Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Project Phase:  Reserved
Estimated Install Date (?):  2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 180 people of the Kathoma Community struggle to access sufficient water. Community members must travel to the Little Scarcies River, their only water source, to collect what is needed to meet their household needs. The journey is exhausting.

Field Officer Julius Sesay shared, "To start with, the long walking distance is a problem. Water users are affected by this daily. I really pity the children and women. They do a lot of trips [to] the water point despite the distance. They become very tired because of the energy they use when fetching water. Children, at times, do all this work on an empty stomach."

Overcrowding is another issue. Once they finally reach the river, they must wait for space to collect water. This eats into more of their day, so any time that could have been used to study or put into their livelihoods is consumed.

Children face significant difficulties in this community. They are often responsible for collecting water for their households, and in circumstances such as this, they spend all their time collecting instead of focusing on school or other tasks. This also takes away time from play and socializing, crucial aspects of child development.

15-year-old Safinatu C., seen below, is acutely familiar with the struggle. She said, "The water situation in this community is affecting me. All of us rely on the river to fetch water. The road to the river is far and hilly. The way we use to fetch water from the river is very challenging. One must bend down and dip the container in the water. Doing this work requires a lot of energy. Most times, I go to the water point on an empty stomach. I must fetch and transport many containers before going to school."

"This is not easy for me, especially when I will be occupied with household chores at home. I usually sweep our compound, help my mum wash the foo-foo, and wash our dishes and cooking utensils before going to school. This work needs enough water and time. There [are] times the water at the river becomes dry. This is because the water will go up and later return in the evening. Meanwhile, the work I should have been doing will be put to a standstill," Safinatu concluded.

25-year-old farmer Mabinty Bangura also shared her experience with her community's water crisis. "I am greatly affected by the water situation in this community. Every day, I must go down to the river to fetch water. It is difficult to access the water point since [it's] far away from the community. Saturday, a lot of people will be at the water point to launder, others will be there to buy fish, and the fishermen will be there with their nets and boats. As a result, I spend time waiting for others to launder first because there will be no space for me."

"Also, the high amount of salt in the water makes me waste more soap to launder. The water even destroyed some of my clothes. The salt also affects me when I want to water my plants. Even fetching water for home use will be difficult. All these are constraints I normally face," she continued.

As mentioned, the river runs dry as the tide goes out, and they must wait for it to recharge. The water is salty, making it not nice to consume and difficult to use with soap, negatively affecting crucial hygiene practices like laundry and bathing.

However, with all the challenges the river poses, the scariest may be its safety risks. Julius shared the dangers. "During the rainy season, the water becomes full to the point that it overflows. Children have drowned in the river when attempting to fetch water."

There is nothing easy about having to collect water from this river. The Kathoma community needs a better water source to stop spending all their time and energy collecting water.

The installation of a well will enable people like Safinatu to collect water efficiently, focus on school, and enjoy time with friends. Mabinty and others like her will be able to collect enough water for their daily tasks and livelihoods, hopefully increasing their family resources to help give them 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

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!