Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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The Saint Augustine Secondary School was started in 1984 by the late Brother Bill. It started with less than 200 hundred students occupying five classrooms at the Saint Augustine Primary school. Its main school curriculum is based on Agriculture, and the impact agriculture makes in people's lives in Sierra Leone. There is still a functioning agriculture program that has improved and continues to improve the lives of students, parents, and teachers who have been taught the latest and modern skills in agriculture.

With a school population exceeding 1,000, the need for a constant supply of clean and safe water is paramount.

The main water source at St. Augustine Senior Secondary School is within the school compound. Still, it is slowly failing, with climate change taking its toll on the availability of water. The main well has never dried but has experienced a reduction in the water table year after year. With the reopening of schools, the current status of the water well will not provide adequate water for all the students and staff.

"With a water source that is seasonal or without adequate water, I am always left with having to take frequent water breaks from water fetched at another source. The disruption takes valuable practice time away from my students," said teacher Peter Mustapha.

Our teams' major concern is the students drinking water from a less desirable source before and after coming to school due to a lack of confidence in getting water during the school day. The health consequences related to the use of contaminated water include diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and worm infection for both students and teachers.

The school uses a great deal of water when in session due to its sheer population. The current dropped water table prevents access to water as needed.

" Standing in line waiting for a turn to fetch water at certain times during the year is one that takes away from class and study time. As a lower-level student, the burden of bringing water to the classroom falls on us and one I am not particular to embrace," said Fatama, a 16-year-old student.

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, they will install the casing, 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 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.

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: St. Augustine Senior Secondary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share that there is a safe, reliable water point at St. Augustine Senior Secondary School 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.

"You can never tell the importance of the water well until it is not accessible. I cannot be any happier for the opportunity for this water point. The pump is new, and one of the most innovative things that I witnessed is the conversion of our hand-dug well into a borehole," said teacher Boima Moriba.

"My students no longer have to go outside of the gate to fetch water. Water can now be accessed all year round - a great improvement for us, the teachers, and students. The parents can also breathe a sigh of relief."

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 20 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 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 dedication ceremony was held on a Friday afternoon with a minimum number of students to comply with local safety guidelines. The staff made sure that all COVID-19 guidelines were observed. The teachers and Catholic priests were looking forward to the dedication ceremony, as was Fatmata Akai, the Councilor of that ward. The school's marching band was in full force that day, leading the celebration with their music.

The school staff was delighted to have a new pump serving clean and safe water. Not only is the water going to be beneficial for drinking, but it will also be used for the school's agricultural program. The students from each classroom drew pictures of pumps, trees, flowers, and fruits and vegetables which they held and hung up around the well during the celebration. The drawings were meant to show their agriculture involvement and how the water point will help improve their agriculture program.

The water that drops on the well pad throughout the day will be gathered at the end of each day, students explained. They will use this water on their plants around the school compound - a good example for not wasting water. All projects are designed to be sustainable and will benefit their intended communities for years to come.

"I speak on behalf of my fellow students when I say that the goal that I have now that this water point is complete is to have more time in the classroom and less time going outside to fetch water," shared Salamatu.

"I now have access to clean water. That will result in improved attendance, better grades, and more quiet time to study, knowing that there is clean water for me to drink."

New Knowledge

The water user committee at this gated school is made up of teachers and parish Priests. The school greatly depends on this well for their main source of water. A compound that restricts the movement of students to the outside during school hours. The training was mandatory for students as well as the teachers. Letters of invitation were sent out to the school leadership weeks ahead with the message also reaching students and teachers. The total involvement of teachers, staff, and students showed the coordination and importance of such training.

Our hygiene training was set for five days at the school. The teachers are the first to undergo a two days training at the school compound while they, in turn, train the students. The training for the teachers took place in a large classroom while observing Covid-19 guidelines. The students' training was held outdoors, reserved for morning devotions—a big spacious place with flowers of a different variety. The training was scheduled very early in the morning before the hot sun blared on students' and teachers' heads.

All student population was present except for the ones absent due to an illness or an excused absence. The high turnout was due to the staff's demand for all participants to gain some knowledge from the hygiene. Hygiene lessons learned in school could also be practiced at home by students and teachers.

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.

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.

The most memorable topic during the training was Disease Transmission Stories. Certain hygiene training topics always evoke a reaction, some with smiles, frowns, and giggles. Disease transmission stories are taught using posters of a boy doing open defecation and eating a banana without washing his hands.

The second most memorable topic was Healthy and Unhealthy Communities. Posters of two different communities depicting what is considered healthy and unhealthy. The posters and topics discussed are designed to evoke an action or response.

"Valuable lessons in hygiene and sanitation will help to improve our lives at home and at school. Either in school or at our various homes, any unsafe practice of hygiene and sanitation will translate to an increase in the transmission rate of any student or teacher," said student Alusine.

"We have been faced with the Cholera, Ebola, and now Coronavirus, and we have managed to survive. We survived because we took the guidelines seriously and have turned them into learning opportunities never to kill anybody in our communities."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Lungi, Tintafor, St. Augustine Senior Secondary School Underway!

Students at St. Augustine Senior Secondary School 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 school 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: Improved Hygiene and Sanitation!

March, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Augustine Senior Secondary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mariama. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Tintafor St. Augustine Senior Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor St. Augustine Senior 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!

Mariama K., 16, shared what it was like for her before her school had their well rehabilitated last year. "It was not totally bad, but the challenge that I was having is the pump head that was there before was very heavy for me to pump water from this facility."

The inability to collect water from the school's waterpoint led Mariama to search for it at alternative sources. "Because of that, we used to go down to [the] Junior Secondary School to fetch water from their facility because this one was not sustainable. It was very challenging for me considering the distance from my compound [at the] Senior Secondary School to [the] Junior Secondary School."

"I am now grateful because we have our own [well] in our school compound, and it is easier to access. It has helped me improve my hygiene and [the] sanitation in the school."

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 Tintafor St. Augustine Senior 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 Tintafor St. Augustine Senior 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.


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