Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 236 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/15/2024

Project Features

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Nelson Mandela Secondary School was established in 2013 by Mr. Abu Mansaray who is presently a member of parliament for this community. Mr. Mansaray built the school with the aid of some community members. An initial 3 classrooms were built and the school started with just 128 students, 4 teachers, and Mr. Sokoh Sillah as the principal of the school. After 1 year, Mr. Ibrahim Sawaneh took over as principal, and over the years he built a second and third building bringing the total to 12 classrooms. The school currently has a student population of 225, of which95 are girls and 130 are boys.

The bush around the school is filled with wild fruits that keep the students very busy seeking and snacking during their lunch breaks. The school is located on the left side of the road, about 500 meters before entering Musiya village, a rural area dominated by tropical trees and wild fruits. "Every part of this country has beautiful reminders of our childhood," shared our team members.

But the school faces a major challenge - a lack of clean water. Students fetch water from a nearby stream. Buckets are lowered into the stagnant water to bring back to the school. Time spent collecting water could otherwise be directed towards studies. But the real harm is caused by the water itself. The source is open to contamination and leaves the students prone to illness.

"The major causes for students' absenteeism are dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria. These waterborne illnesses make it very difficult for students to attend school regularly," said acting principal Mohamed Turay.

The only functioning water well is located at the clinic and is subject to heavy restrictions. Both the students and the community are often not allowed to fetch water from this water point, leaving the stream as the only available water point.

What We Can Do:


To address this problem we will be drilling a new well at Nelson Mandela Secondary School. This project will relieve the people of the heavy control and rationing they are encountering at the clinic's well.

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

The water well is going to be used by the students and community members within the school compound. It will be open during the day but, since too much interference from the community is possible, the well is going to be restricted during school hours. The well is to be monitored and locked with a chain during the weekends to prevent tampering of any kind.

Sanitation and Hygiene Training

We will offer 3 consecutive days of hygiene and sanitation training. The school has latrines, but there is evidence that they are not always used. Further, there were no handwashing stations observed at the school nor at nearby households.

The training will be open to community members and students. They will learn how to make a handsfree handwashing station called a tippy-tap. We will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dishracks and the importance of properly penning in animals to keep them away from people's food and water. We will highlight the need to keep latrines clean, among many other topics.

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

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Nelson Mandela School

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to schools like Nelson Mandela School in Sierra Leone

We trained people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

With distancing and/or small groups: Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We began training communities before the first reported case of COVID-19 in the country and before the government enacted public health guidance related to it. We worked with trusted community leaders and Water User Committees to gather community members for the training. Although community members did not observe social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

February, 2020: Lokomasama, Musiya, Nelson Mandela Secondary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable borehole well at Nelson Mandela Secondary School. 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!

"This is a great blessing for this school and community. I was very tired of having our children still drinking water from the swamp," said teacher Foday Ali Kamara.

"We are forever grateful to the people that donated the money and the staff that implemented the project. They have saved a lot of lives."

The school has set up a water user committee made up of 9 members. The members were elected by a 51% majority of community people. This committee is made up of teachers and community elders with women and men sharing leadership roles. The water user committee is going to hold monthly meetings with all community members to update them on all funds collected monthly.

The school's Head Girl and Head Boy celebrate the clean water

The water point was dedicated on a Friday afternoon. The dedication was witnessed by the village elders, chief, and council representative. The students also participated in the dedication and carried the news back to their parents. The Head Girl and the Head Boy gave thanks to all of the people for the implementation of this project.

The Process

Our team deployed to the Nelson Mandela Secondary School in Musiya Village and were given a classroom as living quarters for the duration of their visit.

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.

Students carry water 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 14.24 meters.

The team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to clear out any mud and debris from drilling. After, the 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 40 liters per minute at a static water level of 9.09 meters.

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

New Knowledge

The parents and legal guardians were happy to be invited to the school for a hygiene training. The mention of the water well rekindled their interest in their children receiving clean water. The parents, teachers, students, and other community members were out in full force to make sure that clean water would finally be available year-round.

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 user committee to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training or drilling could commence. When all the necessary and required guidelines were met, then and only then did our team of hygiene trainers go to conduct the training.

More than 250 students and community members were in attendance for the 3 days of training. The large crowd was seated outside under the shaded palm trees lined behind the school. The beautifully trimmed palm trees provided the best palm oil and also a shady environment for the children to spend most of their time during their lunch hour.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy-taps; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission and prevention; 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 doll; and HIV and AIDS.

During the oral hygiene training, laughter erupted when the hygiene team pulled out a large set of teeth and a giant toothbrush. The tooth and gum mold is used to teach people the proper way of brushing teeth. People quickly turned serious when they learned about the importance of oral care, especially for the children who still have all of their teeth!

In another activity, we used posters to help illustrate disease transmission. People were split into groups to work together to map out how diseases can spread from one person to another. The lack of proper sanitation and hygiene facilities are the main contributors to the disease transmission that is continually affecting all corners of the country. Examples of the effects are the recent Cholera and Ebola epidemics in Sierra Leone.

"The training has made us aware of certain things that will change our lives in more ways than one. The disease transmission starts with poor handwashing and sanitation facilities," said Mohamed Turay, a teacher at the school.

"Handwashing stations are going to be placed all over the school compound and also at my home. I have to lead by example. The children and parents look up to teachers as trendsetters in all areas of life and education."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2019: Lokomasama, Musiya, Nelson Mandela Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Lokomasama, Musiya, Nelson Mandela Secondary School drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know the community 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 - The Hermosillo Family
Tiny Pebbles Foundation
John Jay Intensive Instruction
29 individual donor(s)