Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 229 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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The 223 students of Pewulay Kulafai Rashideen Islamic Primary School arrive at school with clean uniforms. By the end of the day, they're coated head-to-toe with dust.

Their classrooms have dirt floors that stir up dust all day long. Normally, a school would soak dirt floors with water in the morning and after lunch to keep the dust at bay. But this school doesn't have the water to spare for drinking and using the latrine, let alone for dust mitigation. Dusty classrooms don't just translate to dirty uniforms that need to be laundered every day after school, but also consistent breathing problems for the school's 223 students.

The well that serves the school dries out from February through May of each year. It was installed by another organization several years ago, but has not been maintained. The school administration cannot remember the last time a treatment or water quality test was ever conducted.

So when students are sent to fetch water three times each day, they are sent out to neighboring houses in the community to collect water. However, the community's private wells are not monitored or protected, meaning their water quality is questionable. Each time students leave the school grounds, they lack supervision.

"The worst thing is when I am busy teaching and a student raises his or her hand to be excused out of the classroom for a drink of water," said 25-year-old teacher Samba Kamara. "I cannot get upset at the children. When the school children are ready to leave class, they do so in groups. It really takes a lot of time off our teaching time, which translates to poor school marks and failing grades."

But this necessary annoyance is also frustrating for students, as 11-year-old Isha K. explained: "When I am thirsty and it is school time, I run to the nearest house to beg for water to drink. Sometimes I get water to drink at the first house but most times I get more rejections before I get an answer."

"The parents of our fellow students sometimes refuse to give all of us water to drink," Isha continued. "We have decided to always fetch water from the one woman that is always willing to give us water, no matter how many of us there to drink. During the weekends, we bring buckets of water for her until all her containers are filled."

Because students drink untreated water, many of them suffer water-related illnesses like chronic diarrhea, which may be caused by undiagnosed typhoid and cholera. This, along with the dust-induced breathing problems, account for the school's high rate of absenteeism.

"Most parents have transferred their children to different schools," Samba continued. "One of the reasons is [that there is] no water supply, and most of the classrooms are not paved. The parents spend a lot of money on soap [because] uniforms are laundered every day. Children and teachers spend each school day coughing because of the dust inhalation. Left untreated, [this] could cause upper respiratory issues."

"I always buy plastic water sachets for my personal use," Samba concluded. "I spend two thousand Leones every day on water to drink. How long is this going to continue? I would have thought that by now water facilities would have been in all the schools in the country. That is very far from the truth."

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


01/24/2023: Pewulay Kulafai Rashideen Islamic Primary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Pewulay Kulafai Rashideen Islamic Primary School in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to students and neighboring community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"Today, I am very excited because of the renewal of the school well. It is now providing clean and pure water for us at this school. I can now have enough water to drink at school, and my pupils will no longer urge me to provide them with water to drink. This water well can also help me to easily control the movement of the pupils during lunch when they are thirsty for water," said 25-year-old teacher Samba Kamara.

Teacher Samba Kamara pumping water.

"I believe that I am safe from getting water-related sicknesses because of the quality of the water coming from this well. I cannot hesitate to drink water from this well any longer because I believe that it is good to drink," concluded Samba.

"I could not get water to drink at this school. The water well was not providing water for us. Every morning, my friends and I would go out of the school to fetch water. I used to beg for water from the houses next to our school. Sometimes the people would not give me water to drink because many of my friends must have gone there before me to beg for water, too. Sometimes, the water that I would get to drink was not clean, but I [had to] drink it because I was thirsty to drink water," said 12-year-old Isha K.

Isha drinking.

"I am happy now because of the water that I am getting from our school well. It is clean, and enough water is coming out for me to drink at any time at the school. I will again have enough time to stay in class without going out to fetch water for the school," Isha 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, the Port Loko District Council, and the School Management Committee. 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, Samba and Isha made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Students dance and celebrate.

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 25 meters with water at 20 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.

Bailing.

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 session on worms and parasites was interesting to the participants. The headteacher recounted a story of a former pupil who complained of a stomach ache and then ran to the school latrine, where he passed worms. The following day, the school management summoned parents and teachers to meet to tell them about what happened and to encourage them to always give their children worm medicine.

"The training was so valuable to me because it can make a significant change in my life and the pupils'. The important part of the training was when we presented the techniques of handwashing. The washing of hands must be part of our lives to set an example of good hygiene practices. In the past years, I normally ate without washing my hands properly most of the time when I was together with my colleagues. I will practice this new knowledge that you have taught us. I believe it can make a great impact [on] my life and my pupils' by following the methods of a training based on the teaching which we have received from the team," said Samba, the teacher quoted earlier.

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!




11/28/2022: Pewulay Kulafai Rashideen Islamic Primary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Pewulay Kulafai Rashideen Islamic Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school 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

Bethel Giving Fund
CoBANK, ACB
American Express Company
Facebook Donations
Durant Giving Fund
EIX Employee Giving Community
The Harmonist
Medtronic, YourCause, LLC
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Chi Omicron Omega Chapter Campaign for Water
35 individual donor(s)