Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 174 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/14/2023

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



The Maternal Child Health Center of Mathen is a vital resource for the community and its families. Only two staff nurses run the center twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, providing pediatric and labor and delivery services to the community. All health care services require water; severe risks and complications follow without it.

The dug well with a hand pump, initially built by the government in 1998, should meet the daily water needs of the 174 community members, staff, and patients that rely on it. Instead, its malfunction has left everyone without sufficient, clean water.

In its current state, the well (shown above, locked) faces various issues that make getting water a real challenge. It is affected by seasonal changes that lower water levels or deplete them entirely during the dry season (March-May). Rarely, when water is found, it's contaminated and hurts those it is meant to serve by causing other water-related illnesses.

The well desperately needs rehabilitation. We hope to drill it deeper, flush it out, rebuild the well pad, install a new pump, and chlorinate the water so the health center and the community can adequately access safe water and essential health services can continue.

Currently, when the well runs out of water, the nurses and community members must walk to a dug hole in the swamp a long distance away. It is open to contamination from humans and animals alike, which is apparent from the water's cloudy color and bad taste.

Not only does the trip to the swamp cost the nurses valuable time and energy, but it takes them away from the clinic, leaving community members vulnerable, especially if an emergency arises. The nurses' only alternative is to pay a few community members to fetch water for them or to demand that patients' families bring water.

"The water situation in this community is not easy," shared Florence Kamara, 58, one of the clinic nurses (shown above). "I normally go down to the stream to fetch water. This is really a burden because the distance is far."

Hannah S., a 14-year-old from the community (shown above collecting water from the swamp), said, "The well is presently broken down. We must pump for some time before water ever comes."

She continued, "Presently, I must fetch water from the alternate source. Fetching water from this source is not easy. This is because the distance to the stream is far. Carrying water containers from the water point to my house is very strenuous."

Without essential water, health services become impossible. Labor, deliveries, and even basic treatments like mixing ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) for those suffering from diarrhea or treatments for fever or malaria are all much more difficult or risky. And this is before considering the nurses' inability to use water for cooking meals or cleaning the facilities as needed or community members' strain.

It is time for this community to have a reliable water source that will provide the life-giving water needed for medical care and for daily life to become less strenuous.

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


November, 2022: Mathen Maternal Child Health Post Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Mathen Maternal Child Health Post in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to staff and community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"I want to thank the people that provided us with safe and pure drinking water that we do not have in our community. This safe drinking water will save our lives and reduce the water illnesses in this community," said 28-year-old nurse Kadiatu Kamara.

Celebrating.

"Before, I was fetching water from contaminated water sources that I used to drink and bathe. This water causes health effects on me, like stomach pain, diarrhea, and skin rash," concluded Kadiatu.

Kadiatu.

"I am happy that there is now safe and pure drinking water in this village. We children have always felt overworked and sometimes faced child abuse at home from our parents when there is no water to use. Then came a liberator for us," said 14-year-old Hannah S. "Thank you for providing us with clean water. This water point will help me to live a healthy life."

Hannah pouring water at the community celebration.

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 Water Directorate Port Loko district, and the area's section chief.

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, Kadiatu and Hannah made statements on their community's behalf. The nurses and the community members were rejoicing and praising God for the water point. 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 20 meters with water at 13.2 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.

Chlorination.

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.

Discussing disease transmission.

One of the most memorable topics of the hygiene and sanitation training was the importance of breastfeeding. Nurse Kadiatu, who participated, advised suckling mothers that they should exclusively breastfeed for at least six months after delivery. She also advised grandmothers who give younger babies hot water or water squeezed from rice crust, thinking it helps babies sleep at night, to stop the practice because they are exposing the children to illnesses and potential malnutrition. She explained that breastmilk contains all the nutrients to aid the healthy growth of a child.

Discussing the importance of breastfeeding.

"I am incredibly happy about this training because it has helped sensitize our patients and [we] nurses on things that are not familiar to us," said Nurse Kadiatu, quoted earlier.

"I am also happy that the people have realized their faults by agreeing to their bad practices. This means they will be able to change for the betterment of themselves, their families, and the community at large. Because in reinforcing change or bringing pure drinking water to any community, the people of that community should embrace healthy and sanitation practices. If not, then that water source will still be contaminated by their practices. Therefore, as health practitioners, we will not relent but will keep giving them health messages that will make them change for good."

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!




September, 2022: Mathen Maternal Child Health Post Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Mathen Maternal Child Health Post 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

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!


A Year Later: Water Improves Health Center Sanitation!

November, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Mathen Maternal Health Center in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Kadiatu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mathen Maternal Child Health Post.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mathen Maternal Child Health Post maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Nurse Kadiatu Kamara, 29, recalled what it was like at the Mathen Maternal Child Health Post before the health center's well was rehabilitated last year.

"Life in the health facility was not easy since we did not have access to [a] good water facility. To fetch water, we [had to] go to the community. It was not easy, especially when we would be busy with work at the health facility," said Kadiatu.

Collecting water is now much easier for Kadiatu, the other staff, patients, and community members who use the well at the Mathen Maternal Child Health Post.

"Today, with [your] help through [the] provision of this water well, I can now fetch water to cook, to launder, and even to practice good menstrual hygiene. This was hard to do when we did not have access to this," continued Kadiatu.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Kadiatu, allowing her to perform all her nursing duties, including keeping the environment sanitary for herself and her patients.

"I am now able to clean the health facility and take care of the latrine due to water availability. In the same way, treatment can be given to patients easily," concluded Kadiatu.

Nurse Kadiatu has water readily available to practice proper hand hygiene.


Right now, there are others in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can't wait to introduce you to the next person you'll help.


Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mathen Maternal Child Health Post maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Mathen Maternal Child Health Post – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Contributors

YourCause, LLC Trustee for Pacific Gas & Electric
Fishing Creek Baptist Church
YourCause, LLC Trustee for MasterCard
Bulkin Charitable Fund
JP Morgan Chase Foundation
49 individual donor(s)