Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 204 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/12/2023

Project Features

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Some of Mabendo's 204 people have to walk an hour to scoop up surface water that will undoubtedly make them sick. Most walk for around twenty minutes each way. But any distance is too far to reach water of such dubious quality.

"Our main water source is extremely far from the village," explained 50-year-old Ya Bundu Kamara, a farmer from Mabendo. "I have to use a lot of time to make a single trip of water from the water source. Imagine if I had to do more than five trips a day, the burden that would be on me!"

"I could not carry much water on my head because of the far distance from the well," said 15-year-old Fatmata. "I always find it difficult to make a trip of water to the house. It is not easy to supply my family with enough water throughout a day. This is particularly challenging."

"At [the] old age that I am, sometimes I to ask my children to fetch water for me," Ya Bundu said. "I always became worried anytime they are out to fetch water because the area is a bush and dangerous for children. There are always snakes and other wild animals around the well in the bush."

"Anytime I need to fetch water from the well, I would not go alone because the area is a bush, and it is scary for me to go there alone," Fatmata added. "I fear of being attacked by snakes or any other wild animal. I wait to join other people [when they go] to the well to fetch water. If I have any other option, I do not like fetching water from the well because it is always difficult for me to do so."

This village has never had a well. The only source of water is a hand-dug scoop hole, which is open to all forms of contamination, and doesn't have a cover to keep it safe from animals, waste, and debris. The water is dark and cloudy. And when the tide from the nearby ocean gets high enough, the water source becomes flooded with saltwater.

During the rainy season, people often place containers outside to collect rainwater. But during the dry season, the rain and the surface water that people scoop up in buckets vanishes. When this happens, people in Mabendo are left with no option but to buy water for drinking and cooking and use ocean water for washing their produce, fish, dishes, and clothes.

Understandably, this acute water crisis has negatively impacted the health of everyone in Mabendo. The most common complaints are diarrhea, dysentery, and typhoid. These illnesses, coupled with multiple journeys to the faraway water point each day, rob people of the energy to accomplish their daily tasks.

Because of the community's remote location, none of its children attend school. However, with a ready source of reliable water, community members will have more time and energy for developing their environments rather than just doing what they need to survive. With time, hopefully, this unfortunate situation will improve.

"It is difficult to live without sufficient water to drink, bathe, cook or launder clothes," Ya Bundu said. "Most of my activities need water. Some of those activities are delayed because of [the] water shortage."

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, Mabendo 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: Mabendo Community Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well in Mabendo 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.

"I was not happy to fetch water from the stream," said 13-year-old Isatu C. "It was not easy to fetch water from the stream because the road is bushy. It is hard and painful to carry a bucket of water from the swamp to my house. I am happy because of the new water well that is now in the village. It is near to my house. There is enough water from the pump, and it is clean water to drink. I [won't] go the stream anymore to fetch water."

Isatu collecting water at the new well.

"It is good now that I have a water well close to my house where I can easily fetch water to drink and to do all the work at home," Isatu continued. "It is now easy for [me] to fetch water from the well to do the morning activities at home before going to school on time."

"I used to fetch water from the stream," said 51-year-old farmer Ya Bundu Kanu. "It is a long distance from my house. The water changes color, and it would be difficult to drink. Sometimes, the stream water becomes salty. It was difficult to drink the water because of the salt taste. This caused me to drink less water for a day.

Ya Bundu pours water at the new well.

"Today, I am happy because of this new water well in this community," Ya Bandu continued. "It is an immense help to me because I [won't] fetch water from the stream again. The water is exceptionally clean and has no salt taste. I can now drink enough water from this water well at any time. I thank you all for providing us this water well.

"It was not easy for me to work [an] entire day on my farm and return to the house before going to fetch water from the stream to prepare food for my family. I got tired, but I had no option because I needed enough [water] to use at my house after I had returned from my farm. The means of fetching water from the stream was incredibly challenging for me.

Pumping water at the new well.

"Every day was a busy day for me in this community because I had activities to complete before the end of the day. The completion of certain activities was not possible because of the shortage in water at my house to use. I now have less workload for a day because I [won't] spend more time on fetching water from a long distance to my house."

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, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ward Council. 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, Isatu and Ya Bundu 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 16 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 seven 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.

One of the most impactful training topics was malaria, which has affected a lot of people in Mabendo. A local nurse whom we invited to attend asked the training participants about their understanding of malaria, and one woman shared a personal story. Her son was sick, but she preferred taking him to the local herbalist for treatment. However, after a few days of giving him herbs, he wasn't getting better. Her sister came for a visit, who admonished her for not taking him to a hospital sooner.

Demonstrating how to use a mosquito net.

When they got to the hospital, her son was diagnosed with malaria and given treatment that helped him quickly. She told the training participants what the doctors told her: that they should all sleep under a mosquito net and they should visit a clinic or hospital rather than an herbalist at the first sign of illness. Her fellow participants applauded her story as thanks for sharing it.

Another helpful topic was water contamination. One of the training facilitators showed participants a poster of a woman drinking water from a stream next to a wild animal doing the same thing. Some of the community members were surprised to learn that sharing a source of water with wildlife, which is also open to other environmental contaminants, was likely the cause of many of the community's past illnesses.

"They were happy for the training because they now know about the causes of sicknesses in their community," said our field officer, Phillip. "They promised to change their mindset about not taking safe care of the water source and not cleaning the environment. They continued talking about the topic, even as they were returning to their various houses after the training. The looks on their faces [showed] that they are ready for the change they had promised in their community."

"This training is valuable to me because of the knowledge that I gained about preventing myself from getting sick," said 40-year-old Isatu Bangura, who will serve as the well's caretaker.

Isatu on the day of the training.

"I cannot allow my compound to be untidy," Isatu continued. "I will also rush to the nearest health center anytime I get sick, or my family member gets sick. I now know the importance of having latrines in my community, and the importance of cleaning my teeth two times a day. The training urged me to change from all my bad hygiene practices. [This] will prevent me from [becoming] sick. I want to thank the organization for the hygiene training because it is a blessing for me to change my mindset from all the bad hygiene practices to good hygiene practices in this community."


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: Mabendo Community Borehole Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mabendo 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

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: "Thank you for providing us [with] safe and clean water to drink. . ."

December, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Mabendo Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Isatu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mabendo Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mabendo Community 3 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!

Farmer Isatu Bangura, 45, recalled what life was like in the Mabendo Community before her community's well was implemented last year.

"Before, I [had to] walk [a] long distance to fetch [water] from the stream. Also, the water had a taste and smell, but I managed to drink it because there was no other source of water. It was difficult for me to fetch enough water for domestic activities and to complete other domestic work," said Isatu.

Collecting water is now much simpler and faster for Isatu and the other community members in the Mabendo Community.

"Today, I'm [have] joy to have safe and clean water to drink at our doorstep. All the challenges [I had] in terms of water are over. I can do all the domestic work dealing with water that affected me before. Because of the proximity of the water point, it only takes me about 15 minutes to fetch a bucket of water," said Isatu.

Having ready access to water from the well made a difference for Isatu, allowing her to quickly collect water and complete her daily tasks.

"Thank you for providing us [with] safe and clean water to drink and to use for other activities," concluded Isatu.

Right now, there are others in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can't wait to introduce you to the next person you'll help.

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 Mabendo Community 3 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 Mabendo Community 3 – 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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