Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 339 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/22/2024

Project Features

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In Kenkelie village, the danger lies not only in drinking the contaminated water from the swamp but from fetching it, too. In the past year, two women have died on the journey to collect water for their families, both having received venomous snake bites that weren't treated fast enough. One was not yet 20 years old, having just been married.

The price of water for Kenkelie's 339 residents isn't always paid immediately. Sometimes, the issues are more insidious. Over time, cases of typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and parasitic infestation will weaken bodies and immune systems, leaving them vulnerable (that is, if someone isn't killed by the infection itself). Kenkelie's children drink discolored, algae-ridden water every day.

"I am fortunate to have a good water source at my primary school, but unfortunate to not have access to clean water in my community," said 12-year-old Kadiatu S. seen at the swamp in the photo above. "Drinking water from a pump and then later drinking water from the stream upsets my stomach, sometimes causing me to have a runny stomach. I miss school sometimes because I do not want to have any accidents while in class."

Trader Koloneh Kamara, 40, seen in the photo below collecting water from the swamp, explained to us why a borehole well in the center of town would mean so much to her. "I am one of the people that will greatly benefit from the construction of this water point. As far back as I can remember, I have had a problem with my hip. Probably from a fall, but [it's been] too long to actually remember from what. I walk with a limp, and sometimes the pain is so much that I spend days crying in agony. I have used native medicines and also treatment from the local clinic, but no remedy has been found. I cannot go to the stream. I always have to pay for water."

And it's understandable why Koloneh wouldn't be able to reach the stream with her disability, given that each trip to the stream takes Kadiatu who is young and able-bodied 30 minutes or more. Those 30 minutes may not sound like much on their own. But then Kadiatu explained all the chores that require her to make multiple trips to the swamp each day.

"I am one of the young people that make my way to the stream several times during the day," Kadiatu said. "I am there in the morning before going to school and in the evening. My parents use the water for cooking, drinking and the most use of all is to process palm oil. Making palm oil takes a lot of water, and most of it goes on my head. The worst time is on the weekends when I do laundry, cooking, and finish the fetching started during the week."

But Kadiatu's hours wasted home sick from school and trudging to and from the swamp should soon be given back to her. And Koloneh will soon be able to save the money she once spent acquiring such a necessary commodity.

"The site chosen for the construction of the water point is a stone's throw from my house," Koloneh concluded. "I bless the entire organization for thinking about such help for people like me."

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, Kenkelie Village 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

August, 2022: Kenkelie Community Borehole Well Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Kenkelie 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 used to fetch water from the stream," said 13-year-old Yatu. "The way to Kora stream is far and the area is dangerous for me alone to fetch water. I would wait to go along with other people to fetch water and return to the house."

Yatu, in the yellow shirt, splashes water with other kids from Kenkelie.

"Going to the stream every day to fetch water was not an easy task for me," Yatu continued. "I had to carry a heavy bucket of water on my head to bring to my house and I [made multiple] trips of water to serve my family. The stream water would get dirty because of the way people fetched or used it. I had to wait until it got clean before I could fetch water."

Yatu at the new well.

"The new pump is good, and I can now get clean water to drink," Yatu said. "I [won't have to] wait for anyone to fetch water because the pump is at the center of this village and opposite my house. I can just walk to fetch water from the pump."

"This new pump can provide me enough water to do everything that I must do before going to school," Yatu concluded. "My mother will not struggle to use [a] little amount of water to cook, and everyone at the house will bathe with enough water. This new pump is now helping me to do all my daily activities quickly, and I am happy for that."

"It was not easy to fetch water in this village," said 41-year-old farmer Koloneh Kamara, who we interviewed when we first visited Kenkelie.

Koloneh fetching water before versus now.

"It is not easy to fetch water from the stream, especially when I had to make [multiple] trips. The stream water is dark in color, and sometimes it is filthy when the demand to fetch water is high."

Koloneh, in the pink shirt, smiles as one of the community elders fills a container with water.

"It is good that we now have a new pump in this village that is easy to access and at my own will. I am happy because I had suffered to fetch water from the stream. I cannot hesitate to drink the pump water because it is clean, and chlorine is applied to it, which is making the water safe for us to drink," Koloneh said.

"From now henceforth, I will not be fetching water from the stream. Drinking water from this pump will protect me from getting sick. I can also fetch enough water from the pump that I will store to use anytime there is a need for water at my house. It is now good that I have access to this new pump that is close to my house, at which I can fetch enough water to complete my palm oil production. Other domestic activities like laundering of clothes, cooking, and bathing are quite easy now to complete because there is enough water from this pump that I will easily fetch 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 staff and students to take good care of it. Then, Yatu and Koloneh 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 21 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 most notable topic was when we compared good versus bad hygiene practices, during which the entire assembly went silent out of guilt. All of the latrines in the community lacked doors and covers, which means excrement can easily be tracked into households by wildlife and humans. The children of the community have also been practicing open defecation, which can spread disease easily.

Another topic that caused a lot of discussion was nutrition, which we demonstrate using a three-legged stool that represents major food groups: when one leg of the stool is taken away, the whole stool falls. Kenkelie's people held a lot of traditional beliefs with regard to certain foods like eggs, fish, and bananas.

The three-legged stool in action.

One local church leader stood up and said that these beliefs are outdated, and when he recently went to the health clinic the staff there told him that eating these foods won't cause disease and will actually help him live a healthy life and boost his immune response. Everyone gathered applauded his statement, thanking him for his story.

30-year-old trader N'mah Suma shared what she learned during the training. "This training is very important to me because it has really helped to change my life for the better. Before, I was never aware of the bad practices that I was doing because I had little or no knowledge about how harmful they were to me, my community, and [my] family. I personally was just practicing what I believed was best for me without listening to anybody, not knowing that I was just harming myself."

N'mah on the day of the training.

"I never knew that giving children good foods, mostly eggs, fish, and fruits, helps them grow healthy and strong. In the area of personal hygiene, cleaning our teeth is very important because some of us have never in life had the opportunity to have formal education. But with the knowledge from this training, I can now take proper care of myself, children, and [our] environment, and I am encouraging my fellow community members to do the same."


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!

June, 2022: Kenkelie Community Well Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kenkelie 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 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: "We are happy because we [are] strong and healthy because of the safe drinking water."

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kenkelie 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!

Foday Kargbo, 64, recalled what life was like in Kenkelie before his community’s well was implemented last year.

"I am here to say thank you for your help by providing safe drinking water. We were suffering from so many sicknesses which we got from [the] water we drank in past years. We dug a small pit down the valley where the women usually go to fetch water," said Foday.

But life is much safer for Foday and the other community members in Kenkelie Community now.

"Now, I am here to say thank you again to those who helped us to have safe drinking water because we don't have those sicknesses again like before. We are happy because we [are] strong and healthy because of the safe drinking water," Foday said.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Foday, allowing him better health and the surety of drinking clean water.

"Our goal was to have safe drinking [water] and also live a good healthy life," concluded Foday.

Thank you for helping Foday access clean water, and look forward to a healthier future.

Right now, there are others just like him 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.

Foday Kamara outside the new well.

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 Kenkelie 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 Kenkelie 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.


109 individual donor(s)