Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/20/2024

Project Features

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The early bird gets the worm, is the best way to describe how Rotain Community life works for the 670 people living here. Rotain means the hill or mountain. The town on the hill according to the Temne language. The village is made up of Temne speaking people and the great thing about this part of the country is the mixture between the two dominant tribes of Temne and Susu. The large trees overhang and create great shade for people to escape the hot scorching sun. The homes are built on either side of the road with a few people that have decided to build away from everyone else.

Children's lives are never dull, from the crack of dawn to sunset; it is filled with work and more work. The young girls get up very early in the morning to fetch water and clean the environment. The best time to fetch water is very early in the morning and later in the afternoon. The community has an existing water point that has collapsed over three years ago. It has been challenging for people to get clean water.

The young boys have to tend to the farm. The most common livelihood is processing palm oil, palm kernel oil, and farming. There are two types of farming, dry and swamp farming. On the other hand, the men are responsible for providing for the family, and never in their lifetime do they carry water on their heads. The responsibility for water and household items rely solely on women.

There is only one water source for the entire village. Hard times come when the dry season is at its peak. The time when all once flowing water sources feel the pinch of the ever-increasing effects of climate change. The collapsed well contaminated, making the water that people collect from it unsafe for consumption. The dangers of going to the swamp or stream to fetch water, beyond the fact that the water is also unsafe for drinking, are too plentiful to list.

"We are tired of drinking water from the swamp," said Moseray Bangura, a local farmer.

"Because the only reliable water is at the swamp, so all chores requiring the use of water are done at the swamp, except cooking. We spend so much time at the swamp that only when it is nightfall do we get the opportunity to return."

What we can do:

New Well

We will be drilling this well at Rotain Village. This project will relieve the people here of the their water challenges.

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 open contaminated well for their water. By drilling this borehole, Rotain Village will be provided with plenty of accessible clean drinking water.


We will hold three consecutive days of hygiene and sanitation training for the entire community. We will focus on personal hygiene, safe water handling, and disease prevention, among other topics.

Community members will learn how to make a handsfree handwashing station called the tippy-tap. We will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, in addition to teaching about other tools and practices like using dishracks, clotheslines, and the importance of properly penning in animals to keep them away from human food and water. We will also highlight the need to keep restrooms clean.

Training will also strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this new well. These leaders will be prepared to solve minor repairs and maintenance at the well, and they will enforce proper behavior at the water point. The committee will report to us whenever they need our help in solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

February, 2021: Lokomasama, Rotain Village Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable borehole well at Rotain Village. 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!

"We have been complaining and asking for help for a very long time. Access to clean and safe water for this community will greatly improve our health situation in the village. As a youth leader, all activities that come through my village must come through me. I am very happy for the good deed these angels of mercy have accomplished. There are no words to describe our gratitude," shared Gbassay Kamara, a farmer who lives near the well.

The celebration started on the day the pump was installed. For more than twenty years, the community has lived without a clean and safe source of water. The only hand-dug water point had been non-functional for that entire tire, and this is the first time a borehole has ever been dug in this village.

People from the neighboring villages as well as the community were all present for the handing over ceremony. The area's Councilor, regent chief, and scores of other people prayed, laughed, and sang songs together, giving thanks to the Almighty. The Councilor and headman gave thanks to our team for the tireless efforts we made through thick and thin to ensure the project was successful.

"This well will help me achieve good health by drinking safe water, and I will no longer be late for school by walking long distances in search of water. I will now launder my uniform with clean water easily at any time I come home from school," said student Mariatu.

The Process

The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all of their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The community provided space for them to store their belongings and meals for the duration of their stay. The next morning, we began work.

Due to events out of our control, the borehole drilling had to be repeated at a different location because the initial drilling was not successful. On the first attempt, the team encountered a rock that they could not penetrate. If turned into a well as deep as the rock, the well would not yield sufficient and clean water. So, we had to condemn the first site and choose a new location just across the street. This location proved successful for the drill team, and so the work continued.

The team dug two pits next to the drill rig, one for the drill’s water supply and another for what is pulled out of the borehole. In some cases, we order a private supplier to deliver the water for drilling since water access is already a struggle.

Day one of drilling starts by filling the two pits with water mixed with bentonite. A four-inch carbide-tipped bit is fixed to the five-foot-long drill stem. The mud pump starts to supply water to the drill rig, and the drilling begins. The team takes a material sample after every five-foot length of drill stem is put into the hole. The bags were labeled and reviewed later to determine the aquifer locations.

On the second day of drilling, the team expands the hole and clears it of mud. The team reached a total depth of 28 meters.

The team forcefully pumps clean water into the well to clear out any mud and debris from drilling. After, the screened pipe is protected by adding a filter pack. The team hoists the temporary drilling casing to fortify the pipes with cement.

The well is bailed by hand for three days before conducting a yield test to verify the water quantity. This well's yield was 20 liters per minute, at a static water level of 18 meters.

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

New Knowledge

In this area of Sierra Leone, it is always the best approach to work with the water user committee, local village head, or village chief, and to seek the Councilor's involvement in any particular ward when organizing a training. Our hygiene and sanitation team and community engagement team made several visits and phone calls to the community and water use committee before training to understand better the community’s challenges and lack of sanitation facilities.

We brought the findings from our baseline survey to the committee’s attention to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training or drilling could commence. When all the required guidelines were met, only then did our team of hygiene trainers go to conduct the training.

The committee provided the best time and venue for training that would result in the biggest training turnout possible while observing COVID-19 event regulations. The hygiene team made a special visit to notify each household within the community to provide a bamboo stick that would be used as a training tool. That information quickly sparked their interest, and every member of the community promised to be present or send a representative.

The community was already involved in a village savings and loan program with weekly meetings in a large structure. However, to best meet COVID-19 guidelines, we agreed to host the training outside next to the second well that is to be rehabilitated since sitting in a well-ventilated environment is the best practice right now.

There are a total of 90 households in this community. Almost every household sent a representative each day of the three days of training. Due to the urgency in dealing with farm and livelihood issues, some community people were unable to attend since this is the time of year when farmers have to pay close attention to their crops.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission and prevention; worms and parasites; proper care of teeth; adequate care of the pump; keeping the water clean; the cost recovery system; dish racks and clotheslines; the importance of toilets; keeping the latrine clean; balanced diets; the diarrhea doll; and HIV and AIDS.

"This is by far the most important training I have ever attended. Bamboo sticks were always used to dry clothes and places to sit. Having learned this new idea of using bamboo sticks to make handwashing stations has awakened my creative spirits," said Gbassay Kamara.

"I have not only learned that there are more uses of bamboo, but I will also look within our community to see if there are other local materials that we can use to improve our lifestyle in the village. I am very grateful for the knowledge, and we are now looking at ways of improving what we have been taught in training. All this training and provision of clean and safe water is done for our safety and wellbeing."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Lokomasama, Rotain Village Underway!

Community members in Rotain Village do not have a reliable source for water. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point in the community and much more.

Get to know this 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 news of success!

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!

A Year Later: Danger from the Swamp is Over!

March, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Rotain Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for N’mbalu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Rotain Community 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!

N'mbalu B., 13, shared what collecting water was like for her community before they had a new well installed last year. "It was a painful moment for everyone living in this community but there was no choice but have to continue living in a deplorable situation because my father could not afford money to construct a well for us. He has so many of us to take care [of], so we were left with no option than to go down [to] the swamp to fetch water."

"Now, I am happy, because I am not going down the swamp again to fetch water and my life is free from danger. Snakes cannot scare me again because I not going that way any longer. I am grateful that I do not have business with scorpions and spiders on the road."

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 Rotain Community 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 Rotain Community – 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.


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