Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 205 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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The 205 community members in Madina use a protected hand-dug well with a hand pump as their primary water source. Still, the well is unreliable and insufficient to meet the community's needs even on its best day.

Because of the high demand, the water level falls quickly, and the pump is under great stress, leading to regular breakdowns. The well runs dry consistently, especially during the dry season, quickly turning a difficult situation into a hectic one.

When the well runs dry, community members expend a lot of time and energy going to another crumbling well on the far reaches of the community to find water.

"The pump is overcrowded during the morning and evening hours when everyone is desperate in fetching water. I see those moments as particularly challenging," said 30-year-old farmer N'mah Kamara, shown below.

She continued, "The competition on fetching water is very affecting. It is causing delays on getting other activities completed. When our pump is not providing water, I could not make enough trips from the other pump down [to] the wharf. The distance is far, and the hill is difficult to climb with water on my head. This has been the cause of pain all over my body."

The school children in the community are also adversely affected since they carry the majority of the responsibility for collecting water. They set off to fetch water early in the morning before school and again immediately when they return home. They can be seen all over the community with buckets or jerrycans searching for water, sometimes until late in the evening. They are exhausted, and the burden feels overwhelming.

"I must fetch water every day before and after school. When the pump in this community is not providing water, I will fetch water from the well at the wharf that is far away. It is not easy to fetch water from that well because of the long distance and the hill on the road," said Kadiatu B., 14  (shown in the photo below carrying water on her head).

"Sometimes, I had a headache after I had fetched enough water. It is difficult for me to do my daily activities on that day, and it would even lead to my absence from school," concluded Kadiatu.

Those who rely on water for their daily incomes, like the many fishermen in this coastal community, also suffer. To wash their fish and dry them properly to preserve them, they need water. Without it, the fish rot or are poorly preserved, and valuable income is lost.

Even basic daily activities like bathing and washing clothes get delayed or neglected because any water collected must be prioritized for drinking and cooking.

The well (in the photo above) has not been chlorinated for at least two years. There is a broken perimeter fence letting domestic animals have access to drink and defecate near the well, a cracked well pad, and no drainage channels.

The people of Madina need a deeper, more reliable, protected source of water that is convenient to access so they can quickly collect water and still have time to invest their energy into other valuable purposes.

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


12/07/2022: Madina Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Madina 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 am happy today for this water well that is now providing clean water," said 30-year-old farmer N'mah Kamara. "It is now quite easy for me to fetch enough water from this well to my house at any time. My house will never run out of water to use again. I also have less time to spend fetching water and more time to do other daily activities at my house and my farm."

N'mah.

"There was not enough water from this well before. I am no longer going to drink dirty water again because this water well is now providing clean water. I again have the privilege to fetch enough [water] in the morning to bathe and go to school earlier," said 15-year-old Emmah K.

Emmah.

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, N'mah and Emmah 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 nine meters with water at six 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.

"This training has added more knowledge to my understanding about hygiene and sanitation," said 30-year-old Kadiatu Kanu. "It has helped me to gain more knowledge on how to wash my hands using soap and water. Before your intervention into my community, I had been frequently visiting the restroom without washing my hands with soap. Now, I have concluded that handwashing is especially important for my health."

Kadiatu.

A popular topic of the training was proper dental hygiene. Kadiatu, quoted above, recounted visiting some distant relatives and discovering young people her age with decaying teeth because they were not regularly brushing their teeth. She encouraged the group to use the knowledge they gained during the training to practice dental hygiene practices that would strengthen their overall health.

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!




10/19/2022: Madina Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Madina 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

Starbucks
Chapel Hill Church of God
Microsoft Matching Gifts Program
Lenovo
Bulkin Charitable Fund
Folsom Memorial United Methodist Church
Motorola Solutions Foundation
USAA
Liberty Mutual Group, Inc
Saint Andrew Catholic School- The Water Project Campaign
The Ecole's 8th Grade Fundraiser 2022
SWHS Water Launch Club Campaign
38 individual donor(s)