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The Water Project : 15-sierraleone5108-dish-rack
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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 348 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Looking back on how we have struggled for safe drinking water source, I can breathe down with a long sigh of relief...We never dreamt of having such an opportunity like having a safe drinking water source within our close range.

Christiana Dambo

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

Victory Evangelical Church was established in 2008, and is located right in the middle of Rotifunk Community. It used to have a school on its grounds, but it has since ceased operations.

This is a beautiful and rapidly developing community. The Church was built in 2008 with the hopes of uplifting the community. A church in any Sierra Leone village normally accompanies a rise in literacy. Women and children, like in most communities, carry a bulk of the responsibilities around the house. Early in the morning, before they can even brush their teeth, they go out to find water for the day. The rapid development and over-population has increased the need for water here tenfold. If by dawn you are not in line at a well, you might as well forget it for the day. Most community members are either petty traders, teachers, or construction workers.

Water Situation

This hand-dug well is located a few feet from the church’s door, so all the noise and quarrels could be heard while worshipers attended service. The church elders were agitated and decided to lock the pump during services, an action that angered the community. The pastor ended up stepping in to show his love for the community and his worshipers, agreeing that the pump should be left unlocked.

The well was installed in 2010 when it began providing safe, clean water to the surrounding community. Over the years, the water levels decreased and transformed this well into an unreliable source. Now through the months of March and July, no water is available when pumping, and opening the well pad revealed there is no water inside.

During these months, the close to 400 locals must look elsewhere for their water. At other water sources, fist fights and late arrivals mark the dry season. If they’re lucky, there will be some water at the bottom of another hand-dug well, although time must pass between each use of the pump to allow the water to recharge. Our office gets repeated phone calls from the communities to repair the remaining water pumps that are heavily-relied on during the dry months.

Sanitation Situation

Proper construction of latrines is not a priority in Sierra Leone. A piece of large plastic is wrapped around some sticks with a pit about 20 feet deep. The people who have more money can afford to floor the pit with concrete, but the less fortunate use pieces of timber. Some latrines have no roofs or cover on the pit.

There were only two hand-washing stations observed in the entire community. We met 45-year-old Ramatu Kamara, a petty trader and housewife here in Rotifunk. “The only time we pay attention to our health is when things are really bad. There are more people that self medicate than the ones who seek medical advice from a health professional. God is the only one that looks after us. Our latrines are left open, flies are a part of our daily lives and not to mention cockroaches and rats.”

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. 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 year round. 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, even through the dry months.

Recent Project Updates

07/19/2017: Clean, Reliable Water in Rotifunk Community

Rotifunk Community in Sierra Leone now has a well that provides clean water throughout the year, thanks to your donation! Hundreds of community members no longer have to suffer the dangerous effects of drinking dirty water. 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 Rotifunk Community, and be sure to check out the tons of new pictures!

Thank You for unlocking potential here. 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 outside under the shade of a large mango tree. When it started to rain, we moved inside a generous community member’s home. During the best of the three days, there were around 60 adults present and actively learning.

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

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

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Community member Pastor Simbo told us, “I am very thankful and grateful to this organization. We were in a sort of darkness as far as the hygiene training is concern. We were totally ignorant about community hygiene, sanitation as well as personal hygiene. Personally, I would say with all sincerity that outcome of the hygiene training not only improved my wellbeing but also add to my knowledge. Lesson learnt about the use of clotheslines, dish rack and the use of tippy-tap (hand-washing station) have all greatly help our community people to live a better life. Indeed we will do all we can to help maintain this water source knowing very well that our contributions will benefit other community.”

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Pastor Simbo

Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

The team arrived and set up their tents at the well’s location, Victory Church of God in Rotifunk.

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 56 feet with only one foot of water.

The team started by removing the hand-pump and the well pad cover. Once they saw inside, they decided to drill this well by working off of a wooded platform resting on the initial casing at the bottom of the well.

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The team removes the well cover to see what they’re dealing with!

A tripod with rope and pulley were set up over the top of the well. They lowered two drillers and their materials into the well. They began drilling and found clay. After several feet, the clay turned to sand and then back to clay. This well proved challenging to drill and was slow. At first the sand was red in color, but it quickly turned white. At 72 feet, the clay mixed with sand and began to turn black in color. It was decided to stop there.

First the team installed 6″ PVC casing through the wooden platform to the bottom of the well. This is to ensure the drilling begins straight and will keep the hole from collapsing. They connect the bucket auger drill bit to the drilling rod and lower it into the well. They continue to lower the drill rod until they hit the bottom. Each drill rod is 18 feet in length and have to be pulled up and down by the guys on top so that the drill bit can be emptied. Teamwork is essential. The drilling continues and the 6” casing is hammered down to keep the hole open. This is very labor intensive.

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Eighteen feet of 4¼”casing was slotted for screen to allow the entry of water and lowered down inside the temporary casing. Buckets of filter pack were poured in between the two casings, and then the team could hoist and pull out the temporary casing, leaving the 4¼” casing filter packed to a total depth of 72 feet.

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

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Rotifunk children help the team out with the yield test. They’re filling up buckets to measure how much water their well can give them!

Two men hand-bailed for three days to ensure proper development. Then, the well was tested by installing an electrical submersible pump to a depth of 65 feet and pumped for 1½ hours with no drop of static level. The team measured the water discharge for one hour and determined they pumped out 650 gallons. This translates to 40 liters per minute! The most water a hand-pump can provide with nonstop pumping is 20 liters per minute, which is good news for Rotifunk Community.

With these successful test results, the artisan could build the well pad and the mechanics could install the new India MkII pump.

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The team persevered through rainy weather and restored clean water to Rotifunk Community.

In June, the team went for a dedication ceremony of the new water well at the Victory Church of God. People were jumping and dancing. Some of the young children took five-gallon containers in their hands to beat like drums, at the same time singing all kinds of music. It was a joyous occasion as people pumped their first buckets of clean water.

Overflowing with joy!

We met a young woman named Christiana Dambo and asked her why she was so happy, and she told us:

“Looking back on how we have struggled for safe drinking water source, I can breathe down with a long sigh of relief. Our children have to go as far as the Ahmadiyya Secondary School compound to fetch water. They are exposed to accident and a lot of other constrains. We never dreamt of having such an opportunity like having a safe drinking water source within our close range. So we are very much and satisfy that this project has come to save us from our desperate condition. We pray that God will continue to bless the donors so that the organization will keep going on.”

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04/25/2017: Victory Evangelical Church Project Underway

Victory Evangelical Church and the surrounding community in Sierra Leone will soon have a source of clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A seasonally 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.

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 Bulom, Lungi, Rotifunk
ProjectID: 5108
Install Date:  07/19/2017


Project Underwriter - A.L. Williams, Jr. Family Foundation, Inc.
The Roney Family Foundation
2 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.