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: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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United Brethren Academy Secondary School opened in 1988 as a community school. It grew from 97 students to more than 1,700 primary and secondary students today. Over the years, the school has grown in both academic and infrastructure ways, as it has been performing well both at the internal and external examination levels.

One thing hindering further development is its water situation.

We have been monitoring the well at the school quarterly and the water table has dropped, causing a major water shortage for this school. There is a nearby borehole well, but it has not functioned properly for nearly five years. Further away is a hand-dug well, but that serves the community and often has long lines.

"The non-availability of adequate clean water poses a serious threat to the health and survival of pupils, teachers and the people in the community as a whole," Principal Mr. Sorieba Suma said.

"It is therefore very important for the existing water facility in the school water well to be rehabilitated if we are to guarantee the health and safety of pupils and teachers."

We decided that the school well needs to be drilled deeper by converting it into a borehole. This will ensure that the students have reliable access to safe water and no longer need to travel to multiple sources to meet their water needs.

This school has managed to observe some basic hygiene and sanitation. They have very clean latrines and they have managed to keep the floor dry. We observed that the latrine pits are nearly full and in need of emptying.

What we will 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 school and surrounding 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: United Brethren Academy Secondary School

A year ago, your generous donation helped United Brethren Academy Secondary 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 United Brethren Academy Secondary School. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this school maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

January, 2019: United Brethren Academy Secondary School Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable well at United Brethren Academy Secondary School providing clean water! Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted in Lungi, which focused on healthy practices such as washing hands and using latrines.

New Knowledge

The training team got together and took a quick glance at the baseline survey to determine training topics for the school. From it they came up with a plan and presented it to the administration.

Later that same day, a team member was sent to inform the school administration on the proposed days of training. A great number of students and teachers met us in the largest classroom hall available, which could accommodate 250 students. The atmosphere was very nice because the weather was cool. The school is located not too far from the sea, so a gentle breeze blew gently and quietly through the windows.

Participation was high. Every kid wanted to do something during training and you could see the joy whenever someone was selected to demonstrate something. And those who didn’t get the opportunity to come on stage for demonstrations displayed their curiosity by asking questions and answering questions.

Topics included:

– Good and bad hygiene

– Pump maintenance
– Nutrition
– Handwashing and how to build a tippy tap

Posing with their tippy taps

– Dental hygiene
– Importance of latrines
– Cost recovery program
– How to build a dish rack and clothesline
– Cholera, diarrhea, and oral rehydration solutions

Dental hygiene was a huge highlight. Tooth care is one of the most compromised hygiene practices in African societies. A good number of rural people do not use toothbrushes and prefer sticks instead. The result is decaying teeth all around.

So when this topic was introduced, the pupils showed great interest. Of course, some of them are victims of decayed teeth, and most have relatives who are victims.

After a presentation on ways to care for teeth, she beckoned to her colleague who brought forward "The Teeth." This is a large model mouth with giant teeth. There was a huge round of laughter in the class upon seeing the object. The next object was a giant toothbrush.

With these, she patiently brushed all the corners of the teeth and explained the process at the same time. When she was done, she requested that a representative come up and demonstrate the same tooth care. The kids liked it and laughed throughout the exercise.

"To be honest with you, I was personally impressed with the simple methods used by your team to present very important hygiene and sanitation messages," said Vice Principal Sesay.

"What I admire most is the tippy tap. This topic teaches a very economical way of using water and it is a totally new idea to most of us. In fact, I have installed mine close to my toilet and my kitchen. I do believe that frequent handwashing is good for the health of my family."

When we returned to this institution a while after training, we observed something. The school now has a designated staff in charge of hygiene at the toilet and he carries a cane. He waves his cane in the air and tells the kids to wash their hands after using the toilet.

We also observed a very clean compound as compared to the time of the baseline survey. The level of neatness among pupils has also increased, said a female teacher in charge of dress code inspection. So there has been a tremendous improvement in hygiene and sanitation here and that is credited to the hygiene and sanitation training.

Clean Water Restored

This well was a very deep hand-dug well built by a different organization. We tried a couple of times to restore reliable water to it by lowering a man down to dig it deeper. On the last attempt with a man down inside of the well, he shouted up that he was losing air and the team very quickly hoisted him out of the well by rope and pulley. It was at that moment that we had to make the hard decision to not dig this well deeper.

The school struggled to manage and had to fetch water elsewhere when the water table was down. But when we developed a new method of drilling a borehole down inside of a hand-dug well, we were ecstatic when we were seeing positive results and quickly put this school on the list to try the new method. We are so excited we were able to rehabilitate this well for the school and look forward to seeing positive results through our quarterly monitoring and evaluation.

There was another benefit from the creation of this well. Being a hand-dug well, a lot of soil was excavated from the hole. From this soil, the first latrines were constructed at the school. One or two homes in the neighborhood also built their kitchens from the excavated soil.

The Process:

The first things the drill team did when they arrived at United Brethren Academy Secondary School were to contact school leadership and find a place to set up drill camp. The principal handed over a set of keys so the drill team could store some equipment in a classroom and find a place to sleep overnight.

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water here:

1. Raised the tripod

2. Found the original depth (71 feet)

3. Socketed the pipes

4. Installed temporary drill casing

5. Lined up the drill rods

6. Drilled!

Drilling by hand is always hard work. They turned the drill bit to get through 10 feet of sand over the course of six hours. The next day they met clay for nine feet to total a depth of 90 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 66 feet going at 41 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 team did not want to interrupt the normal school timetable so they left the office around 11:15am, close to the school’s lunch hour. The principal is infrequently found on campus because his office is located in his home so a pupil was selected to accompany the team to the principal’s office. He welcomed the team and then directed them to water user committee leadership. Everyone walked back to school together and then called the students out of class to meet at the well.

Leadership took the opportunity to express gratefulness to the team for both training and drilling this well deeper to hit adequate water. After these words, the students were excited to be invited into the well area to taste the water... which resulted in lots of splashing!

November, 2018: United Brethren Academy Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at United Brethren Academy Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to restore a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your school through the introduction 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: United Brethren Academy Secondary School

November, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped United Brethren Academy Secondary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Aminata Janneh. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in United Brethren Academy Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help United Brethren Academy Secondary 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 United Brethren Academy Secondary School in Sierra Leone has improved in the year since their well was rehabilitated.

This was evident during a recent visit by our field officers. They spoke with some students and teachers about their experiences since the construction and the accompanying sanitation and hygiene training. Student Aminata Janneh shared the 2 ways she has been affected by the availability of water from the well over the past year.

"My life has changed. Before, our teachers used to appoint pupils to go to the stream to fetch water which usually caused us to miss our first period. And secondly, our toilet used to smell because there was no water available in the school to take care of it," she said.

"But now everything has changed. We have clean and safe drinking water and our toilet is clean and the odor that used to come out has stopped. We have soap and water to wash our hands after using the toilet. We also have enough water in our classes which helps us to concentrate in class. All these changes occurred due to the water project that was completed in our school."

In the area of hygiene and sanitation, so much has improved over the past year. The school has upgraded in the area of sanitation to such an extent that it is apparent upon arriving at the school. The students look happier and everything is cleaner. A handwashing culture is emerging - something that is contributing, alongside the provision of safe water from the well, to fewer illnesses among the students.

"The project is good because our children have enough clean and safe drinking water. Our environment is clean because of this project that was implemented in this school and we are happy about that," said Komrabai Janneh, caretaker of the well.

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 United Brethren Academy Secondary 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 United Brethren Academy Secondary 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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