Sierra Leone happens to be a country that has been experiencing dreadful climate change effects in recent years. There are a plethora of state and non-state actors that do make varied, and unfortunately not too very successful attempts to mitigate the scourge of climate changes, especially in the provision of water services in the country.
As much as state authorities take primacy in making decisions to enhance the resilience of communities to harmful climate change hazards, ordinary citizens and other organized non-state actors too have been contributing significantly over the years in achieving the desired goal. It has been discovered that the inadequate, if not lack of harmonization of strategies and collaboration among the diverse state and non-state actors makes it daunting to efficiently checkmate the hazardous effects of climate changes in the country. Alarmingly, up to 30% of all Sierra Leonean schools are managed without running water.
Planning, including communication to combat unfavourable climate change effects to water services has been lopsided and disjointed, and so is the implementation of programmes at the community levels. Generally, referencing the AMCOW/WHO/JMP, 57% of the country’s population has access to safe drinking water. Despite serious efforts, Sierra Leone has not been successful in meeting its target to cut by 50% the segment of the population that goes without adequate sanitation and safe drinking water.
To further show the density of the water crisis, in a study undertaken by WASH-Net, Ministry of Water Resources, Freetown WASH Consortium and Guma Valley Water Company, of a total of 19 water catchment areas explored, all have been defiled/poached by citizens for cultivation and construction purposes. It gets frightening to realise that 79% of these water catchment areas have dried up; 59% have been lost to construction of houses, cultivation, and timber logging; The Water Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-Net) 2014 report records that an alarming 14% of all children who die under five years is as a consequence of water related diseases like diarrhea.
This project strives to hone the capacities of the various state and non-state actors on what is practically required to do to stem the bad effects of climate changes to water services provision, and to also foster synergies and healthy information sharing and cooperation amongst them to achieve the objectives of the project. The relevant climate change and water services state and non-state institutions would be strengthened; the full awareness of all the actors raised on adaptive climate change measures; and a better working relationships forged – all with the intention of putting the effects of climate change to water services provisions in check.