Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 227 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/25/2024

Project Features

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Before the crack of dawn, the sound of dangling empty containers heading to either the swamp or queueing up at the well fill the air of Kambia. Every year, the demand for more clean water sources increases, and the central well supporting the 227 people in this community is slowly failing.

"I am worried about what is happening to my community," said Fatama Bangura.

The community is currently in the hardest part of the dry season, which means they are facing the challenge of constantly having to repair the pump due to overuse caused by the well running dry. The constant breakdowns are due to a declining water table in the area as a result of climate change. The water crisis is touching all areas of the community; shallow water holes are drying up faster than anyone could have imagined.

"It is the time of year when water is a sought-after commodity. The dry season is getting worse every year, and the effects of climate change and warming have continued to reduce the water table," said Ms. Bangura.

"I am worried about my children going to school late because of having to fetch water and doing chores."

The water challenges here double the work for the women and children. They are left scrambling for access to water each morning. The availability of water led people to try very hard to conserve the use of drinking water, but that alone is not enough.

"During a severe water situation, the children and women always suffer the most, more than any other group. We have to get up very early in the morning and go on water search parties with some of the other children in our community," said young teenager Alusine.

Kambia is located between the airport and Mahera community. The community has a large say when it comes to major decisions for the airport. The only large trees left in the community are Mango trees, which come in handy as a source of food. The most common livelihoods in the community are swamp farming and fishing. Some families have 1 or 2 family members working at the airport.

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 team removes the pump, and a hand auger is 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, the casing is 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 they implememt this plan, 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 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

February, 2021: Lungi, Kambia, #6 Bangura St. Project Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at #6 Bangura St. 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.

"I used to be up at 5:00 am to fetch water, but now I will sleep until later. The biggest problem I faced was that I did not have much time to study and sleep. I normally have to fetch water twice a day, in the morning before going to school, and immediately after school. With this water well up and running in my community, I will only fetch water once a day now - a big relief," said Margaret, a student who lives near the well.

"As an older sibling, it is my responsibility to study with my brothers and sisters. With a functioning water well now, I now have ample time to check their homework before nightfall."

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 22 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.

- 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 water well was handed over to the community on a Tuesday morning with all members of the water user committee and other stakeholders present for the celebration. The provision of clean water is not an easy task, so the celebration honored each party who helped make the project successful. We honored the total cooperation of the community, chiefs, and village heads in making clean water a reality.

"Sierra Leonean culture is always filled with songs and dance to show our gratitude and appreciation. From an early age, children are taught the art of singing and dancing, which transcend every area of our lives. Most beneficiaries of the water point gathered around the well with great compliance of the COVID-19 preventive measures in a jubilating mood, rallying around the site chanting praise and thanks through songs," recalled a team member present at the celebration.

"The access to reliable and safe drinking water from this water point will have a positive impact on my life because I can now sleep until the morning hours. I used to wake my children up very early in the morning and had to stand watch until they returned. Going to different communities to fetch water is one of the most difficult things a parent has to endure," shared community member Rebecca Kamara.

New Knowledge

Weeks before the training, our Community Engagement Officer went to the community to ensure that all water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) committee members were ready for the training. The committee, in turn, helped by mobilizing their entire community and making sure everyone was aware of the proposed training.

The training was held close to the well in an open space in one of the WASH committee member's home compounds. We chose this open area so that the team could space the chairs to observe the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. The canopy at the front of the house provided shade that helped keep the participants comfortable and enabled them to concentrate on the 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.

Tippy tap construction session.

One of the trainees said she had never seen a tippy tap and never knew how to construct one before the training. After the training, she installed one in her compound for handwashing. She continued to say her children were amazed and liked the tippy tap, inspiring her children to wash their hands regularly.

Demonstrating how to use a tippy tap

Teenager Dora said she benefited a lot from the training because she had stopped frequent handwashing. But due to the training, she said, she now realized the risk factors related to the lack of frequent handwashing. Therefore, she would make sure to construct a tippy tap in her compound. She would also spread the news in her community, most especially to the people who were not present for the training, so that they could also adopt the attitude of frequent handwashing.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Lungi, Kambia, #6 Bangura St. Underway!

Community members in Kambia do not have a reliable source for water. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point in the community 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: Less Worry About Water!

March, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kambia 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!

Jalaile R., an 11-year-old from Kambia, shared what life was like before the well in her community was rehabilitated. "It was not easy for me, and above all, I was not feeling fine as [a] little child living in [the] situation where I had to cover long distances every morning to fetch water from the neighborhood. And sometimes the water I used to fetch for [my] family was not good for drinking, but we had no choice at that moment but to make use of any water that was available."

Now that she has access to reliable drinking water, she said, "I am feeling very happy because I have enough water very close to my house, and it is reliable and sustains throughout the season. My worries are over in terms of having access to clean and safe drinking water."

Community woman using the 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 Kambia 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 Kambia 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.


Steven and Carisa Jones Family Fund
Folkes Family Donor Advised Fund
4 individual donor(s)