Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 217 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The Rowana Development Agency was formed by a group of people who wanted to help alleviate suffering in Kirma Community. One of its first endeavors was the construction of Rowana Junior Secondary School in 2010. The school started with just 19 students in the first grade, and two years later the second and third grades were instituted. The current student population is 200; 120 girls and 80 boys.

There is an observed cordiality and respect between teachers and students that seems to be a recipe for success here. With several awards and recognition under its belt, the school prides itself with having some of the brightest minds.

Despite the success of the school, it does not have a water source. The well that is on the school grounds was never completed. It has sat unused for nearly a decade.

"Two organizations have put their hands together to help us achieve our goal of providing safe drinking water to our students and both have failed," said Principal David Conteh.

With a limited clean and safe water supply, the students are subjected to drinking water from less desirable sources like the swamp and stream. The closest water source is a stream that everyone, including students, fetches water from to meet all of their water-related needs. Students must even cross the dangerous Port Loko highway to reach it.

The water point is accessed by animals of every breed. There are swamp rats that frequent the water source and, they're the main destroyers of rice and other vegetables that are planted in the area.

The students suffer as a result of using water from this source. The water is unsafe for consumption and leaves the students at risk of contracting waterborne illnesses. Furthermore, the lack of water on school grounds means that latrines and classrooms are not regularly cleaned. It is an added inconvenience that impacts girls the most.

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

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year round. The pump base will be removed, and a hand auger will be lowered inside 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 to transform the bottom of this hand-dug well into a borehole. PVC piping will connect this lower system directly to the new stainless steel pump, a process that we know will also improve the quality of water.

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

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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

No handwashing stations were observed here. After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach teachers and students 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 build up a water user committee that manages and maintains this well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Rowana Junior Secondary School

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to schools like Rowana Junior Secondary School in Sierra Leone

We trained people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

With distancing and/or small groups: Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We began training communities before the first reported case of COVID-19 in the country and before the government enacted public health guidance related to it. We worked with trusted community leaders and Water User Committees to gather community members for the training. Although community members did not observe social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

May, 2019: Rowana Junior Secondary School Project Complete

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at Rowana Junior 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.

Nobody was more excited about the completed project than Ibrahim S. Kamara, the Headboy for the school. He explained why:

"I was given the responsibility of choosing who fetches water from the swamp each day.  It was difficult to make friends because whomever I chose for the day would be upset with me. I was always cautious of who to choose to avoid being beat up. I am thankful and grateful that the job has come to an end. I am more excited than the whole school."

Ibrahim S. Kamara

Clean Water Restored

The first thing the drill team did when they arrived at Rowana Junior Secondary School was to contact the village elders 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!

The team removed the hatch cover first thing in the morning and lowered a temporary six-inch PVC pipe through the open hatch to the bottom of the well. The bucket auger drill bit was connected to the drilling rod and lowered inside the temporary casing to the bottom of the well. Each drilling rod is 18 feet long. A team member pulled a rope through a pulley to raise the rod out of the casing so that two team members could empty the bucket.

This process was repeated and six inches were occasionally hammered down in order to keep the borehole straight. The first layer of tough sand was encountered after 24 feet of drilling on the first day. After the layer of sand was encountered, clay sand was met which is a sign of water.... but it is also a sign of the well potentially collapsing. Another six feet were drilled through the clay to come across another texture of clay for four feet.

The drilling was stopped at a total depth of 72 feet. The team was very confident that the reached total depth would produce the desired quantity of water, safe and clean water that will pass the water quality testing and to serve the community throughout the year without drying.

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

11. Built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system

12. Installed a stainless steel India Mk11 pump

The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community can have great water access throughout the year.

13. Water quality test

The school is very isolated and far from the nearest water point. During lunch hours the students used to buy water in plastic pouches. Now, water that is of better quality is at their doorstep.

The handing over ceremony was held in the morning. The school staff and students showed up in large numbers to celebrate the completed well. The students and community members erupted in songs both in the local dialect and songs of worship. The principal was very happy and almost at the point of tears because having clean water in any school creates a good learning environment for the children.

The guest of honor was the representative from the Ministry of Education Inspectorate Office, Mr. Marrah, who was at a loss for words. He praised the good work done by our teams, saying the number of people dying from waterborne illnesses has greatly decreased because of their work in all the hard to reach areas of the chiefdom. A round of applause was given for the good work and the effort to save lives in the chiefdom.

New Knowledge

The water user committee was notified of our pending hygiene training a week ahead. All nine members were contacted and asked to be present with one gallon containers. It was the responsibility of the committee to inform all the community members that are within the school compound and are going to have access to this water point.

Students at the training

The attendance was more than expected because the local headman, community members, and best of all the Ministry of Education Inspectorate office representative was present. The Ministry of Education Deputy Director had requested for the help at this particular school. Their presence was highly appreciated; it motivated all teachers, staff and students and it created a scene of full participation.

In total, more than 500 people were in attendance for the training. The training started at 11am, with the morning sun reaching just about its peak. The only refuge from the hot dry season sun is to sit under a large tree and enjoy a cup of water. A big thanks to the former principal who planted this large tree that now provides shade to this group of people!

The hygiene team was very impressed by the honesty of some of the participants who admitted that this is the first time such a training had been conducted at the school. This type of training is needed in every school to help reduce the rate of disease transmission among students. The issues and topics discussed were of great interest for the teachers and students alike.

Training topics covered included:

  • The first day was the importance of handwashing and the construction of tippy taps. Easy and affordable.
  • Good and Bad hygiene
  • Healthy and unhealthy communities
  • Disease transmission stories
  • Diarrhea
  • Dish racks
  • Keeping the water clean
  • Proper care of the pump
  • Importance of having and using a latrine

The only challenge was getting people to take turns speaking. Everybody wanted to say something about the training and wanted to have their picture taken.

Good and bad hygiene was another topic of interest. A secondary school student is required to use the color white for their shirt and without proper hygiene, the uniform will resemble a piece of rag by the middle of the school year. It is not unheard of for a student to skip showering in the morning before going to school, especially if it is during the rainy season.

Bathing twice a day, cleaning toes and fingers and brushing of teeth with a toothbrush and paste are all activities that are vital to the proper growth and healthy lifestyle of an individual. The parents should be thinking about cleaning their surroundings and make sure all feces or urine left overnight in the rooms (because they don't want to go out to the latrine in the middle of the night) should be emptied into the latrines and the area scrubbed with soap and clean water.

"The handwashing topic is going to greatly have a positive effect on our lives. The training and the project have improved the lives of my students and myself," said Vice Principal Mohamed Bangura.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

April, 2019: Rowana Junior Secondary School Project Underway

A severe clean water shortage at Rowana Junior Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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 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: Rowana Junior Secondary School

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Rowana Junior 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!

"Now we have pure and safe drinking water point at the shortest distance and easy access. This has impacted my life greatly in the area of maintaining the hygiene and sanitational aspect of life," said Mariama Bah.

"It has helped in maintaining the proper sanitation in and around of the water point. It has constantly helped in the availability of water at the school and for the community. Fetching water from this water point now is very easy and safe, and there is provided if the pump gets to break down, which is the cost recovery system."

Mariama Bah

"The pump is smooth when swinging the handle. This has positively impacted the school's effectiveness, and there is always water in the classrooms. This has helped improve the sanitation of the water point, monitoring of water users and provision of drinking buckets for each class in the school in other avoid pupils going in and out of class," added Mohammed, a 14-year-old student.


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 Rowana Junior 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 Rowana Junior 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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