DDI helps Fandehun community in Sierra Leone access safe drinking water
Published on 20 March 2019
On February 8, 2019, representatives from the Diamond Development Initiative joined officials from Sierra Leone’s National Minerals Agency, the District Water Directorate and the Kono District Council to inaugurate work on a community well in Fandehun – an artisanal diamond mining community located in the Kono District.
Despite being home to artisanal mining for over 50 years, Fandehun lacks basic amenities like access to safe drinking water. Currently, people use the same unprotected water source for all their needs, including cooking and bathing. During a community consultation held in October 2018 in partnership with DDI, the community consented to the digging of a well to create a safer water source.
The Fandehun community well is part of DDI’s program aimed at formalizing the artisanal diamond mining sector in Sierra Leone and other alluvial diamond producing countries. As part of that program, DDI launched in 2017 a project that brings together youth groups from eight artisanal mining communities in Sierra Leone, and establishes cooperatives that benefit its members and their communities. The cooperatives commit to setting aside 5% of their diamond sales proceeds to fund community development projects. In Fandehun, the local cooperative decided to invest on a community well.
“This is a novelty in the entire Kono District. It is unfortunate that initiatives like this are not in operation everywhere. The right development approach is letting the people take the lead, which is what this Fandehun Cooperative is doing. The council will celebrate this act. The council will also look at ways to ensure the people of Fandehun are provided with the relevant support to develop their community.” Councilor Maltida Moriepeh, Kono District Council
“The GoSL has no project here now, but thank God, DDI has nicely complemented the efforts of government. The desire for a well is very noticeable in the Fandehun community. Public funds are not yet available to support such project in this community; therefore, it is worthwhile that DDI is doing this for the people. The Government’s Water Office is excited and we will provide technical inputs for the construction of this well. Down the line, if funds from Government are available, the Fendehun community will definitely benefit from an improvement activity on their existing facility.” Mohamed Kamara, Kono District Water Directorate
“NMA regulates mining activities in the District. It is a good idea that mining will translate into real time public good in the host community. It is important that we all comply with the government regulations on mining, which are abundantly enshrined in the MDS provisions of DDI.” Mohamed S. Waritay, National Minerals Agency.
“Today my community is happy. We are gathered here to make history. Before the war, this settlement was exciting. But now it is a mere shadow of its former self. Thanks to DDI and the Cooperative. We are grateful, and you can count on our continued support to the MDS program.” Tamba Fillie, Chief