Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Program: Water for Sierra Leone

Impact: 256 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/20/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile


As you know, Ebola has been a tragic reality for the people of Sierra Leone over the last year. In the middle of this, we've remained more committed than ever to the people of Sierra Leone through a service and support program that focuses on keeping water flowing at approximately 100 previously installed projects. And, as you know, we’re also providing new water access for communities- made possible because of your support.  Our teams have been brave and selfless - and we are so proud of them.

Very recently, Ebola has made a resurgence in our area of operation.  Our team was providing service to a previously installed water point at a large regional hospital, and returned the next morning to find the entire area under quarantine. Unfortunately, this meant that many of our tools were also under quarantine. This, along with restoring some water points post-quarantine has led to reasonable delays in our program. We are very happy, after some delays, to bring this report to you.

We are in weekly contact with our team in Sierra Leone, and everyone is safe.  The entire team continues to express their gratitude for your support of communities in Sierra Leone, and we can’t wait to celebrate safe water together!


The village of Youria (Yure-eee-yah) lies off of the Port Loko Road and is a rural farming village. There are no water wells of any kind in this village. The village has a huge garden area that lies in the center of the village as you drive through it.  You pass by houses, then there is garden area, and then there are more houses.  We will assess what the best place to drill a well will be.

The baseline survey revealed the presence of twenty-two households with 129 children and 127 adults.  The community has some latrines, but primarily it is open defecation.  There are no rubbish pits, drying racks or handwashing stations present.  The survey reveals that most households have some sort of a clothesline.

We will need to do a bit of community development work with this village, including intense hygiene training which will take place over the course of a week or so.  We plan on using a  PHAST approach and will train how to construct a tippy tap, which is a simple handwashing station that is very easy to use and cuts down on water usage.  We will also discuss the importance of keeping our environment clean, good and bad hygiene, how to construct a drying rack, and proper water storage.  Most water containers were not clean, which is not surprising when you are fetching water from a very unclean source.

Morale is a little low in this community, though some people have seen God at work through the life of a baby who is now a small child that used to be part of our Infant Nutrition program.  The community is so thankful that they are being considered to have a borehole where they can get safe drinking water.  Many of them have suffered with diarrhea, typhoid and malaria.  They are excited about the possibilities for development in their community.

A Constitution for Water and Sanitation Committee will be formed with the community.


PRE-BOREHOLE: After assessing the layout of the community, we held a community meeting with a representative from each household present. The meeting began with both Muslim and Christian prayers. This is a very beautiful community with loving people who have a special unity and care for each other. After discussing why we called the meeting, there was a brief discussion and it was decided that the best place for the well was in front of the headman's house.  This way the well would be in the middle of the village and there would be security because there are several nearby houses.  The people living on either end of the village agreed that they would rather walk this short distance to get safe drinking water than to walk the distance to the stream.  It is very important to be sure that communities are in agreement as to where the well should be placed or you will have people who resist and continue to use the stream. I know that sounds crazy, but that is exactly what happens here. Thankfully, we were able to come to an understanding and everyone was in agreement. We closed the meeting with prayer and dedicated the entire project to God and prayed for unity and protection and most of all that we would be able to provide a source of safe drinking water in abundance.

A Water User Committee was formed and a Constitution for Water and Sanitation was signed by the committee. We explained what the expectations were as far as each household contributing for the water user fee and for maintenance of the well site.  We also discussed the need for proper bookkeeping/record keeping. Once the community has enough money, a bank account will be opened with the three required signatures needed for withdrawal. The committee settled on le1,000 per household that should be collected monthly. That equals $.22USD. We also explained how the community should decide on what kind of rules they would like to have in place at the site, such as women covering their heads, no shoes worn inside the well area, no fighting, etc.

Prior to beginning the drilling, the Ministry of Water Resources gave their approval for the siting of the well and its drilling.

BOREHOLE: Prior to drilling the hole, the community gathered around the site with the team to pray for a successful well and for safety during the drilling. Both Muslim and Christian prayers were used.

TECHNICAL: The well was drilled using an LS200 portable drill rig. From 0-6 meters, the team met red clay. From 6 to 9 meters, there was red clay and sand. From 9 to 12 meters, there was medium gravel. From 12 to 15 meters, there was fine gravel. From 15 to 18 meters, there was medium gravel. From 18 to 21 meters, there was gravel. From 21 to 24 meters, there was gravel and clay. From 24 to 27 meters, there was black sand. From 27 to 30 meters, there was green sand. From 30 meters to 33 meters, there was black and green gravel. The team stopped drilling at that point and came back in with the reamer and reamed the well to a total of 27.4 meters. The casing was installed with the screen set between 15.2 and 21.3 meters. The water yield produced 13 gallons per minute using an electric submersible  pump. The dimensions of the pad are 10 feet circular. The wall was constructed to five coursers, and the wall was plastered. An India Mark II hand pump went in at 21.3 meters. The well was chlorinated using 200 ppm (parts per million). Preliminary water quality tests for bacterial tested negative for coliform.There was no odor and the water was clear. Offical water quality testing results are pending from the Ministry of Water Resources.

HYGIENE TRAINING: We use a Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training (PHAST) model. The community gathered for the training with a representative from every house in the village. The training opened with both Muslim and Christian prayer. Each participant brought a one gallon container in order to construct their own tippy taps (hand-washing station). We provided the rope and the soap. During the training, the following lessons were taught: Handwashing, Good and Bad Hygiene, Disease Transmission Stories, Healthy and Unhealthy Community, Importance of Using a Latrine, Keeping the water Clean and Proper Care of the Pump. Every household constructed a tippy tap. There was a good discussion on the importance of proper water storage and it was encouraged that every household scrub their water containers now that they have a safe water source.

Years ago, we did a sanitation project at a nearby school and formed a children’s health club. We were surprised to find one of the students from that school in attendance at the hygiene training. The student’s name is Mariama, and she is a Class 6 (sixth grade) student. She said that she had been telling the members of her community about good hygiene practices. When it came time to learn about handwashing, we began singing a handwashing song and the community immediately joined in because Mariama had already taught them the song and had also taught them how to properly wash their hands. This is one of the key reasons why we target schools, because the children are eager to take the information in and also send the key messages out. They are hungry for change and are the now and the future for this country. We will encourage Mariama to continue to do what she's doing. She is a role model for the members of this community! We will also encourage the Water User Committee to hold Mariama as a member of this group.

We went over in great depth latrines and the importance of having one. Some of the houses have native toilets, which is certainly better than nothing. For those households without anything, we've encouraged them to construct something during the upcoming dry season. We discussed what happens with open defecation and asked the community a way that they could "block" disease transmission that occurs between open defecation, flies and food. Attendees promised to address this in their community, and our hygiene and sanitation trainer will continue to follow up with this community to check on progress. There was good participation by the community and they expressed their gratefulness for the training.

INTERVIEWS: Three interviews were conducted with community members.

Name: Abu Bakarr Kamara    Age: 50  Gender: Male   Occupation:  Headman and Farmer

"I'm very glad about this well which you have drilled for us. So many NGOs have promised to dig us a well but they never fulfilled. Only you people have fulfilled our dreams and have wiped away our tears and sorrows of the well. Even if they ask us to pay money for them to dig a well for us, we couldn't afford any money. All what we have for you people is prayers and respect. May God continue to guide and protect you and even the donor. They send their money without knowing us. They dug a well for us. We will always tell our children and we are also ready to do anything for this well. You have given us this well and also hygiene training. That, we will never forget. God bles you all and keep on the good work that you are doing in this country."

Name: Marie Bangura    Age: 42   Gender:  Female   Occupation: Petty Trader

"May God continue to guide and protect you.We shouldn't be able to pay for this water well you have dug for us if you should have asked us to pay. Even if everyone in the village has done farming for ten years, we couldn't afford that money to dig a well for us. All what we have is prayers for you and the donor. Because you did not give us water alone in our community, you also gave us hygiene training and how to take care of our homes. You've also done the same thing in the other communities. You are not partial to who you do work for. Even more, you've sacrificed your lives to save us from diseases. You've made us to know the difference between clean water and dirty water and now we know the difference between the taste of swamp water and well water. Thank you and we also thank the donor. May God make you live long."

Name:  Momoh Kamara   Age: 22   Gender: Male     Occupation: Student

"As for me, when my parents told me that you had come to promise to dig a well, I was very glad because I knew Mariatu's Hope and they have done a lot in our school, which is United Bretheran Academy Secondary School (UBA). And also our sister schools, like St. Augustine Agricultural Sr. and Jr. Secondary School and also St. Joseph Secondary School, etc. Therefore, you have played a great role in Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Lungi and outside of the chiefdom. As for me, I can say that Mariatu's Hope is the best NGO in the world because you also teach me about hygiene and teach me a song that I love the most, presently, Jesus, wash my heart and also from the toilet. Thank you very much for what you have done!"

NEXT FOLLOW-UP/MONITORING:  We will be making follow-ups for hygiene training.  We plan to do monitoring of this well in January, 2016.

PERSONAL INTEREST STORIES: In the villages of Sierra Leone, kitchens and latrines are outdoors. Even in Freetown, there are some houses with outdoor latrines and women tend to cook outdoors. In this village, kitchens are constructed out of sticks to form a V and then the roof is made from palm branches and straw. The women cook over an open fire, utilizing palm branches and wood. One day while we were in the village, the women were cooking groundnut soup for our team.  They boil the banga palm nut down and mash it to make palm oil, which is part of a regular diet in Africa. The groundnut (or peanuts) were mashed in a matta-oh-doe (I spelled it as it sounds) and the large "stick" that they beat it up and down with is called a matta-pencil. Once the groundnut is mashed, it is then put onto a board, which, in order to maintain a stable positioning, is placed on the ground. Once on the board, the women roll a bottle over and over the groundnut, back and forth, until the groundnut is smooth. Pictures of this process have been included in the report. Cooking for African women is very time consuming.

We noticed a group of young people making brooms and mats. They took the thick branches from the palm tree and stripped the leaves off of it. They pulled the "vein" from the leaf and laid them out to dry. Once dry, a bunch are gathered together, tied, and made into a broom for sweeping. Every morning, everyone sweeps the area outside their house. On this particular day, the young people were also stripping the thick branches to make mats.  These mats are sold for le5,000 each, or roughly $1.00. This is one of the main occupations of a villager. In a regular day, one villager can make five to seven of these mats. They then roll up the mats and take them to the market to see if they can be sold. The report also includes pictures of this process. People in some villages also make furniture from these palm branches, but not in this village, so that is for another day.

The primary occupation in this village is farming. People work very hard to pick their vegetables and then bundle them up and carry them to the market. Many travel as far as Freetown to sell, which means that they leave the village around 5 in the morning to catch the ferry. They bundle the cassava or potato leaves or other greens and then they wrap them in a big piece of fabric (lappa) to transport them easier on their heads. Sometimes it can take two to three women to help lift these bundles up onto put a woman's head. African women work very, very hard. They return back from Freetown on the 5:30pm ferry, though some are lucky enough to get into town, drop off their wares and then return on the 2pm ferry.


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Project Type

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


1 individual donor(s)