one hundred participants showed up for all three days, and we got an increasingly greater number of children in attendance.

Some of the topics covered during training were as follows:

– How to wash hands, and how to build a hand-washing station from a jerrycan, string, sticks, and netting

– Good and bad hygiene practices

– Dish racks and how to build them

– Keeping animals under control

– Management and maintenance of the hand pump

There was also a demonstration where the trainer went around shaking hands with all in attendance. Each individual noticed a glittery shine on their hands after the handshakes. This introduced a practical lesson: What are you seeing on your hands? They answer by saying “we are seeing shine-shine on our hands,” and that’s when the facilitators bring home the idea that these signify germs. We are always vulnerable to them, and need to keep clean by practicing good personal hygiene. This set us up for a strong transition into how to make hand-washing stations.

Making sustainable hand-washing stations with jerrycans, string, and sticks.

Diagrams portraying unhealthy practices such as walking barefoot, open defecation, outdoor urination, and eating with unwashed hands were all shown and discussed in groups. What behaviors make a community healthy, and what others are counterproductive? These questions also helped participants discover the routes of contamination in their community.

Community members helping the trainer by holding illustrations.

The final day, we continued these types of discussions. While on the first day we had led people through hand-washing station construction, this third day was similar in that we elaborated on the need for and the viability of building other sanitation facilities like latrines, dish racks, and animal pens. We taught participants what materials to use, proving that even the poorest family can afford to build at least a traditional pit latrine. We also taught about chlorinating water, and everyone had brought salt and sugar with them to learn how to make an oral rehydration solution.

A massive cleaning campaign was scheduled for the end of the month, and people returned home and installed the hand-washing stations they made. Some even made a second hand-washing station so they could have one outside their latrine and another at the kitchen.

Mrs. Mariatu Kamara told us, “In this area where we live, the topic of hygiene is very strange [new] to us. We have learnt new ideas concerning open defecation and also how and why a woman should practice hygiene because we are vulnerable to infections. Also, we were taught to always wash our food and hands before eating if we don’€™t want to be affected by cholera and other transmitted diseases. I now believe that we are no longer vulnerable to transmitted infections with this kind of hygiene and sanitation knowledge – if only we put into practice what your team has taught us.”

Mrs. Mariatu Kamara

Project Result: New Well

Drilling for this borehole began in September 2017.

The community offered the drill team a large room in the house across the street from the drill site. The community did the cooking for the team which is no small task… they eat like lions! Team members were grateful for these things, and that they were able to sit on the veranda and watch over the equipment while staying dry at night.

The water and sanitation committee determined the location for the borehole, while the rest of the community members were happy and even eager to help. Many of them carried water to the construction site to help with drilling. The team ended up using 1,700 gallons of water that were all carried by community members.

Children bringing water to keep the drill rig functioning.

Two pits were dug to be used for the mud rotary drill, carrying water down the hole and then carrying material back out. The borehole is drilled in sections of five feet, with the team taking a ground sample at those points. Drilling went smoothly up to 60 feet, where they met a rock. The team was able to drill slowly through that rock and then continue to 85 feet. Around that point, the ground cuttings became black. They had to stop there, because black clay is not good for drinking water.

The cuttings are also used for determining the best aquifer location so that screen can be cut in the pipes. Once the drill is removed from he borehole, the casing can replace it. The connections must be made tight so that pipe parts do not fall down the hole on their own! Filter pack is poured down between the casing and the hole. Bentonite and clay help seal the filter pack, after which a cement well pad can be built.

The team bails the borehole until water runs clean, which often takes up to four days. The well then undergoes a yield test. After 30 minutes of pumping with a submersible, the static water level is measured. An hour later, it is measured again. There was no chance of the static water level, which measures in at 29 feet. The submersible pumped 650 gallons in one hour, or 40 liters per minute.

The community smiles as they see how much clean water is coming from their well.

With these good results, a new stainless steel India MkII pump was installed.

People gathered together to celebrate, singing and dancing to the sound of a beaten drum. After, everyone was so excited to pump the water and start drinking. Mr. Momoh Sillah said, “We have been struggling to get access to clean, pure drinking water. Drinking water from the swamp has been the only source. In view of that, we have been always affected with skin diseases. But for now, we are so happy that you came to our aid. We no longer have to walk long distances to get access to pure drinking water. We thank God for the intervention… for our new, safe water source right in our community. It is pure, clean and tasteless!”

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06/12/2017: Baya Community Project Underway

Baya Community will soon have a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your donation. A new well is being drilled and locals will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for the community!

We just posted an initial report from our partner in the field including information about the village, maps, 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:  Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Baya
ProjectID: 5130
Install Date:  12/01/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project


Project Sponsor - Ipenburg Family

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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.