Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 402 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/15/2024

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

Kasongha is a semi-urban area, though it still has a village feel to it. Initially, the people living in this community were Mandingo, but it has become a community made of several different tribes with the majority being Temne. The community has been growing a lot; it now can boast of a mosque and a health clinic. Pa Komrabai Sesay II is the present chief of this community.

This community is purely Muslim; people come from other communities to learn Arabic in this community. A normal day in this community starts at 4:30am when people wake up to get ready for prayer. After this prayer, they will wait and listen to a lecture at the mosque until 7am. Children who live in Kasongha wake up at 6:30am, sweep the compound, and then clean the dishes. They normally finish their domestic work by 7:20am so they have enough time to fetch water for school. Students must get to school with their water by 8:20am. Some students are late because of these morning chores. The adults in this community are teachers, professionals, business owners, nurses, petty traders, and farmers.

Water Situation

The mosque dug a well on their grounds and opened it to the surrounding community. We installed a pump on this well and have been monitoring it on a quarterly basis since then. From recent visits and talks with the locals, it's obvious that the water table has dropped since the well's implementation. Since we became aware of this issue, we've tried to drop more casings to deepen the well but have been unsuccessful. The soft sand has made this near impossible. Well water is unavailable for months at a time.

When this well isn't working during the drier months, community members return to using open water sources like streams. This water is visibly dirty and is normally just used for cleaning. However, without a functional well there's no other choice but to use that dirty water for drinking too. This stream is also located at the bottom of a steep hill on which there are many households. When it rains, these families' garbage and waste is washed down the hill and into the water.

After drinking water from the stream, community members, especially the weaker children and elderly, suffer from diarrhea, stomachaches, cholera, and typhoid. The bushy overgrowth and stagnant water at the stream host swarms of mosquitos, so typhoid also increases when the community cannot use the water well.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households have their own pit latrine. The most common latrine was made of mud. Because of this low coverage, open defecation is an issue here. Community members prefer the seemingly clean privacy of bushes and other open spaces to the enclosed and often dirty latrines.

Mr. Alusine Conteh is a local court chairman who lives in Kasongha. "The health in this country and community is poor. We do not have another alternative water source. We only have the stream as an alternative so we are making use of it. People are sick malaria, cholera, stomachache and vomiting. People normally come to our community health post for treatment every day, and also the suckling mothers and pregnant women. Kids walk with bare foot on the ground without shoes all this causes sickness in the community especially in the raining season. Now is raining season many sickness is going around. We may get in contact most of the sickness through the water we are drinking, air, latrine and food. Our health in this community is poor," he confirmed.

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 located at 16 Komrabai Road, and was dug by the mosque there. It is dry for multiple months of the 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: Kasongha Community, 16 Komrabai Road

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

January, 2018: Kasongha Community, 16 Komrabai Road Project Complete

Kasongha 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 Kasongha, 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

Since this community is primarily Muslim, the imam was our best contact. He made announcements about the importance of attending hygiene and sanitation training after prayer times. Sessions were held in the mosque the first day, and then outside for the other two days. There were 195 people in the mosque for our training on hand-washing!

We taught them how to wash hands and when. Participants brought empty containers with which we showed them how to build hand-washing stations. We provided the other materials, as well as soap to get them started.

Making hand-washing stations

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. This day is especially important because of our training on pump management and maintenance.

40-year-old Fatmata Kanu expressed her gratefulness for how much she learned. "We have learnt a lot from this training. To be very truthful, we have been very careless about taking care of our toilets. You, however, have taught us to always keep our toilets clean and to cover them. We have found this very beneficial to our health. During the training, we have also learnt to wash our hands after using toilet, bathe our children and always monitor their health. With all of this information, we will not easily become victim of any of these diseases again. We were also reminded to buy a stool [child's toilet] for our children so that they will stop open defecation. Thanks for these timely and beneficial trainings," she said.

Fatmata 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 56 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 Kasongha, and started by removing the pump and hatch.

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.


As they drilled, the team found sand and only sand all the way to 77 feet! Water flows freely through sand so this was a great sign. We stopped at 77 feet deep because there was a huge amount of water.

15 feet of casing was slotted for screen and lowered down between 60 and 75 feet. Seven buckets of filter pack were poured between the two casings, and then they could hoist out the temporary larger casing used for the drilling.

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 650 gallons. We are excited that the static water level at 54 feet deep remained the same throughout the entire test. Thus, the yield is 40 liters per minute.

The community gathers around during the yield test.

With this great success, we could build a new well pad and install the new stainless steel India MkII hand-pump. People gathered to sing and dance in celebration of clean water returning to their well. 35-year-old Adikalie Kamara spoke up in his excitement of having a clean water source in his community again. "It is not fair to drink with snakes from the same water source, but that is how it had always been with us. Our previous water source was full of snakes. Tradition forbade us to fetch water there on Fridays. The situation was really bad for us. But the rehabilitation of this new well, I am not sure if snakes will come there again. Thanks to Mariatu’s Hope and The Water Project.”

December, 2017: Kasongha Community Project Underway

Kasongha 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: Kasongha Community, 16 Komrabai Road

October, 2018

“There is much more improvement and motivation for my education. It has created enough room for my study time, especially in this time of preparation for the big exams.” – Foday Kamara

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasongha 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 restore water to Kasongha 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 Madieu Turay with you.

This reliable, clean water has unlocked so much potential in Kasongha Community. Not only do people have safe drinking water, but they now have the ability to use their water for cleaning. Hygiene and sanitation are better than ever, as each household has a latrine, clothesline, and dish rack. Students wash their school uniforms each day after school to keep clean. The community has also used this water to construct new buildings.

We spoke with Mr. Alusine Conteh and Foday Kamara about any other changes they've witnessed here.

Mr. Conteh says that there has been a "slow down in waterborne diseases," and that people are practicing what they learned during hygiene and sanitation training last year.

Mr. Alusine Conteh stands proudly in front of his community's well.

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.

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 Kasongha is changing many lives.

This water has given Foday Kamara, age 25, the opportunity to finish secondary school.

"My life has completely changed because of this water well that is dug closer to my house. It prevents me from going to school late," Foday said.

From left to right: Foday Kamara, Mr. Alusine Conteh, and Madieu Turay

"There is much more improvement and motivation for my education. It has created enough room for my study time, especially in this time of preparation for the big exams."

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 Kasongha 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 Kasongha 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.