The EU-WOP project, “Improving water service delivery to low-income urban communities through turning data into actionable insights!” is a Water Operators` Partnership between Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in Accra, Ghana, with support from VEI B.V. in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The practice demonstrated in Samuel Cox Koroma’s story highlights the EU-WOP Project’s core principles: fostering capacity building, promoting sustainable infrastructure management, and encouraging community engagement within Sierra Leone’s informal settlements.
In the heart of Kroo Bay, an informal settlement in Freetown, Sierra Leone, resides Samuel Cox Koroma—a man who has become a local hero, transforming the way water is accessed and managed within his community. Samuel’s compound, like many in Kroo Bay, consists of both family members and tenants, with the latter in the majority. Their lifeline for clean water comes from a Guma Valley standpipe, a precious resource funded by a local NGO called the Young Men Christian Council (YMCA) in 2011. This standpipe serves not only Samuel’s household but also numerous other community members.
By dint of Samuel’s exceptional commitment and practices, this standpipe remains the sole functioning one out of the ten initially funded by the YMCA. While the others fell into disrepair, their pipes washed away by relentless rains, Samuel’s standpipe continues to quench the community’s thirst.
So, what sets Samuel apart as a model caretaker of this vital resource? Several key practices have contributed to his remarkable success:
- Vigilant monitoring: Samuel conducts frequent inspections of the standpipe, ensuring that it remains in optimal condition.
- Swift fault detection and repair: When faults arise, Samuel is quick to detect and repair them, preventing minor issues from escalating into major problems.
- Community financial support: Samuel coordinates financial contributions from all those who depend on the standpipe to facilitate repairs. This shared responsibility ensures that maintenance costs are collectively borne.
- Reliable collection: The standpipe operates on a non-metered system, with a flat monthly fee of Le 150 charged for water consumption. Regardless of household size, each pays Le 10 per month for standpipe usage. Samuel diligently collects these monthly payments from households and ensures they are promptly remitted to Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), the service provider.
Samuel Cox Koroma’s story serves as a shining example of how individual commitment and community-focused practices can lead to the sustainable management of a precious resource like water. He stands as a symbol of resilience in Kroo Bay, a reminder that even in the most challenging circumstances, one person’s dedication can make a world of difference. Samuel’s journey reflects the power of community spirit and responsible stewardship, proving that sustainable water access is not just a dream but an achievable reality.