Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/01/2024

Project Features

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The majority of people in Komrabai Community wake up early each morning for prayers. Then, the children are sent off to the swamp to collect water for their families.

This community has three protected wells that have obviously been well taken care of by the community. Their environments are spotless. However, there was no one returning for routine maintenance or the more pressing repairs. Now, only one of these three wells is partially functioning because of low water levels.

In addition to this well, we are rehabilitating the other two non-functioning wells to ensure everyone in Kombrabai has access to safe drinking water. See the projects here and here.

That means that this community’s only reliable water source is the swamp, which is located more than a mile away from some homes. Aside from the distance, the road is in poor condition and steep. It discourages people from using the source.

The community people use this source for more than one purpose. They will use it to bathe, farm, launder and some of them, particularly the kids, will even defecate close to the source.

The swamp water is open and not controlled, so it is prone to various contaminants. Because they share this unprotected source with other wild animals they are open to the diseases of those animals.

In the morning, school children will be the first to visit this source. The community people would have to wait until the kids are done, by which time the whole source would be dirty. During weekends the kids will flock to this water point for their weekly laundry and this will limit the chances of other groups of people in the community accessing water.

The community members must wait for the water to settle before collecting it. We learned that some people in this village do filter their water before consuming it. But Most will let the water stand in containers and wait for it to settle before draining it into their drinking buckets.

There is the risk of diseases in this community due to people risking to drink water from unprotected sources. When people get sick they are not productive and will not be earning as much money to care for their families. People die needlessly from these waterborne illnesses like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and malaria.

This is a very rural and peaceful community. People with a basic education have chosen to be traders, traveling to one-day markets called Lumas, buying agricultural produce wholesale and retailing it at other nearby villages. Others with no academic background have chosen to farm.

Most community members have latrines and nearly half of all households have handwashing stations. The latrines are mostly cement floor with very clean surroundings. Some homes don’t ensure that they have their latrine holes covered while others do. So there is room for improvement in the area of maintaining sanitized latrines.

"I am a little satisfied with our hygiene and sanitation. Most homes in this community have a latrine at least. And our latrine surroundings are clean and even the inside will be clean," Mr. Abduraman Mansaray said. That's a great start, but there's so much more to do to ensure that the people in Kombrabai are living the healthiest lives possible.

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

Project Updates

November, 2019: Giving Update: Komrabai Community, 35 Port Loko Road

A year ago, your generous donation helped Komrabai Community, 35 Port Loko Roadin Sierra Leone access clean water.

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

January, 2019: Komrabai Community, 35 Port Loko Road Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point in Komrabai Community that’s already being used by dozens of families! Community members no longer have to use dirty water from the swamp. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted in Komrabai, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines.

New Knowledge

The hygiene and sanitation coordinator called her team together to have a look at the baseline survey spreadsheet in order to make a work plan. The spreadsheet revealed the basic hygiene and sanitation situation of the community. So from this data they prepared for the training topics and activities. They then worked with community leadership to plan a time and date for hygiene and sanitation training.

There was an average of 165 community members each day. We were actually not surprised by the number of people we saw because of frequent consultations with the committee chairman and the local Imam.

Training topics included handwashing and how to make a tippy tap handwashing station, good and bad hygiene, disease transmission, tools like dish racks and clotheslines, oral rehydration solution, animal care, latrine use, and pump maintenance.

"The Teeth" is a model of a large mouth used to demonstrate dental hygiene

Community members most enjoyed the discussions on what makes a healthy community. The instructor described what an unhealthy community looks like and the consequences of living in one. According to her, unhealthy communities don’t have animal pens or coops; there are no toilets; people leave their water containers on the ground and do not cover them; they get their drinking water from unprotected sources; no dish racks and handwashing stations etc.

The instructor held photos up and asked participants to explain what they saw and to take a position - healthy or unhealthy? She told participants that they all have a choice of living in either type of community.

"You have just taken a walk in our community. We have learned and applied what is totally new in our daily lives and we got that knowledge from you guys. Already our lifestyle has changed and we will continue to update it through the education that we are getting from you people."

"I personally will remember you in my prayers for what you have brought to my community and I hope our people will do the same," said Mr. Kanu.

Clean Water Restored

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

This well was actually rendered dry not because of seasonality, but because of highway construction. Heavy duty machines worked nearby and as a result the well collapsed.

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water here:

1. Raised the tripod

2. Found the original depth (for this well, we measured 41 feet). There was absolutely no water inside

3. Socketed the pipes

4. Installed casing

5. Lined up the drill rods

6. Drilled!

Drilling by hand is always hard work. First there was sand that the team had to clear with the bucket drill auger. They cleared 19 feet of sand to increase the depth to 60 feet. Next there was a red clay layer for five feet, then five feet of black clay. It took them a whole day just to navigate these 10 feet because clay is so hard to drill through. This increased the depth to 70 feet, where the team decided there was enough water to move to the next step.

7. Given the OK from the main office, the team installed screening and filter pack

Pouring the filter pack between the pump casing and temporary drilling casing

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 44.3 feet going at 50 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

When test results came back clean, our team met the community at the well to celebrate. There were traditional drummers, dancing, and clapping as people witnessed the restoration of clean water to their well.

A traditional percussion group joined community members at the well

"Ever since I heard about the snake bite accident at Bayanday Community, a community you pass before reaching here, I have always had that fear in me. We used to be in the same situation as them just after the construction of this highway. Our only source was the swamp and this was visited by the school kids," remembered Mrs. Kamara.

"So this well has solved two problems in my opinion. The first is that we are no longer exposed to waterborne diseases. Secondly, the chances of people being attacked by snakes on their way to the swamp have been reduced and we are happy for that."

December, 2018: Komrabai Community Project Underway

Dirty water from the swamp is making people in Komrabai Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to restore a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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: Komrabai Community, 35 Port Loko Road

November, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Komrabai Community, 35 Port Loko Road in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mahawa Kamara. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Komrabai 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 water from the well at 35 Port Loko Road in Komrabai Community, Sierra Leone is clean and safe and the people are living happily because of this project, reported our field officers after a recent visit. Things really have improved in the year since the project was completed.

"We were suffering for water and finding it difficult to clean our community," said Foday S. Turay.

"But now our community is clean and we have proper training on how to take care of our environment and observe proper hygiene and sanitation. All these changes occurred due to this water facility implemented in our community."

These people are truly trying their best to live up to the expectations and sustainability of this facility, said our field officer. They are practicing good hygiene and sanitation in the community.

Community members are cleaning their containers whenever they come to this facility to fetch water and they are observing safer water storage in their various homes as compared to before. They make sure all their containers have stoppers and their buckets are covered to avoid water being contaminated by waterborne diseases from the well to their homes.

"My life has changed because before I used to cover a long distance to fetch water and the place [was] very difficult to reach. But now I am happy and I am living a very comfortable life with clean and safe drinking water at my doorstep," said 15-year-old Mahawa Kamara.

Walking through this community, pit latrines are visible and in use in every neighborhood which shows that there are changes over the past year because of the implementation of this water project in this community.

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 Komrabai 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 Komrabai 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.


Lorean Ledesma and Anisha Ledesma ( Anisha Paul)
Learning To Be the Light
Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church Gabriels
Becca and Rachel Breshears
Class 6S Shearwater
United Way of the Capital Region
PAL3115 Sem 1 2018/2019 (K2)
Pilgrim Congregational UCC
The Second Grade Team
Walk for a Well
FTC Club's Campaign for Water
57 individual donor(s)