Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 10/13/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Currently, two protected water sources in Mabendo Community are not functioning and the only alternatives for many people in this village are the swamp or unprotected wells.

This village has three water wells and all of these wells are within walking distance of households. Unfortunately, two of these wells are non-functional. Even the well people are currently using has a very limited water supply and is prone to drying up.

Now that there is just one well with water in this community, everybody flocks there for water to drink, thereby causing heavy overcrowding at the well. There are also those living closest to the well who would wish to restrict access to different groups of people.

So the people have to trek a considerable distance to the swamp or the stream which are the current alternate water points.

The swamp water is not good for the people in this community. We observed that 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.

Rehabilitating the wells in this community will help ensure widespread access to safe water.

We are also rehabilitating another one of the wells located at the Mabendo Mosque. Go here to learn more.

Mabendo, like the other neighboring villages, is very rural. The village has yet to undergo any form of urbanization and therefore it is very peaceful and its vegetation is intact. The houses are mostly built from locally produced mud blocks and are built in straight lines on opposite sides of the major road in the village.

Because of the lack of education in this community, the people engage themselves in farming and few people also fish. But the majority of people make money by selling produce from their farms.

Most households here have latrines. However, the sanitation condition of the latrines was not impressive because most of them have the holes left open, which means that mosquito and flies will breed there and later invade the community. More so, there is rarely water available for handwashing.

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 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. They will applaud the community for full latrine coverage but will also teach them how to improve by keeping flies out of the pits.

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 in the community. 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 surrounding community will be provided with plenty of safe, clean drinking water.

Project Updates

November, 2019: Giving Update: Mabendo Community Well

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mabendo Community in Sierra Leone access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mabendo. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

October, 2018: Mabendo Community Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point in Mabendo Community that’s already providing clean water to people! The 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.

Clean Water Restored

The first thing the drill team did when they arrived in Mabendo Community was to contact the village elders to find a place to camp.

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water here:

1. Raised the tripod

2. Found the original depth (for this well, we measured 66.6 feet)

3. Socketed the pipes

4. Installed casing

5. Lined up the drill rods

6. Drilled!

Drilling by hand is always hard work. The first layer they had to get through was hard clay. They drilled for about seven feet until 73 feet. On the second day, they made it further to 80 feet. After consultation with the main office, they decided this depth was sufficient for reliable water.

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 51 feet going at 60 liters per minute)

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

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

People were already at the well and celebrating when the team arrived. They greeted us with loud traditional singing and dancing. As usual, our team joined the celebration, singing and dancing together with the community. The team brought their boombox out and the celebration graduated to another level. After everyone was worn out, we gathered together to dedicate the well with votes of thanks and prayer.

"You saw our previous water sources and the quality of water we fetch from them. If you are not a native of this village, you will find it difficult to drink it. Some people mistake it for our native beer, palm wine. Aside from the quality, even quantity was often not enough to serve the community," Abduraman Kamara reminded us.

"I cannot describe in words how I am feeling about the availability of safe drinking water in this community. But to put it simply, you guys have rescued us from a potential cholera outbreak."

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.

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.

Helping each other construct tippy tap handwashing stations

During our first visit to this community, our staff recognized that there were very few helpful sanitation tools like dish racks. Instead, dishes and utensils are left on the ground. The instructor started by asking how much it would cost a household to build one dish rack. The unanimous response was 'nothing.'

They confessed that they already have all the materials they need.

The trainer then reminded everyone how diseases spread. Very simply, she hammered home the case for dish racks as a great way of preventing domestic animals from contaminating our food and our water.

Her case was indisputable and the people knew that. In fact, at some point during the presentation, a participant stood to comment. It happened as though it had been rehearsed. All of his points were in support of dish racks. His action encouraged others to get more involved, and from then on the training became super interactive with everyone wanting to make a statement!

On our return to Mabendo two days later, every single household had built a dish rack.

"We were born and trained up in very traditional ways here, and our tradition has been influencing our hygiene and sanitation. But what we have learned from you people during the hygiene and sanitation training is huge," shared Village Elder Adikalie Kamara.

"And because we trust what you have told us, I want you to go into the community and observe. You can not meet a home without a [handwashing station] and a dish rack. We the elders have also ensured that all homes have latrines. We are very grateful for the education and it has changed our lives in many respects."

September, 2018: Mabendo Community Project Underway

Dirty water from open, unprotected wells is making people in Mabendo Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your 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 Videos

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: Mabendo Community Well

November, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mabendo Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mohamed Turay. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mabendo 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!

The lives of community members in Mabendo have improved significantly over the past year, particularly in the area of hygiene and sanitation. This is due to the availability of safe water throughout the year thanks to their rehabilitated well.

“Since the completion of this project here, we have seen great changes in this community. We no longer go to fetch water in the swamp. The average time spent to fetch water has also fallen dramatically," said Foday Kamara.

"We want to thank God and your organization for helping us with this well. It has eliminated most of the ills related to the past.”

Walking through the community, our field officers observed community members putting the lessons from the hygiene and sanitation trainings that our staff conducted last year into action. The latrines are clean and the handwashing stations are up and running in this community. Above all, and according to the interviews, the community members have stopped going to the swamp to fetch water and they are living a happier and healthier life.

“My life has changed since the completion of this project. Having this water project completed in our community is a blessing because some years back we used to go down [to] the swamps looking for drinking water which was not pure for our health. Also, I used to arrive late for school every day because I had to cover a long distance to the swamp in the morning. Going down [to] the swamp for water to take my bath before covering another distance again to school in Kasongha is painful," said Mohamed Turay, an 18-year-old student.

"However, having this well has solved that problem greatly. This has made us happy as children living in this community because we are no longer late for school.”

These changes came about as a result of the successful water project and the efforts that our staff have made to see that this well remains useful and functional in this community. The availability of water is tremendously helping people to adhere to the hygiene and sanitation lessons our staff thought them.

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 Mabendo 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 Mabendo 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.


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