Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/20/2023

Project Features

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Benkia Village is a community that is located on the shores of the River Rokel of Sierra Leone. The feeder roads of this community stopped at this village. It is a large community that has close to five hundred households and a growing population. For some 378 people here, there is a Protected dug well that serves as their main water source. Since it is located next to the Upper Benkia Central Mosque, many people use it.

This pump is the most reliable and most accessible for the community, but it still goes dry when the water table drops - especially in March and April. The protected water source is located in the center of the town, making it convenient, but it is often crowded. The only alternative is a stream water source far from the town but doesn't go dry.

Their community is exposed to diarrhea and cholera due to drinking water from a highly contaminated source like the stream. The water is an open and untreated source, making it a breeding ground for waterborne diseases.

"We as a community need to put more effort into this to avoid an outbreak of waterborne diseases," said Isatu, a young student.

"Also, any time this water gets dry, we are forced to wash our clothes with the contaminated water, which usually exposed us to skin diseases."

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 three days in a row.

"The hygiene and sanitation in this community have been steadily improving even though we have a long ways to go," said Mammy Kamara.

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

May, 2021: Robombeh Village, Next to Mosque Project Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Robombeh Village in Sierra Leone is already providing clean water to community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"On behalf of my fellow children in this community, I want to appreciate you for giving us this well. The presence of this well has relieved us of the burden of fetching water from the streams every day. With the well in this community, we have no reason to drink contaminated water that will endanger our lives as before," said Fatmata F.

"I want to say a very big thank you for making it possible for us to have a well."

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 16.51 meters with the water at 12.12 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 dedication of the new waterpoint started with prayers and songs. Everyone was excited about their new well so people came out in large numbers to celebrate. The community sang songs in the local language and danced to show gratitude to our team for helping to provide a safe and reliable drinking water point for their community.

Well dedication celebration

People in attendance included the Councilor for that ward, a representative from the Ministry of Water Resources for Port Loko District, a representative from the Port Loko District Council sub-office, and women, men, and children from the Robombeh community. The newly crowned Kamasondo chief was also present for the dedication and gave a speech of thanks to all the people involved in enabling the project's success.

"Before this well was rehabilitated, we used to face a lot of challenges in terms of good water to drink, bathe with, and for other household chores. I used to cover a long distance a day to go in search of water, which sometimes made me sick," shared Isha Fofanah, a 70-year-old farmer.

"I want to extend my profound gratitude to you for rehabilitating our community well. Through the intervention, all constraints towards accessing good water have ended."

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.

The chief explained to the team that as soon as we informed him about the training, he was able to pass on the information to his people through the town crier at night. He strictly warned everyone to witness the training. Those who refuse to do so will not fetch water at the well after construction, he instructed. As a result, the people declared the training days a holiday and agreed not to go anywhere until after the training.

Our team conducted the training in a space opposite the chief's compound, which was very spacious and well ventilated. There are lots of mango trees situated at the site, which provided us with enough shade. The location is designed as a community meeting place and resting place with benches made locally from baboon sticks that are big enough for someone to lie on. The site had a cool and comfortable atmosphere which made the training very relaxing and enjoyable for the community people and our trainers.

The village headman demonstrates handwashing with a tippy tap.

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.

Robombeh village is a tiny community with fifteen houses, and we were able to construct fifteen local handwashing stations using bamboo sticks. The topic of malaria was a particularly interactive session because people were surprised to know that it is only an infected mosquito bite that can cause malaria. They thought that eating fruits like mangoes or oranges, eating too much vegetable oil, or drinking palm wine could be causes of malaria. They said that the training was their first time to know that mosquitos breed in stagnant water. The attendees pledged to take steps to prevent the spread of malaria and sleep under bed nets to protect themselves and their families.

Handwashing demonstration

"Since I was born, I have never heard of the things you people taught here today, and it pleases me to know that our community was amongst the communities that you chose to provide safe and reliable drinking water," said local farmer Sheriff Fofanah.

Training poster

"This training is a big opportunity to the people of this community sited here because it has helped raised our awareness about the things we have never heard before. And I strongly believe that, if we take into consideration all the knowledge we have gathered here today, it will help change our lives and will improve our way of living."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2021: Kamasondo, Robombeh Village, Next to Mosque project underway!

Dirty water is making people in Robomebh, Sierra Leone sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point 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!

A Year Later: Enough Sleep at Night!

June, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Robombeh Community 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 Robombeh Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Robombeh 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!

Before we rehabilitated the well in her village, 15-year-old Mariama's days were strenuous.

"It was [a] difficult moment for me," Mariama said.

"I had to wake up very early in the morning to go to [the] stream to fetch water. I [would] break a lot of buckets for my mother and she [was] not happy about that. I sustained a lot of injuries on the way to the stream because the road was not good enough for us to walk through. We had to run in the morning, [racing] for who will fetch the clean water. This was a great concern for me and my mother [did] not allow me to play at night because I would have to go very early to the stream to fetch clean water."

But now, Mariama doesn't have to wake up early to race over a treacherous path each morning.

"I now have enough sleep at night because we have our own pump that is reliable at all times," she said. "And I am very happy that I have time to play with my friend at night before going to bed. It is the only chance we have to play after long hours of working in the farm, especially when the moon is shining."

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 Robombeh 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 Robombeh 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.


Dale Emge and Kristin Koppen Family Foundation
1 individual donor(s)