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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 255 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 largest Muslim orphanage in the whole chiefdom is located in Royema Community. Royema Community is a unique place, since it has a female chief. It is rarely heard of for a female chief to rule in any community, but things are changing. The founder of Royema was a farmer who had settled in the woods with his immediate family and his brother’s family. He was exploring new forest areas to plant his rice farms, and he came upon a very fertile piece of land that flourishes to this day.

The first person that settled in this village was known as “King David,” with no other records of his real name. He was a very strong and hardworking man who prided himself in the power of his machete. Rumor has it that it took two full grown men to lift his machete. He was made chief of the community, and after his death his daughter was crowned chief because it was believed that the daughter inherited the strength of her father; both men and women were afraid of her.

The community to this day is run by powerful women who are devoted to their families and the development of their community. Royema Community is very disciplined and values the power of education. Almost all the children here attend some form of schooling. Early in the morning, the women are responsible for getting everyone ready for school and for the daily ritual of morning prayers.

Water Situation

The main source of water in Royema is a well that we monitor. The caretaker does a wonderful job making sure everyone follows the rules when fetching water. Girls tie their hair before entering the well, and everyone takes off their shoes some distance away. Everyone is careful not to splash water outside of their containers.

But this well isn’t always busy. During one of our monitoring visits, the well sits abandoned. After interviewing the caretakers and beneficiaries in the area, we learned that it’s an annual occurrence; the well goes dry from March to July.

Without this safe water source, inhabitants of Royema are exposed to typhoid, diarrhea, skin rashes, stomachaches and fevers. The major cause of death for most Sierra Leoneans is the use of contaminated water from swamps or unprotected water wells. Unfortunately, there’s no other choice for the four to five months this water well is down.

Sanitation Situation

The latrines here are not properly constructed, and most are without roofs and doors. Pits are too shallow. The pits are dug eight to 10 feet deep and pieces of wood are placed on top to act as a platform to squat on. During the rainy season, water in the latrine pit flows to the top and washes out of the latrine, exposing the community to all types of diseases. Some latrines are built from plastics and sticks, so with just one gust of wind everything is blown away.

There wasn’t even one hand-washing station to be found among all 36 households. The community is not densely populated, so there are still empty plots of land that people use as landfills. It is easier to just pile up garbage in this open area than to dig holes for it. In some areas of the community, the garbage is thrown in the back of the houses, attracting a steady flow of mosquitoes all hours of the day.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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

No hand-washing stations were found 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.

These trainings will also strengthen the water user committee that manages and maintains this well. They enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Plans: Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry for four months every year 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


09/14/2017: Royema Community Project Complete

Royema 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 Royema 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

We started working with the community to plan hygiene and sanitation training as soon as we met them. We assessed their specific needs and worked to find the most convenient dates for the entire community. Mr. Mohamed, the chief’s son, was our main contact. He and Mrs. Joko walked from door to door to invite participants, and the imam was encouraged to announce the training during morning and evening prayers.

Sessions were held at Mr. Foday’s house under a big mango tree. We were encouraged by meeting 85 people waiting there! They were prepared with benches and empty containers (to make the hand-washing stations).

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A young lady holds up the jerrycan she brought to use as a hand-washing station.

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

There was also a demonstration where the trainer washed her dirty hands in front of the crowd. She used a bowl of clean water and after washing her hands, the clean water in the bowl turned brown. She showed the participants and asked them what they observed, and they answered saying that the color of the water had changed. The facilitator told them that our hands are always unclean, even though we may not take it into consideration. We are always vulnerable to germs, and need to keep clean by practicing good personal hygiene. This set us up for a strong transition into how to make hand-washing stations.

People were surprised about how often they should wash their hands. They asked if we were preparing them for their response to another outbreak like Ebola. According to them, hand-washing reminds them of the Ebola outbreak. We let them know that hand-washing is necessary at all times, as it is an excellent way to prevent health issues like diarrhea and cholera. It is not just for Ebola, but should be a habit for everybody at all times.

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These ladies are having a blast making hand-washing stations for their families!

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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Some of the images that encourage discussions about hygiene and sanitation behaviors.

During the final session, we asked participants to help us summarize and review everything taught. A woman named Isatu stood up and contributed by saying that she learned a lot, especially about hand-washing. Before the training, she didn’t know she should wash her hands before making her family dinner. She never even thought of washing her hands after cleaning her baby’s messy buttocks before continuing with cooking. She had been in the habit of letting her child defecate behind the kitchen. But the training has taught her otherwise!

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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 26 feet deep without any water.

The team sets up the tripod and pulley over the well. Depending on the diameter of the well, the team either drills from inside the well or from ground level. The team will work from ground level here in Royema; they’ve resorted to this method the last couple of projects, and now prefer to work out in the open instead of being confined inside the well.

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Every time the drill bit fills, it needs to be pulled up and emptied!

First, they install 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 met sand until 60 feet, where clay began. There was plenty of water at this point, so the team decided to stop there.

18 feet of 4¼” casing was slotted for screen and lowered inside the temporary casing from 40 to 58 feet. Five buckets of filter pack were poured 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 four days to ensure proper development. The well could then be tested by installing a submersible pump at 55 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 910 gallons. The static water level of 24 feet didn’t drop at all!  We were able to calculate that this well has a great yield of 56 liters per minute. Why is this great? Because a hand-pump can only produce 20 liters of water in a minute!

Community members gather around with their containers as the well is tested for water yield.

With this great success, we could build a new walled well pad and install the new stainless steel hand-pump. The only problem is that it’s been so rainy, we haven’t been able to paint the well pad yet – it will be white with logos for Mariatu’s Hope and The Water Project on its walls.

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The evening after the well was finished, we met the community there. It was surrounded by many jubilant people shouting praises and dancing with all their might. It was so exciting to see both young and old singing and dancing together as if they were all equals.

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Mr. Lamin came forward to express his gratefulness for having clean water. He further mentioned an incident that took place a while before, when a young boy had to cross the busy road to get to the swamp and was killed by a motorcycle. He spoke with confidence this would never happen again because children won’t have to travel long distances for water.

Following that, a young boy name Alpha was called upon to be the first to drink the well’s clean water. He later gave it to his mother to finish. Nearly everybody drank from the well – with the exception of the small, small children who were unable to reach the pump because of the crowd.


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08/14/2017: Royema Community Project Underway

Royema Community will soon have a source of safe and clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A well that is dry for almost half the year is being deepened, and a new pump installed. The community will also 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:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Royema
ProjectID: 5118
Install Date:  09/14/2017




Contributors

Project Sponsor - The Matthew Martin Family
1 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.