Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 426 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

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Samuya village is home to Susu Gospel Primary School. The community is divided into three sections with houses built in different directions with the headman's home smack in the middle. Large trees overhang the land, creating a shady environment and places to hide from the hot sun. A visitor is always greeted with freshly picked fruits or vegetables this time of year. The presentation of fresh produce to guests is a gesture that has been practiced for years.

Susu Gospel Primary School was built in 2005 by Reverend Sesay, one of the Susu Gospel School system's founders. It started with a little less than one hundred students, with most of the students being boys. The first headteacher was the late JJ Williams. The school is known around the chiefdom as having brilliant students that perform extremely well on exams.

The well on the school grounds was constructed in 2010 to help improve the school's condition. The school saw an immediate increase in enrollment for both boys and girls. Today, the school boasts 426 students. The school has benefitted greatly from the well. Without it, they would not have a source of clean and safe water. Over the years, however, the well has experienced challenges due to the effects of climate change. A decreasing water table is impacting the quality of the well's water and contributing to frequent breakdowns.

When the well does not work, the students have to turn to an open water source to try to fulfill their school's water needs. The open source is contaminated from the runoff of nearby roads and farms, placing the students at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

Rehabilitating the well and digging it deeper will once more ensure that safe drinking water is available throughout the year. Furthermore, the upgrades to the well will reduce breakdowns, thus preventing the students from needing to rely on unsafe water points - like the open source.

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

September, 2021: Susu Gospel Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Susu Gospel 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.

"Every morning, we (the pupils) walk a long distance to access the swamp water and fetch it before going to our different classes," said Sanu K., a 12-year-old student at the school. "This water point will reduce the time we spent getting water from our school well, and we will not miss our lessons anymore."

"Now that we have this water point rehabilitated for us," Sanu continued, "I can frequently wash my hands properly now, and practice good personal hygiene behavior with no fear of water shortage."

Mahawa Conteh, a teacher at Susu Gospel Primary School, was just as excited about the new source of clean water. "For over three months, the school was without safe and pure drinking water due to the breakdown of our school pump. Today, I am overwhelmed by having the newly rehabilitated water point in our school ground. It is a privilege for our school to have safe and pure drinking water."

"Before, it was difficult for the school to access safe and pure water to drink and clean our school latrines. This water point will help the teachers and pupils to practice better hygiene behavior. The school is grateful to everyone who contributed."

The dedication ceremony was held around the newly rehabilitated water point on the school grounds. The children were arranged to observe physical distance while singing and dancing. The children and teachers played with the water. The invited guests from the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education also drank the water.

Students and teachers alike were so excited to have their pictures taken. Some of the pupils asked to be photographed so that the donors could see their faces.

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 25 meters with water at 17.5 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 Mk11 pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!

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.

We scheduled a time when members from each household using the water point could attend a multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. In all, we trained 50 people (31 females and 19 males).

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.

"This training is valuable to us," said one of the teachers who attended, Magdalen Ndanema. "This was a real blessing in disguise, as we all know that cleanliness is next to godliness." She expressed that she learned several things: she had misunderstood the causes of typhoid and had not been storing her toothbrush properly.

During the student training, when the facilitator presented the decayed teeth, the pupils burst into laughter. Some of them said that this is how their grandmother's teeth look.

In the community member training, where adults from the area attended, some people who chew cola nut or tobacco looked guilty when shown the demonstration of tooth decay. Some community members even pointed out peers whose teeth resembled the model.

Another valuable topic was parasites and worms, which can be transferred to humans who walk barefoot outdoors. The training participants had previously thought that worms and parasites were spread through eating fish and palm kernel. A few also mentioned that if they see a person with a swelled stomach, they had blamed witches and devils rather than hookworms. At the end of the training, the chairman of the committee promised us on behalf of the community that they will avoid walking barefoot.

Sanu agreed that the training was impactful. "The importance of frequent handwashing is one of the most helpful parts of this training I received. I was so careless about washing hands frequently and using a face mask when in public places."

Plans for the Future

"Now that this water point is rehabilitated for us, we will not walk long distances to fetch water again, it will help us be in class on time and have time to read our lesson notes," Sanu said. "We will help protect our school water point from mishandling by our parents and ourselves. We will make sure that we will always clean the water point environment to avoid the water being contaminated."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2021: Susu Gospel Primary School Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Susa Gospel Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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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: "The Whole Community is Benefiting"

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Susu Gospel Primary School 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Susu Gospel Primary School 2 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 at Susu Gospel Primary School, students had to leave school grounds to get water or use the restroom.

"It was very challenging to get water," said Magdalene N'danema, a teacher and the chairperson of the school's water user committee. "There was no pure drinking water, and the children were always sick from diarrhea and stomachaches. [They would] always come to school late. The distance from [the] village to the stream is very far."

But now that the school has a working well just a few steps from the students' classrooms, there's no need for students to roam the community, and their health has drastically improved.

Magdalene continued: "The water facility is functional in the school compound, and there is no more diarrhea, cholera, and other related waterborne diseases because we now have clean and safe drinking water in the school compound, and the whole community is benefiting from this water facility."

Now that their everyday lives are more stable, both the students and the staff can look to the future with hope.

"One of our goals over the years is to see that our pupils come to school very early and are focused during class hours with no distractions of them taking excuses of going home to drink when classes are going on," Magdalene said. "This place is very remote, and even our sanitation facility was closed on the children because there was not enough water to take care of [the latrines], so the children had to go in the bush or in their homes. I am very happy that we have been able to achieve that through the rehabilitation of this water 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 Susu Gospel Primary School 2 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 Susu Gospel Primary School 2 – 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 - Yakima Foursquare Church