How Aberdeen Community Succeeded in Demanding Increased Water Supply

New Miller Water Tank Serving the Community.

The Aberdeen road community, ward 441, western urban, which serves five surrounding communities, have suffered lack of clean water supply for long. During Ebola, the community had two 10,000 litres Miller water tanks, which enabled the community to access free water supply from GUMA, but it all ended soon after Ebola.

Old Miller Water Tank

With an increasing population of 1000 in 2018, the two miller tanks became useful. Lack of water became an alarming cause for concern for stakeholders and people at Aberdeen road. The community has made continued effort to address the issue among themselves, but the right approach was not implemented until 2019, when two SABI Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs) reached the community.

The Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs) trained by our partner Restless Development conducted meetings with stakeholders and the wider community. This increased knowledge around inclusion, power and community mobilization and motivated community people to step up, lead in identifying problems and find realistic solutions.

During their open community meeting at Aberdeen road, the volunteers explained the need to develop a community action plan and use it as evidence to channel their concerns to the right authorities. The community saw this a way to demand improvement in water supply in Aberdeen community.

The volunteers first generated evidence of citizens’ experiences of accessing state services, and assisted Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and Community Leaders, to develop action plans to address service delivery issues. The community action plan strongly reflected their issue of water supply and a separate discussion was held to identify persons responsible for each action and timelines for delivery.

With is new found evidence, the SABI ward champion (Kai Komba Sokoyama), WDC representative (Hawa Kwashie), Councilor (Mariatu Kamara), supported by SEND Sierra Leone Field Officer (Mary Kpukumu), demanded increased water supply by writing a letter to honorable Osman Timbo, who contributed 1,000,000 to kick off the project, and approached the GUMA Valley Water Company to pitch their problem and request for assistance. The Manager of GUMA looked at the community action plan and described their water situation as urgent. A team of water technicians was sent to assess the situation and Aberdeen road and determined the level of support needed.

Councilor (Mariatu Kamara) contributed Le 250,000 and the wider community further mobilized own source revenue and built a water basement in support of the project. The two 10,000 plastic Miller water tanks were again refilled by GUMA to increase the water supply for Aberdeen road and it surrounds communities. Now, anytime there is a shortage in tap water, the community turns to the two miller tanks to get clean water.

New Miller Water Tank Serving the Community.

It is good to see community people taking lead to solve their own problems, especially problems that government should attend to. We felt motivated to support the community because they have already mapped out their own problem, so it’s easier to see the gap. Thanks to this SABI project for guiding this process – Mr Abdul Sesay, Manager Guma Valley Water Company.

 

This is a problem that we thought we could address individually, or by political appeals, but the moment SABI brought us together we started seeing the possibility. SABI really taught us that we can solve our own problems, but only if we worked together. This water supply is a demonstration of that – Chief Pa Alimamy Kargbo

Everyone played their part in the community. it is clear SABI’s presence has empowered the community and made them see what is possible with greater knowledge of their approach and a commitment to change. The programme has offered ideas of how to approach challenges facing the community.