Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/01/2022

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The 400 community members of Malap village are suffering from the water crisis with others across the entire Port Loko chiefdom.

Malap is considered fortunate by surrounding villages because they currently have a shallow hand-dug well that provides water for at least four months out of the year. Initially dug to alleviate the community's problems during the dry season, it has now become the primary source of water for them and surrounding communities.

Others outside Malap don't realize that the water from the well (pictured above) is of poor quality and dangerous to drink, making people sick. This community (and the surrounding ones) are desperate for clean water.

Sallu K., a 13-year-old boy in the community, shared, "Everything we do is centered around water, and without it, nobody is going to survive. Even though fetching water does not take us to other villages, not having a sufficient amount is very alarming. There is no body [of water] in the village that does not have an odd smell. The water is dirty and mixed with dead animals and leaves."

The unsafe, shallow well is dug deeper every year so that the water will not dry when needed most. With the inflow of people from other communities coming in search of water, water has become a limited commodity that has to be protected and restricted, making sure people only fetch a limited number of buckets so they can try to make it last.

"Day after day, fetching water has become a task that takes a lot of my time. It is not advisable to fetch water and store it since we are only allowed a certain amount during the day, but at night since there is no one at the well to restrict, the people from this village usually fetch at night, and it is left for the use by people from other villages during the day," said Mabinty Turay, a 46-year-old farmer, and housewife.

The current water source in the community should not be used for drinking, cooking, or even for animals. But people make the difficult decision to ingest the contaminated water, knowing it could make them sick, because they have no other choice. Sadly, drinking the water involves minor to life-threatening health consequences and frequent hospital visits with illnesses such as malaria, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and numerous worms and parasites.

"The only lasting solution that can save our lives is when we have a well that can give us good water to drink," Mabinty continued. "We fish out all kinds of things from this well, such as old slippers, frogs, snails, worms, and cockroaches. I shut my eyes and pray each time I want to drink because I know the water is bad, but what choice do I have? What choice does my family have? We are helpless and knowingly doing things harmful to our health and the health of our children."

Another hand-dug well (pictured above) in Malap was protected in the past, but has been entirely unusable for the past few years. This is the one we will rehabilitate. The cement pad around it is crumbling. It has a broken hand pump, and the water produced has a red color, smells terrible, and is very cloudy. Sadly, instead of making safe, clean water for the community, it is now used to sit and rest and lay harvested rice to dry.

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


10/12/2022: Malap Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Malap 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.

"I [could] not get the water when I needed it because [my children had to] cover [a] long distance to the swamp," said 62-year-old farmer Adikalie Kamara, who was elected to be the chairperson of the newly formed water user committee.

Adikalie pumps water.

He continued: "I was urged to drink from this source even though it is not safe because it was the only alternative after the community well dried. The result was frequent stomachaches for me. It was also difficult to fetch enough domestic water because of the distance. My wife was at the receiving end of the suffering.

"Now, I am happy that we have a pump with enough clean drinking water close by. No more worries about stomachache for me. It is quite a great moment today in this community. My wife and children will not struggle to fetch water from the swamp again. There is enough water coming from this pump, which I can easily use to do anything."

"I had constraints in fetching water because I used to fetch it from the swamp," said 13-year-old Mabinty C.

Mabinty splashes water at the well.

"I [had to] go there with other people because the road to the swamp is bushy, and this was difficult to do in the mornings before going to school," Mabinty continued. "I usually did not fetch enough water because I had to rush back and get ready to go to school, or I [would] be late for school. It is good that I can fetch clean drinking water from the pump that is close to my house and easy to fetch water from, not like the water from the swamp. We will now have enough water to drink and to bathe."

Councilor Abubakarr Bangura splashes water with women from Malap.

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 and the Port Loko District 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, Adikalie and Mabinty 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 15 meters with water at 11 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.

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 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 a mango tree opposite Adikalie Kamara's house to hold the meeting.

For the first two days of training, we had around 60 participants (one per household), which is what we expected. However, the village headman declared that any household found not to be in attendance on the last day of training would be fined, which got us up to 70 participants, which was a fantastic turnout, and we appreciated the headman's commitment to improving hygiene and sanitation in his community.

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.

A training facilitator demonstrates proper handwashing technique.

The most memorable topic during the training was handwashing, during which one woman volunteered a story about a friend she had who didn't bother to use soap, even during an outbreak of cholera. Her friend was cooking a meal for her family when her son said he had to go to the latrine. The mother took her son to the latrine and cleaned his bottom. Without washing her hands, she returned to cooking. The next day, the entire family was rushed to the hospital with cholera, but unfortunately, the woman and her son didn't recover. Because the woman telling the story felt the loss of her friend so strongly, she always remembers to wash her hands with soap and running water at every opportunity.

"This training is valuable to me because what I have learned will help me to protect myself from my bad hygiene deeds," said local security guard and water user committee member Abdulrahman Laika Sesay.

Abdulrahman.

"I used to go to the farm without putting on my slippers or shoes," Abdulrahman continued. "But from now, I will start to wear [them] because I have realized that walking barefooted [can] cause someone to get worms and parasites. I believe if I put all these new ideas into practice, I will not get sick. The knowledge about washing my hands after using the toilet, constructing [a] dishrack at [my] kitchen, [and making] sure we give our children worm treatment after every three months was very helpful.

"I am happy for the new knowledge that I have gained during these three days' training. I have no regret for attending because the training has helped me to know how to keep away from bad hygiene, and I will continue to sensitize my relatives and explain to them about the importance of good hygiene practices in our communities."

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!




08/04/2022: Malap Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Malap Community 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!




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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

Project Sponsor - Jonah Development Corp
Project Sponsor - Jonah Development Corp