Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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The well at UBA Senior Secondary School currently has no pump. So the 1,100 students and local community members who use the well affixed a plastic container to a long rope for fetching water. They drop the bucket in the well, wait until it is full, pull it up, and finally empty its contents in their containers. The fact that it is an open source means that the water is unsafe for drinking.

To make matters worse, the well runs dry for months at a time.

As a result, some people in this part of the community turn to a different well we drilled for a neighboring community in Lungi Town. This well is perfectly maintained and clean. The caretaker is very strict about the sanitation of the well environment. It is a fantastic resource - for people living nearby. But it is a long walk for people who have homes near and for the students attending UBA Senior Secondary School. It also increases the number of people who use the other well, leading to long lines and greater stress on the water point as a whole.

Long queues are rife at the alternative source. So the kids will miss valuable lessons while they are away on a water-fetching trip.

"The kids always grumble about the distance to the well and they always ask about the quantity of water we use because they carry the burden of replenishing it when it runs out," said Aminata Sillah.

This reduces their grade averages at the end of the school year. The lack of water has health impacts on the students that cause some to miss class and others to lack the focus needed throughout the day.

The community also suffers a lot as a result of water scarcity. Late meals in homes are common because the housewives wait until kids come home from school to help with water. The state of hygiene and sanitation in households is largely undermined by the acute water shortage. It contributes to the high mosquito presence here and malaria infections among the people.

"In our own case in the community, we are honestly far from achieving average hygiene and sanitation status," Aminata said. "When we use the toilet we cannot clean ourselves better because we do not have enough water in our kulas (buckets)."

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

Well Rehabilitation

The well on school grounds that is marked for this overhaul needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the school and its neighbors year round.  A hand auger will be lowered inside the well and powered by a drill team. 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 all seasons.

As the team drills, casing will be installed, transforming the bottom of this hand-dug well into a 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, students within the school will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

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 students and community members how to build a tippy tap (a handwashing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.

These trainings will also strengthen the water user committee that manages and maintains this well. They enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

May, 2019: UBA Senior Secondary School Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at UBA Senior Secondary School that’s already providing clean water to students and neighboring community members! Hygiene and sanitation training was also conducted at the school, 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 at UBA Senior Secondary School was to contact the village elders in Doncoopa and school administrators to find a place to camp. The team was there at exactly 3 pm, by which time the principal and a few senior teachers were already there to welcome and help them find lodging. Their baggage and drill equipment was packed in a room assigned to them and they set up their tent a few meters away from the well.

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!

On the first day of drilling, they connected the short sand bit because the first layer of the ground was sandy. Through the white sand, they drilled to add 10 feet to the original 35-foot depth of the well. The next layer was a clay-sandy one. This again was drilled through for another 10 feet, totaling a depth of 55 feet.

The next day, the team continued and reached another 13 feet before hitting rock. In their quest to extend the total depth from this point, they experienced damage to a PVC pipe. They pulled it up and cut the broken part off because no material is ever wasted. Fortunately, they had already reached the appropriate depth to ensure the well provides enough clean water.

At some point during drilling, the team’s sledgehammer fell into the well. It looked like it was never going to be recovered, but they worked together to come up with ideas. They even called the office for a suggestion. While the office staff was thinking of buying another one, a call came in that the drill team was able to pull it back up from the well. This exercise took some time and therefore was a delay to the process.

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

They installed an electrical submersible pump to about 62 feet deep because this well has a depth of 68 feet. They pumped water out of this well thirty minutes and hit a static level 38 feet. They further pumped for another hour and achieved a yield test score of eleven drums and eleven buckets.

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

On the day of the dedication, our team was warmly welcomed by the school staff. The news got around and in no time community members showed up with loud singing and dancing. They almost interrupted the normal school lessons and were gently quieted by the team. Still, they sang but in a very low tone in order to not distract school lessons. A short while later it was lunch hour and the pupils were out to join in the ceremony. A female pupil name Fatmata Ramadan Koroma grabbed the microphone from the team and sang a very nice song during which the people joined in too.

Fatmata Ramadam Koroma singing

Madam Juliana A. Kingsley, a female teacher, entered the tap area and gave a wonderful speech. She praised the work done by our team in her school, and she was also very sincere in her gratitude towards the donors.

"I am pretty confident that we now have the purest of waters around this chiefdom. I am personally happy. God bless you," she said.

Senior teacher Juliana Kingsley celebrating

Posseh Kanu, a student at the school, was the last to speak. Her message was also one of thanksgiving to the organization and the donors. She also warned her colleagues to be very careful at the water point. She reminded them of the strain they go through when there is no working water point at the school.

New Knowledge

The first day of training was exclusively for the school because the community was grappling with the shocking death of am important person in the community. The job of encouraging the community to participate was handed down to the chairman of the water and sanitation committee.

Nearly 300 people in total attended the training. The team targeted the senior pupils and the teachers because the school does not have the necessary infrastructure to host both the entire student body of 1,110 and the community members for the training. Besides, the team itself cannot easily handle a population of more than a thousand. Therefore, they resolved to train these two groups who in turn trained the others with permission from the team.

This area attracts the pleasant Atlantic Ocean wind. When the wind travels through the lush vegetation of the surrounding community, it transforms it into an enjoyable place to be. Doncoopa receives most of this and UBA becomes one of the primary beneficiaries. This gave us an acceptable and conducive training atmosphere with no room for concern for any heat even though we are in the dry season.

Training topics covered included:

- Handwashing and tippy tap
- Good and bad hygiene
- Healthy and unhealthy community
- Diseases transmission story
- Dish racks and clotheslines
- Worms and parasites
- Proper care of the teeth
- Proper care of the pump
- Keeping the water clean
- The cost recovery system
- Dish racks and clotheslines
- The importance of toilets
- Keeping the latrine clean
- Balanced diets
- Diarrhea doll
- HIV and AIDS

Teachers, students, and community members all took an active role in the training. For example, teachers and community members were selected to participate in the tippy tap demonstration and the disease transmission story. A student volunteered to demonstrate clean and healthy teeth. These and other pertinent exercises were done by every group present. What stood out was a session when students demonstrated proper care of water. They used a colleague as a hand-pump during this exercise which was very funny to watch.

There was also a question and answer time after every presentation. The questions came fast and furious and it came from every angle of the venue. People were also excited to put their new knowledge into action.

"The training conducted by your team is having an instant effect on my life. Many helpful things were taught and putting them into practice can be very helpful and lifesaving," said Osman Kamara, a teacher at the school.

Students learn to make tippy taps

"Go to my house now and you will be welcomed by my tippy tap. That was the topic that actually caught my admiration because of the economy in water usage."

Thank You for making all of this possible!

April, 2019: UBA Senior Secondary School Project Underway

We are excited to let you know that thanks to your generosity, we have the opportunity to restore clean water to a well at UBA Senior Secondary School in Sierra Leone. We also plan to hold training on hygiene and sanitation to teach students, teachers, and their parents about how to live healthier lives.

Get to know this school and surrounding community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!

Giving Update: UBA Senior Secondary School

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped UBA Senior Secondary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Kadiatu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help UBA Senior 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!

"In the past, it was not easy for us to get water for the classes and toilet, unless we had to go some distance off school in other to get clean water," said Kadiatu, a 17-year-old student.

"We are all happy for the water project been completed in our school. We no longer miss classes, there is always water in our classrooms and also the toilet. The hygiene and sanitation aspect in our school has been upgraded because of sufficient water supply. It has helped us achieve the insufficiency of water supply in the school and also help us upgrade the sanitation of the school."


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 UBA Senior 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 UBA Senior 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.


Potomac Height Baptist Church
Calvert School 5th Grade & 6th Age Campaign for Water
2 individual donor(s)