Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

Project Features

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"Leaving your home to go down the swamp to fetch water is like embarking on a suicide mission, especially for some groups of people and in the rainy season," said our team after returning from visiting the water source near Gbontho Mosque.

One major factor that impedes people’s access is the condition of the road. For some groups of people, while trying to climb the hill carrying their water, they slip and fall. They are then compelled to have another try. Accessibility is very difficult for certain groups of people during the rainy season when the hill, as steep as it is, becomes slippery.

All of this effort is to reach a water source that is unsafe for drinking. The open swamp is exposed to contamination such as from people who wash their clothes directly in the swamp. Then there is the garbage that collects at the bottom of the hill and all the run-off from nearby latrines and farms.

The very few people who can afford packaged water buy it from a stall not too far away from some homes in the community. This is not common though. Practically, very few people in this community can afford it.

So, they must travel to the swamp.

Because they rely on a water source that is heavily contaminated, this community experiences a high rate of cholera outbreaks as a result. The people here live in constant fear during the rainy season in particular. Diarrhea is a household word in this community. This is the result of bad water from the swamp.

To address the problem, a letter of request was written to us to rehabilitate an old hand-dug well.

We learned that the well was constructed in 2012. It stopped producing water and an attempt was made to dig deeper - but it was abandoned when the drillers hit a big rock and couldn't go any further. Now, it sits unused and unable to be rehabilitated.

We determined that a new well between the back of the mosque and the front of the chief’s house is needed to address the water crisis in this community.

What we can do:

New Well

We will be drilling this well at Gbontho Mosque. 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 pushed to the swamp for their water. By drilling this borehole, the 695 people here will have access to a reliable, safe water source.


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

Community members will learn how to make a handsfree handwashing station called the "tippy-tap." We will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals. We will highlight the need to keep latrines clean, among many other topics.

These trainings will also strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this new well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Gbontho Lane, Behind Gbontho Mosque Project complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable borehole well behind Gbontho Mosque. The students and community members no longer have to rely on unsafe water to meet their daily needs. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

New Well

The drilling of this new borehole was a success, and clean water is flowing!

"The water well is drilled a few steps away from my house and it makes it very easy for me to fetch water for my child and mother," said Isatu Fofanah.

"I am very grateful and thankful for this new water well because I can easily sneak out while my child is sleeping and fetch water for the family use."

Mr. Akai, community stakeholder, and Chief Pa Santigie celebrate

The well was dedicated on a beautiful sunny day. The dedication could not have come at any better time than that day. It was attended by the local Councilperson for the community, the town chief, a doctor, and several other stakeholders that heard about the event and decided to attend. The dedication was a time to reflect on the days when water was fetched at the bottom of a hill that was not fit for even an animal to consume.

The children were happy to play with the clean water. There was great joy to be had at this dedication.


The Process

Our teams arrived a day before starting work. The waste and supply pits were dug by our drill team with assistance from the community youth. 2 pits were dug next to the drill rig, 1 for the drill’s water supply and another for what was pulled back up out of the borehole. Since the community already struggles with finding enough water, we ordered a private supplier to deliver the water we needed for drilling.

Day 1 of drilling started with filling the 2 pits with water mixed with bentonite. A 4-inch carbide-tipped bit was fixed to the 5-foot-long drill stem. The mud pump was started to supply water to the drill rig and the drilling starts. During drilling, after every 5-foot length of drill stem put into the hole the team would take material samples. The bags were labeled 1, 2, 3, and so on. These are to be reviewed later to determine the aquifer locations.

The second day of drilling was meant to expand the hole and clear it of mud. The team reached a total depth of 99 feet.

The team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to clear out any mud and debris from drilling. After, filter pack was added so that the screened pipe would 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 3 days before doing a yield test to verify the water quantity, which ended up being 30 liters per minute at a static water level of 57.6 feet.

Yield test

With these great results, a stainless steel India MkII pump was installed. Water quality tests show that this is clean water fit for drinking!

Installing the pump

New Knowledge

Before any hygiene training, repeated phone calls and visits were made to the committee to help them understand the challenges and lack of sanitation facilities in the community. The findings from our baseline survey were brought to the attention of the water committee to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training or drilling commenced. When all the necessary and required guidelines were met, then and only then did our team of hygiene trainers go to conduct the training.

Community members at the training

The attendance for the 3 days training was nothing like what we expected. Fishing is the primary source of livelihood in this community, with fishing techniques passed down from father to son over generations. The fishing boats dock at different times during the day making it very unpredictable to make any lasting arrangements with the community members. The training started in the morning at just the time when the boats had started docking. The town chief went around the community with a bull horn trying to encourage the people to show up for the training.

The training was held outside the home of the local chief with some attendees sitting in the veranda to avoid the already hot sun. It was a beautiful sunny day with the coastal winds blowing traces of salt from the Atlantic Ocean. Before midday, the sun was already penetrating through the skin, a small reminder of what is to be expected for the rest of the day.

More than 120 people were in attendance, with at least 1 representative from each household in the community. We urged each person attending to share what they learned with at least 3 other people from the community to make sure that the lessons on hygiene and sanitation reached every person here.

Training topics covered included: Handwashing and tippy tap; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission; worms and parasites; proper care of teeth; proper care of the pump; keeping the water clean; the cost recovery system; dishracks and clotheslines; the importance of toilets; keeping the latrine clean; balanced diets; diarrhea; and HIV and AIDS.

Tippy tap construction

"The training taught me about myself and how the environment I live in shapes how my life will end up," Fatmata Kanu, a 20-year-old fish trader said to us.

"I am thankful for the training."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2019: Gbontho Lane, Behind Gbontho Mosque Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Gbontho Mosque drains community members' time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your school through the introduction 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!


Project Underwriter - Facebook Donations
St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Salem Baptist Church VBS
Mitchell Brownlie, Queensland, Australia
Sulayman and Yousuf's Campaign for Water
MY Water Project
Water You Waiting For?
Reilly 's Campaign for Water
Free The Children's Campaign for Water
Barron High School FCCLA's Campaign for Water
Learn2Serve - GWUOHS
Separett-USA Campaign for Water

And 10 other fundraising page(s)
21 individual donor(s)