Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 312 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/22/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

Sankoya Community is in a quiet, rural area about 35 minutes away from our office via our car. Though the village is peaceful with its mud homes, Prophecy Primary School can get quite noisy with its 305 students. The school employs seven teachers. Without Prophecy Primary in Sankoya, children would have to walk extraordinary distances elsewhere.

There is no electricity or running water. There are three classrooms and a space for the headmaster's office. Each classroom is split for two classes, facing opposite directions.

In these types of communities, children are depended on heavily for doing household chores. This forces them to wake up at the wee hours of the morning to fetch water, sweep the home, etc. And when they reach school, they must sweep their classrooms that got dusty from the day before. Normally, classes get out by 2pm. At that time, most children line up to fetch water and carry it back home for cleaning their clothes. Then, they study late by candlelight.

Water Situation

There is a hand-dug well on school grounds that supports students with their cleaning, hand-washing, and drinking needs. They always carry a bucket back home at the end of the day because there isn't another clean water source in their part of Sankoya.

In fact, the entire community relies on the school's well.

Though this well does serve the school and community with clean water, it is unreliable. The dry season lasts for months at a time and negatively impacts the water table. The well is dry for the entire month of March, forcing people to walk all the way to the other side of the village to find water. One of the water sources they often use is a cloudy, murky swamp.

Clean water is so important to these people, especially these students. It's not only used to sate thirst, but to curb hunger for students who don't have lunch. Children miss class in search of water to drink.

"I do not feel good. I drink water a lot when the place is hot and also when I am hungry," Ansanatu Kamara, a 5th grader at Prophecy Primary, said.

"So when it is not available, I don't pay attention in class. I would often escape from class to find water to drink because some teachers would deny you permission to go out frequently."

Sanitation Situation

Presently, the old latrines are down and only the two open pits remain for the new pit latrines. The school has put up palm fronds around the pits to keep the kids from falling inside. Because of the lack of finished facilities, kids practice open defecation around the school.

The only latrine is in the headteacher's area. It is well-maintained: the floor is dry and the pit is covered. It is a cemented latrine and also covered with a metal roof.

There used to be a latrine behind the school that was leaning. It eventually fell down. A national NGO came in 2014 and dug two sets of pits for new latrines. However, Ebola came to the country and that NGO never returned to complete the project. When the school contacted them, they said the money was used up.

"The school's hygiene status is far from encouraging. We do keep our school compound very clean. We have, as you can see, two hand-washing stations. My major concern is that we do not have completed school toilets for these kids so all of them defecate openly. That is actually where our state of hygiene and sanitation will questioned," teacher Isatu Koroma said.

Here's what we are going to do about it:

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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

After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach gather students, teachers, and community members together at the school. They will teach about good and bad hygiene, penning in animals, and building good tools like hand-washing stations and dish racks. Most importantly, the trainer will emphasize the importance of having and using even basic pit latrines.

A Reliable Water Well

In the past, wells were rehabilitated using large cement caissons lowered down inside of the well. A well technician goes down and digs the dirt out around the caisson until it slowly sinks down and the water comes in. This is not the best method because we constantly have to return to these wells to dig them deeper after they fill up with sand again (because this is a coastal area). By drilling down inside of the well using a manual technique, we will be able to go down much deeper. We are hoping we can drill down an additional 30 or more feet to make this a water source that lasts through all seasons.

The pump will be removed, and we either drill from the top or 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 school and surrounding community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

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).

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Sankoya Prophecy Primary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped Sankoya Prophecy Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water.

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

May, 2018: Sankoya Community and Prophecy Primary School Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is safe, reliable water in Sankoya Community, which is already providing clean water to families! People here no longer have to rely on dirty water from the swamp. Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines.

New Knowledge

The weather was bright and sunny. And the training was done at the back of the school building, under very shady mango trees, which means that the atmosphere was very conducive.

The level of cooperation was very high especially with the presence of the school kids who are the ones that most frequent this water point and also community members who live nearby and who also access this water point for their own use.

When the team arrived, most people had their one-gallon containers in their hands and they were all anxious to get involved. Even the kids were calling their peers to witness the occasion. Young women with melodious voices sang folk songs to welcome the team. It was exciting to witness the students taking part in the training and being so active explaining things to the adults who were present. The future leaders of this country in the making!

The first day was primarily about handwashing. We used empty jerrycans, string, and other materials to build these, and encouraged participants to return home and build another. Once we finished, we set up one of the handwashing stations to demonstrate how to properly wash your hands. Proper handwashing at all the proper times is the easiest way to prevent sickness.

Because of the high illiteracy rate in Sierra Leone, people really respond to this method of training, as well as the hands-on with the tippy taps.

The second day we discussed daily habits and how they affect health in ways the community never imagined.

There are some topics best presented using pictures. The team holds up different scenes that participants would see on a daily basis. The people were especially interested in this particular topic for one reason: for each scene displayed, there was at least one household guilty of the hygiene mistake portrayed. You could see participants glancing over at the leaders of guilty households. This ended up being quite funny in the end, because everyone was guilty of doing at least something wrong.

It’s important to always use a latrine, pen in animals to keep them out of the kitchen, always cover food and so many other things. The trainer showed how if you don’t go about your daily business the right way, there can be deadly consequences. We also trained on oral rehydration solution (ORS) because we know that even with the greatest effort to prevent diarrhea, it will still be an occasional issue. This ORS will help keep community members, especially children, healthy as they recover from diarrhea.

The final day was all about caring for the water point so that it serves generations to come. After, we took time to review the important takeaways from the three days of training.

“Truly speaking, the training was very good for us and the school kids. It will help us and the kids and the community people to know what are good and bad hygiene practices, especially hand washing, dish racks and clotheslines and animal house,” Mr. Karim Suma, a teacher at the school, said.

Clean Water Restored

The team of three artisans set up their camping gear near the water point and performed the necessary checks on equipment to get them ready for the next day’s operation. The proceeded to rehabilitate the existing well.

This is how it was done:

Socketing the pipes
Because the sizes of the original sockets are not always appropriate, fire is set to heat pipes that to be used to improvise sockets. The heated pipe fits into the other pipe so that it further opens to create an improvised socket.

Fixing the tripod
Three metal pipes are connected to make a single pod, there are nine of those needed for a tripod. A rope is then passed through a pulley attached to the top end of the tripod. This rope is tied to the bucket auger drill bit to the drilling rod and lowered inside the temporary casing to the bottom of the well.

Finding depth
After the installation of the tripod, the static level and total depth are established. For these levels, the team uses a drop line that has a metal tied to one end. This line is dropped into the well and tied at the frame of the well to indicate the total depth of the well. The tied portion of the line to the watermark is the static level. If you subtract the static level from the total depth, you get the water quantity.

Installation of casing pipes
A 6” casing pipe is fitted into an iron plank and riveted for a firm grip. A nut is then slacked from the plank and a rope tied to the 6” socket is pulled to allow the pulley to easily lower the pipe into the well. A strong board is laid on top of the pipe and forcefully hit to let it sit tight at the base of the well.

Lining up the drilling rod
These rods are numbered and connected accordingly. A rope is tied to the end of the last rod which will be pulled and released instantaneously so that the drilling bits will dig a borehole into the soil down the well.

Firstly, the team has to remove the well hatch cover and lower a temporary 6" PVC pipe through the open hatch to the bottom of the well. They then connect the bucket auger drill bit to the drilling rod and lower it inside the temporary casing to the bottom of the well.

Each of these drilling rods is 18 feet in length. Team members have to pull a rope through a pulley to raise the rods out of the casing so two men can empty the bucket auger. This process continues and the 6" casing pipe was occasionally hammered down in order to keep the borehole straight.

During drilling, the team encountered clay of two colors which signaled a tough task ahead. They continued drilling and in about two feet, they met sand, which obviously was a good sign of water, but associated that with the possibility of the hole collapsing during drilling. But this drilling method allowed the team to install the hand-pump cylinder far below the aquifer, which means that the community will have very good access to water. Because the team feared that the pump might encounter debris or sand, because the hole was a little sandy, they suspended the cylinder to two feet above the bottom of the well.

4" casing pipes are laid out to the requisite depth of the well. The casing pipes are screened, that is, the pipes are given slight slices to make a passage for water. The pipe is then wrapped with empty rice bags all in the bid to help filter any debris.

This screened pipe is slotted into casing pipes and lowered into the well. About 5 buckets of sand mixed with small stones, called filter pack, is poured in between the two casings. A chain hoist was set up to pull out the temporary casing, leaving the 4' pipe at the bottom of the well.

Iron rod support
This process requires that iron rod is cemented to the lining and attached to the casing to support the weight of the PVC and keep it straight from the bottom of the well to the top of the pump base. They welded a collar into the pump base to help support the casing.

Bailing and Yield testing
The hand bailing system requires two people to bail by hand. This well is bailed for three days. The well is then yield tested by installing an electrical submersible pump to the depth of the well and pumping for about an hour. They continue pumping for another hour while measuring the amount of water pumped out. The team was relieved after the yield test. After passing the yield test, a sanitary seal is placed in the borehole to about three feet from the surface with cement to keep it clean.

This involves constructing a cement wall round the well and constructing a drainage system for the control of unwanted water around the well area. This process takes three days to complete.

A quality stainless steel India MK2 hand pump is then installed. The pump’s cylinder is installed to a depth similar to that of the yield test.

The dedication is all about handing the water well facility over to the school for which it was provided. Across section of the office staff went to organize a ceremony where community members were given final instructions about the benefit of safe drinking water and proper care of the pump.

"My brother this well will bring a huge relief to us parents but more to the teachers. The kids do not have to be frequently leaving the class to go far again in search of water to drink," Mr. Bagalie Kamara, a local farmer, said.

"Because most of us cannot afford launch for these kids on a daily basis so they normally drink water for food. That is why I am so happy for this kind of love you have shown us. We are so grateful my brother."

April, 2018: Prophecy Primary School Project Underway

Dirty water from the swamp is making the students attending Prophecy Primary School sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know the school and 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: Sankoya Prophecy Primary School

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Sankoya Prophecy Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Fatmata 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 Sankoya Community, Prophecy Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sankoya Community, Prophecy 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!

Life for the students at Sankoya Prophecy Primary School and the nearby community has changed greatly due to the work done on their well a year ago.

"The change that this project has created in my life is that, since the rehabilitation of this well, I do not waste time running from the school campus to the stream to fetch water which is not even pure. Now, I have access to safe, clean and pure water for drinking," said Fatmata Kamara, a 12-year-old student at the school.

Mohamed C. Kamara, the caretaker of the well, similarly noted the importance of the well to the school. He told us about how the students used to lose time in the classroom when they had to go fetch water from the stream.

The situation here has improved immensely over the past year also due to the hygiene training conducted alongside the rehabilitation of the well.

Community members were taught about their personal hygiene and they fully cooperated with the teachings by implementing what they learned. Teaching people how to improve their personal hygiene and sanitation practices has led to the improvement of life in this community. That is what brought about the change of life to the people of 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 Sankoya Community, Prophecy 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 Sankoya Community, Prophecy 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.


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