SFYDP provided Water and Sanitation facilities in PHUs, communities and schools in Port Loko, Koya, Western area and Moyamba Districts through funds donated by eawag/Sandec,BPR and UNICEF of which over 35,000 people now benefit.
Rainwater Harvesting Tanks
Sierra Leone has a record of receiving the highest annual rainfalls in sub-Sahara Africa between April and late September. However, outside the rainy season, the country suffers from water shortages the rest of the year. In rural areas where there is a cut off from any water distribution systems, seasonal shortages of water are very common and the deteriorating quality of excess water from the rainy period worsens and leads to serious health and sanitation problems. The challenge in Sierra Leone is thus to bridge the gap between the rainy and dry season by providing safe and sufficient quantities of portable water throughout the year; until recently, the capacity for such year round storage has not been possible.
Rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH) provides an effective simple and cheap solution to this challenge. Rain water coming from the roof of a building is collected through pipes in to a big underground tank . With a simple hand pump, the water can be pumped out and immediately made accessible. A filter for large particles of dirt and debris, combined with regular chlorine treatment is used to ensure long-term water quality while in storage. the RWH-tank had a life span of up to 35 years.
Two members of Safer Future were trained in rainwater harvesting techniques during their stay at the Barefoot College in India. With the support of the Blue Planet Run Foundation, they implemented different projects to improve the drinking water and sanitation situation for the rural population. SFYDP has been able to disseminate the knowledge of rooftop rainwater harvesting technology among rural people for their enhancement.
Community-based ownership has been established through water and sanitation committees, ensuring responsible and proper handling of these Rain Water Harvesting underground tanks, as well as maintain the quality of the water supply system.
Well repair and maintenance
In the recent years, several international NGOs have constructed different types of wells in rural areas of Sierra Leone.
The primary challenge of the wells has been in the post-construction phase as communities are left without any knowledge of repairing or maintaining the water supply systems. Transfer of community ownership for the wells has been poor, leaving a large number of the wells to rapidly fall into disrepair. This form of investment naturally wastes large sums of money as the desired goals are not met since residents continue to suffer from a shortage of safe water.
Knowledge of the preventable waste of such projects, SFYDP intervened to improve the situation of water and sanitation in rural communities, as well as to build up local knowledge and structures for the maintenance and repair of water systems. Two members of Safer Future, Moray Hengoi and Amadu D. C. Bangura were trained in the operation and maintenance of water wells systems and subsequently involved in the dissemination of this knowledge in rural villages.
Construction of RWH-tank – Phase I: PAW Faith-In-Christ Primary School, Allen Town
The first Rainwater Harvesting Underground Tank was constructed at the Faith-in-Christ Primary School in Lower Allen Town with funds provided by the Blue Planet Run Foundation
Despite the many challenges in getting the excavation and installation completed, the tank was successfully constructed with around 720 students and approximately 500 people in the surrounding neighborhoods now benefit from the availability of clean and pure drinking water.
Before the installation, residents collected contaminated water from a small stream outside the village. The tank has a capacity of up to 100,000 litres (25’X10’X14’6″), ensuring drinking water will be available for four to five months during the dry season. The committee responsible for the maintenance and the supervision of the usage of water is also a guarantor of the tank and its hand pump for the life time of the equipment. A committee as set up to educate the beneficiaries on the use and upkeep of the tank, and for the treatment of the water.
Construction of RWH-tank – Phase II: Safer Future Youth Training Centre, Lower Allen Town
With similar funding provided by Blue Planet Run Foundation, SFYDP constructed another Rainwater Harvesting Tank at the Safer Future Youth Training Centre in Allen Town. With the dimensions of 24’ x 13’ x 12’, the tank is big enough to serve all beneficiaries for approximately 4 months during the dry seasons. The strong construction of the concreted walls, strengthened by ball stones and iron rods, ensured that the tank will last the longest period, despite topographical and geographical circumstances. Before the rainy season, the rooftops from which water is collected have to be cleaned from all the dirt and debris. Once the water is inside the filtration tank, the detritus sinks downwards and through a special pipe where the waste is then drained out. After a short construction period of just 4 months (November 2005-February 2006), approximately 200 students and staff of Safer Future now benefit from the improved water supply. Before the completion of Phase II , all water had to be fetched from pumps in the neighborhood or even down the hill from a small stream, causing significant inconvenience, particularly for the catering department where there is a greater need for clean water for food preparing. With the completion of Phase II. The committee overseeing the water and sanitation in the area supervises the distribution of the water among over 1500 users from the surrounding area and additionally raises necessary funds for maintenance and repair costs.
Rehabilitation of water well
The schools damaged well was rehabilitated and installed a new hand pump through funds provided by the Blue Planet Run Foundation. Several meetings were held to establish a better relationship and create understanding of collective participation in community development projects. Safer Future assists in the setting up of a committee comprising of members of the school committee and the village to supervise the maintenance and possible repairing of the well in the future through funds collected from users. Every school pupil or community person pays a small amount as contribution for any repairs.
Around 450 members of the school and over 1000 people from the surrounding areas now benefit directly or indirectly form the pure drinking water.