The Yongoroo community is the birthplace of the current Paramount Chief. The community has the largest number of fishing boats in the entire chiefdom. With fishermen coming from as far as Guinea and other fishing areas around the country.
The community is the location of the only radio station in the chiefdom which used to be one of the homes of the former president. It overlooks the Atlantic ocean and the thousands of people that practically live on the wharf waiting for the boats to dock. The pollution in the ocean waters has reduced the amount of fish caught on any given day.
The most common livelihood in this community is fishing, gardening, and petty trading. There are fertile swamps that are around the entire community. Seeing the trend of reduction in the amount of fish caught by fishermen, some families have started embarking on planting to help subsidize the income of the family. There are rows of okra, tomatoes, corn, garden eggs, and a lot more vegetables planted around the community.
The main water point for the 265 people here is located at the Mosque. The Mosque has made great strides in taking care of the water well with proceeds collected from the use of the pump saved for repairs and making additions to the structure.
Over the years the hand-dug well has seen a diminishing water table which affects the availability of water throughout the year.
"When it comes to fetching water, doing laundry, cooking cleaning and all other domestic work are for the women and girls. I remember at one time I wanted to do laundry and the pump was not functioning. I had to go to the nearby stream to laundry buckets of clothes," said Mariatu, a young girl we met at the well.
"Not having water readily available for worshippers will drive them away to other Mosques in the community," added Isrissa Kamara, the Headman for the community.
"This Mosque is the largest in the community and it is the sweat and labor of most members of this community. From the fees collected from this well were we able to improve and turn it into a standard Mosque with 2 levels. Seeing our children arguing for water pains my heart and with your help, we hope to bring it to an end."
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
The well marked for this overhaul is dry for a few months every year and 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 to ensure the well supplies water throughout all seasons.
As the team drills, a 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 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 quality and quantity, even through the dry months.
Hygiene and Sanitation Training
There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.
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 handwashing demonstrations and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.
This training 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.