Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 179 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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The hardest time of the year for people in the New York community in Lungi, Sierra Leone is fast approaching. The time to stand in long lines waiting for water at the local hand-dug well at #7 Masata Lane. The water point is easy to access and used to be the main water point for the 179 people here.

But, the well's seasonal drying has caused people to choose either waiting in long lines for the slow trickle of water that comes out, or seeking alternative sources that are further away and less safe for drinking. No one is looking forward to either option.

The community is located along the Lungi Airport Road. The road has been badly damaged in recent years due to the heavy rain. The fast-growing New York community is made up of people from all parts of the country. The once-empty lands are now filled with homes, some gated with indoor plumbing and some with just a place to lay the head.

The large trees that once covered this area have been removed to make way for homes. Without them, there is nothing to slow down the force of the rainwater and its washout, damaging the main road and nearby homes.

Livelihoods here range from petty trading, carpentry, blacksmithing, and masonry, to working at the airport and youth roaming the community looking for any odd job.

This community water point has been closely monitored over the years and our team has noticed a pattern of a drastic drop in the water table. This drop causes frequent hand-pump breakdowns, which leave the community without water for more than a month at a time.

"I cannot wait for the day when we are relieved of the burden of walking to other parts of the community looking for water. The seasonal drying of this water well creates a big burden and causes me to be late for school," said Isata, a 17-year-old student who relies on the well.

"There are open wells in the community which we sometimes resort to using, especially when we want to launder our uniforms," she said.

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 well's seasonal dryness, along with the heavy rains, are both common signs of the worsening of extreme weather patterns in this area.

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

February, 2021: New York, Robis, #7 Masata Lane Project Complete!

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

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at 7 Masata Lane in Robis, Sierra Leone, 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.

(before physical distancing)

"This well used to give us a lot of problems before it was converted to a borehole. When it broke down, I had to travel to other communities to fetch water or settle with the open well in our community. A new pump was given to us and it is a lot lighter than the previous pump," said Sorie Kamara, a District Council Representative.

"This water point is going to be able to provide clean and safe water all year round. All the long lines and frequent breakdowns are a thing of the past."

Clean Water Restored

The team arrived the day before construction began and set up their tents to stay near the site. Their materials were stored nearby, and the community provided meals for the team while they worked on drilling the well.

Raising the tripod

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 26 meters with the water at 17 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

Installing the pump

A ceremony was held to formally hand over the rehabilitated well to the community. People came to celebrate their functional well with song and dance.

(before physical distancing)

"I am always required to fetch water before going to school and after coming home from school. I now spend less time fetching water and more time with my studies," said Marie, a student who lives near the well.

"I now will be able to get more study time, better grades in school, and no more time spent waiting at the street pump to get water."

Community celebration at the well (before physical distancing)

(before physical distancing)

New Knowledge

The headman and the landowners were the community contacts for this project. Several calls and visits were made before the day of the training. It took some time to gather all the people under the tree next to the water well. The headman and two staff went around the community on the day of the training to further encourage them to participate.

Disease transmission demonstration (training took place before physical distancing)

It is always easier to hold the training at the location of the well than anywhere else. At this particular well, we were lucky to enjoy ample shade that kept people comfortable and interested in the training topics. There was also a pear tree, one of the most difficult trees to nurse and watch in this area, with fruit.

Oral care (training took place before physical distancing)

Before conducting any hygiene training, we made repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to understand better the community's challenges and lack of sanitation facilities. We brought the findings from our baseline survey to the committee's attention 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.

Attendance was as expected as we encouraged each household is to send a representative for the three days of training.

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; dish racks and clotheslines; the importance of toilets; keeping the latrine clean; balanced diets; the diarrhea doll; and HIV and AIDS.

Handwashing demonstration (training took place before physical distancing)

"As a community leader, I am responsible for making sure everyone abides by the rules and regulations. I cannot be much happier than the days I went through the training. I have learned a lot about handwashing and keeping my environment clean," said Pa Abu Kamara, the village headman.

"As a blacksmith, I deal with water all the time and also shake hands with people from different communities daily. Our society is one that handshaking is part of our custom. If the hands are dirty, that individual can easily infect anyone they touch or shake hands with. This training is going to change the way I interact with people."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2020: Lungi, New York, Robis, #7 Masata Lane

Dirty water is making people in Lungi, New York, Robis, #7 Masata Lane sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative 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!

A Year Later: No Longer Embarrassed!

January, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped New York Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mariana. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Robis Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Robis Community 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!

Mariana, 17, shared, "It was very disastrous for me as a kid growing up in such an environment where there is no water available to do our domestic works. We found it very hard because in the morning we had to go into the neighborhood to fetch water, which had a negative impact on our education and hygiene and sanitation aspects."

She continued by describing how her life is different now that she has access to a reliable water source. "I am so happy for having such [an] opportunity in my community. It [is] a dream come true for me and my community. Now we are free from [the] embarrassment we were going through from our neighbors who have wells in the compounds. Our hygiene and sanitation have improved greatly as compared to previous years. I am now a focused person in my education and take my hygiene and sanitation very seriously because there is clean and safe drinking water to handle this issue."

Mariana standing by the community well.

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 Robis Community 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 Robis Community – 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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