Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/06/2024

Project Features

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Kids in Tintafor Community need to fetch water before going to school. The well is often heavily populated, leading to long lines that often make them late for school.

That is if water is even flowing.

The well was installed a few years ago, but a changing environment caused it to stop working as intended. The water table dropped, meaning that water is no longer available year-round and the amount produced is often low.

The lines and disruptions lead people to seek the nearby swamp to meet their water needs - the same open source used to carry out tasks like washing clothes.

So the people are in a very big dilemma in this community. They can either go to the well and get stuck or go to the swamp and risk drinking contaminated water.

Packaged water is available, but the cost is a burden poor families cannot endure - and the quality of the water is uncertain since it is generally unregulated. As a result, people suffer from waterborne illness due to drinking unsafe water.

In general, the area is in the middle of an urban setting, but the locality is more rural than urban. One can almost mistake it for a fishing community, reporting officer Thomas B. Lewis described.

Roughly one-third of households have latrines. Many we observed are not in good condition and do not have handwashing facilities.

"Based on my new knowledge on hygiene and sanitation, I am not satisfied with our current situation," Pa Ishmael Kamara said to us.

"Look around yourself, how many homes have decent toilets or are perfectly maintained? We do sleep with our animals and reserve little on space at all for animal houses. So we are living by God’s grace in this community."

Tintafor is very noisy with very little vegetation. Most of the buildings are mud brick with some cement plastering, often looking very aged with the potential to fall in the coming years.

Depending on the individual’s faith or occupation, the average day can start as early as 5am for Muslims and school-going children.

Petty traders are busy hawking their goods while farmers are busy clearing brush, planting or harvesting - depending on the time of year. Of course, the kids go to school and employees work in their offices.

What we can do:


There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row. We will teach about good and bad hygiene, penning in animals, and building good tools like handwashing stations and dish racks. Most importantly, the trainer will emphasize the importance of having and using even basic pit latrines.

Well Rehabilitation

We see that there's been a drop in this area's water table and the well is going dry. We feel it is important to convert this hand-dug well to a borehole at the bottom, thus giving this community a year-round source of safe drinking water.

We will be hand-drilling a borehole down inside this hand-dug well. The community will host our drill team for days at a time, and may also provide labor. Women will volunteer to cook rice for the team and the other community volunteers.

Once this plan is implemented, this community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Project Updates

November, 2019: Giving Update: Tintafor Community, Shyllon Street

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

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

November, 2018: Tintafor Community, Shyllon Street Project Complete

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

New Knowledge

The team used the information gathered during interviews and tours of the village to determine what topics to highlight during hygiene and sanitation training. They worked with local leaders to make sure that the entire community was invited to attend.

The Shyllon Street area is not really vegetated at all, with very few naturally shaded spots to gather. Therefore, the training was held under a "bafa" not far away from the well. The fortunate thing was that this shelter was able to accommodate all of the participants.

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.

Making tippy tap handwashing stations with jerrycans, string, and sticks.

To address the high malaria rate, we taught people how to properly use bednets and the importance of draining stagnant water.

People really got involved in the discussions about latrines. We presented the chain of contamination: how if the waste is improperly disposed of, it can be spread around the community and directly contaminate what you consume!

At one point, a lady made the plea that the community should be excused from the need to scrub out their latrines with water since they suffered from water scarcity. The trainer was able to graciously respond that water scarcity would no longer affect this community now that their well is a borehole!

There is plenty of water that will last the entire year, which can be used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

"This particular community needed this training more than every other one in this chiefdom. Over the years we have given so much disregard to hygiene that we have always lived on a knife's edge," Pa Adikalie Kamara admitted.

"But this training will help us fight against diseases like cholera and diarrhea. If for example we take proper care of our drinking water and wash our hands regularly, we will be free from these deadly diseases. The other good effect this training will have on this community is, that by cleaning our surroundings, mosquitoes will hate to settle around. And the benefit will be a malaria-free community!"

Clean Water Restored

The first thing the drill team did when they arrived in Tintafor Community was to contact the village headman 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 55 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. The first layer was just six feet of sand, which is relatively easy to get through. Next was red clay for another six feet, then clay sand up to 83 feet. At that point it was late, so the drill team retired for the evening.

Next day there was all sand until 91 feet. Knowing that 91 feet normally provides plenty of water in this area of Sierra Leone, the team called the main office to see if they could start installing the screen.

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

Preparing the screen

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 69 feet going at 20 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

The headman then called his people to come to the well and celebrate clean water with us. Most of them were still in their Friday prayer clothes, which made this look like a very formal ceremony.

The area chief gave an opening remark at the gathering, saying that we "do not expect a frown face here because this is a joyful moment."

People started singing folk songs and dancing. Our team joined in with the dancing, as some of the community members ran back home to change into more comfortable dancing clothes.

"Before now, our best alternative was the swamp source. And when the dry season peaked, we would have to scoop water from holes dug at some points in the swamp. This would not allow us to fetch the quantity of water we want to run the home. Besides, the quality of water would be so poor that some people, especially kids with low resistance, do catch diarrhea," Mrs. Alimamy Kamara recalled.

"But now that we have our own well in our community, all these problems are taken care of and we are very grateful. We will now wash our hands regularly because we do not have to worry much about water shortage again."

That truly is a reason to celebrate!

October, 2018: Tintafor Community, Shyllon Street Project Underway

Dirty water from the swamp is making people in Tintafor 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 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: Tintafor Community, Shyllon Street

November, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tintafor Community, Shyllon Street in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Isha I. Sesay. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Tintafor Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor Community 4 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!

"Our suffering for water is currently a thing of the past," said Isha I. Sesay to our field officer during a recent visit to the well at Shyllon Street in Tintafor, Sierra Leone.

We spoke to her about the difference the well has made in her life a year since the project was completed.

"Kamasondo Stream used to be our alternative water source - a very deadly one for that matter. My brother, that stream has been relegated to use only for farming and laundry purposes. We are no longer worried about slipping and falling on our way up and down that steep hill," she said.

"The good thing is that we do most of our water-related works in our homes now. No more going down the stream.”

The life of these project beneficiaries has greatly improved over the last year in the area of hygiene and sanitation. The community and the area around the well are clean.

These people have improved their hygiene and sanitation habits. They learned the lessons from our training team and are putting them into practice.

"As a sanitation and hygiene professional, before the interview was conducted, we went around the community to see how best they have improved their hygiene and sanitation. We were surprised to see latrines with handwashing stations up [and] running in this community," shared field officer Omoh Emmanuel.

"These changes occur through the effort of our staff working tirelessly to see that this community maintains every training that was given to 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 Tintafor Community 4 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 Tintafor Community 4 – 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 Underwriter - Yakima Foursquare Church
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Binghamton University Students 2009
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