The Peter Stebbings Memorial Charity has made a generous donation of £6000.00 to support a well project in Sierra Leone. WellFound, in collaboration with the local community, implemented the project in Vaama Village, located in the remote Moyamba district of Sierra Leone. The primary goal was to provide clean water access, improve sanitation and hygiene practices, and eradicate illnesses in the community.
In Sierra Leone, there are significant challenges related to water, sanitation, and hygiene, including low access to basic sanitation services, inadequate clean water availability, and poor hygiene practices. With the funding from the Peter Stebbings Memorial Fund, WellFound worked diligently to address these issues in Vaama Community, specifically in the Kargboro Chiefdom.
Prior to drilling the borehole in Vaama, WellFound ensured the establishment of a viable management system. A management committee consisting of 4 women and 3 men from the village, was formed to oversee the operation, maintenance, and financial management of the well. This committee ensures the long-term sustainability of the water point.
Community engagement was crucial throughout the project. WellFound worked in partnership with the local community, where community members provided local materials and labour for the project. The drilling process was challenging, taking eighteen days and drilling three different locations before finding a suitable site. Ultimately, a borehole with a depth of 68 feet, a static water level of 20 feet, and a yield of 1.5 litters per second was completed, benefiting 436 people in the Vaama Community.
Mariatu is a 45 year old widow from the village of Vaama in the Kargboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District. She recalls that ever since she was young, her community’s biggest wish has been to have access to safe drinking water. Traditionally, residents relied on streams and a river nestled in a forest two kilometres away from their water.
“Now, I and my community members will have more time and energy to take care of our family as well as our farming activities,” says Mariatu. “Our grandchildren will not suffer all the pains we went through.”
Apart from the immediate health benefits, access to clean water has broader positive impacts. For instance, when women and girls no longer have to travel long distances to fetch water, they have more time to pursue education and personal growth.
SANITATION & HYGIENE PROMOTION
WellFound has been actively promoting sanitation and hygiene practices in the community. Trained community health volunteers disseminate information on key behaviours such as handwashing, latrine maintenance, safe water handling, and solid waste management. The aim is to prevent diseases and create a clean and healthy environment.
MARKET GARDEN & MICRO SAVINGS AND LOANS
WellFound also empowered women in Vaama through the establishment of a Market Garden and a Micro Savings and Loans scheme. Women were trained in leadership, communication, and market gardening skills, enabling them to generate income and improve their financial independence. 32 women registered for the market garden, and crops such as maize and okra have been provided to them.
To ensure effective operation, a dedicated Market Garden women's committee has been formed across all communities, consisting of a Chairlady, Secretary, Three Key holders, Treasurer, and two money counters. These committee members were appointed through nominations by women, and they lead weekly meetings that last for 60 to 90 minutes, taking place every Friday within the community.
Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA)
We are proud to report that the VSLA scheme has been successfully implemented in the Vaama Community, empowering women to actively participate in economic activities. Through our intervention, WellFound is dedicated to fostering economic empowerment and promoting the active involvement of women in the local economy, making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and their communities.
A comprehensive byelaw and code of conduct have been developed to guide the group's activities and establish a framework of accountability. Members are familiar with the byelaws and strictly adhere to the rules, including financial penalties for tardiness and non-attendance by both regular members and executive committee members.
The organisation has also implemented an equality programme, conducting workshops on women's empowerment and men's support for gender equality. These efforts have resulted in positive shifts in attitudes and behaviours, with men becoming more supportive of women's roles in decision-making.
According to Abdul “In the past I don’t allow my wife to participate in community meetings but due to the consistent workshops held by WellFound my wife is now participating in meetings and is part of the WASH Committee and we are now working together and take responsibilities of household chores that I consider in the past "a women's job".
• 8 workshops have been held on women's self-awareness by Equality Volunteers
• 5 workshops have also been delivered for men on the role of women in the community.
• A total of 233 men and women demonstrate a positive shift in their attitude and understanding towards each other.
Sustainability is a central focus for WellFound. The project ensures community ownership and management of the water facilities, as well as the development of local capacity for maintenance and operation. WellFound trained community members as mechanics and construction workers to support the ongoing maintenance of hand pumps and construction of infrastructure.
Road Network and heavy rains been a key challenge to this project.
In conclusion, we express our heartfelt appreciation for the generous grant from the Peter Stebbings Memorial Fund. We are confident that these funds are making a significant impact on the lives of the people we serve. Every penny truly makes a difference. Our holistic approach, despite focusing mainly on capital investments, has been instrumental in ensuring the effectiveness of the implemented facilities.
Our goal is to see the village of Vaama thrive economically and experience improved health. The upcoming market garden, set to be established after the rainy season, will contribute to this progress. WellFound remains committed to our mission, continuing our work in the most remote areas of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. Such projects are vital for social and economic development. Once again, we extend our sincerest gratitude for your invaluable support in this intervention.