Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 584 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/17/2024

Project Features

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What used to be a quiet and bushy area has now become the central location within the Masoila community. New homes are being built daily, and with them comes the need for more easily accessible water sources.

The primary school's compound is less than 500 meters away from the junior and secondary schools' compounds. RC Primary School was constructed in 1974 by the Catholic Mission and began with just 50 students in three classrooms. Today, the primary school has grown to 584 students in 17 classrooms.

The primary school's well is the only water point that is regularly maintained in this area. The total volume of water in the well has dropped over the years, however, making the water point unable to provide enough water for the school and surrounding community. The biggest issue is during the dry season when people have to wait for the well to recharge with water before they are able to fill their buckets.

The long lines also make the well inconvenient and difficult to access. The frustrations of the long lines send people who cannot wait to other areas with less safe water sources that are not treated or monitored.

"My family comes all the way to the primary school to fetch water for us at home. At the beginning of the year, the pump was nonfunctional for a period of two weeks, and I will pray never to experience that hardship again. The two weeks ended up feeling like two months. Imagine hundreds of school children wanting to drink and use the latrine, and there is no water," said the primary school's Head Teacher Alex Dawo.

The brunt of the water crisis here falls on the students. The school's Head Girl, Fatmata, told us that she sometimes has to travel to the nearest community well to get water for the school because of the issues at the school well. Other wells in the area also face issues during the dry season, leading Fatama to travel even further to get water.

"I find myself standing on the side of the road with a heavy container filled with water waiting to cross. The bike riders see me with the heavy container on my head, and no one will wait for me to cross," she said.

"One day, I stood waiting with the heavy bucket bearing down on my head with the steady flow of bikes passing me by. With no energy no longer left in me, I had to throw the container on the ground to get some relief."

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 school year-round. There is a large number of community houses that greatly benefit from the main water source. The community will be allowed access very early in the morning and the afternoon when school is out for the day. It is also made available for the community during the weekend.

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.

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 quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Our team will offer hygiene and sanitation training sessions for three consecutive days. 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: Masoila Roman Catholic Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Masoila Roman Catholic 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.

Fatmata K., a 12-year-old student at the school, expressed her gratitude for the new well at the well dedication ceremony: "Before, we struggled to fetch water from the neighboring houses. We walked a long distance to find water. Sometimes, the community people would reject us. Today, our struggle is over. We now have easy access to fetch water within our school compound."

Fatmata at the new well.

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 23 meters with water at 11 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!

Alex Dawo, the school's Head Teacher, felt an immense sense of relief after the rehabilitation of the well. He said: "Today, it is a privilege for me to voice my appreciation on behalf of the school management, staff, and pupils. As the saying goes, water is life. It can only be life if you drink safe and pure drinking water. Over five (5) months ago, we had suffered for safe and pure drinking water in our school, but with this great work, we believe that our suffering has ended."

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 meetings.

The attendance was impressive: the majority of the pupils and teachers were present, and there was also a very good turnout from the community members who will be using the well.

An adorable/lively group.

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 students' favorite topics were dental hygiene and the roleplaying activities involved in demonstrating healthy versus unhealthy community practices.

After the session, a pupil by the name of Augustine from class 5 asked a relevant question: whether it's okay for someone to share his or her toothbrush with another person. He said his father sometimes exchanges toothbrushes with his mother. After the training, he said he will advise them to stop such practices.

"During the training, I learned a lot about personal hygiene and keeping the environment clean from diseases," said Head Teacher Alex Dawo. "The training brought me newer innovations which also can help me personally on how to keep myself safe and my family. I should serve as an agent of change for my school to encourage the pupils and the community to always practice good hygiene and sanitation."

"I believe this new knowledge will play an important role in me, and I will inform my family and friends in the school to put [it] into practice," said Fatmata K. "I will also share the knowledge with my colleagues from another school."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2021: Masoila Roman Catholic Primary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Maoila Roman Catholic 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: "Girls feel comfortable in school"

January, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Masoila Roman Catholic Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Sunkarie. 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 Roman Catholic Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Masoila Roman Catholic 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!

Life for students at Masoila Roman Catholic Primary School used to consist of spending inordinate amounts of time collecting water from a source off their school campus because the nearby well needed to be rehabilitated. As a result, students were exhausted and missed valuable learning time.

"We were not having sufficient, safe water for drinking and hygiene practices, especially the girls [who] were finding it difficult to take care of ourselves. We were missing classes to go and fetch water," said 12-year-old Sunkarie K.

But when the nearby well was rehabilitated last year, water became readily available. Things turned around for everyone, but especially for the girls at the school like Sunkarie, who now feel more at ease.

"Now we [are] having sufficient, safe water for drinking and hygiene practices. As for us, the girls, we are now feeling comfortable. We miss no classes to go and search for water," shared Sunkarie.

"We are now having good hygiene practices, and we can now be in classes from the start to the end of [our] school session," concluded Sunkarie.

Sunkarie standing outside 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 Masoila Roman Catholic 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 Roman Catholic 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.


Project Sponsor - The McDowell Family
1 individual donor(s)