Twelve communities in the Eastern District of Kenema with more than 8,000 people have benefitted from water wells through the intervention of SEND Sierra Leone in partnership with WHH.
The wells included 9 hand-dug wells and 3 gravity systems (37 stand posts). The 12 communities are in Gaura, Nomo and Tunkia chiefdoms. Four communities were rehabilitation and five communities were new constructions.
The symbolic handing over of the water facilities took place in Beiyema village in Tunkia chiefdom on 10th December, 2019. Beyiema is close to the Liberia border.
The village has been without a functional water well for the past 10 years since the pump’s head got damaged and they have learnt some bitter lessons.
“We never knew the importance of the water well until it got damaged due to reckless handling,” said the Village Chief, Lansana Konneh.
“For the past ten years we have to rely on stream water. Thanks to SEND Sierra Leone and their partners for their intervention and for giving us a second chance. Now we know what to do.”
He said they would institute bye-laws to ensure proper management of the water well and its environment. The bye-laws will include opening and closing time, and regular cleaning of the well area.
Part of the project also involved training of the community people on how to take care of the well and raise funds among themselves for maintenance purposes, according to WASH Coordinator Sulaiman Sheriff.
Giving the keynote address during the ceremony, the representative from the Kenema District Council, Joseph Mbaina,admonished the community to take ownership of the water well and ensure it was properly utilized.
“When you take good care of the well, you will have less cases of disease outbreak because you are drinking clean water and also using it for cooking and washing,” he said.
He further warned the elders to ensure the monies that would be generated through contributions should not be used for any other purpose other than the maintenance of the well.
Also speaking at the handing over ceremony is the representative from the District Health Management Team (DHMT), Tommy Gassimu. He emphasized the importance of maintaining hygiene in the village.
“Do not dry your clothes on the fence of the water well; brush around the well area about 10 to 15 feet away,” he appealed, adding that the DHMT would start to monitor the management and upkeep of water wells in all communities.
Equally, the representative of the Ministry of Water Resources, Augustine Songa Amara, empahsised the importance of water to life, stressing that clean water helps to prevent sickness.
Amara noted that contamination of water normally occurs during the process of fetching it and admonished the community to be mindful of the containers they keep water and how they use it at home.
The WHH representative, Santigie Kanu, said the repair, rehabilitation and construction of the water facilities are part of the LANN+ project (Linking Agriculture to Natural Resources and Nutrition).
“It’s a complete package, adopting new things around sanitation,” he said, adding that the project is funded by the Federal Cooperation of Germany.
Meanwhile, SEND Sierra Leone Head of Project, Thomas Juana, said the emphasis is on hygiene which would lead to good health and prolonged life. He appealed to the communities to keep the water clean and safe at all times, from the well to their houses.
He also commended the communities for embracing development.