Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 263 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/19/2022

Project Features


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The 263 people of Menika currently use a protected dug-well with a hand pump as their primary water source. But their well is struggling to keep up with the high demand, especially during the dry season (March-May every year) when the water level is too low.

This water scarcity means community members end up collecting surface water shown in the photo above because they can't afford to go without water or wait in very long lines that lead to quarrels with their neighbors.

The well faces still more issues. It is not adequately treated or monitored for safety, there are no proper hygiene protocols for those who use the well, most of the containers people use to fetch water at the well are not clean, and it is easily accessed by domestic animals, so it is open to contamination.

Female petty trader Kadiatu Suma, 25, shown in the photo below carrying water shared her challenges surrounding water. "It is hard to fetch drinking water in this community when the main water source is not functional. The demand for water becomes more challenging during the dry season. Also, when there is high demand at the source, the water becomes filthy and causes delays at the well anytime I am trying to fetch water."

Like most people in the community, when the well is dry, or she can't wait in long lines, Kadiatu resorts to collecting water from the local swamp. "Though the distance to the swamp well is far and dangerous to reach, it is the only source where I could fetch water at any time. I cannot send my children to the swamp alone to fetch water because the area is not safe, so I must be part of the team to fetch water. Leaving other tasks at the house to fetch water with a delay at the well sometimes causes some other activities [to be] undone or not properly done because of the rush."

Fatmata S., 14, carrying water in the photo above shared her own daily challenges with collecting water from the swamp. "I would always prefer fetching water at the main water source than the swamp. It is hard to fetch water at the swamp because of the distance, and it is a bushy area where snakes could be easily seen."

Fatmata wastes a lot of valuable time that she could use for other productive things like studying. "I cannot go to the swamp well alone to fetch water," she said. "I have to wait until I see people going the same way, then I join them to fetch water."

The people of Menika are suffering the physical consequences of drinking water from contaminated sources. The swamp water (shown above) is murky and littered with leaves, contaminants from people bathing and doing laundry nearby, and animal feces. Stomachache and diarrhea are common ailments, often affecting young children the most.

Everyone needs a clean, safe, accessible water point that will allow them to be healthy and continue with daily tasks to improve their lives.

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


05/25/2022: Menika Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

14-year-old Kadiatu D. recalled what life was like before the pump was rehabilitated. "I used to fetch water from the stream when the pump was not proving water. The road to the stream is far and the area is not safe. Carrying water on my head from the stream to the house was not easy for me. I would be tired in class and wanted to rest but I could not."

Kadiatu pours water at the dedication ceremony.

"I am happy to see the pump providing clean water and it is now in a fence with a gate," Kadiatu said. "It is a wonderful place to get good water to drink. I can now fetch enough water to my house for my parents to use and to drink. I will not fear like I used to do when I was going to the stream alone to fetch water."

"The pump is now looking good and the water coming out is clean to drink!" said 45-year-old farmer Maferreh Kanu. "This is a major help for me because it will help me to avoid drinking water from the stream. Before, it was difficult for me to get good drinking water. The nearness of this pump to my house is a good thing for me."

 

Maferreh smiles while pumping water.

"This will also help me to finish my daily activities on time," Maferreh continued. "The pump was not providing water, and that was why I used the stream water. It was not easy for me at that time because of the far distance to the stream, and the condition of the water was not good. I am happy today because the pump we now have in this community has started providing clean water that I can drink, cook, or do all my daily activities on time."

 

"I have family members, friends, and relatives who normally come [to] this village to visit me. It was difficult to give them good hospitality without good and enough water," Maferreh concluded. "It is now good that I can easily fetch water from the pump that is close to my house to do my daily activities."

Maferreh joins the celebrations at the dedication ceremony.

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. Menika's chief, Ya Alimamy Sillah, also said a few words of thanks. Then, Maferreh 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.

Drilling underway.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 20 meters with water at 14 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.

Fitting pipes to go into the well.

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 all rushed to assist by gathering containers for the pump's 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 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 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. People in Menika showed a lot of interest in the training and participated whole-heartedly.

A training participant asks a question about one of the visual aids.

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.

One of the most enlightening topics in Menika was handwashing. When we demonstrated different handwashing methods, community members noted that they usually share a bowl of water with their family members, dipping their hands in to rinse them after a long day of work on their farms. When we showed them how to construct a tippy-tap, they agreed that this was a much better method, as one person wouldn't potentially pick up dirt or germs from a previous washer's hands.

A participant demonstrates handwashing on a tippy-tap constructed during the training.

Another more somber notable moment came during the topic of how diseases transfer from one person to another. One of the community members name Morlai stood up during this topic and gave a short speech acknowledging the community's poor hygiene practices. He asked his fellow participants to recall all their people who had died from cholera and ebola in recent years and remember the advice from the training. After this, he received a lot of applause.

Participants hold up disease transmission posters.

"The training has changed the way I used to think about how we get sick," said 35-year-old trader N'mah Yillah. "Before this time, I thought most illnesses are related to witchcraft attacks or a curse from ancestors. But now, I fully understand that we are the cause of our sickness due to the things we do, such as open defecation, failing to cover our food, drinking contaminated water, etc. As a result, the new knowledge will enable me to maintain good hygienic practices for me to be healthy."

N'mah.

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!




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

A severe clean water shortage in Menika 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!




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
Facebook Donations
92 individual donor(s)