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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 431 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

Welcome to the School

What is child labor in Sierra Leone? Children at an early age who are given responsibilities fit for an adult. This kind of village setting is not easy for children. Early in the morning or late in the evening, schoolchildren are sent to the farm to fetch wood. Some of the teachers here are not paid a salary, so they rely on the children to do their farm work as education compensation. The children are required to do any work a teacher might have for them. When it is time for planting peanuts, the children till the land. They fetch firewood for the teachers, fetch water and you name it, they have to do it. The parents and teachers are all part-time farmers, because it is not possible to just depend on one source of income.

Early in the morning, the children line up for food provided for them at the school by the government. A little bit of food is better than no food at all. Some children go to school hungry everyday, so if it wasn’t for the help of the food program, children would go to bed hungry too. Children only have to deal with getting food at night.

Water Situation

Headteacher Morlai Conteh says, “The people had been drinking swamp water for years, even though the two wells had been constructed by the NaCsa organization, the monitoring and maintenance was left to the community. An added expense they cannot afford! The community cannot afford to pay for the the minimum amount needed.”

We came alongside this school and adopted one of these hand-dug wells, monitoring its functionality and repairing it as needed. We noticed that during particular months of the year, we receive complaints from Headteacher Morlai. It so happens that during the driest months, the hand-dug wells stop providing water. Headteacher Morlai is forced to require students to carry their own containers of water from home every morning, which have to be rationed throughout the day. For up to half of the year, this school is suffering from a severe water shortage.

Sanitation Situation

There are three usable latrines on school grounds. Maintenance is a big problem in Sierra Leone: A huge amount of money is spent on the construction of latrines, but all the cleaning is relegated to the children. How is a child of ten years supposed to do a good job cleaning a latrine that is used by more than one hundred people per day? The latrines are cleaned with a native broom and water. The children throw water on the floor and sweep towards the pit; that is as far as the cleaning will go.

There are no hand-washing stations for either students or staff.

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 will be strongly emphasized. During our hand-washing sessions, students, staff and 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.

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 school and surrounding community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity.

Recent Project Updates

07/12/2017: DEC Santiguya Primary School's Well Converted to a Borehole

DEC Santiguya Primary School in Sierra Leone now has a well that provides clean water throughout the year, thanks to your donation! Hundreds of students no longer suffer from carrying and rationing small amounts of water throughout the school day. 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 school a great foothold in eliminating water and sanitation-related illness. Please enjoy this update detailing all of the work that was done at DEC Santiguya Primary School, and be sure to check out the tons of new pictures!

Thank You for unlocking potential at this school. 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 one of the classrooms that the school occasionally uses as an assembly hall, since there are windows that allow enough ventilation. We were pleased that the room was not only full of excited students, but that the teachers were engaged as well.

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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

– Personal hygiene, such as caring for teeth

– Dish racks and how to build them

– Keeping animals under control

– Management and maintenance of the hand pump

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Students from the associated high school gather around to make their own hand-washing stations.

Diagrams portraying unhealthy practices such as walking barefoot, open defecation, outdoor urination, and eating with unwashed hands were all shown. The children made skits and participated in lots of demonstrations. All participants, including the teachers, had positive things to say at the end of our sessions. One of the teachers, Mr. Lamin Bangura, entertained the children so much. The fun they had will help them remember all of the topics covered during training.

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Mr. Lamin Bangura

Teacher Aminata Conteh said that she’ll remember everything so that she can continuously teach her students. “For me, the training was just appropriate. It served as a reference work for me to use for my school pupils. All what I used to teach them about personal hygiene, were what exactly the training focused on during training session. It did not only served as a reminder for me personally, but it was a fresh training for me. It also made feel satisfied that at least I have been on the right track. I was so immersed in the training that I forgot myself, thinking that I was the training facilitator! Indeed I was very amazed by the different method of brushing the teeth. Instead using the toothbrush across the teeth, the only known method for me, I certainly appreciates the safer and best way of brushing the teeth moving the tooth brush up and down. Surely the was very timely and educative. It was beneficial not only for the pupils but for us also as teachers,” she shared.

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Teacher Aminata Conteh

Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

Upon arrival, the drilling team found no water in the well. The well was totally unusable, and the pump cylinder was buried in the sand. The starting depth of the well was 38 feet.

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The team is setting up to turn the bottom of this well into a borehole!

The team sets up the tripod and pulley over the well. Normally, the team would go down inside the well to drill it deeper, but it was decided to drill this well differently. The team will work from ground level. First, they installed 8″ PVC casing through the hatch cover down to the bottom of the well. This ensures that the drilling begins straight and also keeps the hole from collapsing. They connect the bucket auger drill bit to the drilling rod and lower it into the well, continuing to add more drill rods until they hit the bottom. Each drill rod is 18 feet in length and every time the team empties the bucket auger, they must reverse the process by disconnecting the rods until the drill bit can be emptied. This method is more labor intensive, but working from the top was much safer in this circumstance. There are different drill bits for different conditions, a special bit just for clay, one for sand, one for rocks and one combination bit for all three conditions.

The team is drilling inside temporary casing that keeps the new borehole from collapsing.

At a depth of 70 feet, the team encountered black sand and charcoal, making the water at this level look bad and smell bad. The team decided to stop the drilling and backfilled the borehole to 66 feet. There was already plenty of water at 70!

One full length of 4¼” casing was slotted for screen and lowered down inside the temporary casing. 5½ buckets of filter pack were poured in between the two casings. The team could then remove the temporary casing.

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Cutting the pipe to allow new water to enter.

Iron rods were cemented in the well lining and attached to the casing to support the weight of the PVC and keep it straight from bottom to top. The team welded a collar into the pump base to help support the casing.

The well was developed by bailing; two men bailed by hand for three days to ensure proper development. The well could then be tested by installing a submersible pump at 60 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 875 gallons. The static water level didn’t change!

With this success, we could rebuild a new walled well pad and install the new stainless steel hand-pump.

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Mechanics work together to install the AfriDev hand-pump.

Teacher Morlai Conteh is extremely grateful this well is flowing with clean water once again. “Even before the school was built, the people of Santiguya Community suffered a lot for a clean and pure drinking water. I can still recall how our children had to travel for two miles to the stream in search of water. After building the school, we had a well. So life started to change. However, after some times, the well dried up. The struggle starts again. I strongly believe that though the location of the well is farther from most of the community people, they too will benefit tremendously from it. Now as teachers, we will not only teach our school pupils about hygiene in theory but with the availability and access to clean water, we will be able to practice our teaching on what hygiene really means… we will now teach as polyvalent teachers,” she said.

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03/22/2017: DEC Primary School Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, DEC Primary School and the surrounding 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 school and 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, Santiguya
ProjectID: 5106
Install Date:  07/12/2017


Jade Industries, Inc.
Lincoln School
Colton Schultz
Scion Aviation, LLC
12 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.