Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 120 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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Community Profile

Suctarr is bustling with people, but lacking water sources. As a result, its wells are always overrun with people jostling for their place in the long queues. Because of the lowering regional water table and the resulting strain on the water sources, they have both begun to dry out for several months throughout the year, from March to May. This leaves everyone unable to attend to their needs, let alone accomplish everything that they must do before the end of the day.

68-year-old trader Isata Serry (in the above photo carrying water) has no more patience for the constant struggle. "Really, [the] water situation in my community affects me greatly, and I am facing big challenges, especially during the dry season," she said. "The well gets overcrowded and people form a queue to access water and I do not have enough energy [to] wait for long due to my age. The huge population at the well can lead to quarrels and fights in the community."

With all the soldiers and their families clustered by the nearby airport, there are hardly ever enough resources to go around. In this area of the barracks closest to the security checkpoint, 120 people live off of three water sources: one public, one owned by a mosque, and the last by a school. This means the latter two wells are locked up during part of the day.

Between the water's seasonality and limited availability of the wells, the people of Suctarr are always searching for water wherever they can find it. Sometimes, those in search of water, including small children, must cross a treacherous highway to try the neighboring communities' wells—but those wells sometimes charge fees for their use.

"I decided to go in search of water to other communities, which caused me to pay [a] water fee," Isata S. said. "If the main water well produces [a] low quantity, I pay money to people to fetch water for me because I do not have enough energy to wait for long at the well. [The] water problem affects me greatly because I need enough water to do my domestic activities. Due to not having enough access [to] water in my community, my personal hygiene [is] hard to maintain. It causes me not to prepare food on time for my family. Also, my children go to school late."

"Sometimes when I go to the water well and it is overcrowded, the only way I can access water easily is [by joining] the queue," said 17-year-old Isata F (in the photo above).

"This situation causes me to go to school late and delay [laundering] my uniform and clothes. I must fetch water for my mother after school to cook and do other domestic activities, and this causes me [to] not [be] happy at home because [I] spend [so] much time fetching water. The weekend time I could have rest at home, I must rush to the well to collect some water. Sometimes the well gets populated, so I must find another water source. This causes me to spend all day at the well."

The water will come much faster to a rehabilitated well, meaning the lines will go down and will, along with other projects in the community, serve to provide adequate water to Suctarr's people.

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


12/13/2022: Suctarr Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"I have resided in this community for over 30 years, and I have never witnessed a program like this that has to do with water. I am happy and grateful for this water well. I want to thank you for constructing a water well for us in this community," said 68-year-old trader Isata Serry. "My crying [for] sufficient, pure, and safe drinking water is over because there is sufficient, pure, and safe drinking water in my community. I will be able to solve my problems related to water without delay."

Isata Serry splashing water.

She continued: "The newly rehabilitated water well will help me to achieve goals that are important in my life and my family as a whole. To start with, it will provide pure and safe drinking water for my family [and me]. I will no longer fetch water from the swamp for drinking purposes because it is not safe for human consumption. This water well will help me to achieve the goal of providing sufficient water for my household activities like cooking, laundry, cleaning the compound, and bathing."

"I used to be late to go to school because there was no water well in my community. Normally, when I went to the swamp in the morning to fetch, there is a total crowd at the source that prevented me from fetching water at the time I need it and hence led to [me being] late going to school," said 15-year-old Isata F.

Isata F. pouring water.

She continued: "That problem is over because there is sufficient water in my community. I will now be able to perform well in my academic activities. I will be able to get pure, safe, and sufficient water in my community without headaches. I will also go to school earlier without being late. I, therefore, want to thank you for the impact this water well will play on my life."

Military soldiers celebrate clean water.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the military officers, their families, and community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including commanding military officers and 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, Isata S. and Isata F. 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 16 meters with water at five 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.

Building the well pad and protective fence.

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.

Installing the pump.

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.

During the most memorable training session about good vs. bad hygiene, the local priest shared a story about when he was working in a different village. He recalled a young mother who used to take her small son to a local stream to defecate because there were no toilet facilities in the village. But sadly, one day, while the mother was busy, the young boy woke from a nap and went to the stream to relieve himself alone. Tragically the water was too deep for him to navigate, and he drowned. The training facilitator helped participants understand that one of the causes of the young boy’s death was that the community lacked toilet facilities. He admonished participants to construct toilets in their various homes to stop open defecation.

Proper dental hygiene.

Isata Serry, the chairperson of the water user committee who was quoted earlier, shared, "Yes, as a parent, the training is valuable to me because I have learned new things about hygiene and sanitation. I think this new knowledge will have an impact on my life in many ways. I have learned how to prevent my food from germs and how to prevent my environment from mosquitos. With this new knowledge, I have now been able to know how we get some of the sicknesses."

The Water User Committee receive their training certificates.

She continued: "Also, one of the things that make me feel happy for the training is the importance of having hand washing stations at the main entrance of our latrines. This will help us to stop the spread of germs from one person to another. I want to say thanks to the team for the new knowledge they have given us, we will make sure we put all of these into practice."

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!




10/25/2022: Suctarr Community Well Rehabilitation Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Suctarr 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.


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