Today, I’m excited to share with you a story of safe water’s impact on two sister villages (Mafunikay And Ma-Joe) in a rural district of the western area of Sierra Leone. This is a story of change that has brought happiness to families in the communities.
The Mafunikay and Ma-Joe villages of Sierra Leone neighbor one another, sharing many things in common. In 2010, they each had hand-dug wells that became broken. During that time, both communities suffered as they lacked access to safe drinking water. Community members had to walk 3 miles to the next village for water but those villages wouldn’t allow them access to their waterpoint. This forced members of the Mafunikay and Ma-Joe villages to use swamp water, often causing water-borne illnesses.
In 2018, Water4Ever, Water4’s missional business in Sierra Leone, completed rehabilitations on both waterpoints and encouraged the community to sign up for Pump iNsurance agreements. These agreements guarantee safe water remains available for communities, provides access to routine maintenance, and completes repairs when issues arise.
Water4Ever also impacted the villages through water access, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) training helping communities to maintain proper hygiene at home, bringing lasting change. The training helps communities understand how handwashing, safe food preparation, and proper water storage prevent the spread of waterborne disease. Water4-trained WaSH facilitators use a multi-session, Bible-based curriculum to help communities discover the economic, social, and health benefits of safe water and healthy sanitation practices. Water4Ever provided these trainings both prior to the well rehabilitation and after, in addition to teaching the village heads individually to ensure that the training would be memorable and put into practice.
As a result of the well rehabilitations, WaSH training, and pump iNsurance, the sister villages have ongoing safe water, no longer have to travel to use disease-ridden water, and have implemented much of the training’s recommendations. They now understand the importance of maintaining the safe water point, continuing to pay for pump iNsurance to avoid maintenance issues, and organizing a community water committee for routine cleaning of the water point and maintaining proper hygiene practices.