Collaborating towards improved WASH practices in Sierra Leone


A Maastricht School of Management team led by Dr. St. John Day and Mr Patrick Martens with funding from Nuffic are currently assisting the Government Technical Institute (GTI) of Freetown Sierra Leone in developing a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) curriculum through a series of seven WASH modules that will provide an opportunity to promote learning and education in Freetown. The GTI aim is to offer a series of short courses for aspiring practitioners and interested professionals in order to significantly improve WASH practice in Sierra Leone.

Improving access to clean water and sanitation will dramatically reduce illness and death in countries such as Sierra Leone where 2 in 5 people lack clean water. Not having access to clean water leads to water-related diseases such as cholera, typhoid, malaria, trachoma and yellow fever, as well as diarrhoea, a leading killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa.  A clean water supply reduces diarrhoea-related death by up to 25%, while improved sanitation reduces it by 32%. Adequate water and sanitation also help vulnerable groups – especially women and girls and provides significant economic benefit in terms of health-related cost savings.

In line with this objective, on Monday, June 28th, 2021, Dr. Peter Fearon conducted a workshop on WASH Course Review and Planning with the Government Technical Institute, Fourah Bay College (FBC) engineering department at the University of Sierra Leone and representatives of Guma Valley Water Company, Freetown. The purpose of the workshop was to foster an understanding between GTI and FBC concerning the challenges involved in preparing the GTI team for the public launch of the WASH Modules.

Some key outcomes were to give a sense of ownership of the modules to the GTI team, and to determine their capability to deliver, another outcome was to help build a cordial relationship between the FBC mentors and their GTI counterparts.

Dr. Fearon commented that there was a mutual understanding between GTI and FBC on the need to work closely together to develop this training project and a clear willingness from the GTI team to put this training into practice.

The conclusions lead to a marked improvement in responsiveness from both teams following the preworkshop meetings which served to address issues around funding, compatibility, accountability and expectations. The FBC mentoring team were impressive and are on track to deliver according to expectations and agreements. They understand the modules and are well placed to convey that understanding to their GTI counterparts. Even though GTI facilities were considered to be limited for the course delivery, the visit has confirmed that there is a suitable plot of developable land available at GTI for a training centre subject to further investigation. Both teams are fully committed to delivering the project, GTI director Mr Edward Lamin, has agreed to commit key resources towards the WASH Project, to fund the development of a website for the institution, to confirm availability of all staff assigned for this to support other requirements including the workshop, within the confines of his budget.

This workshop confirmed the importance of “in country” collaboration during this period when international travel is so challenging. In these difficult times, marked by the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of strengthening WASH services in Sierra Leone through the recruitment of new professionals becomes more and more important.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's International Projects and Consultancies Department

This project is part of MSM’s International Project and Consultancies Department. The department is an is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

Related news
The Challenge of Change: Kickstarting WASH Education in Sierra Leone

Exposure visit to MSM to strengthen WASH in Sierra Leone

A successful launch of ‘Strengthening WASH Expertise in Sierra Leone’ project