Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 186 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 186 people of Koimaya get their water from holes dug into a swamp. The water is not safe to drink, but they have no choice.

"This water source is not safe and pure to drink," said our field officer, Alie. "There are [a] lot of contaminants [in the water] such as spirogyra (algae), tadpoles, etc., but it is the only water source for this community, and they depend on [it]. The location of these scoop holes is not safe because it is a bushy area, and a place where snakes move all about [in] search of prey. I would not drink this water. Due to [the] drinking of contaminated water in the community, the people are experiencing diseases such as typhoid, itching [rashes] on [their] skin, diarrhea, and stomachaches."

"The place where I fetch water [from] is a swamp well, so when I reach the place, I have to dip [my bucket] in the well, then fetch water," explained 25-year-old trader Fatmata Kamara (shown above leaving the water source). "It is a high risk to fetch water from this source."

"Going to the swamp in search of water is also not easy for me," said 15-year-old Adikale K (shown below fetching water). "My sisters and I also struggle a lot to bring water to the house for my mother to prepare food for us and for everyone to bathe."

Bending down to fetch water from a scoop hole is not ideal under any circumstances. But each season brings its own unique challenges, meaning that the people of Koimaya dread fetching water all year 'round.

"During the rainy season, the water source becomes contaminated more," Fatmata explained. "It gets dirty because [of] all [the] rubbish deposited there."

Rains provide more water, but they also wash contaminants from households, farms, and latrines directly into the water that people later drink, which causes spikes in cases of water-related disease. And, unfortunately, the community members contaminate the water themselves.

"I usually carry my dirty clothes to the swamp to launder them," Adikalie said. "I cannot fetch enough water to the house to launder my clothes because it is very difficult. The road is far, bushy, and slippery to carry water on my head. I can only try my best to provide water to the house for daily use."

The wet season makes the water riskier to drink, but contaminated water is better than no water at all. When the rainy season ends, community members watch the water level in the scoop hole shrink lower and lower until it becomes only a pool of mud.

"During the dry season, the [scoop hole] produces [a] low quantity of water," Fatmata continued. "So, at that time, I have to hang my rubber bucket on a stick, then dip it in the [hole]. It is hard to pull out a bucket of water from the hole. This situation damages my bucket frequently, and it is hard for me to buy another bucket."

"Sometimes, when there is not enough water [at the swamp], it would be more difficult to fetch clean water," said 15-year-old Adikalie K (shown above). "The water will become dirty after the first dip of [a] bucket. It would not be easy for me to fill all the containers at the house with clean water."

People get desperate for water in the dry season. So some community youths will dig the scoop hole deeper or even make a new hole in the hopes of reaching more water. But the days spent doing this without anyone being able to get water only add to the acute water shortage in the community.

With no one able to get enough water to accomplish what they need to, the consequences are both immediate and long-reaching.

Community members would rather fetch water for drinking in the mornings before it has been muddied by the buckets of many people stirring up sediment from the bottom of the pool (even though clear water is not necessarily clean water). But this means that kids like Adikalie are often late to school.

"I fetch drinking water early in the morning before going to school," Adikalie said. "This is the time the water is clean to drink. I must wake up very early in the morning to fetch drinking water so I would not be late for school. If I go to school late, I would be punished by my teacher at the school."

"Due to [the] water problem in the community, I do not go [to] trade on time, and this causes me to get low income [and] also not to trade on daily basis," Fatmata said. "I have to prepare food for my family, [but] sometimes I [am] late to prepare food due to [the] water crisis in the community. During the weekends, I find it difficult to launder my clothes. Sometimes I would not complete this task."

The people of Koimaya need a water source of their own so that they will be healthier and able to accomplish everything they need to. With a bit of help, hopefully, they will be able to do more and feel better without fear that their water source will inevitably dry up and interrupt their 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.

Once this borehole is drilled, 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

October, 2023: Koimaya Community Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well in the Koimaya Community. As a result, community members no longer rely on unsafe water to meet their daily needs. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, focusing on healthy practices such as handwashing and latrines.

"As a young boy growing up, the children are responsible to fetch water and do other domestic work before school. I had to walk half a mile to the neighboring communities to fetch water before going to school. Sometimes, I had to give money to the caretaker of the well before fetching the water. The time and money would not be available, and the caretaker would not allow me to fetch water. My family would suffer greatly because of the water problem. I want to thank you for giving me such an opportunity to access water in my community," shared 15-year-old Adikalie K.

Adikalie celebrating!

"I will go to school early and return home without thinking I had to walk a long distance to fetch water. This water will also help me to be free from water-borne diseases, like Cholera and Diarrhea," he concluded.

Adults were just as excited about the new well.

25-year-old trader Fatmata Kamara shared, "From the time I was told that there is going to be an upcoming hygiene and sanitation training in my community concerning a well, I knew that all my suffering [would] be over very soon. As a parent of four [children who] are attending school, they had to walk very early in the morning to fetch water in the neighboring community, which is half a mile from my community. By the time they came back, they would be late for school. They would not have enough time to study because sometimes they also had to search for water in the middle of the night, which is very dangerous for them."

Fatmata celebrating clean water!

"I am very happy that I and my children have access to safe and reliable water in my community. Access to water has also helped me greatly as a businesswoman [who] has to walk a long distance to fetch water, do my domestic work, and go to my place of business,  which is now easier for me because of the access to the well. I want to say thanks to you for giving me such an opportunity to access a reliable water point," she added.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including Mr. Osman Forfanah, a Ministry of Water Resources representative, and Mr. Abubakar Bangura from the Port Loko 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, Fatmata and Adikalie made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing. Field Officer Sia Veronica Kai shared, "Honestly, it was a remarkable day in the history of the community. This is because they have been suffering to have access to safe drinking water. Now that you have come to their rescue, they are happy. They will no longer suffer to fetch water. They were indeed grateful for the water point."

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 22 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to remove 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 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 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.

We also invited a nurse from the local clinic to help explain some topics and spread awareness about Sierra Leone's free vaccinations for children under five.

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.

Handwashing Training.

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).

The training that was conducted hit home for many of the participants. The discussion on properly diagnosing and treating worm and parasite infections was very informative. Another crucial topic was well pump maintenance. "As the adage says, water is life (water Na Life), so water brings life, and human beings cannot live without water. If so, there is a need to take proper care of the pump so that it will be running properly and durable," shared Alie.

Training participants with their certificates.

Fatmata, quoted earlier, shared, "This training was valuable to me, and it was a great privilege to witness it. During the training, I was fortunate to learn new things like proper handwashing, how to construct a tippy tap, and how disease can be transmitted through dirty hands. [Also,] the importance of having and using a latrine, the importance of constructing and using a dishrack, and how to take proper care of the water point. Before, I was ignorant of these things, but now I will continue to put all I have learned into practice. Also, I will ensure that I teach other people not part of this training."


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!

September, 2023: Koimaya Community Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Koimaya Community 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!


1 individual donor(s)