The area near Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School is densely populated. Th school is situated at the heart of the Masoila community along the highway to the national airport. The community is full of modern houses with basic amenities like electricity.
The school was established in December 1991, beginning with just thirty-five pupils and two teachers. The school's first headteacher, Reverend Daniel Amadu Kamara, started the school with his resources and provided the land for the school and the church. The school is now under the care of the government. Today, more than 500 students attend the school.
In 1993, a well was dug on the school grounds. However, it was not completed. A handpump was added years later, and the well underwent a rehabilitation in 2015. Due to the adverse effects of global warming, however, the water that is produced by the well has drastically reduced over the years. Also, the community and the school's rising population are putting more pressure on the declining water point.
The water crisis in the school has created a negative impact on the pupils. Whenever they need water, either for drinking or sanitary purposes, and the well runs out of water, the pupils have to leave school to go search for water in the nearby communities. The challenge is multiplied for the students because the same well they rely on at school is also shared with the local community. This means the children face the same difficulties getting water when they go home as they do at school.
"The water in the well has drastically gone down, and sometimes we spend a lot of time pumping to have a very little amount of water. Most times, before we come to school in the morning, we go in search of water for domestic uses at home, which causes us to come to school very late," said pupil Masayo.
"In the afternoon hours when we get home, we also go in search of water, and by the time we return, we would become tired and unable to do our assignments. This continues to go on because water is needed every day in the school and our homes."
The time pupils spend collecting water negatively affects their time for lessons. The daily teaching schedules become disrupted, and teachers fail to complete their respective subject syllabus, causing the school to perform poorly, especially on external examinations.
"Our community depends on this well for fetching water for drinking and other domestic purposes. Whenever the water becomes unavailable, it gives burden to our children and wives who normally go in search of water," explained teacher Hassan Kamara.
"Most times, our children come to school late and tired, and sometimes when they get to school, they are made to go in search of water for drinking, handwashing, and latrine use. This makes them more tired, causing them to sleep in class, which also prevents the teachers from teaching regularly according to the timetable."
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, the 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.