Wai Sierra Leone

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Wai Community - Sierra Leone
Health Clinic

The Community

Located near the southern tip of Sierra Leone in West Africa, Wai is a small rural community that relies primarily on agricultural subsistence for their economic livelihood. Generally lacking in sufficient resources to maintain a basic standard of living, the people of Wai have been generally neglected of government assistance due to its remote location.

The Need

The Wai Community once had a functional health clinic, but it was destroyed because of the recent armed conflict in the region. A temporary clinic has been set up following the conflict, but this facility lacks the adequate supplies, equipment and medical expertise that are necessary to provide comprehensive health care to the community members. As a result, maternal and infant deaths have been increasing and the general community has suffered from a spike in disease related to the tropical environment and inadequate sanitation.


March 2016 – Project Kickoff

EWB established a partnership with the community and started conversations with the community NGO. 

May 2017 – Assessment Trip

The project team performed its first assessment trip to the Wai Community. The purpose of this trip was to build a relationship with the community, assess the feasibility of constructing a clinic and evaluate existing resources within the community. The team had a successful trip where they met with key members of the community, conducted surveys, and toured the proposed project site. 

May 2018 – Water Assessment Trip

The project team had identified from the 2017 trip that water was a high priority for community members. The team found that the community had an adequate number of wells, but the pumps were either broken or the wells were open. As a way to provide the community with clean, reliable water, the travel team found that this could be achieved by rehabilitating a number of the well pumps. 

April 2019 – Water Implementation and Sanitation Assessment Trip

The community now has 7 working wells - the project team worked with contractors to rehabilitate 3 wells. The community-based Water Committee was trained on regular maintenance and inspection of the wells to ensure sustainability. Additionally, the project team performed an assessment of alternatives for latrine designs and medical waste methods by surveying the local community, meeting with government officials, and benchmarking neighboring villages.


Due to COVID-19, all international travel has been postponed. The project team is continuing to engage the local NGO and community partners to move the program forward towards implementation of Sanitation, Structures, and Power in 2021 or 2022. Specifically, the team has sent preliminary sanitation drawings for review and is getting architectural drawings developed for review and construction estimates.

The Approach

The Wai Community approached the Puget Sound Chapter of EWB asking for assistance in constructing a new health clinic that will be able to adequately meet their needs for medical care. EWB is partnering with the Seattle chapter of Architects Without Borders to draft an architectural design for the health care facility. The team is also working to bring basic utilities to the clinic such as water, sanitation and energy, all of which are resources that are in short supply in Wai. EWB-PSP is currently planning on implementing new well pumps for the community and evaluating the use of sustainable latrines and an updated medical waste zone for sanitation purposes.

The volunteers of EWB are working closely with the members of the Wai Community to ensure that all project design decisions are in line with what they believe to be best for their needs. EWB is also seeking partnerships with medical practitioners to ensure that the clinic will be stocked with adequate supplies. The project team will work with the community and local officials to ensure that the staff of the clinic are sufficiently trained to deliver safe and reliable medical care.



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Sanitation, Logistics, and Facilitation help needed.