May, 2022: Limena-Sam Road Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!
We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Limena-Sam Community in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to neighboring community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.
Community members celebrate the presence of clean water.
"It was not easy to get good water in this community," explained 17-year-old Abibatu K.
"Sometimes there had been an enormous number of people at the water well waiting to fetch water. The water wells dried during the dry season. The only sustainable one would be highly [in-]demand. Sometimes people quarrel[ed] at the water well because of getting the front space in line to fetch water."
Abibatu drinks from the newly rehabilitated well while community members celebrate.
"I am happy because of the renewal of this water well today," Abibatu said. "It is now easy for me to get enough water at any time of the day. It is now good that this water well is working well and providing enough water that I can easily get to do all my daily activities on time."
"Today, the challenge is over because this water well is good to use and there is enough water coming out," said 55-year-old trader, Kadiatu Kamara. "I can now see it has a new pump, the well is fence and the area is decent."
Kadiatu cups her hands beneath the well's spout.
"My children used to go across the highway [to fetch water] where vehicles flow at speed every minute," Kadiatu continued.
"Getting access to this water well that will not get dry is a safety measure that will prevent my children from getting into [a] vehicle accident. It is good today I can now get pure drinking water from this water well at any time of the day. I can now fetch water, do all my morning activities, and go out to trade on time."
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 Ministry of Water Resources, the Port Loko District Council, and the Ward Council.
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, Abibatu and Kadiatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.
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 23 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.
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.
Community members provided containers for the yield test.
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.
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!
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 multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.
Each household was represented during the training for all three days, with a few households even sending more than one person.
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 training facilitator uses a diarrhea doll to explain diarrhea.
The most engaging topic for the people of Limena-Sam Road Community was diarrhea, which many testified to be the leading cause of death in the community, especially for children. Mr. Mahmoud Kargbo, a Community Health Worker who attended the training, helped ensure the community understood the different causes of diarrhea and ways of counteracting them.
Another particularly illuminating discussion concerned malaria. Community members had attributed all sorts of things to causing malaria, including eating too many oranges or vegetable oil. We told them that malaria is caused by an infected mosquito bite. Another health worker in the community, Madam Aminata Barrie, advised her peers to rely on a community health center rather than traditional herbs when they suspect someone has malaria. We advised everyone to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitos can breed and to sleep within a mosquito net.
"I am happy that I participated in this training because I have gained lot of knowledge on handwashing, proper care of the toilet, and how to prepare ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) at home using our own local materials like salt, sugar, and water," said 22-year-old trader Ramatu Kamara.
"I have also learned about the dangers of malaria, its causes, and the preventive measures. The local tippy tap construction is also another new idea to me and my fellow community members. I believe if I follow all those procedures correctly, everything will be fine for me."
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!