Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 307 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/17/2024

Project Features

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The 307 students at DEC Kitonki Primary School face a lot of challenges accessing clean and safe water. Over the years, attempts to solve the school's water crisis failed. For years, the school and community have been suffering for access to clean and safe water, sending them to other places in search of it.

At school, the students are dispatched to find water in the morning and again in the afternoon, just before school is out for the day. Currently, the school only has access to a well during the rainy season when the water table is high. The rest of the year, the well sits dry and students have to look elsewhere for water.

"The current water situation at school and in the community has reached a stage of a great emergency. Very soon, we are going to start regular trips to the stream or risk standing in the long lines," said Isatu, a teenaged student at the school.

The water crisis here is sending students like Isatu to other parts of the village in search of water. The students travel far distances along the busy road, endangering their lives with the traffic. And sometimes, all their effort is wasted when they return empty-handed.

The school's lack of water has worsened the hygiene and sanitation conditions of both the school and the neighboring houses. Water is critical in maintaining a disease-free environment, yet all of the drinking buckets and handwashing stations provided by the government sit unused most of the time because of the school's lack of water.

"The lack of proper hygiene and sanitation at the school is due largely to the lack of water. I can afford to buy water to drink, but I cannot say that for my students and the other teachers. The lack of adequate water at the school gives students a reason to go outside of the compound," said Ya Alimamy Kamara, a school teacher.

"I get more excuses from students to go outside of the school to the community to get water to drink than anything else. It is the responsibility of the school to provide water to all students and staff."

The proposed project will provide sufficient and clean water all year round by converting the existing hand-dug well into a borehole. The conversion will help the school to have water that is freely available without the fear of seasonal drying.

To rehabilitate the well, 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 school will have access to safe drinking water in quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

DEC Kitonki Primary School

The school's construction began in 1999 and ended in 2000 with an enrollment of 311 pupils. Shortly before the end of the civil war, parents and guardians began to see the benefits of an education. All schools built at the end of the war saw a sharp increase in enrollment, with some students coming to school who have exceeded the primary school age limit. The school administration says it is in constant competition with the local fishing boats for their students' attendance as some young people are more interested in getting a fast income than investing in their education, teachers say.

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

July, 2021: DEC Kitonki Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at DEC Kitonki Primary School in Sierra Leone is now 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.

"Now that we have safe, pure drinking water in our school, my plan now is to make sure I pass all my exams. I will not be worried about fetching water at the wharf during school hours. The students of this school will not misuse this pump. We will handle it with care for our younger ones to enjoy the facility of having safe, pure drinking water in the school compound. All the community people now come to use our well, and I can proudly say I was part of the students that lent a helping hand," said 12-year-old Marie.

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, the structure we use to hold and maneuver each of the drilling tools. 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 21 meters with water at 17 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.

As the project neared completion, we built a cement platform, walls, and drainage system around the well to seal it off from surface-level contaminants. 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.

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

"This waterpoint has impacted my life in many ways. Especially with my pupils, they can now stay in school full time. There are no excuses for them to escape classes. Before, when the pump was down, someone had to go down to the wharf to fetch drinking water, and they would not return to school. For so many years, we have prayed and applied to several organizations, but finally, when we needed it the most, Mariatu's Hope and The Water Project were able to come to our rescue. We were always left to scramble for access to water all year round when the seasonal changes affected our availability of water. I can now boast of having access to clean and safe water that undergoes stringent water quality testing to further ensure we are drinking safe water," said Ya Alimamy Kamara, Teacher and Chiefdom Head for all the Female Chiefs.

The dedication ceremony was on a Tuesday morning. The teachers, pupils, and the community people were extremely excited about the conversion of the hand-dug well into a borehole. During the day of the dedication, many people from the community were already standing in line to fill the countless number of rubber buckets. The ceremony was witnessed by a representative from the MOWRS, Port Loko District Council, a former teacher at the school, and other stakeholders within the community. During the celebration, everyone was happy for the water well, especially the pupils and the teachers,  singing and dancing songs of praises to God Almighty for this great opportunity they now have in their school.

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we made repeated phone calls and visits to the local water user committee to better understand 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.

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.

"On behalf of me and my fellow students of this school, I want to first thank the team from Mariatu's Hope and The Water Project for such training. This training is of great importance to us as a school, and the knowledge from this training will help us prevent ourselves and our families from contracting the deadly Corona Virus. Most of us that attend this school come from homes where we are the only people that can spell our names, let alone read. I will teach my parents and siblings about keeping the environment and ourselves clean.

One of the most memorable topics during training was malaria. The teachers, pupils, and community members asked many questions about the disease, which were answered by their colleagues and hygiene and sanitation team members.  Some claimed that too much beer, oranges, mangos, and even palm oil could lead to malaria infections. This was their first time to know that it is only a mosquito bite that can cause malaria and not any of the foods they have limited. They promised to be sleeping inside their bed nets and always be cleaning their communities to avoid mosquito bites. Also, they promised to stop depriving their children of eating these fruits they once believed were responsible for malaria infections.

Community member Abibatu Conteh was grateful for the training. He shared, "The training is very important to me and my fellow community members because it has helped us learn about how to care for ourselves, families, and community. And if we as a community take into consideration all that we have been taught during this training, our lives will change for the better. We will be able to make better and positive health decisions. I am going to make sure all the required facilities are kept up. If we only listen when the team is around, what will happen when they are not?"

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2021: DEC Kitonki Primary School project underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making students in DEC Kitonki Primary School sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school 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: Saved from water challenges!

January, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped DEC Kitonki Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for N’yillah. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help DEC Kitonki Primary 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!

The students at DEC Kitonki Primary School used to spend a lot of time searching for and collecting water since their school did not have a reliable water source on its campus.

"Before this project was completed, we used [to] walk long distances to get water from neighboring houses. Also, it was difficult for us to do handwashing and even to drink water," said 15-year-old N'yillah D.

Now, all that has changed.

"There is now enough pure water for drinking and other practical purposes in the school. [The well] saved the school and the neighboring houses from water challenges," said N'yillah.

Not only is there plenty of safe water for drinking, meaning everyone is healthier, but students have time to focus on learning.

"It has helped us to reduce the contracting of waterborne diseases. We [have] enough time to concentrate on our work," concluded N'yillah.

Students and a teacher collect water from the rehabilitated 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 DEC Kitonki Primary 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 DEC Kitonki Primary 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.


Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
Mme. Prescotts Grade 2 class
Keble College JCR, Oxford
Margot A. Bouvier
47 individual donor(s)