Zolupay — Liberia, abundant in rivers, rainforests, mangroves, and swamps, is one of the wettest countries in the world. Yet, a large proportion of the population does not have access to safe drinking water.
According to UNICEF, less than 10 percent of the population have access to safely managed drinking water and sanitation services leading to water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, one of the main causes of death for children under five years.
This is the challenge World Hope International (WHI), a Christian International Non-Non-Government Organization, with generous support from its donors, has embarked on addressing hands-on.
Between April and August 2022, WHI completed the construction of drilled boreholes and turned them over to the community at Zolupay Town in Todee District, Rural Montserrado, and the ELWA mission compound in Paynesville respectively.
Zolupay: From the creek to the water plant
A few daysago, it was more exhilarating in Zolupay when WHI-Liberia Country Director led his international guests and government officials to visit the town for the official dedication of a standalone water facility.
Zolupay town, with over 600 residents, has been in existence since the 1920s. Until August 23rd, 2022, when the new project was dedicated, the only source of water has been a nearby creek that runs through several towns and villages in the area and often gets polluted upstream in many ways.
It was a scene of jubilation as the town people including women, men, youth and children lined up at the main road on the outskirts of the town, singing and dancing as they welcomed their guests.
In an emotional welcome remark, the Township Commissioner, Mr. Daniel Pabie thanked WHI and donors-Celebrate Church for rescuing his people from the unsafe creek water to clean the pipe-borne water facility constructed in the town.
“I never knew that his day would come for us. Since this village was established in the 1920s, this is the creek we used for drinking, bathing, washing, cooking, and everything,” said Commissioner Pabie, also a native of the town.
“Today, we have a water tower constructed. What you have done for us is beyond imagination, and it is only God who can repay you. We have come to say thank you,” the Commissioner said while wiping away tears of joy.
The Standalone water project built at the center of the town square will supply the residents with 1.5-liter of water every second and 87 liters in one minute, totaling 5,000 liters in one hour,” said WHI Country Director Ndote in his overview.
He explained that the town was chosen by WHI based on recommendations from its assessment team during a feasibility study carried out in Margibi and Montserrado Counties in 2021.
Mr. Ndote said the project was of immense significance to him personally as it invoked memories of his early life and the village where he grew up. Like the residents of Zolupay, the WHI Country Director said he grew up depending on water from creeks, ponds, and swamps and was delighted to be part of the WHI family in Liberia providing a lasting solution to the residents.
He thanked the township people for their cooperation and called on them to manage the facility with ultimate care and full ownership of the facility. According to Mr. Ndote, the Stand-alone system is an innovation by world Hope International using solar energy to pump the water into an elevated poly-tank. The facility is installed with an easily managed inline erosion chlorinator to ensure the water is safe for drinking. Several taps are installed to allow water flow by gravity; reduce wait time and crowding at the water point and reduces labor for women and children. The system is designed to allow the installation of pipelines for future expansion of water distribution to far away parts of the community.
Madam Nancy Greene the Chief Development Officer of WHI also said she was privileged to work with the donor community including individuals, charities, and foundations in the U.S. that care deeply and share world Hope’s mission of bringing opportunity, dignity, and hope to communities like the residents of Zolupay.
She paid homage to Joyce Brooks Chamberlain and Daniel Horine Chamberlain, founding board members of WHI for donating the money intended for the celebration of their 70th wedding anniversary to the project.
She expressed hope that the facility would be properly managed by the community and looked forward to one day bringing the Chamberlain family to meet the residents of the town.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Patrick Nicolas the Chief Executive Officer/President of World Hope International expressed delight over the impact the project would cause and pledged WHI’s continued support to Liberia.
The Director for Compliance and Regulations at the WASH Commission, Mr. Peter Wisdom Fayiah, Sr., on behalf of the Commission, lauded WHI and the funders for the project and urged the residents to take ownership and sustainably manage the facility.
Liberia’s high rates of diarrheal diseases and childhood malnutrition, as well as frequent outbreaks of cholera, show how young children suffer when they don’t have access to the necessities of life. With the provision of clean water and other meaningful interventions, WHI and its partners seek to positively impact the lives of Liberians by creating opportunities, dignity, and hope in these communities.
The ELWA Project
Over the years, the ELWA mission compound which hosts ELWA Hospital, the dental clinic, ELWA academy, missionary residence, radio station, and multiple offices has relied on shallow wells. These wells often dry up during the dry season leading to water shortage. In addition, the regular use of generators to pump water costs the mission thousands of dollars every month. Upgrading the water infrastructure system at ELWA brings clean water to approximately 5,000 people seeking care at the hospital every month, 825 students on campus, 80 families residing at ELWA, and 580 staff members working at the campus. Giving the overview of the project at the dedication ceremony recently at the ELWA Mission, the Country Director of WHI, Mr. Mathew Ndote said it all started in March 2021, when the ELWA management requested WHI to support the mission in identifying a sustainable water solution for the entire community within ELWA compound.
Following several assessments, the main challenges identified were -inadequate clean water from existing hand-dug wells, especially during the dry season; inadequate water storage capacity, and the high cost of generator power needed to distribute water across all facilities.
Then in 2022, Mr. Ndote said, with funding from the Celebrate Church in Saux Falls, South Dakota, USA, World Hope designed and implemented an improved piped-water system that connects the existing distribution network.
The construction work was completed in only five months April – August 2022 and consisted of drilling of two boreholes, yielding 2.85 liters per second (10,260 liters/hr.) to meet the growing need for clean water; installation of a complete solar-powered system with two submersible pumps and 8-panel solar power system (behind the radio station) and an expanded transmission pipelines from BH1&BH2 to one of the central treatment units (at the hospital) for onward distribution to all other premises.
The project also included the construction and installation of six additional poly-tanks to double-up water storage capacity by 9000 gallons and three additional separate solar-powered systems (24 panels each) to drive large pressure pumps (each 7.5HP) installed at each of the three water treatment facilities. Each of these consists of 24 panels (399.04 Volts DC).
The dedication ceremony was graced by several guests including the John Kagey of the Celebrate Church of Saux Falls, USA USAID Health Director, Madam Jessica Healey, USAID WASH advisor, Zulfikar Girar, the World Bank, WHIs Director of Development and Partnerships, Nancy Greene: WHI WASH director, Maria Gabriella.
The ELWA management including outgoing Country Director David Writebol and his successor Nicolas Piagel, in separate remarks, thanked WHI and Celebrate Church for the water facilities, adding it will bring relief to the hospital and the school including patients, students, the staff, and their families.
As the keynote speaker, the CEO and Chairman of the National Wash Commission (NWASHC), Bobby Whitefield, on behalf of the Government, thanked WHI for the meaningful innovation and pledged the Government’s cooperation with the organization.
The event was also attended by Madam Paulita C.C. Wie, the Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Works, USAID representatives, Liberia WASH Consortium, Water Aid and other Development partners, and CSOs among others.