Proposals for the implementation of two water projects in the Freetown area are presently being finalized by Rotary International (Freetown Chapter) and GOAL and international Non governmental Organisation working in Sierra Leone.
This was disclosed last Thursday at the weekly Rotary meeting at the Bank Complex in Kingtom by the head of GOAL Dr Heidi Brown.
Speaking to Awoko shortly after the disclosure Dr Brown said the inspiration for the program “came mainly from the communities themselves where we’ve (GOAL) done both surveys and participatory needs assessment.” She stated that “one of the strongest needs which came out from the community is water and sanitation and the extreme constraints the (residents) were facing with water and sanitation so we felt motivated to try and find funding to help develop solutions to those problems.”
Rotary she said came into the picture when they (GOAL) “were contacted about six months ago by Famington Rotary in Connecticut in the United States who are interested in supporting water projects within Freetown. In the past they have supported education projects but with the current Rotary focus on water they got in contact with DFID and they put them in touch with us because they knew that we (GOAL) were already involved in water and sanitation projects in these communities.”
Dr Brown disclosed that the Farmington Rotary in the United States have “already started fundraising in the US. They are marketing bottled water and with the ‘water is life’ brand or theme and the proceeds from those sales will come to fund these projects in Freetown.”
On the question of how many communities will be affected, Dr Brown explained that they “are specifically focusing on two communities where we did the initial pilot projects – the area around Braima lane and then the area around Maxwel Street in Wellington.”
She explained that they “started these projects in 2008 we helped the community to elect a WASH committee that is Water Sanitation and Hygiene committee who mapped the communities looking at the risk for diarrheal diseases and when they drew up those maps they also developed action plans for tackling that risk and then we supported them to implement part of the action plans which included building tap stands, latrines, rehabilitating water wells drainages and so on. We also helped them to do health information in the community and we trained blue flag volunteers to respond to local outbreaks of diarrhea or cholera and to help local health facilities to build their capacity to react if there are outbreaks of disease.”
On the impact they have made so far on the communities Dr Brown said “well we are measuring the impact in our new surveys the last survey was in November and at that stage the infrastructure was not completed but a lot of the hygiene promotion and the cholera preparedness was completed and the impact at that stage was that we saw improvement in hand washing behavior and we also saw changes in the way that mother’s were responding to diarrhea so they were much more likely to take their child – if they had diarrhea – take them to the local health facility where we’ve been doing the capacity building, they were aware of their local blue flag volunteer and also of their local health facility and so at that stage the impact that we could measure was behavioral and knowledge.
“What we expect to see when we repeat our survey is improved access to water, greater quantities of water being used by households, better storage practices for water and more households having access to latrines.”
“The main goal of this project is to reduce the incidence of diarrhea in under five children” she said.
Dr Brown further disclosed that “In the projects that we did we had a small amount of funding for infrastructure so in each community there are a certain number of tap stands, one rehabilitated well one public latrine,” adding “there is scope for doing a lot more and the more infrastructure that we could develop there the greater impact we will be able to have and what’s great about this project now is that the community’s set up structures so that they can manage the infrastructure so they collect very small affordable user fees for the water for the latrines that pays for a caretaker who’s been trained to maintain the infrastructure they also pay their water bills and the community is being trained in financial management and so any money that is left over would go into further development projects.”
The proposal was shared with Rotary President Adonis Aboud who expressed his delight for the project.
The newspaper headlines say it all; “Labour has become an ungovernable party!!!”
the London Independent newspaper screamed, “Wipe-out & Walkout Hit Brown”, the Sun cries out, “Bloodied Brown vows: I will not walk away”, the Daily Telegraph warned its readers, and “The shotgun reshuffle”, and other newspaper complained.
George Orwell once wrote that “political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.
Witnessing what is going on today in British politics, one can easily agree with the late