Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 154 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/26/2024

Project Features

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New London is full of newcomers to the Chiefdom. They come from all over the country looking for a better life for their children. People from all tribal groups living side by side make up the community. The houses line the main road in this community. Some are made out of mud blocks plastered with cement, while others are made out of cement blocks.

The community of 154 people living near the well at St. Dominic's Catholic Church looks abandoned during the day because the children are at school while the parents are either working at the airport or attending one of the many community churches.

The community well at Saint Dominic's Catholic Church is unable to provide reliable water throughout the year. The well is never completely dry, but the water table drops from June to July, causing more frequent pump repairs and extremely slow water discharge from the pump.

One of the negative consequences of using this water point is the delay in accessing sufficient water at any given time. The children queue very early in the morning before heading to school and in the evening when they come home. The amount of time spent per day fetching water is more than the time spent on their studies.

"As a teacher at the local secondary school, I get a lot of excuses from latecomers, but at the top of the list is: 'I was late because I had to fetch water,'" said Patrick Mansaray.

He explained the students who are late miss crucial learning time and disrupt their classmates by arriving in the middle of lessons. Mr. Mansaray counts himself lucky because he lives so close to the church well, so his children are not late each day. But most community members are not that fortunate.

"It seems to me that I spend so much time fetching water that by the time I get to school, I am tired and unable to focus on my studies," said Joshua, a teenage student.

"I often beg my neighbor to help me in the morning, so I am not late. When I get home from school, I help them fetch their water for their home."

The well is at the center of the community and far away from any source of water contaminants. Over the years, the well pad and fence have stood the test of time - a sign that community members are doing their best to maintain the well.

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

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 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 to 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 quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for 3 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 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 dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.

This training 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, 2021: Saint Dominic's Catholic Church Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Saint Dominic's Catholic Church 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.

"The access to reliable and safe water is going to change my life, and the lives of my children, drastically. In the past, they had to get up early in the morning, and so did I to monitor the time they spent," said Mabinty Tholley.

"Now that this water point is complete, one of the plans I have is to add to the number of drums and containers in my house. With extra containers, my children will use the early part of the weekend to fill them up and be left with more time during the week to study and focus on extra classes."

Teenager Fatima added, "As a member of this community, I am happier than anybody for this newly converted water point. I have been known as a latecomer to school, a recognition I am not fond of. Having this water point now will improve my tardiness in school and have a positive impact on my overall performance...On behalf of the community and students, we appreciate all the goodness you have done for us. Suffering has been taken away from us."

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 community 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 21 meters with water at 12 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 three 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 nine-member water user committee attended the dedication ceremony in addition to a Councilor representative, the village headman, and members of the community. Prayers and songs of appreciation were made to acknowledge the good work that the donors and the staff had done.

"One of the greatest rewards of our job is seeing a smile with a glimmer of hope on the faces of the beneficiaries when a well is handed over to the community," remarked one of our staff.

New Knowledge

In any community we visit and intend on implementing a project, certain sanitation and hygiene requirements must be followed. The first rule is establishing a contact person for that community; it can be a town chief, headman, or town elder. The water user committee is then formed through an election process.

Before conducting any hygiene training, we make repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand the community's challenges. We share the findings from our discussions with the committee members to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training begins. For example, we identify households without handwashing stations or those who may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members can work together to improve hygiene and satiation at home.

The training is scheduled through consultation with the committee and local leaders. The local Councilor is always notified of any training via telephone calls and a letter delivered to their residence. All committee members with telephone numbers are called to alert them of the training. The community is also visited by our Community Engagement and Hygiene and Sanitation teams to ensure all community members are aware of the training.

The attendance was more than expected. 62 people from the 24 households that use this water point came to the training. Our training guidelines state that each household should be represented for each of the three consecutive days of training. To our surprise, some households sent more than one representative. Among the community members are teachers, nurses, gardeners, airport workers, and petty traders who were all able and willing to leave their busy schedules to attend the training. That shows the level of commitment they have for their community and their water point.

Tippy tap construction

Training topics covered include handwashing and tippy taps; good and bad hygiene; disease transmission and prevention; worms and parasites; proper care of teeth; adequate care for 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.

Training posters

"As a teacher, I have learned valuable knowledge that is going to be used in my home as well as the school. One thing I learned and that I am going to enforce to my students is the proper care of face masks. There is going to be strict enforcement of the COVID-19 guidelines at my school because it is one thing that we can do to save our lives and the lives of our pupils," said teacher Bilkish Conteh.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2021: Saint Dominic's Catholic Church project underway!

Dirty water from open water sources is making people in New London, Sierra Leone sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more at Saint Dominic's Catholic Church.

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: "I am grateful."

March, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Saint Dominic's Catholic Church.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Saint Dominic's Catholic Church 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!

Before this pump was rehabilitated, community members in New London had a hard time getting any water.

"It was very difficult because the pump was very difficult to pump," 17-year-old Christian explained. "Sometimes you [would] have to pump more than 100 strokes before water [would] come out, and because of that many people were not coming to this well. Even me, I used to deny my parents when they told me to fetch from this water point."

But now, the pump works, and water is available year-round. "It is very easy for me because it is not difficult to fetch from the water point," Christian said. "Everything concerning fetching water has changed and I am grateful about that."

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 Saint Dominic's Catholic Church 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 Saint Dominic's Catholic Church – 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 Sponsor - Craig Family Trust