Our commitment: Construction of the well, formation of the community
Donors: Private donors, 5x1000, Il Mio Dono, Kaira looro, Actea
Number of direct beneficiaries: 2,500 people
Number of indirect beneficiaries: 4,500 people
The project aims to create a deep well in the village of Talicourtou (Municipality of Baghere, Sedhiou Region, Senegal) with a UV decontamination and sterilization system to facilitate access to drinking water and contribute to the improvement the sanitary conditions of the place. The beneficiary community is, in fact, one of the most disadvantaged in the whole country, being located in a rural area of the Sedhiou Region, one of the least developed. Here the accessibility to primary services such as medical facilities and wells with drinking water are absent, for which the population is forced to supply themselves from water resources often contaminated by climate change, erosion and the fact that, in the absence of water and sewage networks , the whole community disposes of household waste on the street, in nature or in illegal landfills. Life expectancy is 65-68 years, and infant mortality has the highest rate in the country, which shows the need and urgency to respond to these problems by promoting access to drinking water. This would considerably improve the general state of health and avoid the onset of infections and diseases such as diarrhea, giarda and cholera, which are normally widespread especially among the most vulnerable including children, incite women and the elderly.
The project involves the construction of a solar well equipped with a UV and osmosis sterilization system, capable of providing free drinking water to the community.
The latter lives today in conditions of water risk, in an area subject to desertification and where the only water source present is that of traditional wells, which: empty during the dry season, are contaminated by environmental phenomena and being simple pits in unconsolidated land, often collapse, sometimes causing dangers even for the safety of children.
Since the community is 98% poor, it is difficult to be able to buy bottled water, so the only water available is that of wells, which results in high infant mortality and low life expectancy.
To solve these problems, the well project was born, capable of providing purified water to the population, involving and sensitizing them through meetings and seminars, and making them responsible through the establishment of a local management committee.
The well and the filtering system
The well will be built through a deep excavation from 20 to 22 meters, depending on the presence of the aquifer. The excavation is protected from erosion and collapses by means of reinforced concrete cylinders. The pit will be filled with water thanks to the water pressure of the underground water table and will be recharged seasonally according to the rain cycle. A submersible pump powered by solar energy through a photovoltaic station is installed inside the pit. The water extracted from the pump is sent to a phase filtering system: a first filtering takes place thanks to a membrane pre-filter that eliminates sediments and dust, the water then passes through a stainless steel tube with a UV lamp that sterilizes the water and eliminates bacteria. The sterilized water is finally sent to a 4 osmotic membrane filter which eliminates 92-96% of bacteria including cholera, staphylococcus and giardia. The water coming out of the osmosis is collected in sterile basins to be ready for use.
The fundamental objective is to allow access to drinking water for a community of about 2,500 people in the villages of Talicourtou, Sare Sambel, Dourdjounne, Medina Diallo, Nioro, according to direct and indirect influence. By promoting the distribution of drinking water, free of viruses and bacteria, a sustainable and fundamental solution is offered for the fight against infant mortality, for the improvement of public health and for the increase of life expectancy.
The well is built according to modern methods to allow you to reach deep and thus have enough water even in the dry seasons when many traditional wells are empty.
With the construction of the well 62% of diseases due to contaminated water are significantly reduced. The population, following the construction, will therefore draw on a source of purified and sterilized drinking water and the social impact will be evident especially in cases of reduction of diarrhea, infant mortality and infections for children aged 2 to 10 years. With the full operation of the well and the stabilization of sanitary conditions, the results will stabilize in the long term.
The realization of the project will allow to pursue the following objectives and benefits: - Allow free access to drinking, filtered and purified water to a large community of over 5 villages; - Improve the health conditions of the community and reduce the infant mortality rate; - Reduce cases of infant mortality due to cholera giarda and diarrhea (a consequence of contaminated water in the other wells); - Promote access to water even in the dry season; - Reduce distances for the supply of drinking water.
The project is located in the extreme south of Senegal, in the Sedhiou region, one of the most disadvantaged and least developed nationwide. The village of Talicourtou, which benefits from the project, is surrounded by 4 other villages with the same problems and 1-2 km away from Talicourotu.
2,200 people live within a radius of 2km, who can be considered direct beneficiaries of the project. Furthermore, the proximity of the demographically most important village in the area (Tanaff with 9,000 inhabitants) and the presence of 5 other villages reachable by crossing Talicourtou, makes the pool of indirect beneficiaries even wider, estimated at around 4,500.
Here the totality of the population is poor (98%) and does not have access to drinking water (90%); 60% of the population lives in houses without access to electricity, 70% of children leave school before high school. The child malnutrition rate is among the highest in the country and 2 out of 3 children are at risk of malnutrition, resulting in a mortality rate higher than the national average.
In the image below the cartography with the villages directly involved in the construction of the well.
Construction and management
The construction of a well that gives drinking water to a community is not only a fundamental element for the improvement of public health but is also an opportunity to raise awareness and responsibility on the value of the water resource, which over time becomes increasingly rare and therefore it needs to be managed appropriately. In the area of intervention, water is also a symbol of spirituality and is closely linked to agricultural and production activities, therefore resource management becomes a factor of extreme importance also in the cultural and productive sphere.
To strengthen the value of water and encourage greater awareness of the resource, the well is accompanied by an architectural project aimed at creating a space in which one can "live" in the area adjacent to the well, making this a place of meeting and community and not just a place to draw on resources.
A square with a roof will therefore be built around the well to facilitate supply in the shade, dialogue and exchange of views on community interests, as required by local tradition with the "bantabato", or the place for dialogue.
The local management committee
The well will be managed by an appropriately formed local committee. This committee will be composed of all the members of the beneficiary community or the village chief, the religious authorities, the representatives of young people and women. The committee will receive training on the management of the resource and on the maintenance of the filters and the solar pump, it will then deal with the correct functioning and data collection necessary to evaluate the impact of the project over time.