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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 369 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

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

The name Malokoh means “where things grow.” The community is surrounded by swamps, and the people here rely on planting vegetables and petty trading. The earlier in the day that the acres of various vegetables ranging from okra, onions, pepper, cucumber and corn are watered, the better. The children and women get up at five in the morning and head out to the swamp to water their plots. They usually spend two hours in the morning and three hours in the evening tending the plants. It is tedious and time-consuming, but it puts food on the table.

The ashes from burnt leaves are sprinkled on vegetables every morning, along with fertilizer that is bought at the local market. The people who cannot afford to buy fertilizer combine with someone who can, and then the debtor’s harvest will be sold to the person who lent the fertilizer for a price below market value. During the rainy season, the swamp is used for planting rice, the staple food in Sierra Leone.

In most communities, there are mosques at every corner but they are only busy during the month of Ramadan. Waking up early and getting home late from the swamp has prevented a lot of people from praying their five daily prayers.

Water Situation

Malokoh Community is so excited about this project. They have two protected wells in this busy area, located on either side of a dangerous throughway. We have been keeping an eye on these wells over the last few years, and the water user committee has been calling us to keep us informed. We noticed that during the driest months of every year from March through August, one of the pumps entirely stops yielding water. Calls from the community increased because of the dangerous position this put the people in, especially the children. Without water in that well, those seeking to fill their jerrycans have to cross the busy road and walk for quite a ways. And when both side of the road rely on one well, lines grow long and the well gets overused.

Cars race by, and it is particularly dangerous when the nearby ferry docks and departs. It is not uncommon for a road-crosser to be hit. And it’s not uncommon that because of this unfortunate situation, women and children resort to taking water from more convenient, contaminated sources on their own side of the road.

Sanitation Situation

Most homes in Malokoh Community have a pit latrine. It was encouraging to see that most of these are in good condition, with some pits even being covered between every use. We believe conditions are this good because of the local hospital; many of the nurses live among these people. If not living there, there always seems to be a nurse out in the community center lecturing about proper hygiene and sanitation practices and how important they are for good health.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.

Not many hand-washing stations were observed here. After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a hand-washing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for hand-washing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.

Plans: Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry from March to August and 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 sufficient water column that 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

07/20/2017: Clean Water Restored to Malokoh Well

Malokoh Community, 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 Malokoh Community, 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

The hygiene and sanitation training was held close to the well, under a big mango tree where people normally gather for community meetings. The well is surrounded by houses and trees, and there is a small cinema hall which is much closer to the well. This place was free, accessible, and comfortable.

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The training was organized by first contacting the headman, Mr. Morlai Kamra who in turn passed on the information to the community people during their Jamar prayers at the mosque. After several consultations, they agreed upon the training date. They welcomed the idea of hygiene training which could greatly improve their health.

Well over 60 people, excluding children, were in attendance. We observed active participation and everyone did their part. Participants brought empty containers to make their own hand-washing stations as planned, and there were even extras!

The agenda was created after our staff took a baseline survey of hygiene standards here. 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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Constructing hand-washing stations.

Diagrams portraying unhealthy practices such as walking barefoot, open defecation, outdoor urination, and eating with unwashed hands were all shown and discussed in groups. What behaviors make a community healthy, and what others are counterproductive?

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Community members help by holding illustrations of good and bad hygiene practices.

We immediately noticed a change in the community. Participants applied what they learned: hand-washing stations were set up, and it appeared that people were clearing bushes and stagnant water from around their homes. Lids were found to cover the latrine pits when not in use, and containers full of drinking water were taken off the ground and set on tables.

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This local man shows off the dish rack he built after training.

Mrs. Ejatu Jah was one of the many mothers ready to learn about what they could do to keep their families healthy. “I was really impressed… As a housewife, I was so moved about the topics on hand-washing. From the training I came to understand that frequent hand-washing contributes greatly to the wellbeing of each family member. Before the training, I hardly wash my hands during food preparation. But the outcome of the training has now created in me such consciousness. I make sure that each time I want to touch any cooking utensil, I must wash my hands with soap in clean water. It has really become a habit to me now. Thanks to the hygiene training facilitators for emphasizing the important of that topics during the training!” she exclaimed.

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 74 feet with one foot of water.

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.

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The team is up high to get some leverage. Drilling a well by hand is tough!

The team drilled for three days to hit their target depth of 89 feet. One full length of 4¼” casing was slotted for screen and lowered inside the temporary casing. Five buckets of filter pack were poured in between the two casings. The team could then hoist out the temporary casing.

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 bottom to top. The team welded a collar in the pump base to further 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 80 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 650 gallons. The static water level didn’t change, which means the yield is 40 liters per minute.

The team sets up a submersible to measure the well’s new yield.

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

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Chlorine cleans the pump parts that were handled by the team.

Mr. Abubakarr Sesay was there as the well was finished. He said, “Right from the bottom of my heart, I am deeply satisfied. The broad smile you are seeing on my face is no pretense. It is an outward manifestation of how I feel. We used to fetch water from a source that is unimaginable. On the surface of the water was covered with greenish substance, drinking water from that source has always been a nightmare for us. So you can now see the reason why I am overjoyed. Having this safe drinking water source in our community is definitely going to improve our health and our lives as well. Surely we are free from all related waterborne diseases!”

The community was so happy about the new well that children, young women and grandmothers were dancing; they had suffered most from the burden of trying to get safe drinking water in the dry season.

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A young girl shared, “You are not only concern about rehabilitating the well, but you also ensure how we benefit from the well and how long the well will last to serve us…With the availability of a newly rehabilitated well now in our community, we are now free from the long distances we used to cover in search of drinking water. No more will we be victimized by the young boys, nor will we be involved in motorbikes accident. Above all, we the school-going children will utilize our times in studying our notes instead of going in search of drinking water…”

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04/25/2017: Malokoh Community Project Underway

Malokoh Community in Sierra Leone will soon have a source of safe, clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A seasonal 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, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you updated as the work progresses.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Pork Loko, Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Malokoh
ProjectID: 5111
Install Date:  07/20/2017


Twincrest, Inc. - Ryan Longmire
Masconomet Middle School 7 Blue Team
First Congregational Church of Chatham
Jerusalem Church/VBS
HMR Management Corporation/Erich Shore
Waterville United Methodist Church
Arabel Lebrusan
Andrew and Adison Krantz
Rosemark Water Tanks
Haircuts for Hope
Girl Scout Troop 60213
92 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.