Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 269 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/07/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Mariatu’s Hope of Sierra Leone. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

New London Community is a diverse community with many different religions and tribes. Since this community has grown so big, they need two chiefs.

A normal day in this community is very quiet and peaceful while all of the children are in school. In the morning, the family gathers for prayer, either Christian morning devotions or Muslim Suba prayers. After that, they warm up their leftover rice and have breakfast.

New London is unique when compared to neighboring communities because every year April 27, which is Independence Day, they organize sports activities and invite other communities to participate.

The livelihood of people living in this community are teachers, hospital workers, amputees, airport workers, petty traders, housewives, farmers.

There are many gardens down in the swamp area, where water is also fetched.

Water Situation

We first met this community several years ago. When we got there, they showed us a well sitting in their community that was producing no water. We opened it up and weren't encouraged by the low water levels we saw, and informed the community that we weren't confident we could get it working for long. At that time, we were only repairing old pumps or installing new ones. But since their pump was broken, they begged us to come in and fix it anyways. Because of their extreme suffering from water scarcity, we did so.

As the years passed, we continued to monitor the well and witness the water table drop. Mr. Jalloh opened up the well again and tried to send someone down inside to dig deeper, but the well is too narrow.

In the meantime, we've developed a new method of hand-drilling from the top of the well, converting this hand-dug well into a borehole. We expect that with this method, we will be able to drill an additional 30 to 40 feet.

Since this well fails the community, they must return to the swamp to meet their water needs. The community dug a huge hole in the area where they garden. Although the swamp water is normally a milky color, the people have dug the hole to a point where the water is clearer. Unfortunately, clear doesn't mean clean! They use this water for drinking and watering crops.

We met Mr. Koroma at the swamp. He was adamant that there were no germs in African water, so he drinks the swamp water with no hesitation. Yet sickness commonly plagues the community, including swollen bellies, worms, malaria, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera. Mr. Koroma brushed off these sicknesses, saying that this is normal life in Africa.

Sanitation Situation

Every house in this community has a latrine. They know the importance of good hygiene, but how can they really practice good hygiene when they don't have access to clean water? How does it feel to bathe in dirty swamp water?

All but one of the latrines were constructed from mud blocks and have roofs. Only one was constructed as a native toilet made out of thatch. The latrines were clean, but the holes were not covered (leaving them open to attract flies and wild animals). Since every home has a latrine, open defecation is not an issue there. However, farmers often relieve themselves in bushes when they're out farming.

Every home has a clothesline, but less than half have dish racks for drying utensils up off the ground. Only a handful of families have a dedicated place to wash hands, which is an important step in preventing disease anywhere, but especially here where they don't have a health clinic.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.

Not many hand-washing stations were observed here. After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a hand-washing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for hand-washing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.

These trainings will also strengthen the water user committee that manages and maintains this well. They enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Plans: Drilling, or New Well?

We have decided the most responsible course of action is to first attempt drilling the existing well deeper. If our new method does not succeed in producing reliable clean water, we will bring in the drill rig and find a place for a new borehole.

The well marked for this overhaul needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year round. The pump will be removed so that we can use a hand auger. This hand auger will allow the team to drill several meters deeper to hit a sufficient water column that will ensure the well supplies water throughout all seasons. As the team drills, casing will be installed, transforming this hand-dug well into a pseudo-borehole. PVC piping will connect this lower system directly to the pump, a construction that we know will also improve the quality of water.

Once this plan is implemented, everyone within the community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Project Updates

October, 2018: A Year Later: New London, 9 Jalloh Street

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to drill a well for New London Community in Sierra Leone. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

November, 2017: New London Community Project Complete

New London Community, Sierra Leone now has a well that provides clean water throughout the year, thanks to your donation! Hundreds of people are no longer stranded without clean water during the dry months. 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 of the work that was done in New London Community, and be sure to check out the tons of new pictures!

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

The hygiene and sanitation training plan was created using information from the baseline survey. The schedule for this training was agreed upon during our first community engagement meeting, and we worked with local leaders to make sure everyone was notified and encouraged to attend.

We held training on Mr. Koroma's property under a palm tree, and were very encouraged by the number of people there waiting for us. However, attendance on the first and second days decreased because of bad weather.

Some of the topics covered during training were as follows:

– How to wash hands, and how to build a hand-washing station from a jerrycan, string, sticks, and netting

– Good and bad hygiene practices

– Dish racks and how to build them

– Keeping animals under control

– Management and maintenance of the hand pump

On the first day, members of St. Augustine Primary School's child health club came to help us teach about hand-washing. They clearly demonstrated the need for running water and soap for clean hands and healthy lives. They and our own facilitator led everyone through making their own hand-washing stations, called tippy-taps. These are easy to make with all affordable, accessible materials like plastic containers, rope, and sticks.

Kids from a student health club came to help us teach hand-washing in New London.

On the second day, we used helpful illustrations to highlight the differences between good and bad hygiene behaviors. People normally don’t put premium on living in a healthy environment here. By the use of posters of what goes on in a dirty community, we educated them on the disadvantages of living in that unhealthy environment and compared to the advantages of living in a clean environment. For example, there are great risks involved with dwelling together with animals under the same roof. Building dish racks and other types of counters is an important way to safeguard food and belongings. Also, rubbish pits must be dug at the far back of households, where waste will be kept out of the way. People were again encouraged not to shower outside, but instead should build bathing shelters where they can always shower.

Community members helping our trainer by holding up pictures of bad habits practiced on a daily basis!

On the third day, we talked about water point management and maintenance, the importance of having and using a latrine, and water treatment. We were also able to demonstrate on how to properly use mosquito nets - they're not for fencing, they're to be used over a bed while someone's sleeping!

This is the proper way to hang up a bed net!

As we taught, we saw information put directly to practice. People cleaned the stagnant water up around their compounds to prevent mosquito-breeding. They picked up litter as they were taught, and built dish racks.

Mr. Amara Bangura said, "The practice of hygiene is not a custom or habit for every resident in this community. What they view as hygiene practice falls far below standard, even in most other communities. So the spirit behind the three days' hygiene training in this community was highly received and appreciated. Raining season is a very delicate season for us because we are exposed to so many diseases. The training really served as a reminder and brought to our minds things that we had limited knowledge about. We promise that we will not only be hearers but we will put into practice all the hygiene training we have learnt."

Mr. Amara Bangura

Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

We had initially planned to drill a new borehole in New London, but came across this old, shallow, hand-dug well in the community. We opened it up and found out method of drilling a borehole in the bottom would work great at this location.

We spearheaded a new method of converting the bottom of a hand-dug well into a borehole. When we started this process, the well was at 44 feet deep with absolutely no water.

The team set up the tripod and pulley over the well. Depending on the diameter of the well, the team either drills from inside the well or from ground level. The team worked from ground level here in New London.

First, they installed 6″ PVC casing through the hatch cover down to the bottom of the well. This ensured that the drilling began straight and also kept the hole from collapsing. They connected the bucket auger drill bit to the drilling rod and lowered it into the well, continuing to add more drill rods until they hit the bottom. Each drill rod is 18 feet in length and every time the team empties the bucket auger, they must reverse the process by disconnecting the rods until the drill bit can be emptied. This method is more labor intensive, but working from the top was much safer in this circumstance. There are different drill bits for different conditions, a special bit just for clay, one for sand, one for rocks and one combination bit for all three conditions.

Emptying the drill bit of clay and sand.

The team met sand and light clay all the way to 72 feet, where it immediately changed to dark clay. Dark clay contaminants drinking water, so we stopped right above here.

Drilling by hand is really hard work!

They lowered 18 feet of casing slotted for screen down to 70 feet, and then dumped six buckets of filter pack between the two casings. The team could then hoist out the temporary casing.

Iron rods were cemented into the well lining and attached to the casing to support the weight of the PVC and keep it straight from bottom to top. The team welded a collar in the pump base to further support the casing.

The well was developed by bailing; two men bailed by hand for four days to ensure proper development. The well could then be tested by installing a submersible pump at 60 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 520 gallons. We are excited that the static water level at 51 feet deep remained the same throughout the entire test. Thus, the yield is 32 liters per minute.

Testing Yield

Before installing a new pump, the team had to construct a new well cover - the old one had cracked badly. They made a new one using iron rod, binding wire, and cement mixed with granite stone. This sat for one week to harden before it could be installed.

Pouring concrete to make the new well cover.

After, we continued by building a new walled well pad and installing the new stainless steel hand-pump.

Pump Installation

Before, this well sat there dry and unused, as if a decoration in the community. The only place the people of New London could find water was the swamp. Now that this well has been rehabilitated, people in this community are deeply satisfied. Mrs. Mabinty Conteh told us, "I am just wondering about what would have been our fate if we would have continued drinking water from the swamp unto this moment. The rehabilitation of this well in our community is really a blessing to us. The previous well was furniture when it wasn’t like this, but now that it has been rehabilitated and painted, I can see its beauty and the water is now safe for drinking. We want to reassure Mariatu’s Hope and The Water Project that we will put all our efforts together to make sure that this blessing will never depart from us and that we will not return to our past state!"

September, 2017: New London to Be Restored with Clean Water

New London Community will soon have a source of safe, clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A well without a pump that is dry for half of the year is being deepened, and a new pump installed. The community will also 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, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you updated as the work progresses.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!

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!

A Year Later: New London, 9 Jalloh Street

October, 2018

“There is always fresh and available water in my community to drink and do my domestic works.” – Fatmata

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in New London Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help New London Community 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, your generous donation enabled us to hand-drill a well for New London Community in Sierra Leone. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from local team member Omoh Emmanuel with you.

Due to the look of things in the community, there is a different, better lifestyle here. You can see the joy and happiness on people's faces as they have hope that the community is heading somewhere and there is a future for their children.

These people used to go to the swamp and other unprotected water points in search of water. They had a well that was completely dry, but we were able to go in and hand-drill a borehole, bringing them a source of safe drinking water. There is safe and clean water now nearby.

We spoke with Mrs. Mabinty Conteh and Fatmata Bangura about changes they have personally witnessed.

"Presently, people don't fall sick because of drinking contaminated water. The water provided for us is clean, fresh, has no taste, no smell, and no color," said Mrs. Conteh.

Mrs. Mabinty Conteh

Construction on the well is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This well in New London is changing many lives.

Mrs. Mabinty Conteh and Fatmata stand proudly in front of their community's well.

"I no longer drink swamp or other unprotected water again. There is always fresh and available water in my community to drink and do my domestic works," shared 10-year-old Fatmata Bangura. "And I don't easily arrive late for school due to fetching water, and my uniforms are always clean now," she continued.

"The environment is clean and healthy for us to play in."

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise 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 New London Community 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 New London Community – 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 Sponsor - Solenis