Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 131 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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Community Profile

To get clean water in Madina, people have to wake up as early as they can to try and beat everyone else to the community well. But no matter how early the 131 people living here wake up, they may find that there are still long lines of people waiting to fetch water for their daily activities. By the time they reach the front of the line, the well may have run out of water.

So, rather than contend with this ordeal day after day, some people opt to collect questionable water from a hand-dug hole in the local swamp (pictured below).

"[A] major challenge with the well is that it normally gets faulty," said 23-year-old food trader Mabinty Sillah.

"Whenever this happens, the only alternative source I must fetch water [from] is the swamp. The swamp is a distance away from my house. Going to the swamp to fetch water makes me exhausted easily because of the walking distance. Imagine as a mother, I must prepare food for my husband every day. My husband does not care. All he wants to know is that water should be available at home at all times, and the food must be set on the table."

Out of the 131 people in Madina, very few have money to spare to purchase water. The water scarcity means that people go to work and school late, forego necessary hygiene practices, and even lose money when their professions require water.

"Failing to wake up early will hinder me from fetching water," said 17-year-old Rugiatu C (shown below fetching water at the swamp well).

"There are times I would wake up very early in the morning, yet I will still meet people at the well. Waiting for them to finish will take me some time. Even if there are twenty containers at the well, I must wait 'til they finish fetching water. All this affects my time of schooling. The teachers in my school always notice that I am not punctual in school. I have tried many times to manage my time well, just for me to be punctual in school, but to no avail. The underlying cause is the high competition that involves in fetching water from the well."

"The present water situation in this community is really affecting me," said Mabinty (shown in the picture below).

"I use a lot of water on [a] daily basis to cook, prepare the fishball I usually sell, and launder [clothes]. All these tasks would not be completed without sufficient water. Most times when I go to the main source to fetch water, the well will be filled with a lot of people, especially in the morning. That is the hour I need water the most to prepare the fishballs and bread I am selling. The long waiting time at the well will hinder the preparation of the food I sell. This has made me lose customers."

"I will be grateful if this community will have a well that is always functional," Mabinty said. "I believe this will lessen all the water constraints I am facing every day."

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


12/05/2022: 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.

"Before, when this pump [would] break down frequently, I usually went to the swamp to fetch water, but [the] swamp water is not pure to drink," said 17-year-old Rugiatu, who we interviewed when we first visited Madina.

"When I drank such water, I experienced illnesses such as typhoid and diarrhea, and when [I] bathed with this water, I experienced itching on my skin. But today, having access to safe and pure water to drink, this will contribute to [my] sound health."

Rugiatu collecting water from the swamp versus Rugiatu celebrating for clean water with other community members.

"Now I have access to sustainable and pure water, and it is very close to my house," Rugiatu continued. "This water source will help me [with] some things that I would not complete on time. Before, I [was] late for school, but now I will not [be] late again. I will fetch enough water home, launder my uniform on time, [and] also prepare food on time for my father because I stay with my father. With the help of this water well, I will complete all my housework."

Rugiatu plays a drum at the dedication ceremony.

"Today, I am happy because this water well is renewed," said 58-year-old food trader Mariatu Kamara. "This well [has been] dug for [a] long time. It [broke] down frequently, so I only fetched water from the swamp. But the swamp water is not safe and pure to drink. I had no option just to manage it. Now, drinking from this water source is safe and secure. It has contributed to [my] sound health, because water is life."

Mariatu and Rugiatu play drums at the dedication ceremony.

"I am a trader," Mariatu continued. "Before, I found it difficult to carry out my trading activities. I usually sell fish, but to prepare fish for sale is not easy. I had to wash the fish before I smoked it. Due to [the] shortage [of] water in the village, I [would] not complete this task. But today, I have access to safe and clean water. Now, I fetch drinking water home frequently, prepare food on time, launder, bathe, etc. I say thanks to the donors."

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. Then, Rugiatu and Mariatu 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 ten meters with water at three 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.

One of the more memorable topic was disease transmission, during which we handed out posters showing stages of disease infection for the community members to sort. After the exercise was completed, one of the community elders remarked that the exercise made it easy to see how even one household's actions can affect an entire community.

Community members present the posters in order.

Another memorable topic was dental hygiene, with one woman in her 70s saying that she had never in her life used a toothbrush. When facilitators showed models of decayed teeth, community members were laughing, with some admitting that their teeth resembled the examples of tooth decay. Facilitators explained that tooth decay can lead to further health problems, and clean teeth do more than just look good. Community members expressed their commitment to change their dental hygiene for the better going forward.

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!




11/02/2022: 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.


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