Access to safe water still remains one of the major issues in Sierra Leone. Although general access to water in urban areas has improved in recent years, only 3% of the city's inhabitants have access to safely managed water. Access also depends on geographical location, with wealthier households having improved access compared to socio-economic disadvantaged households. Number 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to 'ensure availability and improve management of water and sanitation for all' by 2030, and the Governments' main policy focus lies in improving water access in the country. However, to reach this Goal the rate by which water access increases has to reach 28% annually. Our aim to build a water tower will therefore not only help the local community and improve the garden's watering system, moreover it aligns with government policies and is an important step in achieving the SDG's.

What does the situation look like at GFYA specifically?

Despite having installed a drip irrigation system and a nearby water supply, it still takes seven gardeners 6 hours to water the kitchen garden each day. 

This is because:

  • The water bore hole is over 1km away from the garden, and they have to walk it.
  • They have no transport other than their feet and the largest buckets they can manage.
  • The bore hole takes 2 hours to refill.
  • This is the only water supply, and it often carries disease with it, ruining the crops.
  • In the dry season the gardeners must do this twice a day - that's 12 hours of watering!

"The garden already has a drip irrigation system capable of carrying water around the entire garden, providing just the right amount directly to the roots of each plant. But, even when the water taps are working, the pressure is too low." John Sandy 

Water bore GFYAThe watering hole takes 2 hours to fill up once empty

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What is our response?

It's a big ambition, and a big ask of our donors, but if we can raise £10,575 we can provide the final missing piece of the puzzle - a water tower! 

This incredible piece of engineering would provide 10,000 litres of water from deep underground and enough pressure to operate the drip irrigation system. Just by opening the taps, the whole garden would be self-irrigated reducing manual watering time by 70%. Crops would grow faster too. Instead of growing in each plot twice a year, the gardeners would be able to grow up to four times a year. The new water supply, drilled from underground, would be pure and increase the quality of crops. Better vegetables for the children but also for the local businesses they sell the surplus to. This means more profit to plough back into the school, and a more sustainable future for generations to come.

GFYA Watering kitchen gardenThe irrigation system is ready - it just needs water!

If we can increase the efficiency of watering the crops, we can begin to improve the yield and provide food for even more children and communities. We believe the water tower would double the crops produced. Additionally, the water tower would also improve sanitation and hygiene practices at the school and the community and reduce the risk of water-born as well as infectious disease. 

If you think you can help make this a reality for the team in Sierra Leone, please make a donation. If your donation is over £100 your name will appear on a plaque on the tower as a thank you. On behalf of the children and their families, thank you!

Water Tower drawing kitchen garden GFYA

Drawing of the proposed water tower

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