The Italian Directorate General for Cooperation and Development financed in 2007 a mission to Sierra Leone, entrusting HYDROAID to design a training program (to be developed mainly in situ), addressed to managers and technicians of ministries, local administrations and facilities on: water management, water systems governance, land protection and sanitation.
During and after the civil war (1991 through 2002) that resulted in tens of thousands fatalities and the dislocation of more than 2 million people (about one third of the population), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Directorate General for Cooperation and Development was committed to administer some relief to the population of Sierra Leone through several programs.
Many drinking water plants, built in the 60’s and 70’s, were vandalized during the war: the concrete structures still show good conditions, but plants and pumps were destroyed or cannibalized.
Due to these actions, at the moment fresh water in the countryside is supplied by wells which are pumping essentially from surface ponds and suffer of a seasonal variability of the free level.
This implies a variation of the flowrate and of the quality standard of the resource.
On the contrary the city of Freetown is supplied with fresh water thanks to the Guma Valley Reservoir.
Water sanitation is worrying: the sewage network in the capital is mainly made up of open flumes, which produce odours and further, the proliferation of mosquitoes, insects, rats and related diseases; the rivers and creeks are used indiscriminately for waste water discharge, garbage dumping, cloth washing and people bathing. The same happens in the countryside. There are no waste water treatment plants: all the sewages discharge directly into the rivers and the sea.
There are no landfills for solid urban waste. In Freetown, people are stacking all the garbage and waste along the streets; this will then be removed manually and loaded on trucks to be either buried in the ground or burned in countryside areas.
HYDROAID is therefore eager to relieve and to cooperate with the local institutions - through its expertise and know-how - in order to support and enhance the water management network in Sierra Leone.