With a recent history of civil war (1991-2002) more than 2 million people (at the time almost half of the population) were displaced. When the war ended, people finally returned to their villages to find agriculture ruined, their houses and schools torched, and water wells contaminated and vandalised.
Approximately 80% of the country’s population (6.2 million people) do not have access to adequate sanitation and the average life expectancy is 51 years of age.
Sierra Leone is ranked 8th poorest country in the world (all figures HDI 2015).
Since 2006 we have worked in twenty villages in Pejeh and nine villages in Barri Chiefdom.
Gbongay is a village of just 850 people in the Chiefdom of Pejeh. From an initial survey in 2006, we discovered that this community suffered the heartache of seeing at least one child under the age of five die every six weeks because of non-existent sanitation and polluted water.
Since the installation of the ecosan toilets and clean water wells in Gbongay, there have been no deaths due to poor sanitation and/or dirty water.
Ramatu, a mother of one, from Gbongay village in Pujehun district shared her story with us:
“Twelve years ago, my daughter aged 5 years 3 months died as a result of water borne disease. This was directly because the water we drank from the stream was infested with dead animals, debris, millipedes and worms.
Now we have we have a well giving us clean water. No more deaths have occurred as a result of diarrhoea and we thank God for that. We also have the benefit of GroSan toilets, so we have somewhere private to go, and a health clinic and since having these facilities no such deaths have occurred. Many children in this village are enjoying these facilities and they no longer have to drink from the stream. I’m very happy for that.”