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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 206 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

"The happiness for this well cannot be explained; no test will ever accurately measure how happy and excited we are in this village. Our children now have a fighting chance; they will be getting fresh drinking water which can save a lot of lives."

Mohamed Fofanah

Community Profile & Stories

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!

Please enjoy the following report comes straight from the field, edited for clarity and readability:

Welcome to the Community

A normal day in Katelleh Village starts very early. This community depends on two types of farming, swamp and dry land farming. Most of the men have more than one wife, and some as many as four, the maximum allowed by the Islamic Law. I spoke with one man about having more than one wife, and he responded by saying the work on his farm is too much for just one woman. Older brides are left home as nannies, taking of the children and domestic work around the house. When the adults go to the farm to work, the children go with them with a slingshot in hand, ready to drive birds away from the crops.

The best part of farming is that food here is fresh, eaten on the same day it’s harvested. Life here is more enjoyable during the dry season. The rainy season is for planting, and the dry season is for harvesting.

There are 206 people from 12 different households living in Katelleh Village.

Water Situation

Women and children are those responsible for fetching their families’ water. The only source of water they have is a swamp nearby. When there, they wade knee-deep into the swamp to dunk and fill their containers. Most of these are big rubber buckets. When the swamp water is delivered home, it is separated between open containers and covered containers. The covered containers are reserved for drinking.

The only good thing about the swamp’s water is how cool it is. It’s refreshing after spending the day in the hot sun! But the water here is certainly contaminated. After drinking, stomachs are bloated, skin rashes up, and people complain of typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea on a daily basis. The swamp is also full of leeches. When standing in the water, one is always sure to maintain a quick march to prevent those leeches from attaching.

Sanitation Situation

Under a quarter of households have a pit latrine. Most of these are pits eight to 10 feet deep with a board suspended over the top. Sticks are poked in the ground and palm leaves or tarps are stretched around them to make walls. A piece of cloth is hung at the entrance for minimal privacy. When a family’s latrine fills up, they dig a new one. It is normal for locals to plant mango or coconut trees around the old latrine, but never vegetables.

Not many homes have bathing rooms, either. Some of the ones we found were missing walls. Nor are there many helpful tools like dish racks or clotheslines to safely dry belongings. We were able to find one hand-washing station in the entire village, and have included the picture in the “See Photos & Video” section.

We met Fatmata Kargbo when making house calls. She shared, “I am a 52-year-old widow. My husband died a few years ago and I have decided not to remarry. It is a small village, but people have been dying and I don’t know for sure it’s the water, but I know it plays a part. The health situation is bad!”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Training will be offered to the community for three days. At least one representative of each household is required to attend. The facilitator will use the PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method to teach participants how to make their own hand-washing stations, wash hands, construct proper latrines, and many other topics. By the end of training, each household that participated will have their own hand-washing station. The training will also prepare a water user committee that will oversee and maintain the new well.

Plans: New Well

The vehicle that normally supplies the water needed for wet rotary drilling will not be able to make it over the makeshift bridge in the area. Instead, the community has agreed to fetch and carry all of the water needed. They will also lend helping hands and overnight security for our equipment throughout the process.

The well site is in the center of Katelleh Village. It is far from all latrines and the old cemetery. This makes it the most convenient and safest location for drilling a clean water source.

During our initial visit to Katelleh Village, we met Mohamed Fofanah, a 48-year-old farmer. He told us, “I am proud to say I was born and raised in this village. We are very skeptical about people that come to our community and promise us the world and then never deliver. We have had people from the government and other organizations, usually months before elections. After receiving our votes, they forget about us. We outnumber the educated people in this country and our voices should be heard! If you are coming here to save me, my children and my brothers and sisters, you are welcome in this village.”

Recent Project Updates

12/19/2017: A Year Later: Katelleh Village

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with Katelleh 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, Nanah Mansaray, with you.

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12/21/2016: Katelleh Village Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a new well in Katelleh Village, and it’s now providing clean water! Hundred of people here no longer have to rely on dirty water from the swamp. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines. This water and new knowledge give the community a great foothold in eliminating water and sanitation-related illness. Please enjoy this update detailing all the work that was done Katelleh Village and make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab above to find new pictures of the finished project.

Thank You for unlocking potential in this community. You made clean water a reality, and now you have a chance to make sure it keeps flowing. Join our team of monthly donors and help us, our caretakers, and our mechanics maintain this well and hundreds of other projects!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held under a mango tree, giving us the comfort during an afternoon of both light rain and beating sun. The headman was informed of training a week ahead of time so that he could go house to house to invite his community. There was no need for urgency; each family responded willingly and eagerly when they heard.

We were met with a surprise when we arrived a week later. The women and children were so excited to learn, that they had cooked a huge feast to greet us. Every villager donated their resources to cook rice and potato stew. We also discovered that families had already made the effort to build latrines, dish racks, and hand-washing stations. Training started later when students arrived home from school.

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During training, our facilitator taught the community how to put the finishing touches on their latrines, how to use them, and how to clean them. We also used illustrations to illustrate what makes a community healthy or unhealthy. One of the most important lessons during training was about how to build a hand-washing station. Everyone brought their own plastic container while we supplied the rope and sticks to complete the project. Now, each one of those families has a hand-washing station set up outside of their latrine.

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We equipped a handful of participants to form a water user committee that will manage and maintain the new well for their community. The local leadership has also taken on some of the responsibility for the changes they want to see in their area; they want to see every household have their own latrine and dish rack.

We paid a visit a few days later, discovering that locals were practicing what they learned. Latrines were covered, animals were fenced in, and waste was being disposed of properly.

55-year-old Fatmata Kargbo attended all of our training sessions. “I am too old now to have children; anything I learn now is for me and my stepchildren. I am left babysitting my step-grandchildren, and I get to eat in return. I was labeled a witch because all of my own children died. I am happy about this hygiene training because I do not want to be blamed if the children I take care of get sick. I want to know everything about hygiene and toilets. If I had known before, maybe, just maybe, one of my own children would have been saved,” she said.

Fatmata N'bambay Kargbo


Project Result: New Well

Construction on this borehole began in October.

Everyone living near the construction site was eager to help in any way possible. Community members helped prepare for the drill rig by digging sully and waste pits. With these pits prepared, drilling began and continued without a challenge until 40 feet. At that point, the soil got sandy and started to collapse. Pipes were put in place to help stabilize the hole. We soon after stopped drilling to prevent imminent collapse, noticing that the water level appeared adequate. Pipes were installed and a mix of cement was poured around them to make it all secure. A double screen was inserted at two different levels to allow the entry of water. The next day, water was bailed and a submersible pump was used to test yield for 30 minutes. Filter pack was placed, and then the well pad construction to seal the well could commence. This was all walled in, left to dry, and then the new India Mark II pump was installed and then the well was chlorinated.

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This well is 47 feet deep with a static water level of 19 feet.

Since the construction site is about 500 feet from the swamp the community had been using, it was convenient for people to fetch the water needed for drilling. Women also cooked meals for our drill team. Children were up early and at the site, asking if there was any way they could help. When we put the finishing touches on the well, the entire community seemed disappointed we had to move on.

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“When a child lives until his or her fifth birthday in Sierra Leone, it is considered a miracle. The happiness for this well cannot be explained; no test will ever accurately measure how happy and excited we are in this village. Our children now have a fighting chance; they will be getting fresh drinking water which can save a lot of lives,” said Mohamed Fofanah, the deputy headman of Katelleh Village.

The new well was handed over to the people on a Thursday afternoon, and it seemed like the entire village was present. Students from the local school arrived to join their parents in celebration. Men and women danced and sang songs of gratefulness; gratefulness that families no longer have to drink water from the swamp.

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10/18/2016: Katelleh Village New Well Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the Katelleh Village in Sierra Leone will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A new well is being constructed and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the difference these resources will make for this community!

We just posted an initial report from our partner in the field including an introduction to the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you updated as the work progresses.

Check out the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for caring for the thirsty!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Mayaya, Katelleh
ProjectID: 5092
Install Date:  12/21/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/04/2017

Visit History:
04/05/2017 — Functional
05/24/2017 — Functional
09/20/2017 — Functional
12/04/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Katelleh Village

November, 2017

I always go to school on time and even the environment is clean, there are drying racks, cloth line and even our even our rubber that we use to fetched water are being cleaned before fetching water.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a new well with Katelleh 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, Nanah Mansaray, with you.

Life has improved for the people of Katelleh Village in many ways. The people have been drinking swamp water for so many years which was not good for their health and they have been experiencing sicknesses which are vomiting and diarrhea. But from the completion of this water project and they started using sanitation facilities, all this sickness has stopped.

Chairlady Fatmata Kargbo shares her experience since the new water source was installed last year. “The biggest changes that happen in our community is our children now go to school on time, we prepared food for our family on time and we hardly heard that a snake has bitten someone on their way to the stream. Now, we are enjoying this facility and we don’t spend much time on fetching water for drinking, laundry, bathing etc.”

“Since this project was brought here, our life has changed because we have safe and clean water to drink,” shares 15-year-old Umaru Kamara. “I always go to school on time and even the environment is clean, there are drying racks, cloth line and even our even our rubber that we use to fetched water are being cleaned before fetching water.”

The community was clean and the pump was working properly but the community can improve their sanitation practices. Our staff will continue to support this project by monitoring and chlorinating the well and help in maintenance of the pump when necessary. We will also offer refresher training the community people on good hygienic and proper sanitation practices.

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.


Paul and Caryn Koenig
10 individual donor(s)

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Country Details

Sierra Leone

Population: 9.7 Million
Lacking clean water: 47%
Below poverty line: 70%

Partner Profile

Mariatu’s Hope works with vulnerable communities and individuals to inspire hope through Maternal Care, Infant Nutrition, Safe Water Access, Proper Sanitation and Health and Hygiene promotion.