Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 984 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/02/2024

Project Features

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Saint Augustine Primary School was founded in 1971 by Catholic priest Joseph Millan. It began with just 5 classrooms and 72 students. Over nearly half a century later, thousands of students have been fortunate to pass through these buildings to bigger and better things. In the 1970s, girls were discouraged from attending school, but over time, that changed. The student population has increased steadily, making this primary school one of the most sought-after in the area for both girls and boys.

Despite this, the school still does not have a water source on its grounds.

The students use a well located at the neighboring nursery school, or one in the community located farther away from the school. The nursery school locks the gate during the school day, forcing students at Saint Augustine to walk to the community well. Often, both locations refuse to allow the students to fetch water, forcing the students to travel even farther.

Without a reliable water source at the school, the 984 students' education is consistently disrupted.

"As a Head Boy, it is my responsibility to make sure there is water in all of the classrooms," explained pupil Victor. "The class head is responsible for choosing the people who are to fetch water for the day. Fetching water is based on who is a continuous noisemaker in school. I sometimes escort the students to fetch water, or the Head Teacher does it to guarantee a chance at fetching."

The students are expected to fetch water throughout the day, starting before school and making their last trip shortly before school lets out. Each classroom is expected to provide drinking water for its pupils. Nearby hand-dug wells are increasingly unreliable due to a decreasing water table caused by climate change.

"I have had to personally visit the Head Mistress of the nursery school to allow my students to fetch buckets of water before the compound is closed. I leave my duties and turn into an escort for my students. I never really understood what my students were going through until I witnessed the ordeal of trying to get just a bucket of water. I was overly frustrated," said Head Teacher Mohamed Fofanah.

What we can do:

New Well

We will be drilling a new borehole well that is centrally located and will relieve many people, including these students and teachers, of the long or difficult journey to fetch water.

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 school and community have been pushed to open and contaminated wells for their water. By drilling this borehole, the school and surrounding community will be provided with plenty of accessible clean drinking water.


There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row. School and community members will learn how to make a hands-free 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 restrooms clean, among many other topics.

This training 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 in solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

December, 2021: St. Augustine Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable borehole well at St. Augustine Primary School. As a result, 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.

Students celebrating clean water!

New Well

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

"Now, I can play because there is enough water at the school to drink and clean or even use the toilet. The new water well is good because according to my class teacher, we are now going to be having drinking buckets in every classroom so that we can drink water anytime we need [it]," said Princess D., 11.

Princess (on the left) is excited about clean water.

Teachers were just as excited as the students about the new well on campus.

Teacher Mohamed Fofanah, 45, said, "Students and teachers were not comfortable at the school because there was little or no water to drink and use the sanitation facilities. My students were at risk drinking any type of water they would be given. Most of those were contaminated water, which had a greater chance to be infected by waterborne diseases. The access to safe and sufficient water at the school is now a good thing that I must always appreciate."

Mr. Fofaneh is overjoyed with clean water at the school.

The Process

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

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

Day one of drilling began with the team filling the two pits with water mixed with bentonite, an absorbing, swelling clay. Next, the team fixed a four-inch carbide-tipped bit to the five-foot-long drill stem. They started the mud pump to supply water to the drill rig so that drilling could begin! The team took material samples after putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole. We labeled the bags so we could review them later to determine the aquifer locations.

On the second day of drilling, the team expanded the hole and cleared it of mud. After reaching a total depth of 29 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to clear any mud and debris from the drilling process. We then protected the screened pipe by adding a filter pack. The team hoisted the temporary drilling casing to fortify the pipes with cement.

Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days before conducting a yield test to verify the water quantity. The yield of this well was several liters per minute, with a static water level of 29 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel India MkII pump. Water quality test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we developed a plan with the school administration and the water committee regarding the upcoming hygiene and sanitation training. They decided to hold the training for four days to train particular teachers and students who could share the knowledge they acquired with other teachers, students, and community members.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when teachers and students could attend the multi-day training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, worms and parasites, dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

One of the topics the teachers enjoyed learning most was proper handwashing. One said she is not used to regular handwashing and wipes her hands on her clothes when she coughs, sneezes, or touches something unclean. She thought it was a good practice until hearing differently at the training. Every teacher gladly accepted the new proper handwashing protocols for the school and highlighted action points to change the current unsanitary practices at the school.

Teacher Mohamed Fofaneh, 45, shared, "During the training, I learned a lot about personal hygiene, keeping the school and community safe from disease. The new knowledge that I have gained from the hygiene training is as follows: the techniques in handwashing, good and bad hygiene practices, the spread of worms, and the importance of sleeping inside treated bed nets."

Teacher Mohamed Fofaneh.

He went on to share how he will be a part of sharing the new information. "This knowledge I have gathered so far during this hygiene training will be beneficial to my school and the community at large. It will be done through hygiene training for pupils in my school, community sensitization, [and the] teachers association meeting every term."

Susan Z., student.

Susan Z., 14, said, "During the training, I learned about the construction of the tippy tap and healthy and unhealthy community. Some people are doing the wrong practices that are not good for our health. But because I have learned about the way to good health, I will not do anything that will bring sickness in my life."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2021: St. Augustine Primary School Gate New Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Augustine Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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!

A Year Later: Answered Prayers!

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tintafor St. Augustine Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Affsatu. 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 St. Augustine Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor St. Augustine Primary School 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!

Last year, St. Augustine Primary School in Tintafor had no source of water on school grounds, which made life for both students and teachers difficult and unsanitary.

"Before this time, we were having a lot of constraints because of the unavailability of water [at] our school," said ten-year-old Affsatu K. "We had to go outside the school compound just to find water to drink. By the time we returned to our various classes, we were already late."

"For too long, the children of this school used to go far distances to fetch water, and even the conditions of the school were deplorable because of the unavailability of water [on] the school premises," said headteacher Mohamed Fofanah.

But now that the school has its own well, students no longer have to interrupt their routines to get water.

"We're very much happy for [this] great help [you] have done for us," Affsatu said. "Now, we can boast about the pure and safe drinking water in the school compound. We don't go outside the school anymore in search of water. This big help has improved our lives in the school. Our prayers have been answered by God. We were praying for this opportunity, and now [you] have done it for us, which is a big achievement."

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 St. Augustine Primary School 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 St. Augustine Primary School – 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.