Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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The 200 members of Petifu Junction community pooled their resources to install a hand-dug well a few months ago. However, the well is already facing significant issues. Because the well doesn't have a substantial cover, it is open to all forms of contamination. The water has never been treated, causing illnesses throughout the community. The water changes color throughout the day as more people fetch from it, turning browner and browner as the hours go on. And because the well is shallow and hand-dug, everyone in the community knows its supply of water won't last through the upcoming dry season.

When the water turns brown and unappealing, community members head to the stream (in the photo below) which is not any better and is over a mile away through treacherous territory. The steep, narrow footpath becomes slippery and dangerous during the wet season and is infested with venomous snakes during the dry season. Many injuries have been reported from the people who choose to brave the long and arduous footpath.

So, for the moment, because their two sources are never enough (or never clean enough), people collect rainwater. But that, too, won't last forever.

"My worry is about the dry season when all these water sources would have lessened or dried," said Mabinty Kamara, 39, a trader collecting water above. "This is the most disturbing season in the year I would never like to go through."

"I have to walk down [to] the stream water source to wash clothes and carry them [back] to the community," Mabinty continued. "I can only do that once a week. It is challenging to carry wet clothes [and] climb the hill along the road from the stream water source. I have to go late to the market and come back quickly to fetch water to cook and provide water to drink and bathe. With this condition, I cannot realize a better sale. This greatly reduces my business."

"It is challenging for me to fetch water from the stream," said Saidu C., 13, a boy from the village shown on the left. "The road is far and I cannot go there alone to fetch water because of the forest. I am afraid to be harmed. I am always worried to fetch water. Sometimes, I feel pain [in] my body because of the water I fetch every day, especially from the long distance. I have fallen on my way from the stream with a bucket on my head full of water and got injured on my knee and elbow."

Converting the hand-dug well to a borehole will make an immense difference in the lives of these community members, especially children, who are carrying the brunt of the daily water-fetching work.

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

Well Rehabilitation

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 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


01/24/2023: Petifu Junction Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"It is a great opportunity for me today," said 40-year-old teacher Mabinty Kamara, whom we interviewed when we first visited the community. "Now I have access to safe drinking water in my community, and it has contributed to my health, because water brings life. Before, to get safe drinking water [was] a big problem. Even the water I could get [was] not safe to drink. This caused me to seek medical treatment frequently. But today, I want to say thanks and appreciation to [you for] providing sustainable, safe drinking water in my community."

Mabinty, in the black and red shirt, sings and celebrates with a bucket of water on her head.

"I am a teacher," Mabinty continued. "The water situation in my community affected me greatly on my job. Before going for work, I must fetch water to do my domestic activities, and this has contributed to not going to school on time. But today, all this has put to an end. Now, I will complete all my activities on time, such as bathing, laundering, preparing food on time, and going to school on time."

"I used to go to Kaimaya Stream to fetch water," said 14-year-old Saidu C., whom we also talked to on our first visit.

Mabinty and Saidu at the well.

"The distance is far away [from] my house," Saidu continued. "The place is difficult to reach because there is a hill. Also, the road is slippery. I used to stumble and fall, sometimes [sustaining] injury. It is very challenging for me to fetch a single trip of water from Kaimaya Stream. This is the main reason why there had been a shortage in water at house. I spent [so much] time to fetch water from Kaimaya because of the challenging road. But today, I am very happy, and I want to say plenty [of] thanks to [you for providing] safe drinking water in my community. I will no longer be drinking from the stream water, and my health status will improve. Thank you all."

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Port Loko District Council and the Ministry of Water Resources. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project and reminding everyone to take good care of it. Then, Mabinty and Saidu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Saidu drums on a water container at the celebration.

Clean Water Restored

The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The community provided space for the team to store their belongings and 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 drilling tool. 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 18 meters with water at 16 meters. The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has excellent 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.

Bailing.

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.

As the project neared completion, we built a new 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 be uncomfortable and unhygienic and a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Chlorination.

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

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we called and visited the local water user committee to 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 three-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

Participation actually increased on each of the three days. We started on day one with one representative from each household, but more people came each day, which shows this community's commitment to spreading the message of healthy hygiene and sanitation.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, COVID-19, 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.

The most interesting topic for everyone was handwashing, where we detail how to turn a one-gallon jug into a hands-free handwashing station called a tippy tap. Some of the people had never seen this before. The Muslim attendees were excited to construct a station at their mosque to perform ablutions before each prayer.

Another topic that spurred a lot of discussion was water treatment. One elderly woman said that she had drunk water from the swamp her whole life without treating it, and nothing bad ever happened to her. A health assistant in attendance helped our training facilitators explain why the swamp water was unsafe, especially since the community members would also bathe and launder their clothes in or beside the swamp and then drink the water. By the end of the training, the woman understood the reasoning for treating the water we drink.

Conclusion

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!




11/22/2022: Petifu Junction Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Petifu Junction drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community 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

35 individual donor(s)