CO2balance has now rehabilitated every borehole in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, that are eligible under the Gold Standard.
This comes as CO2balance prepares to issue its first credits from these projects – the first Gold Standard clean water credits from Sierra Leone.
[Eligibility here refers to those boreholes which have broken down, in rural locations where communities are forced to use unsafe water sources (like open pools) instead].
Eastern Province – Land of Rainforests and Diamonds
The Eastern Province, which covers an area a bit smaller than Wales, is a very rural and mountainous region that also happens to be the centre of the country’s diamond mining industry.
The first diamond was discovered in the hills around Kenema city in 1931, and since then people have flocked to the Eastern Province as a “twinkling passport out of poverty” (as one travel guide put it). And now Kenema city is a hive of activity, haggling and diamond dealing.
However, the vast majority of the province remains quiet and rural, populated by subsistence farmers and traditional communities.
Eastern Province is a place of unrelenting natural beauty. It is home to the country’s first rainforest national park where you can spot chimpanzees, western red colobus, many endemic birds, and (if you’re very lucky) the odd pygmy hippopotamus!
Despite the wondrous surroundings, the Eastern Province is an incredibly poor region. According to our own surveys from 2018, 98% of rural households took their water from unsafe sources (such as rivers, streams and pools). As a result, over 50% of households experienced stomach-related illnesses more than once a month.
Our Work in Sierra Leone
Between summer 2019 and summer 2020, a total of 132 eligible boreholes were identified by our in-country partner CODE-SL, across the Eastern Province. These were then cleaned, repaired and fence built around then to protect against use by animals and young children.
They have now been providing safe, clean water to over 35,000 people in a region desperately in need – 98% use the borehole, and 70% never experience any stomach-related illnesses (with the remaining 30% experiencing them only once every few months).
There is still much improvement to be made of course. Unfortunately, many communities in the Eastern Province are not considered eligible under the Gold Standard’s rigorous criteria (such as urban areas), so we at CO2balance cannot yet reach them. This is where the stellar work of other organisations like CARE, WaterAid, World Vision, OXFAM and others comes in.
Given the success of these projects, and the dire need for improved water sources in Sierra Leone, we are hoping to spread to the other Provinces too.
Perhaps in future you will see us announcing that we are providing safe water for every eligible community in the Southern and Northern Provinces – and eventually the whole of Sierra Leone!
We’ll be looking forward to that day.