This project is a part of our shared program with Mariatu's Hope. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
"The well was dry." This was devastating—but not unfamiliar—news for the 266 boys and 268 girls of DEC Kamasondo Primary School and surrounding families in Benke community who relied on this hand-pump for their safe water source. Because of this, students and families were forced to use unprotected dug wells, surface water, and rainwater collection for all of their water needs. When Mariatu's Hope received the request to rehabilitate this hand-pump, they assessed the situation and realized that the lining of the borehole had separated, allowing sand to enter in. The team was able to repair the lining with plaster. Leaving the old casing inside the well, four new casings were constructed outside of the well and installed. As the team prepared to install a new India Mark II hand pump, they found that the couplings on the rising main were welded upside down. Challenged but determined, they took the rising main to a local welder so the old couplings could be removed and re-welded the correct way. This was extremely time consuming and by the time the pump was installed, the children had gone home due to the need to help prepare food and to attend Ramadan prayers. Nonetheless, the former dry well flowed water again! As part of the community engagement strategy and transferring ownership of the water project to the users, a water committee was established which consisted of four men and one woman; this water committee will be in charge of keeping the well clean and informing Mariatu's Hope if the issues with the well arise in the future. Other NGOs such as the Catholic Mission, Lungi Sierra Leone and the Arab Hospital are also working in the area, providing services such as infant nutrition, education for the reduction of teenage pregnancies, medical assistance, and more.
Prior to the completion of the well rehabilitation, a barrier analysis was performed and hygiene education was given to the students in the school. During the hygiene education, a local child health club from another school came and conducted participatory lessons such as disease transmission, proper hand-washing, water-saving methods, and how to construct a Tippy Tap hand-washing station. The students were fully engaged and participated well. One community was even inspired to build a household latrine. There are latrines at the school, but the ratio is so poor (1 latrine per every 133 students) that the school is currently raising money for new toilets.
Community Member Interview
The team had the opportunity to speak to 65-year-old teacher, Michael Sylvanus, who stated: "It has taken some time to get this well fixed. It has spoiled many times. Hopefully now we will have a good water source that will last."