Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 342 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/12/2024

Project Features

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The majority of the people here earn their livelihood through trading. They retail commonly used cosmetics and Chinese electrical items, to name but a few. There are also some self-employed vocational tradesmen and a few government employees. Most of the young men here are masons and some are carpenters. The young ladies are mostly engaged in street hawking because they have no interest in learning a trade. So, the proceeds from these different activities are used to support their families.

There are different groups of people in this community. But what is common here is that all groups wake up very early in the morning. They also need water to do some cleaning and bathing before they leave for their respective destinations.

"To be honest with you my brother, our primary drawback in this community is the water shortage," said Zainab Kanu.

People here fetch water from a community well and sometimes will use the borehole located at Bethel Primary School. The school becomes the only water source during the months of March and April each year when the water table drops and the community well goes dry. This places a lot of pressure on the well that is primarily meant for the school.

It adds stress on the community members because the school borehole is heavily regulated and the added congestion makes the process of fetching water take a lot of time. Packaged water is stocked in shops in this very community, but is very expensive to acquire.

"What I have observed over the years is that I suffer persistent headache whenever I go long hours without water. So, water is good medicine for me," said Fatmata Dumbuya.

Those who cannot endure the stringent control at the school have the tendency to use contaminated sources, such as nearby open swamps. The result of using bad sources is cholera and diarrhea and a heavy mosquito presence in the community. That is why the leading causes of death here are related to waterborne diseases and malaria.

Aminata Lane is very close to the business district of Lungi. So there is some decent hygiene and sanitation here, especially with the presence of sanitary officers who make visits to this community.

Most of the homes here have latrines made of mud bricks and a cement floor. And people have tried to ensure cleanliness in the latrines. They also have handwashing facilities, but water shortage is impacting the level of sanitation in the homes and latrines.

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

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry for part of the year and needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year round. The pump 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, 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, everyone within the community 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.

No handwashing stations were observed here. After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a hand-washing 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

February, 2020: Rotifunk, 1 Aminata Lane Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at 1 Aminata Lane in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone that is already providing clean water to students and neighboring community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"My family and I have suffered long distances to fetch water. I think God has finally done it for us," said Pastor Samuel Tucker.

"You not only provide safe drinking water, but you care about our well-being. This is evidenced by the hygiene training. Lessons like handwashing, tippy-taps, dishracks, good and bad hygiene, disease transmission and many more are all geared towards sound health. I am very grateful.”

Clean Water Restored

The team arrived at this site at about noon the day before the drilling was scheduled to begin. They were met by members of the Water Committee and brief introductions were immediately made by the chairperson. Soon afterward, accommodations were set up. Miss Aminata Kamara, the chairperson of the Water Committee, was assigned the responsibility of lodging the team.

A room to sleep and a store to pack their working materials were assigned to them. The Water Committee handed the cooking responsibility to Miss Aminata Kamara as well and she took the cooking items and started preparing food immediately. Then some of the team began to place their equipment in the store and the others set up the tripod at the well. They also socketed and screened the 6-inch casing pipes, bringing the day to a close.

Here are all the steps taken to restore clean, reliable water here:

- Raised the tripod

- Found the original depth

- Socketed the pipes

- Installed casing

- Lined up the drill rods

- Drilled!

We reached a final depth of 9.42 meters with the water at 7.8 meters. The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has great water access throughout the year.

- Installed screening and filter pack

- Cemented an iron rod to the well lining, and fixed it with an iron collar at the top

- Bailed the well by hand for 3 days and flushed it

- Tested the yield

- Built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system

- Installed a stainless steel India Mk11 pump

- Conducted a water quality test

The dedication ceremony took place at Aminata Lane around 4:00 pm. There was a heavy downpour of rain when the team arrived in this community, so everyone almost decided to cancel the dedication. After a few minutes, however, the rain stopped so the team and community people decided to continue with the dedication. Everyone was so excited since they did not want to postpone the dedication. There was a dance troop ready for this celebration who started singing and dancing.

The singing and dancing continued around the well site. Madam Aminata Kamara gave her thanks and appreciation for making their dreams a reality.

"We have wished for this facility for a long time as fetching water in this area is a very hard task," she concluded.

One of our facilitators, Zainab Sesay, encouraged the community members to take good care of this water well facility.

"As water is life, let us all put hands together and take care of this life that has been handed over to this community today," she said.

She then mentioned that most of the illnesses affecting the community were a result of consuming the contaminated water from before. The program ended with facilitator Wuya Gegbe emphasizing the issue of a cost recovery system and the importance of every household participating.

New Knowledge

3 consecutive days of hygiene and sanitation training were scheduled for the people in this community.

Before conducting any hygiene training, we made repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand the challenges and lack of sanitation facilities in the community. We brought the findings from our baseline survey to the attention of the committee to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training or drilling could commence. When all the necessary guidelines were met, only then did our team of hygiene trainers go to conduct the training.

The weather was relatively favorable because the atmosphere was very shiny and calm. The training was held at Nurse Aminata's place under some mango trees. Benches and chairs were placed in a half-circle with the instructors were in front, clearly capturing the full attention of the participants.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission and prevention; worms and parasites; proper care of teeth; proper care of the pump; keeping the water clean; the cost recovery system; dishracks and clotheslines; the importance of toilets; keeping the latrine clean; balanced diets; the diarrhea doll; and HIV and AIDS.

We were sure to include the participants in both the teaching and learning processes in every lesson. During each topic's presentation, volunteers held up illustrative posters on topics while others were asked to explain what they saw in the posters. Most of them nodded their heads in disbelief when some posters on bad hygiene were explained. Some even confessed their old bad hygiene and sanitation practices.

The same was true for the disease transmission story. Participants were called in groups to explain a type of disease transmission and this was equally very interesting. The participants communicated amongst themselves to decide where the problem started and how it related to their community and behaviors.

"The lessons on handwashing and tippy taps, in particular, were very helpful to me. I think I can pass this on to my patients moving forward," said Halima Turay, a midwife who lives near the well.

"This training is also very timely because the rainy season is drawing closer. The knowledge you have passed during this training will help us guide ourselves against deadly diseases, particularly during the rainy season. Thank you so much."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Lungi, Rotifunk, 1 Aminata Lane Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at 1 Aminata Lane in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone drains community members’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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 more good news!

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!


The Mars Society
2 individual donor(s)