Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Project Phase:  Reserved
Estimated Install Date (?):  2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

Rubbish molders away in the swamp that serves as the primary water source for the 169 community members in Kirma.

The swamp sits at the bottom of a slope, so when it rains, runoff sloughs trash from the road at the top of the hill into the stream, whose water then dribbles down an improvised discharge pipe and into people's containers.

For some unlucky people, the trip to the swamp eats up an hour or more of their time because it is far away along a path that easily becomes muddy and slippery. This path also crosses a major highway full of impatient motorists. Accidents have hurt several people on their way to the stream in Kirma.

To avoid as many trips to the stream as they can, people collect rainwater during the rainy seasons. But they can't collect much without a dedicated collection system, and what they do collect is often contaminated one way or another.

People in Kirma must endure all of these struggles just to supply their households with inadequate water. Inadequate water complicates everyday things.

"I find it difficult to fetch water," said 60-year-old petty trader Isatu Conteh (shown collecting water below).

"The only water source in this community is swamp water. It is far from my house, and it is hard for me to go to the stream due to my age. So, if I need water, I must pay someone to fetch water for me. I have activities that I will not complete for a day. Also, I will not do some [things] on time, such as bathing, laundry, cooking, etc. To practice personal hygiene is not easy for me. But I will be very much happy if this project digs a new water well in my community."

The water shortage and the swamp's unsafe water make people (especially young children under five years old) sick. There are constant cases of diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria in Kirma - all preventable with the right knowledge and practices.

With so many people desperate for water, it's easy to see why water access would become contentious.

15-year-old Ibrahim (shown collecting water below) has given up fetching water in the morning because everyone rushes to the stream at the same time. Community members added the discharge pipe in an effort to speed up the water collection process, but in the mornings and evenings when everyone needs water to get things done, there is no avoiding the lines and quarrels that ensue.

"There has mostly been tension at the stream in the morning," Ibrahim said. "Many people rush to fetch water in the morning. I [find] it very difficult to get a single bucket of water in the morning before going to school. The overcrowding at the stream creates tension among people. Everyone is in the hurry to fetch water in the morning. Sometimes the overcrowding would result in quarrels and fights."

"It is not easy to fetch water every day," Ibrahim said. "I am always worried in school because I think about the challenges that I [will] face fetching water."

Increased collection time has...been shown to negatively affect the educational success of students, who report being late to school, lack of morale and ability to focus and fatigue due to their water collection responsibilities - Source

A new source of water will open up so many doors for Kirma's community members.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community’s input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We’ll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

We're just getting started, check back soon!

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!