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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 220 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

Welcome to the Community

Pefifu Junction, a community that is home to approximately 220 inhabitants, was founded in the ‘40s. It was established by four men, who did so through a series of building projects. The Petifu Junction (translation: new town intersection) is home to some of the most prominent people of Sierra Leone. Despite this, its rate of illiteracy is the highest in the nation. Lokomasama – the land of the Lokos — is the third largest chiefdom in the country. This territory was controlled by the Loko tribe for decades until being overtaken by the rising Temnes – a warring tribe of traders. Since then, the Junction has become the business center of the chiefdom. Today, most of its inhabitants survive on inconsequential trading. There are, however, a handful of people fortunate enough to sustain their livelihood through farming.

Additionally, while the community is predominantly Muslim, the Christian faith has been highly influential on the community.

Water Situation

A protected hand-dug well is the community’s primary water source. Since this pump is located at the main intersection of the busiest village of Lokomasama Chiefdom, it is easily accessed by hundred coming from all four roads. Based on our quarterly visits to the community, we found out that at certain times of the year the well goes dry for months at a time. With this large population, if there is not water accessible it is a recipe for disease transmission.

When the well is dry, members of the community have to walk to the bottom of a hill to fetch water. Children are designated with this responsibility, so they must get up two hours early to fetch water for the whole day. This water is gathered in a lidless, plastic container. The steep climb necessitates multiple trips, due to difficulty in transporting large containers of water. Containers are cleaned only when there is access to soap. The water is fetched for three primary purposes: drinking, cooking, and domestic usage. The drinking water is stored with in a covered container on top of a table; the cooking water is stored in open containers, placed near the kitchen; while the water for domestic usage is left outside where animals are given free access.

Dirt and garbage have contaminated the spring pooling at the bottom of the hill. The contamination creates the potential for a multitude of diseases.  The water is not treated well during the fetching, transportation, and storage processes, further contributing to contamination. Its effects are prominent among children, who have been routinely infected with worms. Cases of Typhoid, Diarrhea, and Malaria are a constant at the local health center.

Sanitation and Hygiene Situation

More than half of the population does not have access to latrines; while those that have access use pit latrines, which are often unsanitary. Since the community is host to one of the largest collections of traders throughout the country, the more domestic population has limited access to resources. Limited access to latrines in combination with a large population means that open defecation is a continual problem. (Editor’s 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.) High rates of open defecation leads to unsanitary conditions within the community, and can eventually degrade community health. All trash is thrown into a hole and burned at the end of each day. Because of the conditions described above, in order to eradicate potential contaminants, it’s crucial to educate and advocate regarding the importance of sanitation.

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 quite 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. No more having to resort to dirty surface water during the dry season! We want this community to have a reliable source throughout the year.

Recent Project Updates

07/11/2017: Petifu Junction's Well Flowing with Reliable Water

Petifu Junction, Sierra Leone now has a well that provides clean water throughout the year, thanks to your donation! 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 in Petifu Junction, 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 by the Lokomasama Central Mosque under the share of a mango tree. Our first visits to the community informed the focus of training sessions; highlighting weaknesses and giving the participants implementable solutions. The community leaders drew the community together for these trainings, requesting  that there be at least one participant from every household.

There were some challenges during the first session, but attendance greatly improved along the way.

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Happy to have learned a lot about hygiene, or happy about having a lollipop? We may never know!

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

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A trainer goofs off with kids during the session on hand-washing.

Diagrams portraying unhealthy practices such as walking barefoot, open defecation, outdoor urination, and eating with unwashed hands were all shown.

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The trainer and participants discuss the good and the bad behaviors they see in pictures.

Stories of disease transmission were also worked into a session. Sierra Leoneans are accustomed to shaking hands, which happens to be a prime way that germs spread. We created an object lesson that clearly shows the effect of shaking dirty hands: The trainer rubbed a sticky, glittering powder on her palm and passed around the audience shaking hands with all. The glitter transferred to their hands by that action, and it continued to spread. Since germs are tiny, tiny parasites that cannot be seen with our naked eye, the people were warned that this same transfer is happening with germs.

Everyone was excited about what they learned, and more hand-washing stations and dish racks are popping up around the community. The participants are also sure that they know enough to teach their neighbors who didn’t attend, too.

58-year-old farmer Mohamed Sesay said, “If I am to personally describe the effect of both the sanitation and hygiene training, I would say, it is like a tap on the shoulder. All that were discussed in the training about sanitation and hygiene throughout the three days rang a bell in my ears. It all reminds me about the Ebola epidemic. Of cause we are forgotten so easily. Mariatu’s Hope has indeed helped us to train the community on community hygiene as well as personal hygiene back into our community. We can say with confidence that as we follow all the rules and loss about hygiene, then sanity will once more prevail in our community. I personally have benefited from the training for example the reminder of hand-washing, the use of dish racks and proper care of toilets are all beneficial training for me.”

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Mr. Mohamed Sesay

Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

We spearheaded a new method of converting the bottom of a hand-dug well into a borehole. When we started this process, the well was at 58 feet with less than one foot of water.

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The old well before rehabilitation.

The team sets up the tripod and lowers the wooden platform into the well. The platform sits on top of the well casing and provides a solid working platform. The team now lowers 6” PVC casing down the well and through the center of the platform. The casing now rests on the bottom of the well. The team lowers the bucket auger and drill rod into the 6” casing, and the guys begin to drill into the bottom of the well. They raise the drill out of the casing at different intervals to empty the material out of the drill bit. As they do this, they drive down the 6” casing to keep the hole open.

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You probably can’t drill the bottom of a well if you have claustrophobia.

The team first met sand with the bailer which was easy to remove. After drilling 12 feet, the team met clay mixed with sand, and then just clay. The team met black clay at 78 feet, which is not suitable for drinking. At this point, the team decided to stop.

The 4¼” casing is screened and lowered to 78 feet. The temporary casing can then be removed with a chain hoist. While pulling out the temporary casing, filter pack is installed between the 6” and 4¼”.

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Cutting screens in the pipe to allow water to enter.

Due to the depth of this well, the casing needed steel supports cemented at different intervals of the lining. The 4¼” casing is now attached to these supports and runs to the top of the pump base. A collar is welded into the pump base and the well casing is pulled straight using the tripod and rope.

A bailer is dropped multiple times to develop the well. This process sends shockwaves through the water and clears the screen, which allows the well to recharge efficiently. This took three days and worked well. The team then tests the well by installing a submersible pump at a depth of 70 feet. The team measures the static water level and then runs the pump for one hour, measuring the amount of water discharged. After one hour, the static level is measured again to find any drop. The yield rate is 50 liters per minute, with no drop in the static water level.

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Flushing the well after it reached its final depth of 78 feet.

The well pad was constructed, and then a stainless steel India MkII pump was installed at a depth of 70 feet. 54-year-old Mr. Kelfala Bangura was living in Petifu before clean water came. Years ago, he witnessed the drilling of this well. He shared, “But as time goes on, the well became dry and no repair ever took place. Thankfully you came to our rescue and rehabilitated the well for the community. The well again got dry. However, Mariatu’s Hope and The Water Project is a project with difference and vision. The well has once again been revisited and rehabilitated. We are so grateful for such thoughtful repair work…”

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03/17/2017: Petifu Junction Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the Petifu Junction 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, Lokomasama, Petifu Junction
ProjectID: 5104
Install Date:  07/11/2017


Project Underwriter - G2 Foundation
Max & Heidi
CEC Grade Two 2016-2017
Monfrini - Peev Family
Accenture Santa Project
9 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.