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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 436 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

This is a busy fishing community full of fishermen, traders and boat-makers coming from the four surrounding islands. There is activity all hours of the day with women, men and children each trying to get the things they need to survive for the day. Every morning the routine begins all over again; getting up all hours of the day and night has become so normal. With such crowded households, some men and women even prefer to sleep outside.

The bustling life at the village is too much for the older men and women who decide to find other sources of income, they have endured their days of hard labor and it is now the young peoples’ turn. The elderly have decided to take less tasking jobs like boiling salt water to process salt. The process is passed on from family member to family member. The salt that is produced lacks iodine, so many of the people who use it develop goiter.

Water Situation

There is a protected well that we monitor in the village, but the overcrowding is unbearable for many busy community members. There are even residents of other nearby islands who bring their boats over to fetch water. Most times, locals will justify their need to use the open, unprotected well that is much closer to the wharf. People from that area find the distance and easy access much more attractive than walking to and waiting at the safe water source.

This open, contaminated well has an open hatch for the majority of the day, and there is not a minute that goes by when it sits unused. A string has been tied to an empty container, and that container has been cut at the top to allow water to enter more quickly.

With hundreds living in and coming in and out of Rogbere, it’s important there be a sustainable, year round safe water source. However, our monitoring of the protected well has revealed a rocky history. Beyond our visits, we’ve also gotten calls from community leaders asking for repairs. Our repair teams have visited and found that it’s not just a simple problem with the pump; it’s actually low water level that is rendering this water unusable during the dry season. Community members share that this well is dry from March to early August, and during those months they have no alternative but to lower the bucket into the other unprotected well or walk to the swamp for surface water.

Water is fetched and stored in open barrels and drums which are most often used to clean the daily catch. Fishing communities like this one produce some of the dirtiest water containers; whether they be used for cleaning, cooking, or drinking.

Sanitation Situation

The latrines for fishermen that live in this community are either the edges of boats or the beach. For the homes that are far from the wharf, bags are sewn together and suspended between sticks to serve as walls, and a hole is dug in the ground. There is no roof and no cover over the pit, and timber is thrown over the hole for the person to “walk the plank.” Because of these poor bathroom conditions, open defecation is a huge issue in Rogbere. The waste that isn’t properly disposed of can spread to other locations and endanger the entire community.

The children are most affected by poor hygiene standards; some of them are left with no clothes to scavenge for leftover fish and crabs.

There are no hand-washing stations in any local households. Only a quarter of homes have helpful tools like clotheslines and dish racks to dry belongings safely up off the ground. Most of the garbage here is thrown into the sea.

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, 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. The same thing will be done for dish racks.

Other sessions will teach about how important it is to have a well-built and well-cleaned latrine. They should have roofs and the pit should be covered when not in use. Before construction work can begin, every single household must have their own pit latrine.

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 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 Rogbere Community

Rogbere 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 Rogbere 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held in front of the village chief’s home, where they’ve built an open structure for leadership meetings. We visited the community a lot leading up to training to make sure everyone was informed and invited.

The first day, things didn’t start on time because of a burial ceremony. Finally the young, middle-aged and elderly all arrived to learn, with anywhere from 30 to 80 people attending each session.

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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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Getting ready to build 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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The trainer showing pictures of two different community scenes, explaining how each activity can have an impact on health.

People were encouraged to construct dish racks in their homes, and most have already done so.

Mariama Kamara was one of the many women who attended training to see how they could help their families. She said, “I am very much grateful for the outcomes of the hygiene training. As you know, proper hygiene training can hardly be maintained without sufficient water. So we have been always having problems with washing our hands on a regular basis. But the use of tippy-tap (hand-washing station) in managing the use of water, has left an indelible impression on my mind. Through its use, I can now wash my hands as often as possible. My frequent cases with sickness before the hygiene training, is now a different case altogether. My health is good as compare to the previous time. All these are the contribution of the outcome of the hygiene training. I hardly put on slipper or shoes. But after the training, I have now get into the habit of always putting on shoes. Indeed I am thankful to God for such wonderful training!”

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Mariama Kamara

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 34 feet with absolutely no 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 only found a few feet of sand, and then it immediately changed to just clay. Clay this soon isn’t a great sign for well location, but we decided to persevere to our planned depth. Once we reached 60 feet, the clay turned to black and so we had to stop.

Ten feet of 4¼” casing was slotted for screen and lowered inside the temporary casing from 25 to 35 feet. We developed the well down to 56 feet to avoid the black clay, which would contaminate the water. Two 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.

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Emptying the drill bit.

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 50 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 390 gallons. The static water level dropped a bit during the second half of the hour, and it took a few minutes to fully recharge. After these tests, we measured the yield to be 24 liters per minute.

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Community members provide buckets to help measure the yield of their new well.

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

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Around 70 people gathered to witness the most exciting part of this project: when clean water starts flowing! Community members sang and danced, and we continued to play music for them so they could celebrate. Women, men and children were all exited to see who would get to take the first sip of clear water. Chief Pa Komrabai Kamara and his wife Yabomposseh contributed greatly just by attending the occasion. Thereafter, the community people gathered around the new water well site and we organized for pictures. As a youth by the name of Mohamed Kabia pumped the first water from the well, the community bursted out in loud cheers.

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04/18/2017: Rogbere Community

Rogbere Community in Sierra Leone will soon have a source of safe, 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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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Rogbere
ProjectID: 5112
Install Date:  07/20/2017


Project Sponsor - The Sunbridge Foundation - Jim and Catherine Allchin

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.