In 2019, Bread and Water for Africa® began our partnership with Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone by helping to fund the rehabilitation of its health clinic in the small village of Mokoba, the only medical facility in the area that provides free and low-cost services for the poor and indigent, which was on the verge of being closed by the government due to its dilapidated state.

In the two years since, thanks to our supporters, we have shipped several 40 and 20-foot containers filled medicines and medical supplies for use in RYDO-SL clinics, implemented a COVID-19 face mask project providing materials, and providing employment to tailors to sew reusable face masks, as well as implement a coronavirus relief project providing rural women and youth with training in business and management skills to start their own small business in the midst of the pandemic.

Now, we are working to dig a well to provide more than 4,500 residents in the village of Taninnahun.

“The availability of safe drinking water is a crucial problem in the Taninnahun community, especially during the dry season when the one main stream – the Yelie – that runs around the town and serves as the main source of drinking water dries up completely,” we were told by RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Kobba.

“Most of the walls in the town had ceased to be sources of drinking water as they were polluted by the rebels during their occupation of the town,” Joseph added.

“With the massive return of people to the township after the rebel war, and the resulting growth of population, acquisition of safe drinking water has become a burning issue for the town, health center and schools.”

Joseph explained that Taninnahun was identified through health and sanitation survey RYDO-SL conducted and  was found to be in desperate need of a water well and hand pump to serve the growing community, where its residents have been “part and parcel” of every decision-making aspect of the project, and where both men and women will be trained in the maintenance and management of well and pump.

“As with all water and sanitation systems, sustainability is crucial to ensure the long-term longevity of the project and significant effort will be placed on liaising with the government and community leaders in promoting this successful model of water and sanitation.”

We at Bread and Water for Africa® have seen first hand how having access to a safe, reliable source of water transforms a community ensuring residents that they won’t risk illness, or even death, from taking a sip of water, and how with community input and shared responsibilities, a well is a longtime investment that pays dividends for years or even decades.