Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 316 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/01/2023

Project Features

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"I will be the happiest person when we get a water point that is functional with no shortage of water, all year round," said Alusine, a young teenager and student at Sierra Leone Church Primary School.

The students here fetch water very early in the morning. The provision of water in the classrooms is the responsibility of the head boy and head girl. The two students are responsible for providing water in the various classrooms by using the latecomers for fetching water. Any student who comes to school late is disciplined by bringing water for the respective classrooms and the latrines.

However, the water point for the 309 students is not reliable. The primary water source is located at the school compound, and community members' use of the water point is restricted to limit the pupils' disturbance while in the classroom. But the well is seasonal due to the effects of climate change. When it runs dry, the students are sent off to different parts of the community in search of a safe source.

"I was devastated when the school water point was nonfunctional for an extended period of time due to the lack of proper establishment of a water user committee. I watched as my pupils were subjected to fetch water from different parts of the community," said Headmistress Francess Weekes.

The Catholic Mission of Sierra Leone began the school in 1934, making it the oldest school in the Chiefdom. At the time of its construction, educating girls was quite rare in the area. The school began with a minority of girls, but over the years, the girls' population has surpassed the boys. Many of the original school buildings are still in use today. The community is surrounded by the central police barracks' quarters, airport workers' quarters, churches, and homes.

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 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 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

04/30/2021: Sierra Leone Church Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Sierra Leone Church Primary 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.

"The rehabilitation of this well has helped us in many positive ways because we can no longer face difficulties in accessing safe water like before. And, we will have more time in class than in communities searching for water," said student Sembo C.

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 following day, 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 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.

Pad construction

- 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 started with prayers and thanksgiving. The teachers, pupils, community members, a representative from the Ministry of Water Resources of the Port Loko District, and a representative from the Ministry of Education Port Loko District witnessed the dedication with great excitement. Everyone sang songs of praise and thanked us for providing safe and reliable drinking water for their school and community. Everyone was happy as they danced and celebrated their new well.

Students sing and dance.

"It is indeed a blessing for my school and this community to have safe and reliable drinking water, and with the well in this school compound, I know that all our water constraints have come to an end, giving more time for pupils to stay in class instead of going in search of water in other communities during lesson hours," said teacher Jessica Weekes.

New Knowledge

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 and lack of sanitation facilities. 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 may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members can work together to improve hygiene and satiation at home.

After that, we schedule a time when members from each household using the water point can attend multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. When that is set, we dispatch our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

We held the training in the classrooms, which were the only available and convenient places in the school for learning. The seats were arranged to observe physical distancing.

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.

During the dental hygiene session, the class was very interactive. The pupils asked various questions about the teeth image presented to them. They laughed and made mockeries of each other, saying that their friends could not clean their teeth and not even have a toothbrush, with everyone laughing in good fun.

Handwashing demonstration.

"I am grateful for this wonderful training. It is indeed a blessing for the teachers and us to have this opportunity. This training is valuable to us, and we promise to take this knowledge home to our families and communities and share it with them. As for me, I will make it a point of duty to abstain from all unhealthy practices which I use to do before and put into practice the knowledge of this training positively for a healthy and better life," said student Baindu S.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

03/12/2021: Sierra Leone Church Primary School project underway

A severe clean water shortage at Sierra Leone Church Primary School drains student's time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Please 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


Project Sponsor - Matching Gifts 2020
3 individual donor(s)