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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

Welcome to the Community

Tintafor, a small town in Sierra Leone, has a population of 545. (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.)

People who live in the military barracks here have more safety and security compared with the rest of the community. The influence of the military lifestyle is apparent, as children are taught from an early age to live a disciplined life. They are expected to do chores in the morning because helping their parents is an expectation and a priority. Having a family member in the military is seen as a luxury for most children. The soldiers are entitled to two bags of rice at the end of every month. After their chores, children are given the choice of a pot full of leftover rice or a loaf of bread with a rice tea mixture.

Water Situation

During the months when the well identified for rehabilitation dries up, the community has to fetch water from an unprotected well. (Editor’s Note: There are pictures of two different wells, one which is protected with a pump and one unprotected with no pump. There are two pictures of the well we plan to rehabilitate: one of the pump sitting idle, since there’s no longer any water, and one of the well open and being prepared for work. The third picture is of a woman fetching water from the unprotected well.)

At the unprotected well, community members use five-gallon containers tied to the end of a thick rope to fetch water. The container is cut on both sides, which allows it to fill faster. Fetching water from the 20-foot deep well is physically demanding, especially for small children. The well is unprotected and open, which leads to contamination of the water with microorganisms. There is even mildew and grass at the surface of the well! The rope and container used to fetch the water are thrown on the ground, which contributes to its unsanitary conditions. The water source is also often contaminated by surface runoff, human and animal activities.

The fetched water is stored in drums for the people who live in the barracks. People in the military have more resources; they are provided with medical care and are equipped with water treatment methods. The rest of the community uses five-gallon containers, frequently without lids, to store contaminated water that is not treated.

The presence of contaminants in this hand-dug well’s water leads to adverse health effects. The community outside the barracks purchases antibiotics from drug peddlers. The quality and appropriateness of these antibiotics is questionable and their use may contribute to the development of multi-drug resistant organisms.

Sanitation and Hygiene Situation

A quarter of the households don’t have access to latrines. For those that have access they are predominantly pit latrines with walls and roofs. (Editors Note: Open defecation — the practice of disposing human feces in the fields, forests, bushes, and open bodies of water — is an issue the community could potentially be facing). Compared to the rest of the community, people in the barracks are more diligent about cleaning the latrines. The community could be in this predicament due to lack of access. High levels of open defecation could have health related consequences including high child morality and malnutrition. More than 75% of households have bathing rooms. However, fewer than 25% of households have tippy taps or hand-washing stations. For some families, having a hand-washing station is not the problem; it is having access to cleansing agents, such as soap or ash that perpetuates unsanitary conditions. The soldiers’ barracks are well maintained and clean. At the end of the day, all trash is thrown into a hole and burned. The rest of the community throws garbage just few feet away into a banana farm. There is a cultural belief that the garbage will increase the banana production. Overall, the community has a positive attitude towards hygiene and sanitation and is excited to attend training.

Plans: Sanitation and Hygiene Training

Training will last for three hours a day for three days. The facilitators have already assessed sanitation here and decided that hand-washing and using the latrine will be strongly emphasized. Though a few hand-washing stations were observed during our initial visit, we require that each and every family have their own place to wash their hands. During our hand-washing sessions, community members will be taught how to make their own hand-washing station out of a plastic jerrycan, sticks, and rope. These are the best solution for rural areas, since all the materials are all easily replaceable. Though pit latrines in this community are well-built, we also require that every family have their own.

Training will also result in the formation of a water user committee that will take responsibility for their new well. The members will manage and maintain the pump to the best of their ability, and will call our office if they need a mechanic to make a repair.

Plans: Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community once again. The pump will be removed, and a man will be lowered inside with a hand auger. This hand auger will allow the team to drill several meters deeper to hit a new water table, which will ensure the well supplies water throughout the drier seasons. As the team drills, casing will be installed, transforming this hand-dug well into a pseudo-borehole. PVC piping will connect this lower system directly to the pump, a construction that we know will also improve the quality of water.

Once this plan is implemented, everyone within the community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity.

Recent Project Updates

06/19/2017: Clean Water Flowing in Officer's Quarters

The Officer’s Quarters in Tintafor, Sierra Leone now has a well that provides clean water! Hundreds of people are no longer stranded without clean water during the dry months. 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 of the work that was done at the Officer’s Quarters, and be sure to check out the tons of new pictures!

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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held under a large almond tree near the well, which provided plenty of shade. This was important to participants because the days are quite hot this time of year. Chairs, benches and a table were brought out of the barracks to use.

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The first day’s training attendance was good, but on the second day few showed up and our team was very disappointed. The team had a meeting with Lieutenant Turay and expressed their disappointment. He understood and encouraged the team to reschedule the training for another day while he worked with his neighbors. The next attempt for day two and three, the attendance and participation was much better.

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Students from the neighboring St. Augustine Primary School helped us demonstrate proper hygiene behaviors. They used soap and water to teach about the importance of hand-washing after toilet use and before eating. We also taught all the participants how to make hand-washing a habit and the proper way to wash their hands (palm to palm, back to palm, interlock, interlace).
Working with the child health club members, the communities were encouraged to participate in tippy tap (a hand-washing station made from a jerrycan, rope and sticks) construction and hand-washing demonstrations.

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On the rescheduled second day, the team took the community through good and bad hygiene practices as illustrated by cartoons. These pictures taught about washing hands, walking barefooted, open defecation, and disease transmission.

The third day was continued discussion and review. The committee was also taught about how to best maintain their water source.

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We taught the community how to build dish racks and how to properly pen animals. Teaching people how and why to use the latrine doesn’t make a huge impact if the animals still roam freely.

Since the training, there is already evidence of new dish racks and tippy traps around the community. Major Dennis Kallon commented, “I am very grateful for what Mariatu’s Hope has done in our military barracks. Life without their assistance would have been hard to cope with. It is easier said than done. But the three days’ training conducted with us helped me personally to earnestly put into practice all I learnt from it. Hand-washing in particular has become a good habit for me which I will not abandon. What actually impresses me overall was the training to make tippy taps and the use of it.” He is pictured below.

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Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

We spearheaded a new method of converting the bottom of a hand-dug well into a borehole. We started at a total depth of 26 feet and a static water level of 25 feet.

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The team removed the pump and opened the well to allow it to cool down inside. They installed a wooden platform inside the well and allowed it to sit on top of the existing casing. The team set up a suspension system that could lower workers inside.

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Using a hand auger, the team began to drill into the bottom of the well. 6″ PVC casing was hammered down as the team drilled. This was done to help ensure the borehole stays open while drilling. The first ten feet of drilling went fast, with the team meeting plenty of water with fine sand. The sand proved hard to remove from the borehole because the water would wash back into the well when removing the bucket drill bit. The team made several trips to the fabrication shop to make different styles of bits that would work better in the sand.

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With these small equipment improvements, slow progress was made to reach our target total depth of 46 feet. The team then installed the well casing (thick PVC pipe which the team previously cut filter screen in). It was installed to the target depth of 46 feet. The team sifted and installed the filter pack (1/8 size clean gravel) between the well casing and the temporary 6″ casing. At this point, the temporary casing was removed by a chain hoist (locally known as the monkey jack). This left the casing and filter pack in the borehole.

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The tools and platform were removed from inside the well. Now the 4 ¼ casing was extended to the top of the well and allowed to enter the existing hand-pump base where the team installed a PVC bushing to help strengthen and support the well casing.

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The team then worked to develop the well using the hand method of dropping a bailer into the borehole repeatedly and allowing it to fill with water. This process normally takes about three days until the water will become clean. The idea behind this was to shock the water in the borehole back through the screened sections of the casing. This is very important and must be done correctly ensure that the well will have proper recharging ability.

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The team now performed a yield test. This test measures the well’s recharge rate and is used to determine if it is acceptable. A typical hand-pump can pump no more than 18 liters of water per minute, so a preferred recharge rate would be even greater than that. This would ensure the community could not pump the well dry!

The submersible pump was placed at 40 feet and kept running from a generator for 90 minutes. The last 60 minutes, the discharge is measured by filling a calibrated blue drum. The static water level in the well is measured at the beginning of the 60 minutes and is measured quickly after the time is up, giving us the amount of water pumped and the time it took to pump it.

At this site, the static level didn’t drop at all for the one hour test, proving that it recharged faster than we could pump. 845 gals of water were removed in 60 minutes! (that’s 53.235 liters per minute). What great results!

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With this good news, the team installed the India Mark II pump.

Please know that taking pictures of military and police personnel in Sierra Leone is illegal, and you can be arrested for it. Any pictures that have been taken and submitted have been done with permission.

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Lieutenant Turay was there to witness clean water steadily flowing from the well once again. “As a military officer, I imagine how I would have fared on if I had to go miles in search of clean drinking water. I remembered vividly how we use to face so much constraints when there was no better water source in the barracks. With the intervention of this water project, the story is different. Now have quick and easy access to clean drinking water. The well is right in my quarter! In my own little way, I believe I will do all what is my power to maintain this water source even if am transfer to another military barracks. My hope is to continue and tender in my support to save the life of my people, since water is life.”

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03/08/2017: Tintafor, Officer's Quarters Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, Tintafor Community in Sierra Leone will soon have a source of safe, clean water. A dry well is being deepened 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!

The Water Project : 1-sierraleone5102-alternative-water-source

01/09/2017: Update From The Water Project

You’ve been assigned to a project! Check it out! And we’ll share more once the work begins!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kaffu Bullom, Port Loko, Tintafor, Officer's Quarters
ProjectID: 5102
Install Date:  05/19/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 11/10/2017

Visit History:
07/24/2015 — Needs Repair
10/15/2015 — Functional
12/30/2015 — Functional
03/17/2016 — Needs Repair
04/15/2016 — Needs Repair
08/08/2016 — Functional
11/04/2016 — Functional
02/24/2017 — Needs Repair
05/05/2017 — Functional
08/14/2017 — Functional
11/10/2017 — Functional


Project Underwriter - Summertown Baptist Church/Youth Group
Navias Family Foundation
26 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.