Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 485 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2017

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

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

The ancestors of Conakry Dee Community are Guineans; they came from Guinea-Kaporo, so they used their own language to name this town Conakry Dee, meaning "small." There were only two men and a woman from Guinea at its start! Their names where Pa. Saio Kuyea, Mangayea and Ya-Mariama. These people used a boat as a means of transportation from Conakry Dee to Freetown and other places.

The first chief of Conakry Dee was Pa. Adikaie Sumah, when there were 40 households built from mud and palm leaves. There were fishermen from Ghana and Nigeria who visited this village to join forces with the Conakridians to fish.

The early settlers of this town came from Guinea to fish, but they first settled in Rokuprr (Manbolo Chiefdom). They were given a contract to move and build a fishing village for the chief of Magberah Chiefdom.

Daily activities here revolve around fishing. In the early morning hours, people take their nets and go to the wharf. When the boats arrive, everyone runs to buy fresh fish from the fishermen in order to resell in different communities and markets. When it is time for prayers, they stop fishing, pray, and then continue with their livelihoods.

The majority of people here are Muslim who fish, trade, work in the local hospital or teach. The people follow European football and enjoy any opportunities to watch the matches at local canteens.

Water Situation

There is a hand-dug well that we have been monitoring on a quarterly basis. As the years passed, we got more and more phone calls from the community. These calls were during the dry season, and a visit from our mechanic confirmed that this well is being negatively impacted by the lack of rain.

As the water levels drop, the community must pump harder and longer to get what they need. At certain times, they can't get any water at all.

Before this hand-dug well was installed in 2000, the community was getting their water from an open stream. Back then, there was a small boy by the name of Kamanda; one of the many who went to the stream to fetch water. After he filled his container he decided to take a moment to swim. As he swam to the other side of the river, he was washed to the deepest part of the river and drowned. The other kids who were also at the river ran to call for help, but they were too late. He was nowhere to be found until after three days later when his body was seen floating at the other side. This incident was very difficult for the community, so they approached a local church asking for help in building a well to save their children.

These people were so happy they didn't have to send their children to fetch water from the stream anymore. But as the water levels in their well get worse, they have no choice but to return to dangerous, dirty water sources like the stream. They dry seasons are now so severe that the well is reported to dry up for almost five months!

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households have their own pit latrine. Those we observed are built from mud and palm leaves. Many have no door, while others have tarps or empty rice bags hanging in the opening. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue here. With no other choice, community members seek the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves. This impacts the entire community; wild animals and rain can spread this waste from one side of the village to the other.

There are no hand-washing stations here, proving that little time or effort is spent for hygiene and sanitation. Trash is disposed of at the wharf, with most of it being thrown directly into the sea.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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

No 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: Conakry Dee Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to restore water to Conakry Dee 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...

November, 2017: Conakry Dee Community Project Complete

Conakry Dee 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 Conakry Dee 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 work plan was created based on the information gathered during the baseline survey. The schedule for the three days' training was agreed upon during our first community engagement meeting. Appropriate dates and times were set, and a follow-up call was made before the actual day.

The chief took responsibility for passing this message on to the whole community for them to be made aware. Over 100 people gathered together under a mango tree on the first day to learn about hygiene and sanitation. On the second and third days, we moved under a hut by St. Peter's Church, since rain was looming.

Participants pose for a group picture after the first day of training.

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

There was a demonstration with the trainer walking around shaking hands with all the participants. Each individual noticed a glittery shine on their hands after the handshakes. This introduced a practical lesson: What are you seeing on your hands? They answer by saying “we are seeing shine-shine on our hands,” and that’s when the facilitators bring home the idea that these signify germs. We are always vulnerable to them, and need to keep clean by practicing good personal hygiene. This set us up for a strong transition into how to make hand-washing stations.

A woman practices at the hand-washing station she made.

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?

Children helping the trainer by holding up pictures illustrating different good and bad sanitation practices.

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.

55-year-old Yeabu Kanu was moved to express her impression of hygiene and sanitation training. "Basically, the practice of hygiene has not been a priority to us living at the wharf. We hardly practice hygiene in this community. Everybody does what they feel like doing. Open defecation is a big problem in the community. The health condition around the wharf area is very poor and we are at high risk because of no discipline and control. We spent almost half of our income on medication because of the poor hygiene been practice in the community. So the hygiene training has come at the right time! It corrected most of our unhealthy practices that we have been used to in the community. I personally have learnt that I should be accountable for what I do and that I should be an example to others in applying the hygiene principles I have learnt," she shared.

Yeabu Kanu

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 63 feet deep with three 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 Conakry Dee, 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.

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.


The team met sand all the way to 83 feet, which is a great sign because it's both clean and allows water to freely flow through it.

They lowered 18 feet of casing slotted for screen down to 80 feet, and then dumped seven 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 75 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 60 feet deep remained the same throughout the entire test. Thus, the yield is 32 liters per minute.

Measuring the water levels

With this great success, we could build a new walled well pad and install the new stainless steel hand-pump.

Installing an India Mark II pump

Even though it was rainy outside, people gathered at the well to celebrate clean, sustainable water. We brought the music, but the people brought dancing and singing. After a bit, we quieted folks down and reviewed pump management and maintenance with them and went over a few key hygiene and sanitation practices. One of the field officers asked the community what they learned during training, and a middle-aged woman threw up her hands and said, "We learned to wash hands with soap and water, and to cover our toilets after using them!" People also had the chance to step forward and express their gratefulness for this amazing work.

Mrs. Isatu Kamara said, "As a woman, we mostly use water in large quantity. We use it in different areas like cooking, taking care of ourselves, and our children. I am very much grateful for helping us to have access to safe, pure drinking water."

October, 2017: Conakry Dee Community Project Underway

Conakry Dee Community 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: Conakry Dee Community

October, 2018

“I no longer go to the swamp or other unprotected water points again, and I don’t wake up early in the morning in search of water anymore.” – Namah

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Conakry Dee Community 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 Conakry Dee 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 Omoh Emmanuel with you.

People are now practicing hygiene because safe and clean water is available at all times. Now people are making a big effort by using clotheslines, dish racks, and toilet facilities just as we taught them during hygiene and sanitation training last year.

We met with 14-year-old Namah, who is a student attending a nearby primary school. "My life has positively changed since the renovation of this pump," Namah said.

Namah, at the well in Conakry Dee

"At first I used to go to the swamp in the morning to fetch water but now everything has changed for the better. I no longer go to the swamp or other unprotected water points again, and I don't wake up early in the morning in search of water anymore. Now I have enough sleep every day and more time to study."

Rehabilitation of 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.

From left to right: Alusine Massaquoi, Miss Namah, and Omoh Emmanuel

We also talked to Alusine Massaquoi, who lives right by the well and has dedicated time each day to care for it. He keeps the area clean and makes sure people follow the rules. If something on the pump needs repair, we expect to hear from Mr. Massaquoi first.

"At first, people in the community were doing whatever he or she likes, but since your organization came our entire lives have changed for the better," Mr. Massaquoi said.

"Now people can tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy homes and community. People do take care of their environment and themselves, they now have toilets, clotheslines, and handwashing stations."

People are using this reliable water to keep themselves and their environments clean.

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 Conakry Dee is changing many lives.

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 Conakry Dee Community 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 Conakry Dee Community 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.