Celebrating 1,000 wells drilled in Sierra Leone
As the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Director for WHI West Africa, I have seen the astounding impact a well can make on a community that has long suffered without access to clean water. Women and children who once walked miles daily through unsafe conditions to carry jugs of heavy water on their heads rejoice with the peace that they no longer have to suffer for the simple necessity of clean water.
Communities not only lack access to clean water, but limited sanitation and hygiene resources significantly contributes to diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, under-nutrition, and worm infestations. It also contributes to infections in healthcare settings and often leads to the morbidity and mortality rate of children under 5 years old. Only 16% of the population here in Sierra Leone has access to basic sanitation services and 28% practice open defecation (UNICEF2).
World Hope International (WHI) is on a mission to change these statistics, and more importantly, change the lives of individuals and communities throughout Sierra Leone. Since 2004 World Hope has continued to advance our WASH capacity, moving communities from hand-dug wells that quickly run dry to the utilization of mechanized drilling equipment from PAT Drill (PAT Drill 301 towed by a Landcruiser pickup) that drills up to an 80-meter deep and 6-inch-wide borehole that provides safe, sustainable drinking water to our beneficiaries.
Now we have gone one step further and are rejoicing at the acquisition of the PAT-Drill model 501 and V900 compressor, mounted on the Zetros 2236 4×4 chassis, with the capacity to drill a 200-meter deep and 12-inch-wide borehole, supplying more water quickly to our beneficiaries. The truck has excellent off-road capabilities empowering the team to navigate through waterlogged and rough rural roads, reaching small off-road communities to supply water wells.
The 1,000 borehole wells that have been installed in communities, public health units, and schools in Sierra Leone are equipped with a hand pump or motorized pump. A local Water User Committee is established in each community to facilitate usage and maintenance of the pump and create sustainable ownership of the well.
Mr. Kamara, Head Teacher at Murrey Town School, says, “this is the best gift we have ever received. Thank you for this gift; we will guard it graciously and protect it.”
I am excited for the future celebrations we will have with the many more communities in which we will drill new wells. On behalf of the WASH team, we thank you for bringing, joy, hope, clean water, and life to the people of Sierra Leone. Will you please join us in serving children, women, and men who so desperately need the basic necessity of clean water?
WASH Director West Africa
World Hope International