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Location: Sierra Leone

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 247 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 



Community Profile & Stories

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

A normal day starts at 5 AM to get ready for the day. The majority of community members here are Muslim, but not every Muslim gets up this early to attend prayers at the mosque. Many locals are much more concerned about putting food on the table for their families.

Fetching water in the wee hours of the morning is not something the children look forward to, but they have no choice but to carry a bulk of the hard work around the house. After fetching water, they head home discussing the day’s events and anticipating the leftover rice that their mothers are warming up. They get home and finish their chores by sweeping and washing pots and pans. Their school uniform is ironed by older siblings or parents, who use a local charcoal iron. The coal sometimes burns the uniform, and thus some students are seen with patches of varying colors.

Water Situation

There is a seasonal well within the Tholmossor community, at the home of Section Chief Pa Alimamy. It was constructed in 2001. Years later, we began receiving calls from the community, who asked us to visit the well and see what was going wrong. It turns out that during the dry months when there’s no rain, the well stops producing water.

The dry season impacts anywhere from two to six months. When this happens, community members have to go elsewhere for their water. There is another hand-dug well in the community, but it is ten minutes away. The walk to this other well is along a busy road, and small children risk injury by speeding cars and motorbikes. And this being the only other protected well, the crowds at the source become unbearable. To avoid this stress, many locals resort to an open well that is much closer.

This second hand-dug well and the other contaminated source also run low during the dry season, though not as severely as the one we plan to repair. When water in these wells in inaccessible, community members draw their drinking water from a swamp.

This season affects small children the most, whether it be the long walks or the consequences of drinking dirty water.

Sanitation Situation

The majority of households here have a pit latrine, though the majority of them are not clean! People here carry around body spray to use after being in a latrine. If not, the latrine’s odor will linger for hours!

The homes look clean, but they’re lacking facilities. There are no helpful tools like dish racks and hand-washing stations. Animals like chickens and dogs are allowed to roam freely, even into the kitchen to enjoy the warmth from the leftover charcoal or firewood.

Plans: Sanitation and Hygiene Training 

Training will last for three hours a day for three days. The facilitators have already assessed sanitation here and decided that hand-washing will be strongly emphasized. During our hand-washing sessions, community members will be taught how to make their own hand-washing station out of a plastic jerrycan, sticks, and rope. These are the best solution for rural areas, since all the materials are all easily replaceable. The same thing will be done for dish racks.

Other sessions will teach about how important it is to have a well-built and well-cleaned latrine. They should have roofs and the pit should be covered when not in use. Before construction work can begin, every single household must have their own pit latrine.

Training will also result in the formation of a water user committee that will take responsibility for their new well. The members will manage and maintain the pump to the best of their ability, and will call our office if they need a mechanic to make a repair.

Plans: Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year round. The pump will be removed, and a man will be lowered inside with a hand auger. This hand auger will allow the team to drill several meters deeper to hit a new water table, which will ensure the well supplies water throughout the drier 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.


Recent Project Updates


07/20/2017: Tholmosor Community Well Restored With Clean Water

Tholmosor 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 Tholmosor 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at a home that has a lot of almond trees. There was plenty of room in the shade for everyone to sit comfortably. By working with community leadership, the trainers were able to organize the best time for three days of sessions. There was a total of 114 in attendance! Men, women, young and old all showed up to listen and learn.

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Training always draws a lot of children who are excited about all of the activities!

The agenda was created after our staff took a baseline survey of hygiene standards here.

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

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We set up a table so participants can make hand-washing stations with the containers they brought.

Diagrams portraying unhealthy practices such as walking barefoot, open defecation, outdoor urination, and eating with unwashed hands were all shown and discussed in groups. What behaviors make a community healthy, and what others are counterproductive?

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People come to the front to help the trainer teach about good and bad practices.

Stories of disease transmission were also worked into a session. Sierra Leoneans are accustomed to shaking hands, which happens to be a prime way that germs spread. We created an object lesson that clearly shows the effect of shaking dirty hands: The trainer rubbed a sticky, glittering powder on her palm and passed around the audience shaking hands with all. The glitter transferred to their hands by that action, and it continued to spread. Since germs are tiny, tiny parasites that cannot be seen with our naked eye, the people were warned that this same transfer is happening with germs.

After training, we saw people directly transition into practicing what they learned. Families cleared drainage around their compounds to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. People set up the hand-washing stations they made. All participants affirmed that they now understand the importance of taking certain steps to improve their health.

Retired civil servant Ibrahim Wurrie is 67 years old, but still attended the training to learn new things. “As a retired civil servant worker in this community, I often observed how people live with regard for hygiene principles. They are not conscious of keeping the environment clean. But with the outcome of the hygiene training much improvement has been experienced. The used of bed nets to avoid mosquito bites, thus avoiding the frequent attack of malaria are all benefit from the training. With the hygiene training our lives are much better than before. We are indeed thankful to this organization!”

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Lots of new hand-washing stations!

Project Result: A Reliable Water Well

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 40 feet deep.

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Opened up the old well cover to see what was inside… there certainly wasn’t enough water!

The team sets up the tripod and lowers the wooden platform into the well. The platform sits on top of the well casing and provides a solid working platform. The team now lowers 6″ PVC casing down the well and through the center of the platform. The casing now rests on the bottom of the well. The team lowers the bucket auger and drill rod into the 6″ casing, and the guys begin to drill into the bottom of the well. They raise the drill out of the casing at different intervals to empty the material out of the drill bit. As they do this, they drive down the 6″ casing to keep the hole open.

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This is VERY hard work.

The team met sand until rock at 45 feet. They decided to change to a 150-pound bit that could be repeatedly dropped in the well to break the rock, but as they began this process they found out it wasn’t a rock at all! It was just hard clay that made progress difficult. The team managed to reach 62 feet, where they found a lot of new water.

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The pulley system helped the team raise and lower heavy, cumbersome objects. This pulley also lowered the drill team members themselves!

4¼” casing was screened and then lowered into the temporary 6″ casing. Four buckets of filter pack were poured between the two casings, after which the temporary casing can be hoisted out. Iron rods also had to be cemented to the well lining to fortify it, keeping the PVC straight from top to bottom. The team welded a collar at the pump based to further fortify this casing.

The well was manually developed by bailing; two men bailed for three days. The yield was then tested with a submersible pump at a depth of 50 feet. It pumped for one hour with no drop in static water level. The team measured the discharge, and determined that they pumped 845 gallons! That means the yield is around 52 liters per minute, which is great news for Tholmosor Community.

With those good results, the well pad platform and walls were bricked up and the mechanics installed the stainless steel India MkII pump.

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This was highly anticipated and made for a joyous celebration: we met the community people waiting under a burning sun, and they joined together to dance and sing. We brought a boom box and played some upbeat music. After this fun, we asked Mr. Wurie the landowner to share some words. However, we were told that he left to tell everyone in the community about the celebration at their rejuvenated well!

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Celebration!

Mr. Wurie finally arrived with a crowd of people, over 120 of them singing and dancing. It was very moving as Mr. Wurie offered his words of thanks:

“Words will not be enough to express the way how I feel about this project. I will encourage my people to handle the pump with care. Secondly, I will be more grateful to this project after the well will pass the test the previous months we use to experience drought from the well. I hope that we will not experience that again.”


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04/17/2017: Tholmosor Community Project Underway

Tholmosor Community in Sierra Leone will soon have a source of safe, clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A dry well is being deepened 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, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you updated as the work progresses.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!


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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos


Project Data


Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Port Loko, Kaffu Bullom, Lungi, Rotifunk, Tholmosor
ProjectID: 5110
Install Date:  07/20/2017




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.