Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 459 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Malap's Community Health Post nurses once fetched water from the clinic's well. But, unfortunately, global warming has lowered the area's water table, and the hand-pump broke last year. Now, the clinic must ask the surrounding community members to donate water from their own wells.

Not only is this outsourcing of water acquisition inconvenient, but it also poses a potentially fatal risk for the patients of thirteen communities who come here for help. Although the community members' offer of free water for the clinic is kindly meant, their wells are unprotected, unmonitored, and likely unsafe.

The community has contributed incredibly admirable work to keep the community health post fully functional, which shows just how much they revere having this resource available. People (mostly children) come unbidden every day with buckets of water to help with the daily running of the hospital. Village women also take turns helping to clean the clinic.

"The community women and girls play a great role in helping to get water for use in the clinic," said 26-year-old nurse, Isha K. "The distance between the clinic and the nearest hand-dug well with a hand pump is far. Not only is it far, but it is also a test of how hard it is to walk uphill with a bucket of water on the head."

But all this effort is wasted if patients become even more ill by drinking, or being treated with, contaminated water. Water is necessary in a clinic for so many reasons: cleaning, sterilization, cooking, bathing, and drinking, among others.

"I feel terrible to subject children to such treatment every day, so I have sometimes refused their offer and managed to [fetch water] myself," Isha continued. "The messages to the District Medical Officer for help in getting our water well situation amended were too many to count. I cannot afford to pay someone to fetch water for me."

Isha's daughter, Mamusu, is well-acquainted with the clinic's water crisis even though she is only 12. "My mother is a nurse, and as a child of a nurse, I go wherever she goes. The worst part of all [is] fetching water. I help my mother every minute I get by making sure there is water in all of the containers. That takes me to the other water wells in the morning and evening."

"I rarely have sick days, because every day I have to fetch water for my mother," Mamusu continued. "Thanks to God there are other older women that help them with the water for the clinic. I wish I never had to be moved to this community."

"I see a lot of nurses have put in for transfers out of this community," Isha added. "I pray that I do not have to end up doing the same."

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


12/05/2022: Malap Community Health Center Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"There had always been a severe water shortage at this health post," said 42-year-old nurse Sadiatu Wurie. "I needed water to do my job as a nurse and to use at the staff quarter where I am residing. I used to appeal to the community members to help me fetch water to the health post for medical services, especially child delivery. It was a huge challenge to run this health facility without safe and sufficient water to use. It was difficult to keep the sanitation facilities in this health post clean because there was not sufficient water to use."

Sadiatu celebrates water!

She continued: "I am especially happy today for receiving a decent and safe water well that is now providing water for the whole Malap Community Health Post and the staff quarter. This water well will now help me to effectively do my job at this health post and to live healthily at the staff quarter. It is now quite easy to fetch water to clean and to use the sanitation facilities at this health post. There is now safe water to administer drugs to patients that need prompt drug administration. I am also happy because I now have easy access to water from the staff quarter to cook, bathe, launder my clothes, and to drink."

"I used to fetch water from this well, but I started fetching water from the stream when this water well was not providing water," said 14-year-old Fatmata T. "It was difficult for me to go down the hill at the stream to fetch water to my house. I could not get enough water from the stream because the distance is far, and it is hilly. I and other children around this health post used to fetch water for the nurses to use. We used to go far in search of water to this health post, and it was not an easy task."

Fatmata happy for water.

"Now, it is good that this water well at the health post is providing water. There will now be enough water at this health post at any time people need water. I can fetch water any time from this water well to my house for our daily use," Fatmata concluded.

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, Sadiatu and Fatmata 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 19.3 meters with water at 18.4 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 the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

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 three days' hygiene and sanitation training [has] greatly helped me to learn a lot of new things that are relevant in my field of study," said nurse Sadiatu Wurie, quoted earlier. "To start with, one of the disease transmission stories is clearly stating that some of the sickness people are suffering from came directly from open defecation. It is good that some of the community stakeholders attended this training. They will help to facilitate the construction of decent latrines in this community. This will also help us to reduce the rate of disease transmission in this community."

One of the sessions discussed the need for maternal healthcare. A lively discussion ensued about how traditional beliefs and medicine in lieu of proper material healthcare put women at unnecessary risk.

After hearing of a story of a young mother who died after her husband required her to rely on traditional medicine, our field officer Philip Allieu said, "I felt sad for the loss of both the mother and the child. The other participants were sympathetically touched by this narrative, and they realized the dangers behind the refusal to go to the health facility when sick to attend antenatal service."

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!




10/12/2022: Malap Community Health Center Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Malap Community Health Center drains staff and patients' 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 health center 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

Project Underwriter - Harris Family Charitable Trust
Brookline IL Peretz School of the Workmen's Circle Zayen Class
Congregational Church of Henniker
Hamilton Lane Advisors LLC
United Way of the Capital Region
URJ Eisner Camp
52 individual donor(s)