Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 257 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/13/2024

Project Features

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The growing demand for more houses is slowly turning this former village of large beautiful trees covered with green vegetation into a busy suburb of Freetown with loud music, beeping cars and a lot of homes.

Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School was started by Mr. Yusuf Sesay to help lift up the education of community members. The school was completed and opened its doors in 2016 with a beginning roster of 90 students. The school is slowly gaining popularity and increasing in population with a current total of 150 students. The school’s financial responsibility rests solely on one individual, the proprietor and acting principal Mr. Yusuf Sesay. The Principal is currently working on the school to be considered a government-assisted school. The approval will lessen the financial burden on one person and will make the students eligible for the free education program that was started this academic year.

The incomplete hand-dug well on the school grounds is evidence of the challenge faced by Mr. Sesay. It was not dug deep enough to produce reliable water, so there is no real source of water at the school. The students must then travel to a protected well located at the main junction in the village.

The absence of a reliable source of clean water throughout the year puts the community as well as the school children at great risk of drinking water from unreliable and contaminated sources. The only functioning protected water well that serves thousands of people. The everyday demand for water leaves the well with lots of containers and arguments.

When there is a shortage of clean water or people tire of waiting in line at the community well, people turn to drink the water from the nearest stream. This stream's running water in the rainy season is so high that it makes the road impassable. But the water has reduced so much due to the dry season that most vegetables planted here die due to the lack of water. The weekends are spent at the stream for women, men and children all fighting for a standing spot to launder. The same water that is used to launder clothes is also the water used for cooking and drinking when all other water sources have dried up or inaccessible.

"I am also a member of the community that lives approximately 250 meters from the school compound. When the only protected well is broken down, everybody is left with no option but to resort to using water from less desirable sources," said one of our staff.

"The people are left with frequent visits to the hospital with illnesses ranging from fever, typhoid, diarrhea, skin rashes, worms and parasites all from drinking contaminated water. The scarcity of water will also translate to very poor sanitation maintenance and practices."

The lack of water at the school is a significant burden on the students. We spoke with Rugiatu, the head girl at the school. She often assigns her classmates to fetch water and has to do it herself sometimes. The burden of fetching water affects the performance of the students, she said.

"The going back and forth to the water source coupled with my three miles walk back home leaves me physically exhausted at the end of the day," she continued.

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

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry and needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the school year-round. The top 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.

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, 2021: Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School in 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.

"As a student of the Sulaiman Memorial Jr. Secondary School, I am extending my profound thanks and appreciation to all of you who, in diverse ways, helped in making our dream come true. You made it possible for us as a school to have safe drinking water," said student Alhassan.

"Words are not enough to express how happy I am for us to have this well in our school compound. Walking a mile every day during school hours, going and fetching water, or even assigning my classmates to fetch water was such a huge burden. Because if they failed to do so, then I had to, as the class prefect. Sometimes I missed classes to go in search of water. But, today, I feel relieved of all our water troubles."

Clean Water Restored

The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all of their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The school provided space for them to store their belongings and meals for the duration of their stay. The next morning, the work began.

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 18 meters with the water at 13 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

We held the dedication on a Thursday afternoon. Among those who attended the celebration were representatives from the government's education and water ministries, the section chief, town chief, and the village head.

A good indicator that a dedication is going to be superb happens during the construction phase of a project. The community people and the students here showed great interest with involvement at every step of the well's construction. Equally, they showed as much interest and involvement during the dedication ceremony. Several people in great appreciation gave the vote of thanks for the work and life-saving intervention that has taken place in the form of their well.

"First of all, I am saying a very big thank you for your relentless efforts in coming down to our school and providing us with reliable and safe drinking water. We were facing a lot of challenges in terms of getting pure drinking water," shared Assistant Principal Amidu Mansaray.

"As a teacher, I have been personally following my pupils to fetch water because the struggle for water had been one of the main excuses for pupils to escape classes and go home. I am not only happy about the water; I am also happy about me being relieved from chasing pupils around because everything has returned to normal since the rehabilitation of this well. We now have safe drinking water that we are proud of in this community."

New Knowledge

The participants were recruited for the training through the established water user committee. We notified the committee and the teachers by telephone and through visits to the school to ensure all required facilities were in place. We also made an announcement to alert the community members about their required involvement in the training.

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.

Because the school shares a boundary with the mosque, worshippers also took part in the training. One of the classrooms was designated for the training of the teachers with the community. The classroom was spacious and able to accommodate the crowd of community people and students.

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.

"We will never stop gaining knowledge until the day our maker decides our time is up. I was not enrolled in school until later in life. I had more experience and sense than most of my counterparts. I learned a great deal about the transmission of diseases and will work very hard to reduce or eliminate the rate of infection or transmission," shared Abdul, a school student.

"This new knowledge is going to help me gain a status of excellence that I have never seen before. Knowledge is power, and this is going to enable me to encourage the other children in my village to never give up on their dream of ever going to school."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2020: Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School project underway

A severe clean water shortage at Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School in Sierra Leone drains students' time, energy, and health. 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: No More Searching for Water!

March, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Abibatu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. 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!

When asked about her life before our intervention in her community, Abibatu K., a 14-year-old student, said, "It was not easy for me because when I wanted to drink water. I had to go out of class to go in [the] neighborhood to ask for water. And sometimes, when I wanted to use the toilet, I had to go in the neighborhood to ask for water so that I could clean up myself."

But since Abibatu's school now has its own well, she said, "I am so happy now because I have enough water in the school compound to take care of myself as a schoolgirl."

She continued, "This water facility has helped me greatly because I am using it for drinking, cooking, and my school hygiene. Facilities are well taken care of, and I no longer sneak out of class to my house for drinking water. It has [an] impact on my life because I [do] not stop coming to school when I am on my menstrual cycle. I can easily get out of the class and take care of myself in the school."

Students and teachers collecting water.

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 Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. 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 Sulaiman Memorial Academy Jr. 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.


Project Underwriter - The Addison Family
Mitch Brownlie, Brisbane, Australia
2 individual donor(s)