Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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The community of Madina, comprised of 300 people, has seen its share of hardships, and accessing clean water year-round has been challenging to say the least.

The hand-dug well most rely on goes dry for part of the year. Two years ago, when the water well was dry, the community members gathered resources like cement and paid workers to deepen the well, but it did not solve the drying problem. There is another well at a nearby school, but it is kept off-limits so the students have enough water.

The best time to fetch water from the well is very early in the morning, before everyone else has collected water and before the morning traffic starts. People must cross a busy road, dodging speeding trucks, cars, and motorcycles to get to the water point. It is a serious danger as there have been many accidents involving children and adults, and sadly, some have resulted in permanent disability or death.

Francess L., 12, said, "I was born in the community and have spent most of my life here. My grandmother always stands at the side of the road to make sure we cross safely when we are going to fetch water or attend church. Two of my classmates have been hit by cars and left with pain and scars all over their bodies."

It is especially risky when the ferry to Freetown has landed or is about to depart, which occurs five times a day. The population of vehicles swells, and they show no mercy to pedestrians who are trying to cross.

One parent stated that when they are too busy to supervise their children crossing the road, they prefer to pay for water to be fetched and taken to their home. But most of the people in this community cannot afford three meals per day, let alone pay for water.

Free access to the hand-dug well is also a challenge. The individual in charge of the well has taken it upon himself to claim it as his personal property and use it as a car wash business. The soap from washing vehicles next to the water source is most likely contaminating the water, and several times drivers have been caught urinating on the fence of the water well.

As you can see from the photo above, the well has fallen into disrepair. It is not adequately maintained or chlorinated, and it is used nonstop without maintenance. Sadly, the owner controls all the money collected from community members that is meant for repairs, which means badly needed repairs are not being done.

Francess said it best: "It will be much better for the entire community to have a water source on the side with the most homes to save the lives of us children and our mothers."

Hopefully, the proposed new well will provide community members with safe access to clean, sufficient water all year round.

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, Madina 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

September, 2022: Madina Borehole Well Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Madina Community. As a result, (the students and) 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.

"Today, I want to take this moment to say thanks to the donors as well [as] the staff," said 68-year-old trader Shebura Conteh. "For the past years, this community hardly got access to safe, pure water. Before, [the] children [would] normally cross the road to fetch water. But today, all this has been put to an end. I say plenty thanks to all. This new water well will impact my life because the water is safe and pure to drink, I will not drink contaminated water anymore."

Shebura pours water while community members celebrate.

"Before, I [would] normally open my business late and go to work late," Shebura continued. "When I reached home, I struggled to bathe because there was not enough water at the house. But today, all [the] water crises facing this community are ended. Now, I will go to work early and bathe on time."

"Today, I am happy for this new water well in my community," said 15-year-old Rebecca L. "Before, I used to cross the Ferry Road to fetch water. This road is always busy, with vehicles passing at high speed, especially when the ferry arrives at Targrin. I am afraid of crossing, and this situation put my life at risk. All these challenges are over. Before, I drank water that is not safe, but today, I have safe and pure water to drink, and [it] will contribute to my health. I say thanks to the donors [who] provided [a] new water well in my community."

Rebecca pours water.

"[This well] will help [me] to achieve my goals," Rebecca continued. "Before, I walked [a] far distance to fetch water to bathe, then I prepared to go to school. Now, I will not [be] late anymore. I will fetch enough water home and launder my uniform on time as well [as] my clothes."

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 Ministry of Water Resources, the Port Loko District Council, and the Ward Council.

Dignitaries celebrate the new waterpoint with the community.

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, Shabura and Rebecca 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 24 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 13 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.

Disease transmission discussion.

The topic that sparked the most discussion was disease transmission, during which we asked participants to put posters of how diseases spread in order by occurrence. Ironically, while participants were doing this, one person spotted a woman walking about town trading rice and beans who left her food uncovered, and flies were on the food. Everyone at the training agreed that they felt sorry for her customers and that they must be diligent to vet the food traders they buy from to ensure they won't contract diseases.


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!

April, 2022: Madina Community Project Delay

Everyone in Madina is excited for their new borehole well. However, we encountered some unforeseen issues while drilling: the well failed our yield test, which records the flow and recharge rates of the water. A failed yield test means the well might pump out water very slowly or even dry up entirely if we were to present it to the community as it currently stands.

Our teams drill our first attempt at a well in Madina.

However, this conundrum has only stumped us momentarily. We're exploring alternative methods, locations, and ideas to get reliable water to the people of Madina...doing so might just take us a little longer than planned!

We're always open to conversations about our process and are happy to answer your questions. And, if you get a notice like this, it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

February, 2022: Madina Community Borehole Construction Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Madina 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: "I'm Very Healthy and Strong!"

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Madina Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Madina Community 2 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!

Francess L, 13, recalled what life was like in the Madina Community before her community's well was installed last year.

"In the past, we were suffering to fetch water. We were crossing the street to fetch water, and the water was not pure to drink. We were suffering to launder our uniform because we are students; if you don't launder your uniform, they wouldn't be clean," said Francess.

But now there is less suffering for Francess and the other community members in Madina Community.

"I want to say thanks for providing this water well for us. Now, we are not suffering to launder our uniform. This water is pure and clean to drink, cook, laundry, and it's good for everything. Now, we don't cross the street to fetch water anymore, and our parents [don't] suffer to fetch water. So I want to say thanks for this great opportunity they have given us in this community," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Francess, allowing her to collect water to meet her needs safely. No longer worrying about water collection will let her focus on her education and play with her friends.

"I'm very strong and healthy. I'm so excited for this water well. We go to school on time, and our uniforms are clean. I don't cross the street anymore to fetch water, and I want to say thanks," she concluded.

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 Madina Community 2 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 Madina Community 2 – 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.


White Rabbit & GATE
2 individual donor(s)