CO2balance in Sierra Leone

CO2balance has been exploring the options for launching projects in Sierra Leone for a long time. Following on from extensive nationwide feasibility studies, we finally decided recently to launch an initial borehole rehabilitation and maintenance programme in partnership with the NGO CODE-SL. Having lived in Sierra Leone back in 2016 and been captivated by the country’s natural beauty and generous people, I was very excited to return to meet our new partners and to explore Kono, the remote district in the East of the country where we are conducting the pilot phase of our project.

The need is immense in Sierra Leone for projects that ensure access to safe water and promote improved sanitation practices. Official figures state that 53% of the country’s rural population lack access to an improved water source, but in reality this figure is likely to be much higher. Whilst many rural communities have had access to safe water from a hand pump powered borehole at some point, a vast proportion of these have fallen into disrepair due to a lack of training or resources for them to be maintained locally. The situation is even starker regarding improved sanitation, with just 6.9% or rural communities having access to improved sanitation facilities. The impacts of these trends can be seen in the shocking figure that over 90% of rural water sources in Sierra Leone are infected with E-Coli.

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A broken-down handpump in Old Kissy Town, Kono district

My visit had 2 main purposes: to travel with CODE-SL to visit some of the communities in Kono where we will be working to repair and maintain boreholes and to attend the Local Stakeholder Consultation meeting, which introduces the project to local authorities in the target area and solicits their feedback.

The visits in Kono district were fascinating. We travelled to some of the most remote corners of the district, reaching the village of Kaadu where we looked across the Mel river into the Republic of Guinea. In Kaadu, we saw the broken down handpump which will shortly be repaired and visited the current water source, which is a murky and mossy pool in the forest about a 20 minute walk away from the village. We met Sita Sandi there, a local woman with 4 children who usually has to travel to the water source about 3 times per day. She reported that although they boil the water they collect, waterborne illnesses remain a major problem and that her son had just missed several days of school through diarrhoea. She looks forward to the completion of the borehole rehabilitation, as she hopes that it will save her the best part of 2 hours every day to have fresh water available in the village. Crucially, it will also reduce the scourge of waterborne disease which has greatly disrupted her children’s education.

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Sita Sandi collects water outside Kaadu

Having visited the communities, we conducted the local stakeholder consultation meeting in the city of Koidu, which was attended by several councillors from Kono district in addition to representatives of local NGOs and leaders of communities to be targeted in the project. The meeting was a fantastic meeting of minds of the key stakeholders with whom CODE-SL and CO2balance will be working in the coming years, and the feedback for the project was overwhelmingly positive. Stakeholders praised the concept of the project, particularly its focus on long-term maintenance of water points due to the high risk that water points can break down if they are not regularly serviced. It was also discussed that there is a great need for the project to reach beyond the initial 30 communities, with stakeholders assured that if all goes well in the initial phase of the project, we hope to significantly expand the reach in the coming years.

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The CODE-SL/CO2balance team gather before the LSC meeting

I’d like to thank our partners, CODE-SL, for their welcome and for their hard work on the feasibility phase of the project. This marks not only our first project in Sierra Leone, but our very first project in West Africa. It’s very exciting to expand into this new region and we hope that it will be a gateway to further projects in West Africa in the coming years. The first borehole rehabilitations will be conducted in the next couple of months – watch this space for more updates from Sierra Leone!

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Sierra Leone Boreholes

CO2balance are proud to announce their first ever carbon project in Sierra Leone has been listed today on the Gold Standard Registry. The Gold Standard Micro-Scale Borehole Project in Sierra Leone involves the rehabilitation and maintenance of hand-pumped boreholes owned by communities in Bombali District, in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. The CO2balance borehole project will create a network of functioning boreholes throughout the country. In addition to supplying clean, safe water and mitigating climate change, this project will impact local peoples lives by:

  • Resulting in less wood used by households, which will reduce pressure on local ecosystems
  • Reduce time spent collecting wood to boil water
  • Reduce incidence of illness (and therefore less opportunity costs for families)
  • Reduce expenditure on wood fuel, leaving money free for other household expenses
  • Increase familiarity within the communities about the planned preventative maintenance of boreholes

Our partners on the ground Leone Resources are responsible for the borehole repair programme with work due to commence as soon as the terrible EBOLA outbreak enables the repair programme to move forward. CO2balance would like to take this opportunity to wish all our partners and indeed wider afield, anybody who has been effected by the EBOLA outbreak in Sierra Leone good health and every safety in this awful time.

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Our team on the ground in Sierra Leone at the local stakeholder meeting.

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New Borehole Projects in Sierra Leone

Co2balance is launching new Gold Standard Micro-Scale Borehole Projects in Sierra Leone with the first boreholes being rehabilitated in Bombali District in the northern part of the country. Co2balance has arranged a meeting with local stakeholders in which we seek their opinion on the project’s design and social and environmental impacts; we believe this is an essential step in implementing a project in which the local community has ownership – thereby maximising the chances of successful adoption. The meeting will be held on the 22nd February in Kamakwie and we are hoping to welcome all major stakeholders from the Sierra Leonean energy and WASH sector as well as future borehole users from the local communities.

Kamabayoi Borehole pump