Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 540 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/17/2024

Project Features

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The area near Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School is densely populated. Th school is situated at the heart of the Masoila community along the highway to the national airport. The community is full of modern houses with basic amenities like electricity.

The school was established in December 1991, beginning with just thirty-five pupils and two teachers. The school's first headteacher, Reverend Daniel Amadu Kamara, started the school with his resources and provided the land for the school and the church. The school is now under the care of the government. Today, more than 500 students attend the school.

In 1993, a well was dug on the school grounds. However, it was not completed. A handpump was added years later, and the well underwent a rehabilitation in 2015. Due to the adverse effects of global warming, however, the water that is produced by the well has drastically reduced over the years. Also, the community and the school's rising population are putting more pressure on the declining water point.

The water crisis in the school has created a negative impact on the pupils. Whenever they need water, either for drinking or sanitary purposes, and the well runs out of water, the pupils have to leave school to go search for water in the nearby communities. The challenge is multiplied for the students because the same well they rely on at school is also shared with the local community. This means the children face the same difficulties getting water when they go home as they do at school.

"The water in the well has drastically gone down, and sometimes we spend a lot of time pumping to have a very little amount of water. Most times, before we come to school in the morning, we go in search of water for domestic uses at home, which causes us to come to school very late," said pupil Masayo.

"In the afternoon hours when we get home, we also go in search of water, and by the time we return, we would become tired and unable to do our assignments. This continues to go on because water is needed every day in the school and our homes."

The time pupils spend collecting water negatively affects their time for lessons. The daily teaching schedules become disrupted, and teachers fail to complete their respective subject syllabus, causing the school to perform poorly, especially on external examinations.

"Our community depends on this well for fetching water for drinking and other domestic purposes. Whenever the water becomes unavailable, it gives burden to our children and wives who normally go in search of water," explained teacher Hassan Kamara.

"Most times, our children come to school late and tired, and sometimes when they get to school, they are made to go in search of water for drinking, handwashing, and latrine use. This makes them more tired, causing them to sleep in class, which also prevents the teachers from teaching regularly according to the timetable."

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

February, 2022: Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and 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.

Happy for clean water!

"I no longer have to wait to get water for the school. The containers are filled every morning and in the afternoon. The school is always clean and smells better when there is water. I cannot imagine what we would have done without water at our school," said teacher Alex Kamara, 48.

Teacher Alex Kamara collecting water.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The ceremony was attended by several local dignitaries from the Ministry of Basic Education, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ward Council office. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Alex and Henrietta made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Henrietta (with the megaphone) gave her speech.

Henrietta K., 10, said, "I am going to bring a water bottle to school that I will fill with water before the start of school every morning. That way I can drink while in the classroom. The goal I hope to achieve since the water point has been completed is to get better scores on my report card. I am also going to wash my hands with soap after using the latrine."

Students celebrating!

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 12 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!

Field Officer Mohammed Turay commented, "The best feeling is when I see the smiles on the faces of people when they finally have safe and sustainable access to water. The singing voices of children reminded me of my primary school days in a Catholic school. The songs are still the same. I wish I had a clean and safe water source when I was growing up. A lot of illnesses probably could have been avoided."

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.

Trainers Rose Ngekia, Isatu Sesay, and Kadiatu Kamara performed the training for 427 participants, which included students, teachers, community-based leaders, government officials, and area political leaders. One of the school's classrooms was used as the training venue for the teachers and invited guests. Once the teachers mastered the information, they visited the other classrooms to train the students.

Learning proper dental hygiene.

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 session using a prop called the diarrhea doll was the most memorable topic during the training for both teachers and students. The training session was interactive as teachers gave their different views about the causes of diarrhea and its cure. Some teachers claimed that diarrhea can be caused by eating too much mango, pepper, or vegetable oil.

Diarrhea doll session.

They asked many questions and wanted to know the difference between diarrhea and cholera. The adults readily mentioned traditional food items such as gari (ground cassava), raw cassava, guava leaves, and pepper leaves that are used to attempt to cure diarrhea without much success. One teacher, Mrs. Memunatu Solomon, was the only teacher who stated that ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) was her first option whenever she or her children have diarrhea. By the end of the session, everyone learned how to prepare an ORS solution to use as a remedy.

Learning about disease transmission.

Head teacher Hassan Koroma, 46, said, "This hygiene and sanitation training is really of great importance to me because it deals mainly with the proper care of self and environment. Through this training, I learned about things that will be of great help to me both at school and at home most especially the local preparation of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) using salt, sugar, and clean water. So I will make sure to practice all the essential knowledge I have gained during this training in order to achieve a healthy life and environment."

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!

January, 2022: Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School drains people’s and 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 community and 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: "Now we have safe drinking water in the school compound."

April, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Nancy. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and 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!

Before the well at Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and Primary School was rehabilitated last year, students spent much of their learning time outside their classes searching for water.

"Before, we, the pupils of this school, were [were] actually suffering [without] pure and safe drinking water. During lunch hours, we [would] normally go outside the school compound to fetch water [for] our classes," said 11-year-old Nancy K.

But things changed for the students when the well was repaired last year, and water is now available to them whenever they need it. And with water quickly and easily accessible, students are thankful to now have more time for learning.

"Now we have safe drinking water in the school compound. We have time to read our notes during break and lunch hours. We're happy about the help which you have done for us," concluded Nancy.

Nancy pumping water at the 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 Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and 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 Masoila Gateway Baptist Church and 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.


35 individual donor(s)