Project Status



Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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The Susu Gospel Health Center provides essential labor and delivery services and general medical services for those living in Modia. But the center is facing a water crisis, and without sufficient clean water, services are limited.

The hand-dug well at the center (shown in the photo below), which should serve 200 people, patients, staff, and community members alike, is in need of serious rehabilitation to ensure that life-giving water is available. It dries up a few months every year, and when the water level gets low, the pump frequently breaks down. When that happens, the staff is forced to walk twenty minutes each way to collect water from a well shared by a local church and school.

"We need water to deliver [to] pregnant women before and after giving birth. Likewise, the patients need water to drink before [an] abdominal ultrasound scan is done," said 32-year-old nurse Janet Allieu below.

"I need water to clean the labor room properly and [make it] ready for the next patient. We also have Veronica buckets, which we [must] fill with water every day to do handwashing after every procedure is done. Moreover, it [is] one of my responsibilities to make sure water is always available to use," said Janet. "The water challenge is affecting me greatly."

Even basic services like mixing Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) for those dehydrated from diarrhea or administering oral medications to patients cannot be done on time without water.

Community members who live near the health center also rely on this well for water, so when it is not available, they waste valuable time and energy searching for water.

"The water situation in this community is really affecting me," said 12-year-old Josiah S., shown above carrying water from the alternative community well. "The reason is because our main source of fetching water is not always functional."

The rehabilitation of the health center's well will allow the staff to efficiently and safely treat patients and community members to have quicker water access.

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 health center and surrounding 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 at the health center 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 for the staff of the clinic.

After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach how to make soap and build a tippy tap (a hand-washing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks) for use in handwashing demonstrations. They will also review knowledge in the areas of disease transmission routes, good vs. bad hygiene practices, dental hygiene, malaria prevention, and properly balanced diets that can be shared with the community.

Project Updates


11/28/2022: Susu Gospel Health Clinic Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Susu Gospel Health Clinic 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 believe the Lord has blessed us through [you]," said 15-year-old Josiah, whom we spoke to when we first visited the health clinic.

Josiah pours water while community members celebrate.

"With this water point that is closer to my house, I believe it’s our responsibility as a community to take good care of it and not to allow it to get damaged," Josiah continued. "Personally, I am so happy for this water point because our time moving far [distances] for water has been saved. A very big thanks and appreciation on behalf of [my] community and the entire school-going pupils to [you] for providing us with this safe and quality drinking water [source]. I pray that the good Lord continues to bless, guide, and provide for [everyone who contributed]."

"On such an occasion, words are not enough to express our joy and profound gratitude for [this] precious gift," said 32-year-old nurse Janet Allieu, whom we also interviewed on our first visit to the health clinic.

Janet, on the right in the pink and purple scrubs, splashes water with another nurse.

"No matter how long the night may be, the day is sure to come, and indeed, the day has come for us all to celebrate," Janet continued. "Let us leave behind the sad chapter of yesterday when we, the nurses, [had to] walk a distance from the facility to fetch water for the use of our patients and the staff. Today, our lives have been changed for the better."

"Our daily lives revolve around the necessity of water," Janet continued.

"From the moment we wake up to the end of each day, we do many things in which water plays a crucial role, such as drinking to quench our thirst; [rehydrating] ourselves and [facilitating] oral medication for patients; washing of our hands, instruments, and bed linens; [and] cleaning the floor, the toilet, and the in- and outside of the facility. Today, on the completion and handing over of this water project, we have not only got easy access to water, but a regular and safe water supply system that will benefit the clinic, church, and the community at large."

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 District Council, and the Ward Council.

Community members celebrate during the dedication ceremony.

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, Josiah and Janet 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 23 meters with water at 17 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.

Bailing the well.

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

We scheduled a time when all the clinic's staff could attend a three-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting. Thankfully, during this time, the clinic did not receive any emergency cases, so the training was not interrupted.

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.

A trainer constructs a handwashing station called a tippy-tap.

The topic that stirred the most conversation was diarrhea, since the nurses encounter many deaths due to diarrhea from water-related diseases, especially among children who are under five years old. They discussed various ways of helping someone who is experiencing diarrhea to rehydrate their bodies, and remarked that their new well will make this so much easier.

The nurses discuss how diseases transfer from one person to another.

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: Susu Gospel Health Clinic Well Rehabilitation Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Susu Gospel Health Clinic 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's health clinic 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

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