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The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Clean Water Flowing
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Head Teacher
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Head Boy Rejoicing
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students Celebrating
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students At The Well
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students Play At The Well
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Bailing
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Child Health Heroes Display Posters
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Chlorination
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Drilling
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Drilling
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Drilling
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Drilling
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Drilling
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Good Hygiene Practice Poster
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Government Official Makes Speech At Dedication
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Haja Kadijah Kamara Teacher
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Handwashing Lesson
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Handwashing Demonstration Using Tippy Tap
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Inspector Of Schools At The Training
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Lesson On Diarrhea
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pad Construction
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Participants
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Participants
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pump Installation
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pump Installation
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pump Installation
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Student Handwashing Demo
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Student Demonstrates Toothbrushing
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pump Installation
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Pump Installation
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students Participating In Lessons
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Teacher Describes Disease Transfer
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Teachers At The Training
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Teachers At The Well
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Tippy Tap Construction Materials
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Tippy Tap Construction
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Yield Test
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Studying
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  School Staff
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students In Class
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Woman Laundering
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Water Storage Containers
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Students Outside
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Shop
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  School Market
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  School Latrine
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  School Building
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  School Building
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Old School Latrine
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Mrs Haja Kadijah Kamara
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Mr Almamy K Kamara Head Teacher
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Mr Almammy K Kamara
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Latrine
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Latrine And Bath Shelter
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Kitchen
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Kitchen
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Kids Playing
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  John Kamara School Head Boy
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Isatu F Swaray School Head Girl
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Dish Rack
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Clothesline
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Bath Shelter
The Water Project: DEC Mahera Primary School -  Animal House

Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/27/2020

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



The District Educational Council (DEC) Mahera Primary School was established on April 17th, 1947. This school is responsible for providing education to some prominent people in the chiefdom. The head teachers that have brought this school from infancy are Pa Ibrahim Kahn, AK Sesay, and Mrs. Josephine Macauley. The school was formed by the District Educational Council with the help of some community members who helped to fund and subsidize the payment of teachers. The school in its infancy was comprised of 3 buildings with a latrine for both teachers and pupils.

The first head teacher was the late Pa Ibrahim Kahn, with a total of 206 pupils of which 116 were boys and 90 girls. The school has completely changed over the years with additional buildings to accommodate the growing demand of the 1,242 students who attend today.

Being the second oldest school in the chiefdom has its perks and benefits. One is that all the parents would like to have their children attend the same school. The school has produced the likes of members of parliament, paramount chiefs, teachers, professors, and the armed forces to name but a few. The routine is normal for all students in all schools throughout the chiefdom.

Special attention is drawn to the child health club of this particular school. A team of 20 students is chosen from Class 3 to Class 6, students with more than average ability in expressing themselves and who are not shy in public speaking. The child health club members are trained to train other students and other communities in the areas of hygiene, sanitation, and water safety. They play a great role in our educational hygiene puppet show and in passing information to the school and community.

The well that provides water to the school and the local community members is located on school property and monitored with members of the school teachers as part of the water user committee. It is at the doorstep of the school, making fetching water very convenient for the pupils.

Except it already does not work.

The pressure on the well and a drop in the water table mean that it often will run dry for periods until it recharges with water. The sheer size of the school population requires this school to always have a clean supply of water day in and day out. But this well is unable to meet that demand.

“The water that is required for use at the school for the day far exceeds [the] 2 drums we can collect each day. We do not want to put the children through the agony of fetching water and crossing the heavily trafficked road,” said Alimamy Kamara, one of the school’s head teachers.

The nursery students are always in need of water either to drink or to use after using the latrine. The headmistress, Madam Haja Kamara, takes all the necessary steps needed to provide a safe and learning-friendly environment. Without the provision of safe water at the school, however, the negative consequences will be astronomical. The young children are susceptible to contracting typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhea.

Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem facing this school.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

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 hand auger will be lowered inside and powered by a drill team. 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 all seasons.

As the team drills, casing will be installed, transforming the bottom of this hand-dug well into a borehole. PVC piping will connect this lower system directly to the pump, a combination 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.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for 3 days in a row.

No handwashing 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 hands-free handwashing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dishracks and the importance of properly penning in animals to keep them away from people’s food and water.

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.

Project Updates


02/28/2020: DEC Mahera Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at DEC Mahera Primary School in Sierra Leone that is already providing clean water to students and neighboring community members!

“A school with a total population of over 1,000 students and no reliable, around-the-year water supply is a recipe for disaster. I cannot truly express my appreciation for the new and converted borehole,” said Haja Kamara, the head teacher for the younger grades in the school.

“The well was drilled deeper, a sign that the seasonal low water table has been eliminated.”

We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

Clean Water Restored

The crew was moved a day before the drilling took place making sure all equipment and supplies had been checked and double-checked before going to the school. A specific location, not too far from the well, was chosen and cordoned off from being accessed by the community members so that the team could safely store its equipment and sleep during the drilling process.

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water:

– Raised the tripod

– Found the original depth

– Socketed the pipes

– Installed casing

– Lined up the drill rods

– Drilled!

We reached a final depth of 24.24 meters with the water at 16.36 meters. The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has great water access throughout the year.

– Installed screening and filter pack

– Cemented an iron rod to the well lining, and fixed it with an iron collar at the top

– Bailed the well by hand for 3 days and flushed it

– Tested the yield

– Built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system

– Installed a stainless steel India Mk11 pump

– Conducted a water quality test

After the project was complete, we asked the community to prepare for a dedication ceremony. The Inspector of Schools was very impressed and in attendance for the handing-over ceremony. The midday celebration brought people from the nearby homes to help show support and gratitude for the converted borehole.

The greatest asset in any successful project is the inclusion of the community people in the decision-making process. The establishment of the water user committee is a sure way of making a lasting agreement between the organization and the community on ways to sustain the project for years to come. The Chairperson of the school management committee, section chief, and the line ministries are all part of the monitoring groups to continue to put pressure on the teachers to better serve the pupils.

In the event that there are water management issues, the water user committee has been instructed to call our office immediately.

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we made repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand the challenges and lack of sanitation facilities in this community. We brought the findings from our baseline survey to the attention of the school to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training or drilling could commence. When all the necessary guidelines were met, only then did our team of hygiene trainers go to conduct the training.

The attendance was greater than expected with more than 200 people participating! The trainers only allowed the pupils from the older primary classes to take part in the training due to the enormous school population. In addition, there are 15 households in the community with 85 people who will be utilizing this well so they attended training too. The training was held in one of the oldest buildings in the compound, which was ventilated with the wind coming from all corners. Even with the breeze, however, the large crowd increased the temperature to the point of sweating with stained clothes. It was the dry season and every living thing is finding a place to take refuge from the sun this time of year!

The special 6-day training session made accommodations for all 3 groups of participants. The first 2 days involved the training of trainers which includes training the teachers and members of the child health club. The following 2 days involved the training of the school led by the child health club and teachers. The last 2 days were the teaching of the community by the child health club and the teachers with the supervision of the hygiene team. The teachers that were involved in the training for the duration were awarded certificates upon completion.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission and prevention; worms and parasites; proper care of teeth; proper care of the pump; keeping the water clean; the cost recovery system; dishracks and clotheslines; the importance of toilets; keeping the latrine clean; balanced diets; the diarrhea doll; and HIV and AIDS.

“I know the hygiene training has changed my life and I hope and pray that all the people in the community will have learned something,” shared Alimamy Kamara, a teacher at the school.

“Keeping our environment clean is vital to living a long and healthy life. The most important thing is accepting what has been taught and putting it into practice.”

Thank you for making all of this possible!


The Water Project : sierraleone19287-students-at-the-well


01/10/2020: DEC Mahera Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at DEC Mahera Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!


The Water Project : sierraleone19287-studying


Project Photos


Project Type

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


Contributors

Project Sponsor - Avana