Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 493 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/13/2024

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

Mayaya is highly populated by the Susu tribe. This community depends on fishing, farming, gardening and petty trading for their livelihood. Young children as well as women and men go to the wharf to fish enough for daily survival. When a boat arrives, the entire village is mixed up. Pupils leave their classrooms, women leave their pot on the fire and some even leave their prayers; nothing is as important to them as fish.

People living in this community largely depend on fishing and farming. The women generate small income from the cash crops like: cucumber, cabbage, tomato, pepper, and potato greens. As for men, after catching a large enough amount of fish, they clean and separate them into some to sell in the market and some for their own homes. There are also the petty traders who sell soap, sandals, and other items that people might want to buy. Many will walk for miles with baskets on their heads, full of the product they want to sell.

Mayaya means "snake village." This name came about when Pa. Korkery came as the first settler and only found snakes all over the place. He moved to the wharf and built a house there, and people joined him over the years.

Some houses are built with cement and some with mud, with the mud homes being the oldest. Mayaya is a huge hub for everyone in the chiefdom to buy their fish.

Mayaya is inhabited by all Muslims. Every other morning at around 5 AM, elders go to the mosque for their suba prayer. After prayers, mothers start preparing food for the family and the children sweep and do other chores. The family will sit together and eat before they leave for their different destinations: swamp, market, river or school. They have no lunch, but later in the day at around 5 PM the mother will prepare dinner.

Water Situation

Mayaya is so densely populated that we drilled a borehole last year to help alleviate the water shortage. Beyond this one source, there is an older hand-dug well that we monitor.

We make quarterly visits to check on these two wells, because it's important they're up and running for the hundred living here. The recent borehole installation has been doing wonderfully, but we noticed a change in the hand-dug well. As the rains diminish, the water in the well no longer outlasts the dry season.

With the hand-dug well down, the new borehole gets extraordinarily crowded. There are long lines at the pump, forcing those who get there late to fetch water from the swamp. It's during these dry months that waterborne disease once again becomes a reality.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households living in this area of Mayaya have their own pit latrine. It's common for those who can't afford to build one to share with their neighbor. Without a kindly neighbor to share with, some families must resort to open defecation. The typical pit latrines in this community are either mud or cement walls built around the pit. Roofs are made of tarps, rice bags, or brush.

There are a few hand-washing stations here, most likely resulting from our engagement with Mayaya last year. Over half of homes have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines for safely drying belongings.

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: Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry for half of every year and 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 sufficient water column that 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.

Project Updates

October, 2018: A Year Later: Mayaya Community, Central Mosque

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to restore water to Mayaya Community. 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...

January, 2018: Mayaya Village Project Complete

Mayaya 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 enough 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 Mayaya, 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

Mr. Alie B. Wurie is a well-known teacher in the community, and was our chosen contact person when planning hygiene and sanitation training. He went door to door inviting families to attend. Training was held at Pa Kindo's home, since he has a large enough veranda to shield everyone from rainy weather.

Training participants hiding from rain under the veranda.

Attendance ranged from 70 to 141 people, with the heaviest attendance on the hand-washing day. This first day, we built hand-washing stations called "tippy taps," which are made from easily accessible materials like sticks and plastic jerrycans. After making these together, we taught about the importance of hand-washing, when to do it, and how to do it. After these sessions, participants could take their new tippy taps home and set them up outside their latrines.

Community members constructing their hand-washing stations.

The next day is always about differentiating between good and bad hygiene practices. Ironically, the trainer arrived just in time to witness a toddler who was let loose by his mother to relieve himself at the edge of the clearing. As he was doing so, a snake slithered out of the bushes and attacked him. The trainer was able to refer to this danger when talking about the hazards of bad health habits in the community.

The trainer using illustrations to lead the community in discussions about good and bad practices.

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?

The final day, we continued these types of discussions. While on the first day we had led people through hand-washing station construction, this third day was similar in that we elaborated on the need for and the viability of building other sanitation facilities like latrines, dish racks, and animal pens. We taught participants what materials to use, proving that even the poorest family can afford to build at least a traditional pit latrine.

Walking around the community, the trainer was able to point out great examples of the facilities that every household needs to have.

Salamatu Sawaneh is a fish trader in Mayaya, and was happy to have attended training. "The truth is that hygiene is a new word to me and my family. But we have come across this word 'cleanliness' which we don't practice. Many of our people died of Ebola because they don't know how to take care of themselves... We have a saying here which is common among us, that germs cannot kill Africans. Our health is even at risk because we have gone far from discipline and we are ignorant about hygiene. Sometimes many people die in this community when a sickness broke out. But now the training has brought us great help. I learned I should always wash my hands with soap and water and that I should be an example to my children and neighbors in applying the principles I have learned about hygiene. We thank you so much for such an important training," she shared.

Salamatu Sawaneh

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 62 feet deep with two feet of water. At this time of the year, community members were only able to draw one or two containers of water before the well needed rest. In a few more weeks, the well would have been completely dry.

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 Mayaya, which also allowed for the hand-pump to remain installed and usable. Since drilling was done within a new temporary casing, it didn’t affect the existing well or its water quality at all. Community members could fetch one to two containers of water from the two feet of water there.

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.

Drilling by hand is tough work!

The team met sand and light-colored clay all the way to 77 feet. They stopped drilling there because below was black clay, which negatively affects drinking water quality.

They lowered 10 feet of casing slotted for screen down to 75 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 70 feet and using it for one hour. The team measured the discharge, which was 800 gallons. We are excited that the static water level at 60 feet deep remained the same throughout the entire test. Thus, the yield is 49 liters per minute.

Yield testing

With this incredible success, we could build a new walled well pad and install the new stainless steel hand-pump. When clean water starts flowing, we always enjoy celebrating with the community. We arrived there after lunch, but it was seriously raining. The children weren't inhibited, and came anyways to sing, dance, and fetch their first containers of clean water from their new well. When prayer finished at the local mosque, the well was flooded by adults singing and dancing.

Salamatu Sawaneh met us again to represent the gratefulness of her neighbors and herself: "I am very grateful for this project. Indeed we have been experiencing water scarcity in this community, leading us to a lot of delays and other challenges. Now I can boast of a safe drinking water close to my house. In fact, words will fail me if I am to explain the feeling I have. But the happiness is within me. Initially, we were very reluctant in cooperating with the team (to attend training, host the artisans, etc.). But we thank you for your persistence, courage and effort in ensuring that we have access to safe water source."

November, 2017: Mayaya Village Project Underway

Mayaya Village will soon have a source of safe and clean water that works year round, thanks to your generous donation. A well that is dry for months at a time 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 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

Hand-dug wells have been an important source of water throughout human history! Now, we have so many different types of water sources, but hand-dug wells still have their place. Hand dug wells are not as deep as borehole wells, and work best in areas where there is a ready supply of water just under the surface of the ground, such as next to a mature sand dam. Our artisans dig down through the layers of the ground and then line the hole with bricks, stone, or concrete, which prevent contamination and collapse. Then, back up at surface level, we install a well platform and a hand pump so people can draw up the water easily.

A Year Later: Mayaya Community, Central Mosque

October, 2018

Mohamed is studying at a nearby school and says that “students go to school at the time they want to, without being late.”

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mayaya Village A.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mayaya Village A 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 restore water to Mayaya Community. 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 Madieu A. Turay with you.

This community has gone through a tough time in terms of sickness. A huge number of people passed away during the Ebola outbreak, and they also consistently suffered from cholera. Things have become so easy since clean, reliable water was provided last year. The community is now free of cholera because they practice what they were taught during the hygiene and sanitation training.

Rehabilitation of this 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.

We spoke to Pa Gribilla Kamara, the pump caretaker, who has witnessed all of the positive developments in Mayaya.

Pa Gibrilla Kamara

"We now have an easy task to fetch water for the mosque," Pa Kamara told us.

He said that the neighboring families are relieved about how open the well has been for their own domestic uses. He said that there's been enough reliable water for them to construct a community center for Mayaya.

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 Mayaya is changing many lives.

19-year-old Mohamed Sumah stopped by the well to get water, allowing us to hear more about the changes in his community.

From left to right: Pa Gribilla Kamara, Mohamed Sumah, and Madieu Turay

"We have stopped going to the beach to fetch water," Mohamed said.

Clean, reliable water is central to him and many other people. Mohamed is studying at a nearby school and says that "students go to school at the time they want to, without being late" due to the availability of water.

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 Mayaya Village A 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 Mayaya Village A – 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.