Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 205 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/13/2024

Project Features

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In the morning hours, Masinneh Village resembles a ghost town with men, women, and children on their various ways to make a living or go to school. The most common livelihoods are farming, hunting, and burning charcoal. The majority of farmers are also master hunters that know how to study the tracks left by animals of all kind. The animals they hunt, using dogs, traps, and guns, include deer, porcupines, monkeys, squirrels, and other large rodents in the bushes.

The homes that have stood the test of time are made with mud blocks with no cement plastering. Unfortunately, the water crisis faced by the 205 people here is getting worse every day. It is a family affair to get up very early in the morning to fetch water. There are two main water points that the people here use, but one is completely dry, and the second is slowly drying up to the point that people are only allowed to fetch drinking water.

The people spend more time fetching water than they do praying or anything else, observed our teams. The children are up very early in the morning to ensure that the cleanest water is fetched before everyone else gets the chance to contaminate the source further. The hand-dug well is in poor shape, leaving it open to contaminants that cause waterborne diseases.

During our visit to the community, we met up with Abdulahi Kamara. His father's death and the failing health of his mother brought him back from the city to his home village. He works the family farm, hunts, and sells charcoal to support his family. Abdulahi shared the story that his daughter became pregnant a year ago. When she went into labor, Abdulahi did not have enough money to get her to the clinic, so she had to give birth at home. With no reliable water source, he had to turn to the open swamp to have enough water for his daughter and grandchild. Fortunately, both are healthy, but the ordeal caused a lot of stress and put the mother and child at risk due to the lack of clean water access.

"I was very thankful and hopeful when it was over. God spared the two lives," he said.

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.

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

June, 2021: Masinneh Village Project Complete!

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

"The importance of bringing clean water to these communities has made a difference in the lives of numerous community members. Anyone can easily walk to access this water point without much energy required. There is no risk or danger along the way to access this water point," said Zainab Turay.

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 the team to store their belongings, along with meals for the duration of their stay. The following day, the work began.

First, we raised the tripod, which we use to hold and maneuver each drilling tool. Next, we measured the well's original depth. We then socketed the pipes and installed a casing.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 14.5 meters with water at 11.21 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.

With drilling complete, we installed screening and a filter pack to keep out debris when the water is pumped. We then cemented an iron rod to the well lining and fixed it with an iron collar at the top. Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days and flushed it, clearing any debris generated by the drilling process. Finally, we tested the yield to ensure the well would provide clean water with minimal effort at the pump.

Nearing completion, we built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system around the well to seal it off from surface-level contaminants. In addition, the drainage system helps to redirect runoff and spilled water to help avoid standing water at the well, which can not only be uncomfortable but unhygienic and a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Installing the pump

At last, we installed the stainless steel India Mk11 pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!

We scheduled a handing-over and dedication ceremony with the community. We determined a date that worked for everyone. On the agreed-upon day, we dispatched our team to the well.

Upon our arrival, everyone was around the well area waiting for us. The dedication started with prayers and supplications. Next, the village headman welcomed and thanked the team for their relentless efforts to ensure that every community is provided with safe and reliable drinking water.

He emphasized that everyone should celebrate the new well and thank its supporters. The community people rejoiced to show how happy they were to have a well in their community.

Ward Councilor and Village Headman

"Before, I was exposed to waterborne diseases. Now that I have access to this well, it helps protect me from getting sick. Since the water is safe and pure, it adds value to my life. It reduces the time I spend getting water so I won't be late to school anymore," said Foday, a young boy we met during the ceremony.

New Knowledge

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 shared the findings from our discussions with the committee members to help them make the necessary adjustments before the training began. For example, we identified households without handwashing stations or ones that may need to repair their latrines. With this information, community members worked together to improve hygiene and sanitation at home.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when members from each household using the water point could attend a multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting.

The hygiene training was held near where most of the homes are located. The environment was quiet, and one could only hear sounds from the birds around the area. It was spacious, too, so everyone could observe physical distancing. The venue was shaded with many trees around it and good ventilation, which the team and the community found suitable for the training.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, worms and parasites, dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

The most memorable topic during the training was disease transmission stories. The session was very interesting, according to the community members. Everyone started talking to each other after the facilitators explained the posters displaying the things people should not do in order to prevent diseases. Then, the group agreed that they have been practicing the exact acts the pictures said not to do.

The community members did not know that they could be responsible for certain illnesses that affect them and their children. Many people asked questions and gave comments about this topic. The headman urged his community members to stop all their bad practices and change their lifestyles for their own well-being.

"This training is of great value to me because, through this training, I learned a lot of things that I never knew. The knowledge and skills attained from this training will help improve our way of living and mostly will enable us to take good care of ourselves, our children, and our community to stay fit and well," said Aminata Sesay.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

May, 2021: Masinneh Village project underway!

An unreliable well is making people in Masinneh Village, Sierra Leone wait in long lines and seek out unsafe water sources. 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: "Nobody has buried a child."

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Masinneh 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!

As the village headman and chairperson of the community's water user committee, 60-year-old Mohamed Kamara remembers all too well what life in Masinneh was like before their well was rehabilitated last year.

"It was a great constraint for me and my people in this community," Mohamed said.

"Over the years, we used to have cholera outbreaks in this community. We had lost so many children to cholera in [the] past because where we were fetching water was not good for drinking, especially in the rainy seasons. All the water mixed up together. I was concerned as head of this community, but there was nothing I [could] do about it. I was frustrated seeing both young and old sick with cholera, dysentery, and other waterborne diseases."

Now, Masinneh's people are thriving: no more drinking contaminated water or worrying about the well going dry.

"There is great joy in my life today," Mohamed said. "For the past one year, we [have not had] any cholera outbreak in this community and other surrounding villages. It has impacted so much on my life because nobody has buried a child due [to] cholera or any waterborne disease. I am proud to say that we have clean and safe drinking water that is reliable [and] affordable throughout the seasons."

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 Masinneh 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 Masinneh 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.