Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/12/2024

Project Features

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The main water point for this community of 350 people in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone, is a hand-dug well at the Paramount Chief's compound entrance. Over the years, the well has served the entire community well; the Paramount Chief does not allow the well to be down for more than a few days without the issue being resolved. This was despite the added pressure and increasing number of people each year who came to collect water from the well, coming from communities that did not have as clean or reliable a water source as the well.

More recently, however, the added number of water users has started to weigh more heavily on the well's more local users. There is never a time when the well is not crowded. Some people will leave their empty containers at the well to save their place in line, and then head back home to continue other chores until it is their turn to fetch water. The wait can be hours long.

Compounding the time lost to the long lines at the well, over time, the water table has dropped as a result of climate change in the region. This leads to a slower recharge rate and results in a lower flow rate - meaning it takes longer for people to fill up their containers. People now wait even longer to get water, and the situation is deteriorating.

"I have lived in this community all my life, and the water situation is getting worse every year," said Hassan Kamara, a teacher at the community's primary school.

"I am a member of the well's water user committee and live a stone's throw away from the well. My family has to get up very early in the morning and also make use of the well very late in the afternoon to fetch water. We try our best as a community to keep the water well functioning with no interruption of service."

The long lines and wait time at the borehole mean that some women and children can lose almost their entire day to the wait for water, but they have little choice. There is another well, but it is located across the busy and dangerous highway that cross-cuts the community. Parents refuse to allow their children to cross the street for fear of them getting hit by a speeding vehicle. The parents prefer standing in long lines than sending their children across the heavily trafficked main motor road.

"The challenges are plenty, but one thing we have agreed upon as a community is the lives of our family members are important, so sending them across the street is a risk they are not willing to take," Hassan added.

At the well, all the time spent waiting for means patience can, understandably, run low. Community members say that arguments and fights are prevalent at the water source and, most times, extend from and include parents.

We also spoke with teenager Aminata while visiting the well. She said that she fetches water every day immediately after getting home from school since most other students take a break to eat. She, too, lives a short distance from the well and reports that people wait in line for hours during the dry season.

"Accidents have occurred with people trying to cross the street. These have discouraged parents from sending their children to fetch water. I pray that we will get another well on this side of the main road to lessen the burden on the only available well," she said.

The most common livelihood in the community is petty trading. People also work as mechanics, teachers, welders, and carpenters. In the early morning hours across the community, women, men, and children scramble to prepare their various foods to sell for the day. The local court is open daily, and a lot of traders make their living by selling food and other items to court attendees. The court brings income for the Paramount Chief and his assistants while also putting food on the table for hundreds of families through their business there.

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, the 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

May, 2021: Rotifunk, Paramount Chief's Compound Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at the Paramount Chief's Compound in Rotifunk, 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.

"You have done a very great job for us in this community. We have been struggling a lot for water, and our parents were waking us up very early in the morning to go and fetch water. But now that we have a well in our community, we will not go to school late anymore and will now have enough time to study and pass our exams. I say thanks to you for this kind gesture," said Aminata K.

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 24 meters, with the water at 18 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 well was dedicated during a community celebration while people danced and made merry. Community members sang songs of praise and thanksgiving for the facility, rehabilitated, and converted from hand-dug to borehole well. The Councilor of the constituency, Mapping Office Of the Port Loko District Council, and some of the beneficiaries of the well were present for the event.

Councilor Sankoh making a statement

"Now that this water point is available in our community, our children are safe from an accident because sometimes they would cross the highway to go and fetch water. They will now have time for their studies and they will no longer go to school late in the morning. We are very happy because our dreams will come to pass as we really want our children to be focused on school activities and be educated," shared Memunatu Kamara.

Chief Administrator of District Council

One notable thing that happened during the celebration was that the Port Loko District Council Chief Administrator stopped by to grace the dedication during his visit to the Paramount Chief. He was very excited for the community and thankful to our team for the great work.

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 first two days of the training were held in the local community court, roofed with zinc and built in a circular form with baluster blocks built halfway above the foundation level, reaching window height. It was well spacious and gave room for everyone to observe physical distancing. The third day of the training was held under a big mango tree situated in front of the local community court.

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.

We were pleased with the attendance. The community has 45 households and a total population of 281 people. Some 86 people attended the training, representing every household in the community.

One of the most notable topics was handwashing. When the facilitator finished explaining the importance of handwashing after using the latrine, a person said that some of them do not have time to wash their hands with soap and water after using the latrine. Immediately, all of the people burst into laughter because they too were guilty of the act. At the end of the training, they agreed that it is essential to be involved in frequent handwashing with soap and water - especially after using the latrine.

"I am very much delighted about the training, and it has given me more knowledge. I have now known why I should take care of my latrine, the importance of balancing the diet of especially children, and the importance of having a dish rack. This training has impacted my life," said Isatu Bangura.

"I will make sure I educate other community members."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2021: Lungi, Rotifunk, Paramount Chief's Compound project underway!

People in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone lack a reliable source of water, so they turn to crowded and sometimes unsafe sources to get their water. 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! Learn more here!

A Year Later: Less Time in Line!

June, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Rotifunk Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Rotifunk Community 4 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!

"There was a great challenge in my community due to the water facility. Though it was in use, the water was not enough to serve the number of people living in this community," said Aminata K., 16.

She continued, "Because of that, we, the school-going kids, sometimes got late for school because we had to queue in the morning at this facility to fetch water before doing anything in the morning. As they say, 'Water is life,' and 'No man can live without water.'"

When we spoke to Aminata last year, she mentioned waiting in line for hours during the dry season, but now things are different.

"It is very easy now, though," Aminata concluded. "There is still overcrowding at the water point, as you can see, but it is much better than before. I think having access to clean and safe drinking water in my community has impacted my life."

Aminata near 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 Rotifunk Community 4 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 Rotifunk Community 4 – 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 - Matching Gifts 2020
3 individual donor(s)