Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 486 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/04/2024

Project Features

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Ahmadiya Muslim Primary School is located in a relatively sparsely populated area about three miles from our office. Only recently are new homes being built in this area. The houses surrounding the school are constructed of both mud blocks and cement. The community donated the school land.

The American Embassy in Freetown built the School with the help of Dr. Mohamed Lamin Kamara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, under the watch of Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba, who wrote to the American Embassy to assist his community with a school. The letter was approved, and the Embassy completed the project at the end of 1995. After the three-classroom project was completed and handed over to the Ahmadiya Muslim Missionaries to run the school, the school was later named after them.

The school initially enrolled just three students. Today, some 486 students attend, and there are 14 teachers and staff. The school has also established a pre-school to cater to young children because they do not want to neglect the little children in this community.

The school's hand-dug well was constructed a few years ago. Over time, it fell victim to the effects of climate change experienced across the region. Our teams in Sierra Leone have observed that the water table in the region has dropped in recent years, rendering hand-dug wells less reliable than much deeper borehole wells.

The school used to fetch their water at the stream located a mile away from the school. If the well is not producing enough water, however, students will return to the open source to get water. It is a great risk for students to fetch water from the stream since they have to leave campus alone, and the water itself is not safe for drinking. Students then not only miss class due to the walks to the stream, but they also miss it when they become sick with waterborne diseases from drinking the stream water. When this happens, students' health and academic success are compromised.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul needs deepening to ward off the impacts of climate change. Our team 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.

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, 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 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

August, 2021: Ahmadiya Muslim Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Ahmadiya Muslim 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.

Musa Kamara (right) with students and another teacher at the rehabbed well.

Kalilu, a 12-year-old student at the school, expressed his gratitude for the rehabilitated well. "Before, we the children were suffering a lot to access safe and pure drinking water, which caused us to practice bad hygiene behavior. Now that we have this water point in our school compound, it will help us to practice good hygiene behavior."

Kalilu speaking at the dedication ceremony.

A teacher at the school, Musa Kamara, expressed similar resolve about the hygiene at the school moving forward. "Before, the children missed most of their lessons in class. Having this water point now will create an impact on our schoolwork, and it will curtail the movement of children and teachers to fetch water. Having this water point will make us practice good hygiene behaviors within the school and in our various homes, and we are going to protect the well from harmful practices."

We dedicated the well to the school in the presence of students, teachers, and local leaders: Ministry of Water Resources Mapping Officer (Osman Fofanah), Port Loko District Council Valuation Officer (Abu Bakarr Bangura), Ministry of Basic and Senior School Secondary Education Inspector of Schools (Philip Alex Kanu), and the Councilor for Ward 236 (Hissan Sillah).

In his contribution, Philip Alex Kanu said, "It is a pleasure to witness the dedication of this water point in Ahmadiya Muslim Primary School. Thank you for this wonderful gesture."

The dedication finished with the students singing and dancing to celebrate the rehabilitated water point.

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 17 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!

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.

The topic of hygiene spurred a good deal of discussion among the teachers, who admitted they had not been doing all they could to keep the school environment clean. One teacher offered to lead the hygiene committee in an effort to resolve the problem moving forward.

"The knowledge from this training has helped enlighten us about the importance of some practices we thought were never important, like taking care of our latrines," said Abdulia Bangura, a teacher at the school. "Or good practices that were being ignored due to cultural and traditional beliefs, like restricting our children from eating fish and eggs, claiming that it will make them sick."

When the facilitators brought out the mosquito net, a female teacher said that she was confused about how to properly sleep using a mosquito net. She demonstrated how she had been using her bed net, which was to sleep under it (using it as a blanket). Everyone laughed. The facilitators demonstrated the net's proper use, after which the teacher agreed that she understood.

But she was not the only teacher with misconceptions. For instance, many teachers gave their views about what causes malaria: bedbugs, contaminated food and water, and eating oranges. Some teachers gaped in astonishment to learn malaria's cause is an infected mosquito bite. They asked many questions.

One teacher, upon learning this, noted that their school compound is a breeding point for mosquitoes, and his colleagues agreed. They promised to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by getting rid of stagnant waters in the school and community.

"All my life, I had never known the dangers of malaria until during this training," Abdulai continued. "The importance of dish racks and clotheslines were also measured, and by putting to practice all that we have learned from this training and taking the message to our homes and community, we will achieve a healthy school environment and community at large."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2021: Ahmadiya Muslim Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Ahmadiya Muslim 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: "I find it very easy to fetch water from here"

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ahmadiya Muslim 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 attending Ahmadiya Muslim Primary School used to collect water from a local stream when their dug well would dry up. It was time-consuming and exhausting.

"It was difficult for me during that period. I had to go [into] the neighborhood to fetch water for drinking during [the] lunch hour because our pump was not functional," said Iyeani B.

But last year, we rehabilitated the well by drilling it deeper, so now, it provides sufficient water to meet the school's needs, and students like Iyeani no longer have to wander around in search of water.

"Now, I am so excited for having this water facility in my school and community. I find it very easy to fetch water from here, and also, we are now keeping our toilets very clean," said Iyeani. "Having access to clean and safe drinking water is a great achievement not only for the school but for community people as well."

With quick access to water on the school campus, hopefully, Iyeani's and her classmate's future will be brighter as they can fully concentrate on learning.

Water flowing!

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 Ahmadiya Muslim 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 Ahmadiya Muslim 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.


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United Way of the Capital Region
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77 individual donor(s)