Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 246 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 10/13/2023

Project Features

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The well at the school and the latrines were constructed by a local NGO. Before the project was complete, the school and community members were contacted by the NGO that the money ran out so they could not complete the well. We contacted the local NGO and were given the okay to go ahead and rehabilitate the well ourselves.

P.C. Bai Shebora Sheba Gbereh III Primary School started in 2007 with 96 students and three staff. Today, some 238 children attend the school with six teachers and two staff.

This village has three water wells and all of these wells are not far away from most homes. However, two of the wells are not functioning. And even the one that is functioning has very limited water quantity and is prone to drying up several months of the year.

So sometimes, the people have to trek a considerable distance to the swamp or the stream. Both are open to contamination, which increases the risk of people contacting waterborne illnesses. The swamp not only hosts expanses of surface water but an open hand-dug water point. Here, some community members have tied a bucket to a rope for hauling up water.

"From my point of view, the swamp water is not good for the people in this community and the water is milky with a very bad odor and because it is in the open and not necessarily controlled, the surrounding is not clean and prone to all sorts of contamination," said Thomas Lewis, reporting officer.

The one functioning well is beset by long lines - especially now during the dry season. People hoping for safe water must wait a long time to fetch it. So, many will opt for the easily accessible, but less safe swamp water.

When the school experiences water shortage, they are compelled to take kids out in search of water because they cannot afford to go without some. Both the teachers and the kids will miss valuable lesson time in the classes. This will result in loss of study time and poor performance on the part of pupils in the public exams.

The sanitation situation at the school is a bright spot. But the lack of water makes things difficult.

"I must confess that the shortage of water in this community is practically undermining our hygiene and sanitation status," Mr. Hassan Kamara, headteacher at the school said.

There are six latrines on the school - two each for the boys, girl, and teachers. Because of the relative supervision is given by the school administration, the sanitation condition is relatively good. The latrine environment is clean, the floor is dry with not many flies present, although the water shortage is compromising their condition. There are about three handwashing facilities for the latrines but two had no water in them when we checked.

What we can do:


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

The hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach students and the surrounding community members about the importance of handwashing, building and using dish racks, and other sanitation facilities. Pictures will be used to teach the community how to discern between healthy and unhealthy hygiene and sanitation practices.

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

Well Rehabilitation

We want to work on the well located at the school. Our team has decided to do the hard work of drilling a borehole by hand in the bottom of this well, which will not only increase the water quantity but will ensure its quality, too. A new well pad will keep contaminants out, and a new India MkII stainless steel pump will provide easy and safe access to the clean water inside.

This community has been drinking dirty swamp water and suffering the consequences. With our rehabilitating this open well, the students and the surrounding community will be provided with plenty of safe, clean drinking water.

Project Updates

October, 2018: PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School that’s already providing clean water to people! Students and neighboring community members no longer have to rely on dirty water from the swamp. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted in Mabendo, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines.

New Knowledge

Because we had three wells here to rehabilitate, we decided to plan a large hygiene and sanitation program here. This meant that we needed the total involvement of all staff, and we even needed volunteers for this huge program. There were comedian volunteers and child health club members. Two men also set up a football match in the community to happen two days before training. This set a tone of excitement about the upcoming training.

Some of the comedians and staff members performing together during training.

On training day, everyone arrived in the community under a very heavy rain. While praying for fair weather, team members erected a military camping tent at the front of the venue. The sky cleared!

From there, we only needed to put music on the sound system to attract the entire Mabendo Village. There were more than 400 people there.

At some point during training, the school’s administration requested we allow them a few minutes of their own to share something they prepared for the participants. We were happy to hear this, even though we have not been informed about this earlier. Their request was granted and they produced two student teams who gave very educative hygiene and sanitation messages. The whole place erupted in applause, as everyone was excited to see their own children's wonderful contribution.

There was a puppet show in which students made their puppets members of a household that suffers from a cholera outbreak. This dramatization taught community members how to make a rehydration solution to save those suffering from cholera symptoms. The puppets then moved on to teach about how cholera becomes an issue in the first place.

People learned how to wash hands and make a handwashing station of their own, the importance of toilets, dental care, and a balanced diet. There was also a session on proper care of the water well pump and how to raise the funds to cover maintenance costs.

Making handwashing stations out of easy-to-find materials.

"Although we as a school have some basic ideas about hygiene and sanitation, what we have learned from your team is tremendous. There are so many great ideas in the training manuals of your team and they all have a place in not only our school’s hygiene and sanitation, but also the community’s," Teacher Santigie Kamara said.

"We are particularly happy about the presentation on handwashing because our kids now know why it is important to regularly wash their hands."

Clean Water Restored

The first things the drill team did when they arrived at PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School were to contact local leadership and find a place to camp. The deputy headteacher gave them an open room to store their equipment. It was already late in the day, so the team retired for the night and planned to start early the next morning.

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water here:

1. Raised the tripod

2. Found the original depth (for this well, we measured 47 feet)

3. Socketed the pipes

4. Installed casing

5. Lined up the drill rods

6. Drilled!

Drilling by hand is always hard work. The very first material encountered was a dense clay that lasted for 10 feet. Then, they encountered stone. They tried drilling through the rock but the drilling rods broke apart in the process. This forced the team to backtrack and wait for someone to deliver a stone bit to the site. They succeeded in drilling another several more feet through the rock to a total depth of 65 feet.

7. Installed screening and filter pack

8. Cemented an iron rod to well lining, and fixed it with an iron collar at the top

9. Bailed the well by hand for three days and flushed it

10. Tested the yield (we got a static water level of 42 feet going at 36.9 liters per minute)

11. Built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system

For this well, we turned the drainage system into an area for handwashing. There is a PVC pipe that can easily be attached to the pump. When pumping, little holes in the long stretch of PVC allow students to wash their hands.

12. Installed a stainless steel India Mk11 pump

The hand-drill method allows the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has great water access throughout the year.

13. Water quality test

The well was finished when students were on school vacation, but proper planning drew many students back to the well to celebrate clean water with us. The kids were so enthusiastic as the team let them in to splash in the water coming from the pump. Since we brought a boombox, there was a dancing competition nearby, and everyone had a lot of fun!

Students trying the handwashing station attached to the well.

Another really exciting thing about this project is that we were able to rehabilitate all three wells in this community so that the students not only have safe drinking water at school but also at home.

June, 2018: Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School Project Underway

Dirty water from open sources is making students and their families sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point at Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School and much more.

Get to know this school and the surrounding community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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.

Giving Update: PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School

November, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Foday H. Bangura. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School 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!

The life of this project's beneficiaries has improved greatly over the past year. Before now, the compound at PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School was full of litter. Grass grew all over the place without proper hygiene and sanitation.

Now, the school compound is tidy. The toilets are also clean thanks to the water available for both pupils and the staff to use after using the toilet. The school children come to school with their uniforms clean and on time.

“This project has brought a lot of changes in this school community. The first change that is evident as we speak is timeliness. A few years back, lateness used to be rife among kids. Ask any one of the kids and the answer would be blamed on water scarcity," said teacher Santigie Kamara.

"Today, things have changed. Late coming is now a thing of the past. We are also upfront now in terms of hygiene and sanitation. The training handed down by your team has impacted our behavior a lot. Frequent hand washing is now becoming a tradition. These changes are great and we appreciate you."

The children now don’t go to the stream to fetch water because they now have enough at their school compound. Fetching water in the stream is dangerous to their health. The water that they fetched from these swamps is not health friendly and can cause diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.

The handwashing station is up and running in the school. There is cleanliness all over the compound. One person said the change is indebted to the hygiene and sanitation trainings that were conducted as a part of the well project.

“My life has changed because during lunch after playing football, we come and wash our hands at the handwashing station that was built for us. Also, we now have safe and clean drinking water in our classroom to drink at any time. We also have enough water in our school to clean our latrines," said 12-year-old student Foday H. Bangura.

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 PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School 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 PC Bai Shebora Gbereh III Primary School – 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 - Pineapple Fund