Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 209 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/11/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

In Maribo, the people cannot win when it comes to water. During the dry season, their only source of water - a swamp - dries up. Then, when the wet season comes, the swamp becomes visibly dirty from both soil and surface runoff. Either way, the 209 people of this community are left without a source of safe water.

"In the dry season, the water at the water source becomes dry," said Aminata Kaba, a 22-year-old farmer. "The little water available could not provide water for the entire community at the same time, so I have to wake up very early in the morning to fetch clean water from the water source before everyone goes there to fetch water and makes the water muddy."

The distance to the main water source is long: the shortest amount of time to walk there for anyone in Maribo is 16 minutes, stretching up to an hour for the unlucky ones. The footpath is rough in the dry season and slippery in the rainy season. During both seasons, it's hard to traverse while carrying water. The swamp is contaminated, being open to humans, animals, and garbage. And it's a dangerous area because it is often shared with venomous snakes hiding in the tall grass, especially during the dry season.

And the water isn't just inconvenient, it's unsafe. The community is plagued with diarrhea, dysentery, and skin rashes.

"I struggle a lot to fetch water from the main water source to do my domestic activities," Aminata continued. "The distance to the water source is far, and I cannot go there alone to fetch water because of the road and the dangerous area. The water source is not safe for me to stay alone for even ten minutes."

"It is very difficult for my mother alone to fetch enough water to do all the domestic activities," said 15-year-old Amara K. Because there is no school in Maribo, he is sent away during the week and only returns home on the weekends. "I assist her anytime I am back to the family."

"Our water source is far," Amara continued. "It is difficult to carry a heavy container of water on the head from the water source to the house. This causes pain on my body, which affects me in school. Most times, especially when we are engaged in farm work, we eat late because my mother [leaves] us working on the farm to fetch water to cook. She [finishes] cooking late, as she spent more time fetching water."

Aminata echoed this same sentiment. "Searching for water every day prolongs other activities on my daily schedule. I hardly have enough time to work on my farm because I need to come home earlier to fetch water to cook."

The water scarcity in Maribo holds the people back from improving their lives. With more time to farm or earn a better living, perhaps their community would have a school so they wouldn't need to send their children away. With your help, we can give them the chance to find out.

What we can do:

New Well

Where we will be drilling is centrally located and will relieve many people of the long journey to fetch water and the challenge of accessing clean 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.

By drilling this borehole, Maribo and the 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.

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, 2022: Maribo Community Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Maribo Community. As a result, community members no longer 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.

"Before I fetched water from the swamp, located far away from my village. But this swamp water is not safe to drink. I [had to] manage it because it [was] the only water source that [was] available at that time. Today, I have access to safe and pure water to drink. I will not get any contact with waterborne diseases anymore. Thanks to you for providing [this] new water well in my community," said 26-year-old trader Aminata Kabia.

Aminta celebrates water.

"I am happy today because of the new water well in my village," said 15-year-old Amara K. "Now I have access to clean water, the well is fenced, and clean water is coming out. Before, I faced constraints to get water in my village. I had to walk to the stream to fetch water every morning before going to school. Sometimes, I was late to school because the school is located far away from my village. Today, I have access to clean water to drink and [do] other housework. The pressure [of] fetching water is now over, and my life is now stable thanks to the donors."

Amara celebrates.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Port Loko District Council and the Ward Secretary. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to this water project and reminding the community members to take good care of it. Then, Aminata and Amara made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

New Well

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 and meals for the duration of their stay. The following day, 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 challenging.

Day one of drilling began as the team mixed water with bentonite, an absorbent clay, in the two dug pits. 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!

After putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole, the team took material samples. We labeled the bags to review them later and 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 17 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to remove any dirt 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. This well has a static water level of 12 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel pump. Water quality test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we called and visited the local water user committee to understand the community’s challenges and lack of sanitation facilities. We shared the findings from our discussions with the committee members to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training began. For example, we identified households without handwashing stations or ones that may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members worked together to improve hygiene and sanitation at home.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when members from each household using the water point could attend a three-day hygiene and sanitation 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, COVID-19, worms and parasites, proper dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, the importance of using dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

"The hygiene and sanitation training has helped me to know more about cleanliness in human life and learned how to take care of my community by maintaining a clean environment. Also, it helped me to stay stronger and healthy. These three days of hygiene and sanitation training have helped me so much because I now know so many things concerning good hygiene," said Aminata, quoted earlier.

The lesson on good and bad hygiene drew the participants' attention. They could identify with one of the posters showing someone sweeping near open water storage containers. An elder spoke up and encouraged everyone to follow the trainer's advice to place water containers where they cannot be contaminated in the future.

Water User Committee with their training certificates.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. When an issue arises concerning the well, community members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

October, 2022: Maribo Community Borehole Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Maribo Community 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 this 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


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