Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 141 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 141 community members of Suctarr struggle to access sufficient water. People must travel long distances to a neighboring community's well, but its water is often contaminated. The only other option isn't really an option at all. There is another well nearby, but it is private, therefore people cannot use it.

Field Officer Alie Kamara said, "It is obviously heart-wrenching for the community as they do not have any other means to fetch water but from a protected dug well without a hand pump. They only use a five-gallon container and rope and pull some water from the well. This method of fetching water from this well is not easy for the community members. It requires time and energy to make many trips."

Adults and children must sacrifice crucial time in the water collection process that steals from the other important things in their lives.

34-year-old trader Isatu Kamara, shown below, shared how the water crisis affects her life. "Every day, I walk long distances to access the water, and I'm not able to make many trips due to the distance and the method of fetching water [from] this well. Sometimes, I am late to go to the market, and this will cause me to prepare food for my family late. I must make sure my children and I fetch enough water [to] fill all the rubber buckets before we rest, and we spend a long time at the well before we can complete filling all the containers."

"Then, they will be late to go to school. This water is not safe to drink, but it is the only water that is available in my community. Though there is a water well close to my house, it is a private well inside a fence, and it is restricted to people. I would be grateful if this organization would provide [a] water well in my community," she continued.

15-year-old Salamatu C., seen below, shared, "I find it hard to fetch water, especially in the morning hours. This is because many people will be at the water point patiently waiting for their turn. The long waiting time delays me from fetching water earlier. Therefore, the things I should have done at home will be left undone unless I do them after school. In the same way, the long distance to the water point also affects me, as I must walk far to fetch water from the well after school."

People in the Suctarr community often speak of how exhausted they are because the water crisis is physically and mentally draining.

"This is really challenging, mostly when the sun is warm. Walking [a] far distance to fetch water on an empty stomach is hard. Another challenge I face is that the well is hard to fetch water [from]. I must draw water from the well [using a] five-gallon container tied with a rope. There was a time [when] the five-gallon [container] fell inside the well with the rope. I [had to] find ways to remove the five-gallon [bucket] inside the well or ask an elder to remove it. I find [it] hard to access water," Salamatu continued.

Installing a well in the Suctarr Community will enable people like Isatu to prioritize their livelihoods and provide for their families and children like Salamatu to fetch water easily and quickly, allowing dreams of a brighter future.

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

Project Updates

March, 2024: Suctarr Community Well Complete!

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

"I'm no longer suffering for water as before. The water point has helped me fetch water on time before school. This water point has helped me to launder my uniforms. This was hard to do in the past because we were struggling to fetch water. Now that we have this water well I will be able to attend extra classes. This is because I will no longer suffer to fetch water after school. The water I fetched during morning hours will serve us for a day," said 15-year-old Salamatu.

Salamatu celebrating clean water.

"The water well has helped me greatly in doing things at home. It's much easier for me to cook due to the availability of water. I am no longer struggling to fetch water as before. This alone has helped me to have time to rest. The water I fetched will even serve us for [a] couple of days. This was not so in the past. This water point will help me to have time to sell since I will not spend a lot of time trying to fetch water as the well is close to our house," said 36-year-old trader and chairperson of the water user committee Isatu Kamara.

Isatu celebrates clean water.

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 and 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, Salamatu and Isatu 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 next day, the team began to drill. We reached a final depth of 31 meters. The team did a soil test and forcefully pumped clean water into the well to remove any dirt and debris from the drilling process.

Next, the team bailed the well and flushed it, clearing any debris generated by the drilling process. This well has a static water level of 9.5 meters. Finally, we tested the yield to ensure the well would provide clean water with minimal effort at the pump.

As the project neared completion, we built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system around the well to seal it from surface-level contaminants. The drainage system helps to redirect runoff and spilled water to help avoid standing water at the well, which can be uncomfortable and unhygienic and a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Installing the pump.

At last, we installed the pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking! After that, we contacted the community to schedule the dedication for the well.

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.

We also invited a nurse from the local hospital to help explain some topics. Nurse Timbo shared about tuberculosis and encouraged participants to visit the hospital when they experience any form of persistent coughing. A woman attending the training shared how the stigmatization around TB caused one of her relatives to delay seeking treatment because she felt ostracized by people in the community. Some of her friends kept her at arm's length and would no longer talk or interact with her. Not until she was encouraged by medical practitioners to take treatment seriously did she proceed with it. Through the story, participants learned the danger of the stigmatization of others around medical issues and the importance of going to the hospital for treatment quickly.

Learning how to build tippy tap handwashing stations.

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).

Using a tippy tap outside the new well.

"The training is valuable to me. The new knowledge I have gained will help to prevent me from frequent visits to the hospital. I am happy I was part of this training. Now I know that placing my toothbrush in an open place is not good for my health. This training has impacted me to always wash my hands with soap and water after using the toilet. I have been washing my hands, but not with soap. I will make sure I pass on this new knowledge to others who did not have this training to help save lives in the community," said Isatu, quoted earlier.


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!

February, 2024: Suctarr Community New Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Suctarr 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!


21 individual donor(s)