Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 171 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2023

Project Features


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Community Profile

From April to June, the well at Christal Primary School always goes dry. This year, this non-functional period has dragged on longer than normal, leaving the school administration to wonder whether the well that serves the 171 students and staff has dried up for good.

For the children whose families have more money, this means buying packet water to drink during lunchtime. For the poorer children, however, this means either missing class to go and search for water within the community, or going without water all day.

Christina Davies, the school's proprietor, is well aware of the school's water difficulties. "The school is presently challenged with water for drinking and to use the sanitation facilities. Our students go to the nearest water point to fetch water for the school. The little water they fetched could not solve the water crisis at the school."

"The school pump is not working," said Abdulai, a 12-year-old student. "It is hard to get water to drink at the school during lunch. I don’t have money to buy packet water. Sometimes I had to go to the shop opposite the school to beg for water to drink."

Sometimes, a nearby church allows students to fetch water from its borehole well, but other times, the well is locked up and students are forced to go out into the community to search for water and wait in queues when alternate sources are congested. In their desperation, some of the students have resorted to stealing water from their smaller peers.

"It is hard to control the students, especially when they are desperately thirsty for water to drink," Christina continued. "Some even go out and never return back to school on that day."

Water scarcity doesn't just cause thirst and lack of concentration and class time. It also means proper hygiene practices are not being observed.

"I use the toilet without water to clean myself," Abdulai explained. "Our teachers told us not to waste the water."

Students are appointed every morning to fetch water from the church's well to the school for sanitation purposes. However, the small amount fetched is not nearly enough to serve the school’s population.

"It is again difficult to control the hygiene status of the sanitation facility, especially the toilets," Christina said.

The proposed water project is to convert the school's dug well into a borehole well, which will mean water will be available for the school's students and staff year-round. Then, the school will have a sustainable and safe drinking water source. This will also help the students to make good use of the sanitation facilities at the school compound. They will not need to search for water in the community. Those who could not afford to buy packet water to drink will have a generous supply of safe water at the school. This, in turn, will reduce waterborne diseases.

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 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.

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.

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


03/30/2022: Christal Primary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Christal Primary School in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to students and neighboring community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

12-year-old student Alhaji J. told us why the new well means so much to him and his fellow pupils. "For the past five years, our school well always dried up from March to May and we [had to] go out and look for safe and pure drinking water, but with your quick intervention, our school will no longer lack safe and pure drinking water."

Dapper Alhaji pours water from the newly rehabilitated well.

"The new water point will make me more focused during school hours, rather than leaving the classroom to go in search of water, as I used to do before," Alhaji continued. "Secondly, my health will not be under attack because the water is safe and pure for drinking. We will take proper care of the water point."

"Initially, staff and pupils were always in a bid to search for water over a long distance for drinking and hygiene use," said school headmistress Christiana Davies. "Today, we have succeeded in having safe and pure drinking water to maintain good health and good hygiene practices."

Mrs. Davies celebrates with pupils and teachers.

"The water point will enable me to promote good hygiene and sanitation in the school because there is enough water to clean the school premises," Christiana continued. "Also, the new water point will enhance handwashing in the school, due to the availability of water."

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The ceremony was attended by several local dignitaries from the committee for Ward 240, the Port Loko District Council, the School Management Committee, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Alhaji and Christiana made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Students dance at the end of the dedication ceremony.

Clean Water Restored

The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all of their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The community provided space for the team to store their belongings, along with meals for the duration of their stay. The following day, the work began.

First, we raised the tripod, the structure we use to hold and maneuver each of the drilling tools. Next, we measured the well's original depth. We then socketed the pipes and installed a casing.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 20 meters with water at 12 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.

With drilling complete, we installed screening and a filter pack to keep out debris when the water is pumped. We then cemented an iron rod to the well lining and fixed it with an iron collar at the top. Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days and flushed it, clearing any debris generated by the drilling process. Finally, we tested the yield to ensure the well would provide clean water with minimal effort at the pump.

Bailing.

As the project neared completion, we built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system around the well to seal it off from surface-level contaminants. The drainage system helps to redirect runoff and spilled water to help avoid standing water at the well, which can not only be uncomfortable but unhygienic and a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

At last, we installed the stainless steel India Mk11 pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we made repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand the community’s challenges and lack of sanitation facilities. We shared the findings from our discussions with the committee members to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training began. For example, we identified households without handwashing stations or ones that may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members worked together to improve hygiene and sanitation at home.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when members from each household using the water point could attend a multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

First, our facilitators trained the teachers, who then trained all of the school's students.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, worms and parasites, dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

"Before this training, I was never aware that the virus can enter our body by touching our nose, mouth, ears, and eyes with contaminated hands, or by staying close to a person with the virus without putting a face mask on," said 12-year-old Maligie S.

The students' favorite topic was tippy-tap construction. After the handwashing stations were constructed, all of the students wanted a turn trying them out. They were excited to learn a new method to keep themselves clean, and Christiana Davies saw an opportunity in this simple construction to save the school money.

"This training is so meaningful to me," said Mrs. Davies. "I am so delighted to witness it. Through this training, I have gained the opportunity to gain and experience new things, especially the tippy-tap construction that will be of great benefit to me and the school at large."

Everyone at Christal enjoyed the handwashing lessons as well. Teacher Mahmoud Kebay explained that the training finally changed the students' concept of washing their hands. Before, pupils wouldn't wash their hands before eating their lunch or after using the restroom unless forced. He encouraged his students to always remember the handwashing song our facilitators taught them since that will help them remember to wash their hands properly and regularly.

"After this training, we will start using the tippy taps that we constructed to wash our hands," said Maligie. "[A] few of our Veronica buckets (handwashing stations) have broken. But with the use of the tippy taps, it can be quite easy."

Maligie.

"I have [also] learned the handwashing techniques that are so important in practicing proper and regular hand washing," Mrs. Davies said. "Above all is the knowledge of taking proper care of oneself and environment, since most diseases result from poor hygiene practices. In view of that, I am asking all teachers to always incorporate these hygiene lessons into the school periods so that the pupils will be more conversant with them."

When an issue arises concerning the well, community members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!




02/14/2022: Christal Primary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Christal 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!




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

North Dunedin Baptist Church
57 individual donor(s)