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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

Welcome to the Community

Everyone living in this area is part of the police force in some way or another. This fact sets this area of Tintafor apart from the rest. The day starts whenever someone is called in for duty.

The police force for Tintafor is made up of people from all different tribes and backgrounds, but all have come together to keep their community safe. It’s not only the men of the family on the force, but often the wives have earned titles for themselves as well. These couples send their children to schools within walking distance of the barracks.

Water Situation

There are 692 people living in and around the barracks who have relied on two hand-dug wells since their installation back in 2011. (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.)

Unfortunately, the wells have been less than reliable for the hundreds using them. During the dry season, which can last anywhere from two to six months, one of these wells completely dries up. The entire community then moves to fetch water from the other well. Waiting in line for one of the two wells would be stressful before, but it becomes unimaginable with just one functioning well during the dry season. Whether one or two wells, there are large crowds waiting at all times of the day.

Since the wait is so long, users normally bring the largest container they can carry. Once your chance arrives and goes, there’s someone else to immediately take your place.

And as the second well is overused during the dry season, the water levels drop and it takes much longer to fill just one container. Repairs required to keep this second well up and running are astronomical. There have been 10 just since 2015! With this water shortage, there’s not enough to take care of animals. There’s not enough water to clean, and the odor gets unbearable.

Sanitation Situation

Things would have looked good here 20 years ago when the police barracks first opened. All of the households were equipped with flush toilets, but now there’s no indoor plumbing. These bathrooms are filthy, and become even filthier during the dry season.

Less than half of households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry belongings up off the ground. There are no hand-washing stations anywhere to be found.

The kitchen is where people house their animals. Sheep droppings litter the ground, and garbage is piled under a tree.

Attitudes here about hygiene and sanitation are terrible. There is wastewater that has pooled around one of the hand-dug wells, and it is never cleared. It is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other biting things. Children walk around with bare feet, increasing their changes of contracting other illnesses. The police motto is “a force for good,” but they’re definitely missing the chance to do that in their own barracks.

“Chickens are kept in kitchens, garbage pilled so high it looks like a hill. We are living in filth… These barracks need a total renovation. The toilets are almost filled. I myself have been sick with cholera, typhoid and not to mention malaria. We have been quarantined during the Ebola, quite a few of the quarters were restricted. We lost some of my colleagues. We need help, I might have to move out and rent some place else,” said Mr. Abieyoseh.

Looking at the condition of their surroundings, it’s doubtful we’ll get any help at all with this project. The entire community relies on the government so much that they are not willing to make or do anything for themselves. We approached one police officer and asked him, “Why don’t you guys repair your private quarters and your surroundings?” His reply was that you never know when you will be transferred.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

These training sessions will be stretched from the usual three hours a day to four hours. We may even have more than three days of these sessions!

The beneficiaries will be required to clean up their barracks, both inside and out. They will be taught how to properly house their animals and dispose of their garbage. They will be taught how to construct a hand-washing station and how to use it.

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 reliable access to safe water, even through the dry seasons.

Recent Project Updates

06/23/2017: Tintafor, Police Barracks C-Line Community Project Complete

The Police Barracks 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 Police Barracks C-Line, 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 in the police headquarters, since they have a large open community room.

1 sierraleone5103 training

The first day’s attendance was good, but on the second day only a few showed up and the team was very disappointed. We then heard that a community member had used palm oil to bribe people to attend the first training, so the people were looking for the same incentive. The team discussed with the office and then decided to continue with the well construction work but will hold off on installing the hand pump until the community made the commitment to attend the last two days of training.

With this new incentive, the final two hygiene trainings went much better.

17 sierraleone5103 training

Some of the topics covered during training were as follow:

– 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

9 sierraleone5103 making hand-washing stations

We used illustrations, demonstrations, and discussions to teach these topics and more. For example, one of the most important sessions was about hand-washing. Students from the local school’s health club went around shaking hands with all those present. What the participants didn’t realize is that the students had rubbed shiny powder on their hands. During the shaking, particles of the shine transferred to participants. A practical lesson was drawn from that illustration, with the facilitator asking participants what they observed by looking at their hands. They answered by saying “we are seeing shine, shine on our hands!” Then the facilitators waved in the lesson by applying the illustration to germs. We can easily transmit germs, and the powdery shine signifies germs. Our hands are always vulnerable to this exposure, and by shaking hands with one another we are either infected or infect others. Therefore, there is huge need to wash our hands with soap and clean water regularly to maintain good health and practice good sanitation and hygiene.

The use of tippy taps (hand-washing stations) has become the talk of the police quarters. They can now boast of living in a mosquito-breeding-free environment, since many homes have constructed drainage for puddles.

Interview #1 Miss, Baindu Gray 5103
52-year-old Baindu Gray, pictured above, is one of the many women who attended training. She told us, “Water shortage has been a big challenge not only for me, but for all residents in the barracks. With the training in hygiene and sanitation, my life as an individual has more meaning. Training topics like, hand-washing; by the use of tippy taps, maintaining proper hygiene about the use of toilet, keeping the community clean, and personal hygiene like fingers and toe nails by the use of nail cutter; all were beneficial to me. I have attended other trainings but what I have learnt from the three days hygiene and sanitation training left me with a new determination. The knowledge gain will help me to uphold the basic principles of hygiene and sanitation. The use of tippy taps in hand-washing sanitation particularly impresses me. I am thankful to God that I now have a hand-washing station in our community.”

We also made sure to review what was taught at the hygiene lessons at the well dedication to benefit those who didn’t attend.

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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 began the process with a total depth of 58 feet and static water level of 56 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 76 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 76 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. The 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.

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 then 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 60 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. 800 gals of water were removed in 60 minutes! (that’s 49.3 liters per minute). What great results!

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

Interview #2 SGT Ibrahim Joseph Kargbo 5103

Pictured above, Sergeant Ibrahim Joseph Kargbo was there when the pump began flowing with clean water. “I was always late for work, my children were always late for school, and my wife hardly cooks on time. This gives you an idea how difficult it has been for us without having access to clean drinking water. The memory is still there thinking of my children standing in long queue waiting to collect water… Now with few yards from my house I can get a quick access to a clean drinking water. It is like I am day dreaming but is a reality. Words will fail me if I go on to explain how Mariatu’s Hope have brought smile to me and my family. I will ever remain to be thankful. Surely I will fulfill my own responsibilities to keep the water source clean and to make sure that the pump is always secure,” he shared.

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03/22/2017: Tintafor, Police Barracks C-Line Community Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the people living in and around the police barracks in 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!

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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

Project Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Tintafor
ProjectID: 5103
Install Date:  05/23/2017


Kalbarri Anglican Church
Mountain Vista High School (Sophomore English Class)
5 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.