Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 240 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/30/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The Fire Force Barracks are just around the corner from our office in Tintafor - a place in the far west of Lungi, Sierra Leone. We actually drive through this area quite a bit and have thus been able to witness the need for ourselves.

This community was established in 1945 by the Sierra Leone government because of the opening of Freetown Airport. These barracks are for the fire personnel who are always on standby. Each household has at least one adult who is employed by the nearby airport.


The children living here wake up as early as 5am to fetch water. They return home with it to wash the dishes from the previous night's dinner, and then they get to eat leftover bread or rice. They use the rest of their water to take a bath. The children have to go back out to fetch water after school, too.

There aren't any clean water points in this area. To find clean water, children have to walk to the neighboring community to one of our wells. When a child chooses to take the trip for clean water, they're willing to spend at least an hour lined up waiting for their turn. This well is already very busy with its own local users.

Waiting in a long line is often tense for these children, with fights breaking out when someone tries to sneak ahead in line. With such a high population in Tintafor, we know that each part should have its own clean water source. We've witnessed the long lines at the neighboring community's well too.

To avoid the line, women and children often walk to the swamp for water. They must go down and up a steep hill to get the water, but there's no line. Containers are dunked under the water's surface wherever a person can find enough room. Community members say it's normal to have to make at least two or three trips each day to the swamp.

There is also an unprotected, old well that sometimes has water inside. During the time of our visit at the peak of the dry season, this wasn't being used. When there happens to be water, a bucket and rope can be lowered down.

"We are often exposed to sexual harassment from boys that loiter around the water source area," 16-year-old Maya Kargbo told us.

"Also, lateness to school often leads to poor performance and therefore bad grades. More so, tiredness as a result of water-pumping and transportation leads to a greater energy loss. These and other effects have been plaguing me so much that I feel psychologically tortured at times."


Every household around the barracks has its own pit latrine, and all of these are made of cement. They are swept and scrubbed with water kept nearby.

However, people are missing other important sanitation tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings. It's especially dangerous to have kitchen utensils just sitting out on the ground.

"The current state of hygiene and sanitation in this community is not too encouraging. Sometimes our kitchen utensils are left unclean dirty cloth are all over the room. We also have limited finances to practices proper hygiene and sanitation," Mr. Augustine Sesay said.

Here's what we're going to do about it:


There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.

The hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members about the importance of building a latrine, how to build a hand-washing station, and more. They will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals. Pictures will be used to teach the community how to discern between healthy and unhealthy hygiene and sanitation practices.

These trainings will also result in a water user committee that manages and maintains the new well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.


The community will be meeting together to determine the best location for their new well, and then we’ll confirm the viability of their choice. Wherever the drill site, we know clean water will be extremely close to everyone in such a small village!

Our team will drive over the LS200 mud rotary drill rig and set up camp for a couple of nights. Once the well is drilled to a sufficient water column, it will be cased, developed, and then tested. If these tests are positive, our mechanics will install a new India Mark II pump.

This community has been drinking dirty water from the swamp and is suffering the consequences. By drilling this borehole, the area around Fire Force Barracks in Tintafor Community will be provided with plenty of safe, clean drinking water of their own.

This project is a part of our shared program with Mariatu’s Hope. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Sierra Leone.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Tintafor, Fire Force

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tintafor, Fire Force in Sierra Leone access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Tintafor, Fire Force. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

August, 2018: Fire Force Barracks Community Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point in Tintafor Community, already providing clean water to families! People here no longer have to rely on dirty water from the swamp. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines.

New Knowledge

We began inviting community members to attend hygiene and sanitation training as soon as our first visit. They heard about the importance of training face to face, and then we followed up by making calls to our contact person on the WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) committee. The morning of training, we went house to house calling people to the venue, under a shady mango tree. We got such an encouraging crowd for the first day, made up of about 80 people.

Our trainer, Zainab, and several of the participants.

Everyone was engaged with what we were teaching and would scramble to be selected when we called for volunteers.

The use of illustrations to tell a story was impactful here. Our story mirrors what happens in most unhygienic households in this region, so everyone understands how they fit into the story. In most settings, diseases are transmitted via domestic animals. The story starts with a fowl feeding on feces, the same fowl returning home, and then coming into contact with the family meal. This family feasted on their meal and all hell broke loose. Each and every member of the family was infected with diarrhea. Every picture we held up depicted a scene in the story for people to follow along. People even laughed at some points, because they knew for sure this was something happening in their own kitchens.

Most adults, not just kids, take handwashing for granted in Sierra Leone. So the presenter started by asking them, "How many of us here eat without washing our hands?"

Almost all the people raised their hands and you can see the honesty in this response. They were surprised to learn that diseases are mostly transmitted via the hands.

This was illustrated by the presenter calling on a few volunteers, asking them to dunk their hands into a container of glitter and then shake hands with other participants. There was a big transfer of glitter from the handshaking, so this really drove the topic home. Participants were eager to jump into our next session to learn how to make their own handwashing station, called a "tippy tap."

Making tippy taps

People also learned about nutrition, other important sanitation facilities like dish racks and clotheslines, oral rehydration solutions, bed nets to prevent malaria and pump care.

"I personally learned a lot from this training. This is my first time to know what a tippy tap is and its importance. I have even made my own because I can see the way it conserves water," shared Mr. Lawrence Conteh.

"I am convinced that if people in this community apply all that we've been taught, we will drive away malaria and cholera in this community."

New Well

We worked with the community to select a spot central to everyone. The first spot the community wanted wasn't good because it had latrines nearby and would flood during heavy rain. We found out the second spot didn't have good water, but third time's the charm! The spot at the extreme end of an empty field could yield safe, clean water.

Two pits were dug next to the drill rig, one for the drill’s water supply and another for what was pulled back up out of the borehole. We ordered tanks of water to supply the drilling since the community's source is far too long of a walk.

Day one of drilling started with filling the two pits with water mixed with bentonite. A 4″ carbide tipped bit was fixed to the five-foot-long drill stem. The mud pump was started to supply water to the drill rig and the drilling starts. During drilling, the team, after every five-foot length of drill stem put into the hole, would take material samples. The bags were labeled, 1, 2, 3 etc, and these are to be reviewed later to determine the aquifer locations.

They found red clay for the first 35 feet, sand until 50 feet, and then red clay again. The team drilled until they hit black clay, which would affect the quality of water. The second day of drilling was meant to expand the hole and clear it of mud. This well's total depth is 105 feet, with everything going smoothly.

The team forcefully pumps clean water into the well to clear our any mud and debris from drilling. After, filter pack is added so that the screened pipe will be protected. The temporary drilling casing was hoisted out so that we could fortify the pipes with cement.

The well was bailed by hand for three days before a yield test to verify the water quantity, which ended up being 36.9 liters per minute at a static water level of 55 feet. With these great results, a stainless steel India MkII pump was installed. Water quality tests show that this is clean water fit for drinking!

A celebration is part of every water project. When we arrived in Tintafor, we found several people already fetching water from the well. The crowds stepped back so that leaders from the community could speak words of thanks and encourage their neighbors to take good care of their new water well. Once everyone was done talking, the crowds gathered to sing and dance.

"There is a huge relief in this community ever since this water point has been installed. Our kids do not need to spend half the day searching for water to run back home. Yes, some of us can afford packaged water but that can only be for drinking and not enough for domestic use. In fact, water from this well is safer than the packaged waters around!" exclaimed Mr. Ken Foday.

"So we are now free from diarrhea and cholera because nobody will drink from the swamp water source again. We are very grateful and thankful to the donors and the staff."

Yes, the drill team had challenges. The first spot did not meet the required standards, and they had to move to another location. At the next location, they drilled for more than 70 feet only to learn that the discharge rate at this spot would not have a reliable yield to support the community throughout the year. They had to spend extra days trying to develop the well with the hope that things would improve. But this hope was finally given up, and they had to move to a third drill spot. Here, things went much better. Perseverance indeed leads to success.

Our team demonstrates time and time again that it is not about putting a hole in the ground, but is about providing year-round access to safe drinking water. It is about persevering through the hard times to deliver the highest quality.

June, 2018: Clean Water Coming to Tintafor Community

Dirty water from the swamp is making people in Tintafor Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!

Giving Update: Tintafor, Fire Force

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tintafor, Fire Force in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Marie Gibateh. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Tintafor Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor Community 3 maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

The availability of this well has completely brought positive change to people in Tintafor, said well caretaker Miatta Lansana to us during a recent visit. The huge burden of going down Banda Wharf to fetch water has been eliminated.

People used to travel a mile to the source just to get water that was not even safe for drinking. Children and elderly residents struggled especially due to the fact that the walk back, with the heavy containers of water, was up a long hill.

These problems are in the past thanks to the completion of the well a year ago.

"You have assisted greatly in giving us safe, clean, and pure drinking water," said Mrs. Lansana.

There is also a significant fall in reported cases of waterborne diseases. The people are now drinking from a pure water source that is free from contamination. The days of fear of a cholera attack in this community are quickly becoming history.

"Life has completely changed for the better," said 15-year-old Marie Gibateh.

"Fetching water down that hill was not an easy task. Now the distance to the well is almost a stone's throw away which makes it easier to fetch water."

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor Community 3 maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Tintafor Community 3 – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.