Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 10/25/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

There are more than 500 people a day who depend on the well at Mahera Health Clinic. The well needs to be fully functional and providing water year-round to meet the needs of people here. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

During the dry season, this well does not produce nearly enough water. People wait in long lines. Sometimes, fights break out and many community members turn to alternative and often unsafe water sources to meet their daily needs.

"I am a petty trader with young children, and my daily use of water is so high that without this water well 100 feet away from my house, I do not know what to do," said Kadie Baba Bangura.

"The hardest time for our community is during the dry season from January to March. I am always worried about how far my children have to travel to fetch water."

The effects of climate change are being felt in all areas of the country. The first to feel the effect are the people who rely on hand-dug wells. Throughout the chiefdom, there are reported cases of water wells going dry during at least one segment of the year, and sometimes more often. This year is worse than last year and it continues to worsen with time.

This community is the home of the late paramount chief, Komkanda, and is comprised of people from all parts of the country who bring their unique customs and practices to Mahera. The second oldest school in the entire chiefdom belongs to this community, which has produced some of the brightest and most influential people in the chiefdom. It is a community that relies on fishing and gardening for their livelihood and has transformed from a quiet area to one full of noise from the rapidly growing community and bustle of development. Most of the homes are being rehabilitated from mud blocks to cement blocks with cement plastering. In such a large community as Mahera, the changes are gradual yet noticeable.

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.

"I will be the happiest person in this community when this water well is converted. I will have water at any time of the day and not worry about going far from my house," said 13-year-old girl Isatu.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for 3 consecutive days.

"The hygiene and sanitation in this community have been steadily improving even though we have a long way to go," said Mammy Kamara.

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

April, 2020: Mahera Health Clinic Project Complete!

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

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at Mahera Health Clinic in 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.

"It is very disheartening to watch families come to heads for drinking water. I think the more clean and safe water points we have, the better off we are," said Pa Komrabai Kargbo, the village Chief.

"I just cannot begin to explain how happy I am since this water well has been converted to a borehole and a new pump installed. All our worries are over for now and for a long time to come."

Clean Water Restored

Here is how we restored clean, reliable water here:

Step 1: Raised the tripod

Step 2: Found the original depth

Step 3: Socketed the pipes

Step 4: Installed casing

Step 5: Lined up the drill rods

Step 6: Drilled!
We reached a final depth of 23 meters with the water at 14 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.

Step 7: Installed screening and filter pack

Step 8: Cemented an iron rod to the well lining, and fixed it with an iron collar at the top

Step 9: Bailed the well by hand for 3 days and flushed it

Chlorinating the well

Step 10: Tested the yield

Step 11: Built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system

Step 12: Installed a stainless steel India Mk11 pump

Step 13: Conducted a water quality test

Installing the pump

Step 14: Handed over the completed well!

After everything was ready, our teams contacted the local leaders in the community and staff at the clinic to hold a dedication ceremony. Our teams arrived to find people there, including Pa Komrabai Kargbo to celebrate the completion of the well. Pa Kargbo and others delivered speeches and sang songs in celebration.

"I don't have to get up early anymore. Because of the frequent breakdown of the well in the past, we had to travel in groups to fetch water from other pumps," said 12-year-old Memunatu.

"This water is going to limit my travel to other communities to fetch water. It is also going to increase the chances of me drinking safe and clean water. This will greatly increase my study time, sleep time, and increase the possibility of getting good grades."

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 community.

The training schedule was facilitated by the public relations officer. Her job is to make sure that there is a working relationship between the community and our team. We make sure that the community has a lot to do with the planning, implementation, repair, and sustainability of the project. A 9-member water user committee, elected by a majority of the people surveyed to manage their new well, helped to plan and run the training.

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 members were contacted and given a concrete time when and where the training was going to be conducted.

The training was held under a large mango tree not too far from the water well. The large trees made the heat bearable, even in the early morning hours.

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.

Handwashing was the most memorable topic. The hygiene team presented the usual 3 methods of handwashing and right from the start, everyone unanimously chose the tippy tap method as their preferred tool. Tippy taps are typically the most affordable option and can be placed anywhere, especially places where handwashing is mostly needed such as outside kitchens and latrines.

"The training was valuable because I can finally get the information to my children at home. Knowledge is power, and being empowered has given me an added voice to change what is happening in my home as well as the whole country," said Mabinty Kamara, a 35-year-old petty trader who attended the training.

"Making sure all homes have latrines and handwashing stations reduces the chances of disease transmission in addition to making sure all animals are controlled. This training has created a positive impact in my life by making me aware of my surroundings and environment."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2020: Mahera Health Clinic project underway

A severe clean water shortage at Mahera Health Clinic drains peoples’ 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!

Over A Year Later: No Water Shortage Means Money Saved!

January, 2022

Well over a year ago, your generous donation helped Mahera Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mohamed. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mahera Health Clinic.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mahera Health Clinic 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!

50-year-old Mohamed Kamara has lived in Mahera since he was born, and he told us that water was always a problem for his community—until we rehabilitated their well in April, 2020.

"It was very difficult for us as [a] community," Mohamed explained. "Sometimes it would take us one full day without water because when it broke down, it would take us time to repair it. We used to spend a lot of money on maintenance because the water point was not in good condition. Nearly every month, we used to call on Mariatu's Hope organization to do repairs for us. We were so frustrated because we had to do a lot of maintenance every month, and we were responsible to buy the parts. The most painful part was when the pump [would] go dry during the month of Ramadan. We used to spend a lot of money on water, covering long distances to go fetch water in the neighboring community."

But since the well was rehabilitated, all those problems are in the past.

"From the time this pump was rehabilitated, we are not having any problem with the well and we are so happy about that," Mohamed explained. "Above all, we have not done any repairs throughout this year and we have no water shortage like before. This water point has saved a lot of money I used to spend on water in the previous years."

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 Mahera Health Clinic 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 Mahera Health Clinic – 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 - Lorean and Anisha Ledesma
Community Baptist Church
3 individual donor(s)