Lower Allentown, Sierra Leone, is a growing community just outside of the country’s capital, Freetown. NCSU EWB has previously worked with the LemonAid fund with the Dele Village Learning Center, one of the community’s biggest schools with a fast-growing population. Its sister school, the Browndel Learning Center, had been facing problems with their well for over a decade. Capturing rainwater, and trying to collect water from a faraway stream in the wake of a dried out well proved to be a hardship for the school, which needed enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning to support over 200 students and faculty. The goal of this project is to provide the Browndel school with a reliable water system that will ensure their water needs are resourcefully met.
The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002) hit the community of Lower Allentown especially hard. Rebels destroyed schools, killed teachers, cut electrical, phone, and water lines, and burned most of the businesses. In 2004, the government of Sierra Leone was forced to pass the Local Government Act, under which all localities in Sierra Leone became responsible for providing their own water, electricity, and other utilities. Freetown, the capital, had a pipeline bringing in water from the distant Guma Dam. Though this pipeline ran through Lower Allentown, it was inaccessible to its residents other than by means of illegally tapping the pipeline with garden hoses. Eventually, this pipeline was replaced with a buried ductile iron pipeline, which could not be tapped by the community of Lower Allentown. Now, drinking water must be purchased privately or retrieved from a distant spring, which necessitates crossing a dangerous highway.
In an effort to rebuild their society, Lower Allentown built a school to educate their children and community members. Francess Brown, the founder, contacted The LemonAid Fund to help construct the school, and The LemonAid Fund in turn contacted EWB-USA, NCSU to help provide clean water and renewable energy.
Assessment: Fall 2022 to Spring 2023
In spring of 2023, a team from EWB-NCSU traveled to Lower Allentown, Sierra Leone to gather data and build relationships with the Browndel community over an assessment trip. Throughout the course of this trip, the team gained a complete grasp of the water quantity issue at hand. By speaking with students and faculty, the team was able to understand the role water plays in this school’s day-to-day lives. Upon defining this scope of their partnership, the team and the school decided the most effective approach to resolving this quantity issue was through building a well. From here, the team successfully surveyed the entire property to determine the best possible placement to drill said well. Upon speaking with contractors and gaining input from the school, the well will be placed at the school entrance. With rapport built and measurements taken, the team traveled back to NC State with the appropriate materials needed to move forward with implementation.
Implementation Phase 1: Fall 2023
The project is currently in the implementation phase where the team is working on a wide range of tasks. The team’s main focus is to design the layout of the well and its internal components. Upon doing so, the team will present this design to Aptech Africa Contracting to attain a formal quote and any additional feedback. This quote and budget spreadsheet will then be used in writing grants and fundraising to raise the appropriate amount of funds needed to begin implementation.
Our partnership with the Browndel School community has just begun and we are very excited to see this project to fruition. As the project continues to gain definition throughout the implementation phase, the team continues to keep the K-12 school informed about their progress. We all hope that our combined efforts bring a consistent source of water to the children of this school.