Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Project Phase:  Reserved
Estimated Install Date (?):  2025

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 230 people of the Mayan Community struggle to access sufficient water. Without a well in their community, they have to collect all of their water from a stream that risks their health every time they consume it.

17-year-old Zainab F., seen below, shared how the water crisis has affected her. "The water crisis is a serious problem in this community, especially in the dry season. We normally go to the stream to fetch water since our community does not have any wells. The water from the stream is not pure for drinking because it is a risk factor for us to be exposed to diseases. Drinking this water makes us sick. That is why waterborne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and dysentery are imminent in this community."

Not only do the community members risk their health using the water they collect from the stream, they may risk their safety on their journey there. Women and young girls are often disproportionally affected by a water crisis. They bear the burden of water collection in their homes, sacrificing their other duties and educations.

Content Warning: Some of the information in this report may be upsetting for readers. There are references to sexual violence.

Field Officer Julius Sesay shared, "The other challenge they face is that the road (seen below) to the stream is dangerous. I was able to notice this because I went to the water point with them. Honestly, one will be afraid to walk freely, especially in the evening hours. The bushes around the road will terrify water users from going to the water point alone. This becomes scary for most women and girls [who] are living in the village. They will be scared of snakes and other animals that may attack them. The women and girls will be afraid of being raped or sexually assaulted by men."

"I normally go late to school due to the long walking distance to the water source. I go to the water source every morning before going to school. The distances affect me because I must do a lot of trips before leaving for school. By the time I am through with this work, I will barely have enough time to prepare for school. I am one of the students [who are] not punctual in school. Missing important lessons due to my lateness has affected my performance in school. Carrying jerrycans and climbing the hill will be hard to do. I have fallen on the hill on several occasions hereby sustaining severe injuries," Zainab continued.

45-year-old farmer Jariatu Sesay, seen below, is familiar with the struggle of sacrificing other crucial life tasks. She shared, "The stream is our main source of water in this community. Fetching water from this source can be difficult to do because the distance is too far. The thing that pains me more is when the water becomes dirty. Even fetching water for drinking will not be easy for me. I go to other communities to fetch water, which is very challenging. During the holy month of Ramadan, I suffer more. This is because I must provide enough water for my family. It is during those times more water is needed to cook, clean, hold ablutions for prayers, and launder. I suffered during this time since water will not be available at our main source. I must go to other areas trying to fetch water. Imagine I am observing the fast and then walking [a] far distance to fetch water. I will be very hungry and tired to fetch and transport water at home. This alone makes me exhausted."

Jariatu and Zainab's stories, unfortunately, are not unique in the Mayan Community, nor is this a new problem.

Jariatu continued, "Ever since I was a child, we have been living like this. Several people have come into this community claiming that they are from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). They made us contribute money for them, promising that they will give us a new well. All those promises are empty promises with no result. It's [been] over five years since they disappeared."

Without easy access to safe water, the people of the Mayan Community will continue to face extreme health and safety challenges. They are unable to work towards improving their lives, as almost all their time and energy is consumed by their water crisis.

"I will be happy if my community will have a new well. This will prevent me from walking far distances to go in search of water from other places. Cooking, laundering, and other domestic work will be done at home easily. This is because enough water will be available to serve us at home," concluded Jariatu.

The installation of the well will enable students like Zainab to expend less energy on water collection and give them an opportunity to focus on their education to create a brighter future for themselves and their community. Adults, like Jariatu, can focus on their livelihoods and other crucial tasks.

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!