Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 165 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2023

Project Features

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People in Mayonkoh spend more time trying to find water than doing anything else, and still they cannot accomplish what they need to. Their only sources of water are a dug hole in the swamp and the rainwater they manage to collect from their rooves during the rainy season. But recently, the hole has been yielding less and less water.

In past years, Mayonkoh's 165 people were able to grow kitchen gardens behind their homes to help them quickly and easily prepare meals. But as the water supply in Mayonkoh shrank, they made concessions.

Mayonkoh has no more kitchen gardens because there's not enough water to irrigate them. Community members wear clothes for days at a time and forego bathing to preserve what little water they have. Some have had to sell the domestic animals they saved up money to purchase because they can't get enough water to keep them. And while most of the community members are Muslim, they cannot perform ablutions when they pray throughout the day.

"The water challenge in the community is affecting me seriously," said 31-year-old farmer Hawa Sesay.

"The water source is far from home. The road is tedious to walk when carrying [a] water container of twenty liters. It needs much time to fetch a single trip of water. It is a burden on me, which causes me sometimes prepare [our] meal very late in the evening. Most times, I finish cooking late at night, and this causes my children to go to bed hungry."

The community struggles so much for water, and yet the water they manage to collect is brown and milky, causing waterborne illnesses among many community members, especially children. Multiple children in the community have died in recent years due to this problem.

"My major [worry] is the health of [my] family because the water source we are drinking from is not safe and pure to drink," Hawa said. "Mostly, I and the children are contracting waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, and skin rashes."

17-year-old Santigie K. (in the photo below at the water source) dreads fetching water the most of any of his chores. "I become bothered to fetch water from the swamp because of the distance through a bushy footpath, [where] I might be harm[ed] from snake or scorpion bite. It certainly takes me about eighty (80) minutes to make four trips of water from the water source. To fetch water from this water source is challenging on me."

"I must wake up very early at six a.m. to fetch at least eighty liters of water, which is four rubber containers that we use for bath[ing], wash[ing] dishes, and giv[ing] animals to drink. Consider a household of nine people. We all need water to use in the morning before we must go to school, and my mother must prepare [a] meal in the morning to eat at [the] same time. The water crisis [makes] me not to practice frequently wash my hands or it sometimes difficult bathe twice a day."

With a new well in Mayonkoh, people will be able to better take care of themselves and their loved ones. They'll have more free time, energy, and health to work on their goals and live long, happy lives.

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, TKKK 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: Mayonkoh Community Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Mayonkoh Community. As a result, the 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 am happy because now I have a new water well in my community, and the well is very close to my house," said 31-year-old farmer Hawa Sesay. "The well is new, and [the] water coming out is clean and safe to drink. For many years this community did not have access to safe drinking water. I am glad today because the new well in my village will help me to complete my work. Before, I found it difficult to go to work on time because I usually go in search of drinking water before going to work on the farm. With the help of God almighty and the donors [who have provided a] well in my village, now I will complete my housework, cook on time, bathe, and go to work early."

"I believe all the constraints of water are over today" said 15-year-old Ramatu S. "I am thanking you for giving us safe, reliable, and pure drinking water. This new water well will help me to prepare food for us on time and do all my domestic activities. Also, it will reduce delays in fetching water, [and] it will reduce the contracting of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery."

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 Ward District. 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, Hawa and Ramatu 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.

Yield test.

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 ten 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 popular topic, the importance of receiving proper prenatal care to ensure the best health for women and their babies, was presented by the charge nurse of the local health center in the local Temne dialect. A discussion broke out when one of the participants recounted her experience of being unable to afford transportation to the clinic and not having the money needed to cover the care fees. The director assured her that she would receive care in the future regardless of her ability to pay because it's vital for her and her baby to obtain the proper medical attention.

Another important topic covered during the training was the need for children to receive balanced nutrition to avoid malnutrition. One of the community elders recounted a story of a young child who was wasting away because his parents unknowingly were only feeding him carbohydrates. Once they took the child to the hospital, they learned they needed to provide their child with other essential nutrients like protein and fat along with carbohydrates, and the child's health dramatically improved within a month. Everyone clapped when the elder finished the story and promised to follow the crucial nutritional advice given during the session.

"Yes, the training was important to me because I have learned many things from this training that, if I put them into practice, will not get sick so easily. The new knowledge I have received from the training has impacted my life to change all my bad hygiene deeds," said Hawa Sesay, quoted earlier.

She continued: "I am happy for the encouragement we get from the nurse for pregnant women to always visit the clinic. The nurse encouraged us to take our children to the hospital when they get sick. From the good talk we got from the nurse, I will now visit the clinic regularly when [I] am sick or my children get sick. I want to thank the team for transforming our lives from bad hygiene practices to good hygiene deeds."


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: Mayonkoh Community Borehole Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mayonkoh 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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