The construction of a water well in a very remote village of Sierra Leone held deep personal significance for me, as it served as a tribute to my dear friend, Garfield Hayward, who lost his battle with cancer in November. I chose Sierra Leone due to my personal roots as my late grandfather, who emigrated to England from Sierra Leone in the 1960s and personally travelling to Sierra Leone to oversee the finalisation of the well's construction in the remote village of Mobona, gave me the most touching experience.
WellFound is an organisation dedicated to addressing poverty at its roots, reaching out to the most vulnerable and marginalized communities. The dedicated team in Sierra Leone is committed to improving living conditions, promoting sustainability, and fostering prosperity where possible. They actively involve the local communities in their projects, ensuring not only that Mobona was prepared for the water well but also that the village and its leaders were willing to embrace change for long-term sustainability.
In a mutually beneficial partnership, the villagers contribute their labour and ideas, while WellFound provides the necessary expertise and materials. This synergy opens new opportunities for the villages, enhances hygiene standards, and sustains success.
A striking difference between Mobona and Moyibo, a village where WellFound has been working for about two years, is the organic and progressive steps toward a better life. In Moyibo, the women have saved and invested in small businesses, repaying loans within the village. This has created a mini economy managed by the women themselves, promoting equality and reducing the financial burden on men who primarily work in agriculture. The seasonal nature of farming income is thereby balanced by these supplementary efforts.
The villagers also receive training from the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health) committee, focusing on improving hygiene. This includes increased construction and use of latrines, as well as homemade hand washing stations throughout the community. Key members are trained to operate the hand pump, empowering villagers to handle potential issues in the future. Mobona's elders and leaders have pledged to maintain the well and adhere to various agreements to support ongoing development.
My trip to my ancestral homeland was a profound eye-opener, as I witnessed first-hand the stark poverty and desperation that exist. The dedication of the staff on the ground, despite facing challenging conditions, is truly admirable. Their unwavering commitment to helping others is inspiring and selfless. Operating as a close-knit family, the small team achieves remarkable, long-lasting results, thanks to the responsiveness of the villages.
Overall, my trip back to my homeland was a huge eye-opener as I saw firsthand the desuetude, poverty and desperation which exists. The staff on the ground are a huge credit, the conditions in which they work can he hugely challenging, and they go unfazed. Their perseverance and determination to help others is truly inspiring and selfless. With a small team, they are more like a family in turn villages are extremely responsive, yielding long lasting results.
I would like to extend my thanks Dr Kingsley for the hospitality and organisation in a memory that will stay with me forever. Finally, to WellFound who are making big change with the scarce resources and funding they have available.