Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 330 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/02/2024

Project Features

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The wells in Tardi are all drying up due to climate change, which sends the community members to St. Monica’s RC Primary School’s well. But the school’s well already serves 190 students and 6 staff. Without quick intervention, the school won’t have water, either.

Students visit the well at least three times a day to fill their containers. Water is needed for drinking, latrines, and handwashing stations. During the dry season, the well often runs dry. This forces the headmistress of the school to restrict well access between certain hours. The high walls surrounding the well tell the story of how precious water has become to this school and its surrounding community.

"The amount of water that comes out while pumping has greatly reduced," said 13-year-old student, Isatu.

"In the past few years, the closing times to allow proper recharge for the water in the well have increased,” said Mary Finda Vandy, the school’s Head Mistress.

Mary’s family lives near to the school, so she knows firsthand how dire the water crisis in Tardi is. "It is my responsibility to keep the school in perfect working order. I am good at taking care of the pump, with absolute restriction when I suspect the people are using the water point inappropriately.”

But with the water table in the region lowering, the school’s well needs to be rehabilitated soon, or both the schoolchildren and the community members will have to seek alternate sources of 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. We will remove the pump, 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.

The casing will be installed as the team drills, transforming the bottom of this hand-dug well into a borehole. PVC piping will connect this lower system directly to the pump, which will also improve water quality.

Once this plan is implemented, everyone within the community will have access to safe drinking water quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

We will offer hygiene and sanitation training sessions 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 handwashing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations and teach 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 help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

January, 2022: St. Monica's RC Primary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at St. Monica's RC 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.

"I am happy for the good water we are now getting from our school well. Now, it is good that the school pump has been renewed and the water is clean and pure to drink. I will no longer be scared to drink water from the school pump," said Ibrahim S., 13.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries from the Ministry of Water Resources, the Port Loko District Council, a Lungi Tardi community elder, school pupils, and teachers. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Mrs. Mary Vandi, the school's headteacher, and Ibrahim S., a student, made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Headteacher Mary Vandi, in the blue dress, celebrates clean water with students.

"Thank God for this great opportunity. It is good that Mariatu's Hope and The Water Project have added value to our school water well. It is now quite safe to drink. This is going to prevent us from drinking contaminated water," said Mary Vandi.

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 14 meters with water at nine 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!

Mary Vandi, the school's headteacher, commented, "This well will help the school to do a fruitful garden activity at the school. It is part of the school requirement because teaching the students about agriculture needs practical evidence. The school now has enough water to do the school garden for the students to see it and put them into practice."

New Knowledge

Before conducting the 5-day hygiene training, we made arrangements with the school administration to decide when the training would be most beneficial.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time and then dispatched our team, Fatmata Kalokoh and Joseph Kamara, who led the training of 225 students and teachers. The training was held in one of the classrooms at the far end of the school building because it had enough benches and proper ventilation for everyone to feel comfortable.

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.

Learning proper handwashing with a tippy tap.

One of the more memorable training topics was learning about good hygiene practices versus bad ones. A teacher showed students a poster of a clothesline and explained that drying clothes on the ground or the grass is not a good hygiene practice. A girl turned to her friend seated close to her and said, "I never knew that drying clothes on the ground is not fine."

Her friend replied, "Are you in the habit of drying clothes on the ground?"

She said, "Yes, my mother always dries our clothes on the ground. When I go home, I will advise her to buy rope to start drying our clothes on a clothesline. I will stop drying my clothes on the grass. I never knew I would contact skin disease by drying cloth on the grass."

Teachers attend training.

Ibrahim S. shared his thoughts on the training. "The training has helped me to learn many things about COVID-19, such as how to wash my hands without getting other germs. With this training, I will train my parents at home on most of the things I have learned."


We asked Ibrahim what it was like to be out of school due to COVID-19. "When schools closed for almost a whole academic year, I lagged behind as I was only involved in playing, selling, and not studying. While at home, I missed my teachers, my friends, the fun in school, and most of all, my encouraging headmistress."

Now that he is back to school, he said, "When schools reopened, I was filled with joy and happiness simply because [I] am back to my learning and all my friends and teachers who I have not seen for many months are all back and safe from COVID-19."

When an issue arises concerning the well, community members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2021: St. Monica's RC Primary School Well Rehab Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Monica's RC 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!

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: "We are happy now."

January, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Monica’s RC Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Haja. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Monica's RC 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!

Last year, the students of St. Monica's RC Primary School often had to leave their school campus, crossing a dangerous, busy road to collect water because their school well would run out of water from overuse. The school shared this well with community members, and the well was not recharging properly because it was not deep enough; therefore, the water was rationed for everyone.

"Before this, we were having constraints to get pure and safe drinking water. Also, the school toilet was so filthy because of the lack of water in the school," said 14-year-old Haja K.

But last year, the school well was rehabilitated, and now there is sufficient water for everyone.

"We are happy now because we can boast of having pure and safe drinking water. We don't go out of the school compound again during break or lunch hours to fetch water because we already have pure and safe drinking water. The risk of going across the main streets has been reduced 100%," concluded Haja.

And the best news is that now that students no longer have to cross the busy road for water, they are able to stay in class and use their time and energy for learning.

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 St. Monica's RC 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 St. Monica's RC 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.


48 individual donor(s)