Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 83 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2016

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Ebola’s Impact

Ebola has been a tragic reality for the people of Sierra Leone over the last two years. Though considered stable at the moment, the country is still very cautious.

Our teams have remained safe and are on the front lines of Ebola prevention through this water, hygiene and sanitation program.  Your support acknowledges and celebrates their selfless work and bravery.

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!

Welcome to the Community

This is a predominantly Islamic community that starts its day at 5 am to wash up and head out to the quarry. At the quarry they break stones, the only kind of work these people know. There should be time for prayers between washing and working, but people sometimes skip prayers because the quarry site where they break stones is so competitive. Prayers are instead held off until later. The children, with no school in their own village, walk two miles to the only school in the area. The children carry their uniforms in their bags and change after getting to school. They arrive for classes just in time, often missing devotions because of the long walk.

This is such a poor community that children cannot focus in school; they are more worried about how to help their families earn money on their return home. What they eat depends on this. Students are let out of school at 2:30 pm, but the walk home takes an hour. A marathon begins when they arrive at the village! With a change of clothes already in their bags, children rarely return to their houses but instead head to the quarry to find mom and dad. With the hot African sun on their backs, they spend four hours transporting stones to where vehicles can easily access them. What is cooked for the day depends on whether the stones pulled and transported are enough for a full trip. It normally takes two weeks to earn the equivalent of thirty dollars.

Water Situation

Life is very, very difficult in this village. They presently get their water from either the stream or the swamp where they've dug a hole to access dirty water. With no other options, everyone in the village drinks this kind of water. They live with constant stomachaches, typhoid, and worms.

Walking along a rough footpath only eight inches wide, susceptible to snake bites along the way: these are the dangers children and women face more than ten times a day to and from the swamp. Within four feet from the three-foot-deep hole, shoes are taken off, lest a person risk sliding in. Standing with feet spread wide apart, a child will proceed to perform a “touch your toes” routine to bail water with a small container. This water is poured into a larger container at the dug hole. The process takes only a few minutes, but then the real wait begins; waiting for someone to come and help hoist the oversized water containers up onto their heads. Women and children always try to fetch water in groups to avoid not having someone to help. Children often carry containers much too large, putting immense pressure on their spinal cords during the walk home. The way back is much more dangerous as their eyes can no longer focus on the foot path. To scare off a potential threat along the roadside, the children and women will loudly sing their melodious cultural songs. These loud songs and large groups of women and children will also deter sexual predators.

The average person carries a 10-gallon water container. These are cleaned with grass from the swamp that makes a foam that resembles soap suds. These seem to work very well.

Once home, the milky substance from the swamp has to settle before water can be used for anything. The water is normally left out in the open on the ground in the front room. A lot of people in this village have domesticated animals ranging from chickens, goats, sheep, to dogs and cats. The animals have a free reign of the water when no humans are supervising. The milky color never fades unless it is the rainy season when the water is clear, cold and good to drink. Indeed, “there is no need to cover the water, you will say your prayers and close your eyes before you drink!” says Thaimu Kamara, both farmer and chairperson from the quarry.

The shortage of a safe water source has led to some families moving to other villages. They only come back to Yinkaya Village to tend their farms. Ailments range from malaria, typhoid, abdominal pains and diarrhea to frequent vomiting by children and adults alike. People also get worms in their bellies. The fevers, constant headaches and eye infections are from a lack of clean water to maintain personal hygiene. Little fragments of tiny stone dust fly into the eyes of stone-breakers, and by the day's end their faces are covered in red. Use dirty water to wash dirty faces, and the eye infections continue.

Sanitation Situation

Seventy-five percent of local families have pit latrines. The others use the nearby bushes. The stone-breakers, from sunup to sundown, are at the quarry. The latrines in the village are palm leaves braided together around a pit. The pit latrines have no roofs, so in the rainy season when nature calls, people use Lapa (a piece of African cloth) to cover their heads.

To fight the open defecation issue, we will address it during hygiene and sanitation training. If there is any disbelief when the problem is presented, participants will be taken on a transect walk around the community. They will be able to see for themselves as well as learn valuable lessons that result from valuable discussions!

A large portion of the villagers are illiterate. It is very difficult to change the mindset of individuals who have held on to certain beliefs for a lifetime. A majority of households only have one cup for over eight people to drink with. The face, skin tone and discoloration, and bloated stomachs are the telltale signs of worm ingestion. Farmer and stone-breaker Thaimu Kamara says, "Look at my eyes, look at my children’s stomachs. This is a crisis. The hard labor, not enough food, no clean water; all contribute to residents leaving to find greener pasture. The day-to-day exposure to the hot African sun breaking stones has left us with glaucoma, cataracts, and cornea damage. We need divine intervention." Though only age 36, he looks more like 56.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Hygiene and sanitation training will take three days, scheduled for up to three hours a day during the best time for as many as possible. We will need to work very closely with the community in order to get a good turnout.

One of the most visible results will be the hand-washing stations that each household learns to construct. This special but simple form of hand-washing station is called the "tippy-tap." The tippy-taps are easy to build and easy to maintain. A one-gallon rubber is tied to a stick with nylon rope. The soap is wrapped with fishing net to keep it dry and free from contaminants. The price of a bar of soap is one thousand Leones; the equivalent of ten American cents. Since this is an extremely poor community and we will need to entice them to attend training, we will probably provide all of the necessary materials such as the one-gallon containers. Most people in this village would strain to come up with the money to purchase a one-gallon container.

Plans: New Well

The new well will be located in the center of the village at the largest gathering point, the mosque. It is the most convenient for all, and is the furthest away from latrines and any other contamination sources.

We will be using the LS200 hydraulic rig with 4000 psi power, which can dig over one hundred feet. It is very easy to maneuver. It is also very cost effective and does not require an Ivy League knowledge to operate. Since this is a mud rotary drilling machine and water is a huge issue in this village, we will have water brought in by tanker and poured into a tank so we have the water necessary for drilling. After the well is drilled and constructed, an India Mark II pump will be installed.

Project Updates

December, 2017: A Year Later: Yinkaya Village

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with the Yinkaya Village in Sierra Leone. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Madieu Turay, with you.

Project Videos

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!

"The training was a pleasant welcome to save me."

Momoh Modugba Yillah

A Year Later: Yinkaya Village

November, 2017

As a student, we are the most beneficial students in this community through this water project, as we practice hygiene at home and school.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Yinkaya Village New Well Project.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yinkaya Village New Well Project maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with the Yinkaya Village in Sierra Leone. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Madieu Turay, with you.

As of my own observation, this community has benefited a lot from this water project as compared to the unsafe water they were drinking before the existence of this project in their community. I am presently seen some new houses in this community. When we first went to this village, it was starving. The air was dry and filled with dust. It's inhabitants were working in the dusty quarry. Disabled people were also working alongside the others. This was their plight. Many people said this village was taken over by witches because of the poor lifestyle. Things have changed! Since this project came to this community, this community is now boasting safe and pure drinking water.

Improvement in this community is more better than some communities. All the people in this community engage themselves in stone breaking. Hygiene and sanitation of this community is better than the previous years. I saw tippy taps, rubbers, kitchen, dish racks, cloth line and bath shelter.

Head man Thaimu Kamara shared how life has changed for him and his community since the new well was constructed. “The biggest changes since the coming of this project in our community are as follows: Before my wife was cooking late at around 8:00pm but now, she cooked my food in the middle of the day at twelve o'clock. We are drinking safe and pure water and not going to the swamp to fetch water. We are not laundering at the swamp any more or taking showers there. Students are not going late to school anymore and we are boastful of the safe drinking water that we have in our community.”


“Before the coming of this water project in this community water borne diseases affected our community,” Thaimu continued. “But since the intervention of this water project in this community, we are not encountering any water borne diseases. The health situation in our community is much more better than before. We always practice what they told us in the hygiene training, and all what they told us is true. Hand washing is our motto in this community.”

16-year-old Aminata Yillah shared her experience as well. “As a student, we are the most beneficial students in this community through this water project, as we practice hygiene at home and school. Now that we have this project in our door steps, I launder my uniform every day from school. I take shower before and after school every day not like before. Before, we drank swamp water but now we drink safe water and are not going to school late."

I visited this community and see tippy taps, toilet, kitchen, dish racks and cloth line around. The hygiene training that we conducted in this community has made positive impact in their life. We will continue to support the repair and maintenance when necessary and the monitoring and evaluation of this well and community.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Yinkaya Village New Well Project maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Yinkaya Village New Well Project – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Underwriter - Potomac Heights Baptist Church
The Charles and Gail Muskavitch Endowment Fund
Baker Hughes Foundation
Students for Global Citizenship at Brookdale
Berenice & Gladis' Water Campaign
Parker's Campaign for Water
Brownie Troop 1900 Campaign for Water
Zoe's Campaign for Water
Tyler Williams' Kingdom Working Page

And 4 other fundraising page(s)
2 individual donor(s)