According to UNICEF (Joint Monitoring Programme), 3 in 10 people worldwide lack access to safe readily available water at home while 6 in 10 or 4.4 billion people lack safely managed sanitation. In Sierra Leone, only 2% of the population have access to clean and readily available drinking water. On the Sherbro Island in the Bonthe District, the situation is no different. About 60.7% of the people draw water from a river and a few have access to potable water. This results in poor hygiene practices as this gives rise to water borne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid.

The project, Promotion of Nutrition Sensitive Wash Self Supply is currently being implemented in Sittia and Dema chiefdom. The project seeks to provide access to potable water, sanitary facilities and education on good hygiene practices. With the VSLA approach been implemented, community members mobilize financial resources through weekly savings which are subsidized by SEND and its partners for the construction of WaSH facilities

This year as part of our monitoring and evaluation activities, we decided to visit beneficiaries in operational areas. The visit was to assess the progress of project, taking into consideration the effectiveness and challenges of the facilities. We had the opportunity to interact with some beneficiaries in the communities.

The first beneficiary we met was Maa Jusuu a member of the Gender Model Family and a beneficiary of the WaSH facility in the Bashelor community. The monitoring team met her at the borehole fetching water. She shared the ordeal she had to go through in order to access water from the river which was not potable. Today, she can access potable water in the comfort of her house. She adds “I am very happy for this borehole, the water that comes from it is clean and has no taste”. Maa Jusuu couldn’t hide her joy as she pumped her water from the borehole. She looks forward to accessing latrine for her household in the second phase of the project.

Seidu Stephen was the next beneficiary the team interacted with. He expressed his satisfaction with his borehole. He recounted the challenges he had to go through to fetch unclean water from the stream or purchase gallons of water which was expensive for him. He admits that the project came to him as a relief. For Mr. Seidu, maintaining his new water facility is very important for it to last long. He has bought locks and is working on getting a fence for the structure.

Like Maa Jusuu, Mr. Seidu is patiently waiting to benefit from the second phase of the project which will construct EMAS latrines. He expressed his sincere gratitude to SEND Sierra Leone and its partners for their assistance.

One interesting facility that caught our attention was fenced and had the borehole pump covered with a bucket and locked. When the beneficiary was asked, he said that it was his way of protecting it from getting spoilt. He learned his lesson from the community pump that was destroyed by the sun.

Since the inception of this project, over 250,926,000 Leones have been mobilized by the 50 affected communities in Sittia and Dema. This project has seen an increase in the health of the people as water related medical cases in Sittia and Dema have seen reduction.