H.E. William ‘Billy’ Williams, the Australian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, officially launched a water improvement project for two communities in the Southern Provinces of Sierra Leone Friday.
The one-year project, which will be implemented by the Movement for Assistance and Promotion of Rural Communities (MAPCO), will lead to the construction of several water wells fitted with hand pumps in the Kanga and Gondama communities in the Bonthe and Moyamba districts, respectively.
MAPCO is a local nongovernmental organization which has undertaken several developmental projects in Sierra Leone for over 20 years.
Mr. Williams and MAPCO Programme Director Francis Lavally addressed the media at the Country Lodge in Hill Station Friday, where they each signed an agreement to formally approve the grant of 13,500 Australian Dollars (about 35 million leones) to fund the water improvement project.
The project is funded by the Direct Aid Programme (DAP), a small grants programme which operates through 50 Australian overseas missions, funding projects in over 75 countries.
“I’m very delighted to be here today to be able to launch this first community development project with MAPCO in the valuable, important work they’re doing in community development,” Mr. Williams said. “This particular project will, I believe, assist the local communities in the Kanga and Gondama communities.”
Though the Australian High Commissioner has not yet visited the two provincial communities he seeks to help, he did mention that he looks forward to going there on his next trip to Sierra Leone.
Mr. Williams also added that the implementation of this project is “very important in the Australian and Sierra Leonean relationship.” According to a release handed out at the press conference, the Australian High Commission has provided funding of approximately 300,000 Australian Dollars (about 783 million leones) in various development projects in the West African sub region.
“By the time you get to March, April, the water (in Kanga and Gondama) is brown,” Mr. Lavally noted. “They don’t get good drinking water.”
Mr. Lavally said this project is specifically meant to address the infant mortality rate in the districts, which is adversely affected by the poor water conditions.
“This whole project is in water, and as we know, water is fundamental to life and very important to health and other benefits to the community,” Mr. Williams said. “So this project will, when constructed, provide these communities with reliable, clean water.”
Mr. Williams added that, at the end of the one year in Kanga and Gondama, he hopes to expand more water improvement projects to other struggling communities in Sierra Leone. By Yu Nakayama & Ishmael Bayoh