Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 670 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/17/2024

Project Features

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Saint Joseph Jr. Secondary School was founded in September 2004 in Masoila, Sierra Leone. This school was founded by Reverend Peter Mansaray, who also served as the first Principal of the school. The school started with two classrooms in a single building and an enrollment of seventy boys and eighty girls. There was six staff in service for the school, and the school operated on a single shift.

Presently, the school is one of the largest schools in Lungi, with many students and staff. It has a big compound ideal for different learning activities. The school is now a household name within and even beyond the Lungi community. It has 335 girls and 335 boys, making a total of 670 students with twenty-five staff. Presently, there are ten classrooms available for learning in the school.

The breakdown of the main water source of the school is a great challenge to the school, but especially to the students. Every classroom in the school has a drinking bucket that needs to be filled each morning. Three handwashing buckets also need to be filled with water. The school prefects are mandated to select other students to fill the buckets for handwashing and drinking purposes throughout the day.

"In school, it is challenging to get access to quality water to drink because our school pump is not working now, so I have to go out to look for good and sufficient water to drink after eating during lunch," said student Sumaila B.

It is challenging for those selected students to travel off school grounds to fetch water for handwashing and drinking purposes. Because of the lack of a functional water point at the school, there is always insufficient water to use or drink.

Being out of class to fetch water causes some students to miss class time. This negatively affects their performance in class and during examinations. Teachers also need water to drink and wash their hands after teaching. But because of the water shortage, staff find it difficult to wash their hands as often as they want. Some teachers prefer to buy packets of water to drink because of this, but not everyone does, and it is more of a bandaid than a solution to the problem anway.

"The current water situation in the school is challenging for me and the entire school management as well as the community. I always find it difficult to manage the little water available in school and at home because it is not enough to do all the exercises I have to do," said teacher Erica Kotio.

"Managing water is extremely hard for me because most of our daily activities need water, and without sufficient water, it is exceedingly difficult to practice proper hygiene and sanitation."

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.

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

Our team 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

September, 2021: St. Joseph Junior Secondary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at St. Joseph Junior Secondary 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.

"Now that we have got this water source in the school, I can use the toilet and clean up myself very easily," said 14-year-old student, Adama S. "I will no more be distracted in class due to looking for water to drink."

School Principal, Erica Kotio, expressed the many reasons she's thankful for the new well. "Students were in the habit to roam around the school ground, claiming that they were looking for water to drink. This [caused] a distraction [from] our daily lesson. It was not good for their performance in class and on examinations."

In this picture, Principal Erica Kotio is in the center in the pink dress, and Adama is just to her right with her hands in the water.

"Today, it is a great thing that I have got a solution to the problem of water shortage in the school," Principal Kotio said.

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 15 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 school to better understand their challenges and lack of sanitation facilities.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time for a multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting. Principal Kotio suggested the school's staff room as a good venue for the first few days, when we trained the teachers. Then, on the final day, the teachers trained 91% of the school's 795 students.

Staff training.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, COVID-19 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 most memorable topic was malaria. Training facilitators noticed some stagnant water that could act as a mosquito breeding area within the school grounds and alerted the school staff, who eradicated it. Students at the training recalled places within their communities at home where malaria might still proliferate and resolved to show their parents and community members.

After all the discussion, students agreed to use a treated mosquito bed net for sleeping, and anytime they realize the signs and symptoms of malaria, they will visit the nearest hospital for proper medication.

"I want to say thanks to all the facilitators for the knowledge they have shared with us," said Adama. "The training knowledge will help me to protect myself. I will advocate the school administration to reinforce these practices even after COVID-19, because they are good hygiene practices. I will again try my best to share the training knowledge and skills with my family at home."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2021: St. Joseph Junior Secondary School Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Joseph Junior Secondary 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: "So happy and grateful"

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped St. Joseph Junior Secondary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Erica. 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. Joseph Junior Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help St. Joseph Junior Secondary 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!

When the well at St. Joseph Junior Secondary School dried up, it left almost a thousand students and teachers without water for drinking, cleaning, or handwashing. And when the well did work, its water was often contaminated.

"Before, this water point was seasonal," said principal Erica Kotio, whom we interviewed both before and after the well was rehabilitated. "It [would dry] up during the dry season. Water would not be available to use. Sometimes, the water point [would] break down twice in a month. In fact, the water was not pure to drink."

But since we helped to rehabilitate the school's well last year, all of the struggles the school used to experience with water are in the past.

"The water is pure to drink, and I can wash my hands frequently," Erica said. "The staff and pupils are so happy and grateful for the water point [you have] done for the school."

Erica has confidence in the water's cleanliness and the well's functionality because of our field staff and their regular visits.

"[We] appreciate the effort of the staff who visit from time to time to make sure that the tap is handled well," Erica said. "The water point is monitored. They do chlorination and do water quality testing for us. Also, the water point is safe and pure to drink."

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. Joseph Junior Secondary 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. Joseph Junior Secondary 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.