Living Water began operations to bring safe water in Sierra Leone in 2007, in the wake of the nation’s civil war during which many wells were destroyed. Working through a partner, our efforts were concentrated in the Port Loko District, rehabilitating wells and promoting sanitation in schools through Child Health Clubs. In 2014, we became legally registered as Living Water Sierra Leone and moved into the Koya Rural and Waterloo area within the Western Area Rural district.
When the Ebola virus struck Sierra Leone, the program shifted production plans to focus more on assisting the government in fighting the outbreak through distributing thousands of handwashing kits and Ebola posters; providing emotional and material support for orphans; drilling and rehabilitating wells at Ebola treatment, holding, and community care centers; supporting two burial teams in Western Area Rural with personal protective equipment; and provided four Ebola treatment centers with full public address systems for sharing the gospel message of hope and gospel music to those that were admitted in the centers. Since then, Living Water Sierra Leone has been partnering with the government and other organizations such as UNICEF in their post-Ebola efforts to provide safe water and hygiene and sanitation to prevent another outbreak from happening.
Living Water Sierra Leone has a team of 10 qualified staff with extensive knowledge and experience in program management and facilitating water and sanitation activities. Having been implementing WASH activities in the country for over 10 years, the team has a comprehensive understanding of the Sierra Leone context and the challenges facing the country in terms of water and sanitation.
We aim to mobilize and empower the local church, communities, government, and other stakeholders to enhance spiritual and physical transformation of people in the areas we work through facilitating sustainable WASH activities.
Living Water Sierra Leone currently works in two sections of the Western Area Rural District: Koya and Waterloo. Over the next few years, we will begin working in another location that will be determined in consultation with the Ministry of Water Resources. By 2018, Living Water Sierra Leone will begin its first WASH Program Areas (WPA) in one of these to-be-determined locations.
Living Water Sierra Leone uses mostly traditional approaches in improving water access. These include:
Boreholes: The program drills boreholes using the program’s drilling rig, DR 100. Since you drill deep, you have greater chance of getting more water.
Rehabilitations: We rehabilitate wells that were done by other organizations. Some of the organizations are still working in the country while some are no longer in the country. If available, such organizations are contacted first before a rehabilitation is done to confirm if they have plans to repair the wells or not. Rehabilitation is done for both boreholes and hand-dug wells.
Spring protection: Living Water Sierra Leone will seek to protect and harvest water from high-yielding springs. Where there are available, they provide more water which can reach out many people.
Submersible pumps: These will mainly be done in institutions such as health centers. These are solar-powered, and will even provide water within the health facilities for use by staff and patients.
Rainwater harvesting: These will also be in institutions such as schools. There is a lot of rain that the country receives and harvesting it provides easy source of water for use.
To ensure sustainability of these water sources, at each water point a water committee is elected comprising of members of the community using that particular water point. These are linked to the Ministry of Water who provides technical back up. The committees collect a water user fee from the communities and the funds are used for the repair costs of the water facility. Training in basic maintenance of the pump is done for at least one person who can undertake the basic maintenance. Only when the communities have a problem which they cannot easily maintain, will they communicate with Living Water Sierra Leone for a repair of their pump. At times, during routine visits, the team may identify other non-functional wells which will also be repaired if possible.
Living Water Sierra Leone promotes hygiene practices through an integrated, participatory approach. At every water project, hygiene trainings are held for members of the communities surrounding the water facility. Taking advantage of the community gathering, the training also includes other contemporary emerging health issues affecting the communities, such as Ebola. Approximately 50 people are trained at each well site.
Hygiene promotion is also conducted outside places where we have constructed or rehabilitated wells. Using approaches such Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training (PHAST), communities are mobilized and trainings are conducted to encourage them on basic health and sanitation practices. Through CLTS, communities are triggered to ensure they attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Mobilization of the communities is done through local leaders. Adequate sensitization is done to ensure the communities appreciate the need to participate in the training sessions. Approximately 30 people are trained in each community training session.
In schools, Child Health Clubs are being established in selected schools. Members are equipped with hygiene knowledge, and in turn, play a critical role to encourage and facilitate the promotion of proper hygiene amongst their peers and even in the community.
As a faith-based non-profit, the gospel of Jesus Christ—the living water—is at the center of what we do. Living Water Sierra Leone aims to share and show the love of Christ through life, word, and deed through training staff to effectively share the gospel and discipleship formation and capacity building of the local church. Living Water Sierra Leone also shares the gospel of Jesus at every water project through visual representation and oral Bible storytelling.
Living Water Sierra Leone works with established church coordinating groups in the program area to mobilize churches towards a common goal of sharing the gospel. Churches are therefore mobilized and encouraged to work together as a body of Christ in order to have coordinated activities in reaching out to the communities. Some of the in-country church associations we are working with are the Apostolic Faith Network, Waterloo Charismatic Union, Body of Christ, and Songo Evangelical Union.
To learn more about supporting our work here—such as equipment, water projects, or our entire program area, please contact your local Living Water Representative.
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