Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/08/2023

Project Features

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DEC Kasongha Primary School faces a serious water crisis. The school currently depends on asking students to bring water from home in addition to buying it, but they are still unable to meet the needs of the 1,472 students who attend here. This creates a series of problems.

First, some of the kids use the water shortage as an excuse to "go home to get water," which really means they skip out on classes for the rest of the day. Second, cases of waterborne diseases like dysentery and typhoid are frequent due to the students drinking unsafe water. These 2 factors combine to mean a lot of missed class time for students, which in turn negatively impacts their academic performance.

Then there is the challenge with sanitation and hygiene. By virtue, to meet good health standards in the school, there must be handwashing stations where kids can wash their hands after playing​, before eating, and after using the toilet. Because of the unavailability of water in the school, however, there are no handwashing stations.

"When I am at home, my kids are left with no option but to go to the stream to fetch water. Because of this stream water, 2 of my kids got diarrhea and were taken to the hospital. I spent a lot of money on treatment," said teacher Abu Bakarr Kamara.

All of these challenges despite there actually being a water point at the school. A hand-dug well constructed more than a decade ago sits on the school grounds, barely used. It runs dry often because it is not deep enough. It is virtually useless for the students who need water throughout the day, every day. As the effects of climate change are being felt in all areas of the country, hand-dug wells are the first water points to be affected and their yield is only getting worse with time as the water table drops. So, the students must find water elsewhere.

"I am greatly disturbed going down to the stream to fetch water very early in the morning," said 12-year-old student Aminata.

The early hours mean darkness, isolation, and the potential for danger for any young girl on her own, but her choice is to either go without water or risk her safety. The choice is hardly a fair one.

DEC Kasongha Primary School was established in 1970 by the late Pa Komrabai Sesay. Over the years due to the growth of the community, the government took responsibility for the school. The community members have always put education as a priority, however, and despite government involvement, they could not fold their hands and continued their monitoring and assistance. Students' parents helped to built a sixth classroom space to meet the challenge of the school's growing population. On the platform of achievement, the school has been outstanding in the external national examinations.

The Kasongha area is a relatively flat land that is located some meters off the Lungi Port Loko Highway. The area is highly vegetated, which provides a unique feature to the town. The school is surrounded by houses and shops. It has a very nice field for sporting activities undertaken by the school and the community. The school's layout is circular in shape and in the center is a recreational center for students to play during their break and lunch. The atmosphere seems to be breezy and calm, punctuated by the noise of the large student body. The school is not far from the Kasongha Maternal Child Health Center.

What We Can Do:

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry for a few months every year and needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year-round. The conversion from hand-dug well to borehole will not only eliminate the cycle of seasonal drying, but it will also ensure that the water provided will be bacteria-free.

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 3 consecutive days.

After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a hands-free 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 dishracks and the importance of properly penning in animals to keep them away from people's food and water.

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

March, 2020: DEC Kasongha Primary School Project Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into place.

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at DEC Kasongha Primary School in Sierra Leone that is already providing clean water to students and neighboring community members!

"We are surely not going to fetch water from the stream or other private pumps anymore. Thank God, the school pump is alive again!" exclaimed Salaamatu, a student at the school.

"With this, we are assured of safe drinking water. Bye-bye to sicknesses like dysentery, typhoid, and diarrhea!"

We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

Clean Water Restored

Here is how we restored 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 25 meters with the water at 15 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

New Knowledge

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 school and 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.

This training began with the "training of trainers" for the teachers and child health heroes. After that was concluded, the teachers and the heroes taught the other students with assistance from our facilitators. After the students were trained, the facilitators, teachers, and health heroes took to training the community for a community refresher training, as the majority had already attended other pieces of training we have held in the neighboring communities.

More than 175 students and community members were trained on topics including 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.

"The training was very valuable," said teacher Ibrahim Sesay.

"This will help to improve our lives. We are very grateful for such an exercise in which we have gainfully acquired knowledge such as lessons like handwashing and how to make handwashing stations at school and at home at a very low cost."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2020: Lungi, Kasongha, DEC Kasongha Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at DEC Kasongha Primary School drains time, energy, and health from students here. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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 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!

A Year Later: Kasongha Primary School Students' Health Improves!

December, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kasongha Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Alihassan Kanu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kasongha DEC Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasongha DEC Primary 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!

The students and staff at Kasongha Primary School are still reaping the benefits of their completed water project with good health a year later.

Alihassan Kanu, a 49-year-old security guard from the community, said, "The kids are always in class, and they can get water on time whenever the need arises. The water is pure for drinking. The kids are not absent from their classes, [and] the possibility of sickness is reduced."

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 Kasongha DEC Primary 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 Kasongha DEC Primary 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.


Project Underwriter - Texas Instruments Foundation
Network for Good
Medtronics Foundation
1 individual donor(s)