Lungi, Conakry Dee Town, Next to Yai Kadiatu Fofanah House, Port Loko District/Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Sierra Leone
Latitude 08 41.826N & Longitude 013 14.364W
The brutal civil war that stretched from 1991 to 2002 cost tens of thousands of lives and destroyed much of the country’s economy and social infrastructure. The displacement of millions coupled with the exodus of many trained and educated people has made recovery even more challenging. Even so, Sierra Leone has made some strides in development, democracy, and stability. In September 2007 Sierra Leone conducted credible national elections that peacefully ceded leadership to the opposition party.
Unfortunately, in spite of recent advances, Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line. Unemployment rates continue to rise, primarily affecting youth and ex-combatants. Sierra Leone also has the world’s highest maternal and infant mortality rates, due in large part to widespread malnutrition. The health system collapsed during the war and has not been able to recover enough to meet the health needs of a growing population.
Water catchments, rivers, ponds, and lakes are the main sources for water during the rainy season. Open hand dug wells replace these sources when the rains stop. Nearly half of the country lacks access to clean drinking water, while almost 90 percent do not have adequate sanitation services.
Our in-country program directors work tirelessly for the people of Sierra Leone, collaborating with the government and other NGOs to stay on the cutting edge of best practices for the communities they serve. Working within the Western area, Port Loko, Bombali, and Tonkolili districts, the national team builds toilets at schools and rehabilitates wells and hand pumps in villages that desperately need clean water. Additionally, Living Water Sierra Leone has implemented a robust hygiene and sanitation program using participatory methods that empowers teachers and students in local schools to teach others in the community about the sanitation and hygiene practices that will keep them healthy.
Because of this and the community’s practice of open defecation left families suffering from cholera, dysentery, typhoid, malaria and other preventable water related illnesses. During the teams’ stay community members assisted the team with the water project, provided any available materials and provided security over the water project during the night. Most of the community members depend on fishing and farming for their livelihood. This particular area is heavily populated with fishermen. The nearest school is located one-hundredth of a kilometer away from the community and now students, teachers and administrative personnel all have access to safe, clean drinking water. Before leaving the community the LWI Sierra Leone team provided community member, Pa Adikila Bumma, with a LWI contact number in case the well were to fall into disrepair, become subject to vandalism or theft.
The LWI Sierra Leone team had the opportunity to meet with fifty year old petty trader, Kadiatu Fofanah, who stated, “She says the well where they are presently getting their water from has a taste to it because they are using a rope and a rubber to fetch water. That water has germs in it because there is no cover on it. The new well is protected from germs and it is like a new well. It will be free from disease and a bad taste.”
Lungi, Conakry Dee Town, next to Yai Kadiatu Fofanah house
Port Loko District/Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Sierra Leone
Latitude 08 41.826N & Longitude 013 14.364W
18.9 liters per minute
During the hygiene education, the LWI Sierra Leone team addresses: Hand washing, how to properly transport and store water, disease transmission and prevention, how to maintain proper care of the pump, as well as signs and symptoms of dehydration and how to make Oral Rehydration Solution. All of these lessons are taught in a participatory method to help community members discover ways to improve their hygiene and sanitation choices, and implement community driven solutions.
The LWI Sierra Leone team shared the Love of Jesus Christ and bible stories with the community. The team told the story of the Samaritan Woman at the well. The community members admired the story and saw how it is necessary to follow Christ. The team and the community prayed together at the beginning and at the end of the water project. The community members were thankful for the well and their hearts were filled with joy for receiving clean water.