Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 186 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/23/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The water situation in Amaraya is not easy for the 186 people who live in the community. Presently, the main water source, a protected hand-dug well with a hand pump, is non-functioning, and even with repairs would still be seasonal due to its shallow depth.

"The water situation in this community is really affecting me. Initially, I used to fetch water from the main source. Fetching water from this source is very difficult because of the daily congestion of people at the water point. I would spend hours waiting to fetch water. By the time I finish fetching water, I would be very exhausted. Most times, I [would] not be able to get the amount of water I need, and this will make it difficult for me to complete all the work at home as required. The frequent use of the protected hand-dug well has led to its breakdown," said 32-year-old farmer Yankay Kamara, shown below collecting water.

"Ever since the well became faulty, I have been fetching water from the alternate source," said Yankay.

Although Yankay and other community members rely on the water they can collect from the swamp, it presents its own unique challenges. The water is easily stirred up and becomes cloudy with sediment, causing delays that increase as people wait for the water to settle and become less muddy before filling their water containers. Other plans for the day get set aside, and things intended to be achieved for the day get left undone. The swamp is also far away and a long, tiring journey, especially for those carrying heavy, full water containers.

"The main water source I used to fetch water from runs out of water. Presently, the well is dry and faulty," said 16-year-old Uthoma K., shown below collecting water at the swamp.

"The time spent walking to the swamp is too long. The reason for this is because of the distance, [but] fetching water from this source is [also] time-consuming," said Uthoma. "Apart from [the] walking distance, the long waiting time also hinders me [from fetching] water on time. This delays my time of cooking [and] bathing, and even affects the wood I normally sell. By the time I do two or more trips, I will be [too] exhausted to carry on with splitting the wood for selling."

"Similarly, I find it hard to wash the napkin (diaper) of my four-month-old child," Uthoma continued. "This task is difficult to do because of the lack of water. The napkin must be clean at all times, and this can only be attained if there is sufficient water."

"Fetching water from the swamp is really time-consuming because of the distance," Yankay said. "This is affecting my trade. I normally produce palm oil in [a] large quantity, [but] the processing of the palm oil requires a lot of water. I normally fetch ten containers of water, which is equivalent to one drum of water, to do the boiling of the palm kernel."

"Then I fetch another ten containers of water to be used at home," Yankay continued. "Fetching this amount of water requires a lot of labor. Imagine. This is not easy, especially when the people will be many at the swamp."

Most people wake up very early in the morning to get to the water source, hoping to fetch water before others step into the water and cause it to stir. It is mistakenly believed that during the morning hours, the water will be clean, but as soon as another water user fetches water, the water will become dirty.

Not surprisingly, this urge to collect the swamp water early has led to congestion at the water point during peak hours, causing people to have extraordinarily long wait times or leave with an insufficient amount of water because others coming behind them are impatient. Sometimes people leave before they are ever able to fetch water at all because they must attend to other responsibilities.

Yankay also shared that she finds it hard to get enough water to maintain her hygiene during her monthly menstrual cycle. "We, the women, are always at the forefront when it comes to the use of the water. Failing to maintain good hygiene will make my husband be far away from me," she said.

Not having water easily accessible is causing delays and putting people's livelihoods at stake, which is a cost too expensive to pay.

"I wholeheartedly believe that the new well will be a big blessing to me. All the water challenges I used to face will definitely become history," concluded Yankay. Like Yankay speculated, hopefully installing a new well in this community will make the current water challenges a problem of the past.

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, Amaraya 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, 2023: Amaraya Community 2 Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Amaraya Community 2. 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.

Community celebrating at the new well.

32-year-old Yankay Kamara shared how the new well has impacted her life. "As a housewife, I need adequate water for cooking, laundry, and cleaning household utensils. In the past, this had been difficult. Today, I want to thank God Almighty for the safe and pure water we have in this community. Also, I want to thank you for constructing a new well for my community.


I will no longer walk a long distance to fetch water, so there will be sufficient water for my garden activities. There will also be sufficient water for my household chores like cooking, cleaning of the compound, restroom, and bath places. Drinking water will not be a problem because of the water. I will be able to send my children to school on time, and their academic performance is no longer affected."

16-year-old Uthoma K. shared, "As a student in this community, the water shortage has been affecting me throughout the academic year. I normally [go] late to school due to water shortage in the community. Normally, I walk to the stream to fetch water during the dry season, and the distance to the swamp is far from the community. The above problems will be solved with the new water well constructed in our community.


It will impact my life by providing safe and pure drinking water for me and also will enhance me to go to school on time. I will have more time to study than before because I don't need to go out of the community to fetch water. There will be sufficient water in the community that I will be using for my household chores."

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 local district council. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to this water project and reminding everyone to take good care of it. Then, Yankay and Uthoma 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 18.5 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, teen pregnancy, worms and parasites, proper dental hygiene, menstrual 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 disease transmission and prevention (including COVID-19, Ebola, Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS).

Yankay had this to say about the training sessions. "The hygiene training was valuable to me. [I] am so happy to attend this training because the training has helped me acquire knowledge in various aspects related to WASH. Before this time, I was ignorant of the importance of hand washing, having good latrines, the way to make local ORS, the importance of taking safe care of our kids, the effect of drinking unprotected water, and, more especially, the importance of visiting the hospitals for checkups and treatments."

Now that the Amaraya Community has access to clean water, they can enhance their futures. Students can focus on their educations without fear of being late or consuming unsafe water. Adults in the community will have sufficient water to achieve their daily tasks, giving everyone a chance at a brighter future!


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we're working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

July, 2023: Amaraya Community 2 Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Amaraya Community 2 costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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!