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: 04/08/2024

Project Features

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The Kankalay Primary and Secondary School began as just a primary school in 1991. It was started with the help of the community and the Kankalay Islamic Mission, enrolling 50 students in its first year. The secondary section of the school was established later, in 2001, with 67 students using a single classroom in the primary school building. Today, the primary and secondary schools have their own unique buildings to accommodate their growing population. Combined, the primary and secondary schools educate some 535 students and have 25 teachers.

The students who have gone through this school system have been fortunate to move on to bigger and better things, parents say, which have proven beneficial for the community.

But the lack of a reliable source of water for the schools remains a major hindrance to education here.

The school's well is a casualty of the effect of global warming. The well fell victim to seasonal drying, which sends the students to neighboring private homes to fetch water. The children whose turn it is to fetch water are selected based on tardiness. The students who already missed class time by arriving late miss more learning to go get the water - putting them further behind in their studies.

Isatu is the head girl for the primary school. It is her job to select which students have to travel to get water when the school well is not functioning. She described why it is difficult to be in charge of choosing who goes to get water.

"Selecting students every morning to fetch water is a decision that I sometimes do not want to make. The decision of who to fetch water is based on the students that are latecomers. I find it difficult to choose the same students every day due to coming to school late," she said.

"Some of these students are my friends, and they live very far from the school. Making it to school on time is nearly impossible. They have to perform many chores before leaving for school every morning. Some of them do not get to eat anything before leaving home in the morning."

"I have lost several friends, and to avoid being left with no friends, I help them fetch a few buckets of water every day. I don't want to lose my friends."

"When the well at the school can finally provide water all year round, I will be the happiest person in the village," Isatu told us.

When there is no water in the school well, the students must travel to the community's gated home compounds to fetch water before the start of class every morning. The compounds are sometimes locked, however, in which case the students must go without water to drink. The other alternative is to walk along the highway to access a community well that is more than 500 meters away from the school compound. With the frequent accidents happening along the highway, parents have complained about their children being exposed to such dangerous behavior.

Even when students do gain access to the gated compounds, they cannot carry enough water back to meet the entire school's needs. The water students fetch in the morning inevitably runs out mid-day.

The lack of an adequate water supply increases students' chances of exposure to illnesses. Without water in the latrines, the students resort to using notebook paper to clean themselves after going to the bathroom.

When the school well is functioning, the students bring an empty plastic water bottle that they refill as many times as they need. But access is limited during the dry season when the water table drops and the well does not produce enough water. Students stand in line to get a sip of water from the containers holding water collected earlier in the day.

"My students are presently suffering to get adequate water supply. They travel to the community to fetch water, which is against the law for school children to leave the school compound after they have left their homes for school," said James H. Kamanda, the Principal of the secondary school.

"Parents are adamantly against sending their children on a busy highway to fetch water, a risk I am unable to take daily. I am truly against any of the school children leaving school to search for water."

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, 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: Kankalay Primary and Secondary School project complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Kankalay Primary and 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.

"Today is the happiest day for us in this school, and we are very grateful for this well. It is indeed a blessing for us to have a functioning well in our school compound. For a very long time, we have been going through many challenges for safe and reliable drinking water. All of that has come to an end today because we now have a well in our compound," said pupil Gibril.

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 12.9 meters, with the water at 10.4 meters. The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has excellent 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

We invited community members and local leaders to join the school in a dedication celebration for the well. The dedication of the well started with prayers. The pupils, teachers, community members, and representatives from the Ministry of Water Resources Port Loko District were all present at the dedication. They were thrilled to be part of the ceremony.

Students sing at the dedication

"On behalf of our pupils and teachers, I want to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for providing this well for the community and us. It is indeed a great blessing for us to have good and reliable drinking water in this community because all the challenges for drinking water have ended," said teacher James Kamanda.

The school pupils sang welcome songs in welcoming our team and all other dignitaries who were present to grace the occasion. They sang and danced to show how happy they were to have a well at their school’s compound.

Gibril shares remarks at the dedication.

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we make repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand the school's challenges. 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.

Students at the training.

After that, we schedule a time when the students and nearby community members can attend multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. The training of the trainers took place in one of the secondary school’s classrooms while the training of the pupils and community members took place at the school's assembly ground. The venue was covered by the branches of a big tree whose branches widely spread over the site giving it a calm atmosphere. The pupils were not trained together on the same day but in turn within two days because of the available space in consideration of the social distance preventive measure.

Training topics covered include 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.

Students hold up disease transmission posters.

The oral healthcare session was very interactive, with everyone laughing as the trainer showed the decayed teeth image to them. Some even began to point fingers and labeling their colleagues who have similar teeth in the school. A teacher from the school explained how he had visited a community where there was no toothpaste and asked what to do in that situation. Another teacher told him to use ash to brush his teeth because it is also good.

Training of the trainers with the teachers.

The students also had a lot of questions during the worms and parasite discussion. They asked questions and give their different views about how people get infested with worms and parasites. Someone said that eating fish can lead to worm infestation, while others said that one could get worms by chewing palm kernels. But they were all surprised to know that one can only get infected with worms either when walked barefooted, by taking in contaminated food and water, or by swimming in lakes that contained worm larvae.

"The training was precious to us because we were able to learn new skills and ideas about how to take care of ourselves and the community to stay safe and healthy," said student Mabinty.

Handwashing demonstration

"The new knowledge learned from this training will play a great role in promoting the health of us, teachers, our families, and even the community people to whom we will disseminate the new ideas we have acquired from this training."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

April, 2021: Kankalay Primary and Secondary School project underway!

Students at Kankalay Primary and Secondary school in Sierra Leone lack a reliable source of water and the dirty water they drink is making them 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! Learn more here!

A Year Later: Water, Even in the Dry Season!

May, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kankalay Islamic Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Michael. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kankalay Primary and Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kankalay Primary and 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!

We asked the headteacher of Kankalay Primary and Secondary School in Sumbuya what life was like at the school before we rehabilitated the school's well.

"Well, it was challenging when it comes to having access to clean and safe drinking water throughout the year," said 45-year-old Michael Evran.

"This facility used to go dry by this time of the year and our pupils found it difficult to have water to drink from this facility. Some had to bring water from their homes, and our sanitation facilities were not well taken care of because of [the] water crisis in the school and the community as well.

"The kids and community members had no choice [other] than to go to the nearby swamp to fetch water filled with worms, frogs, and mud. After fetching, they [would] have to allow the water to settle before drinking."

But now, life for Michael and the students of Kankalay has changed drastically - for the better.

"I am grateful as a teacher and community person," Michael said. "It is very easy for our women and pupils to fetch water from here. It has impacted my life in many ways, but let me just highlight [a] few. This water has helped prevent us from [contracting] waterborne diseases like cholera [and] diarrhea, and it has helped the school in keeping our sanitation facilities clean at all times. My plan as deputy headteacher is to make sure we protect the facility."

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 Kankalay Primary and 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 Kankalay Primary and 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.


Project Sponsor - StossWater