Patrick's story Programme Officer, Sierra Leone

My role is to help design, plan and implement WaterAid’s projects across Sierra Leone. As frontline field staff, I translate our policies into practice. Each day I visit ten communities, tracking changes and interviewing people, providing technical support to local partner organisations and liaising with government officials.

I have been doing this for a year now. I want to make WaterAid more visible in Sierra Leone and raise more funds to reach more people. Previously I worked with communities to tackle poverty caused by rights injustices. But I learned that to overcome poverty the first step is to address issues of water and sanitation.

Lack of these basics affected my own life. I was born in a village of 15 homes, a community that had no safe water or sanitation.

Instead, my family used to dig in the swamps during the dry season. We would fetch water for drinking, cooking and anything else necessary from a hole in the ground. It was thick with clay – as a child I thought it was milk put beneath the earth by God.

There were lots of children like me with rashes and ring worm, others with scabies. Most of them did not survive. Later, after our village was burned down during the war, most of my relatives and friends died from cholera and bloody stools during our stay in a camp for internally displaced people.

Today, the most important things that continue to motivate me are my dynamic team members, and the smiles, joy and satisfaction of people in poor communities when they finally get safe water. This is the most inspiring experience I have had.

Patrick's story can be found in our latest edition of Oasis. Download it today to read more about our work >