Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 576 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/17/2024

Project Features

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The student population at St. Joseph Senior Secondary School is growing quickly. There are 576 students now, but it will soon reach more than 600 pupils in number.

The school began with the junior secondary unit in 2004, then came the need to expand. The parents and community stakeholders gathered, made a plea to the Catholic Mission for additional buildings, and added senior secondary school enrollment. The enrollment of senior secondary students started in 2007.

The school is within a large compound which can be accessed by different locations in Rotifunk and Masoila. Most of the homes around the school compound are the residences of airport workers, teachers, petty traders, and gardeners.

There are two water points in the compound for the junior and senior schools. The well near the junior school is not working, and the hand-dug well at the senior school is struggling as a combined result of supporting the two schools and from the effects of climate change. To alleviate the pressure on the two schools, we will rehabilitate the non-functional well at the junior secondary school and rehabilitate the well at the senior secondary school.

Climate change has caused the water table in this part of Sierra Leone to slowly drop in recent years. During the dry season, hand-dug wells struggle to provide enough water because they are no longer deep enough.

But we have a solution. By converting the well into a borehole, we will drill deep enough for the well to have plenty of water throughout the year - even in the dry season, and even if the water table continues to drop.

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, which we know will also improve water quality. Once this plan is implemented, everyone within the school will have access to sufficient, safe drinking water, even through the dry months.

Our teams also identified gaps in the school's hygiene and sanitation practices. The latrines are not adequately maintained, and there are other areas where we identified room for improvement. As a part of the well rehabilitation, our team will offer hygiene and sanitation training sessions for three days.

After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach the students and teachers how to build a tippy tap handwashing station with a jerrycan, string, and sticks. They will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations. The school will also learn about topics including disease transmission, malaria prevention, and steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This training will also strengthen the water user committee that manages and maintains this well. The committee enforces proper behavior and reports to us whenever they need help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

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

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

"I am today happy that the condition of the school pump has changed," said Fatmata K. a 16-year-old St. Joseph student. "The pump has been replaced, the fence is reconstructed, and there is safety at the well."

Fatmata at the well.

"It is now more reliable to drink from the well," Fatmata continued. "This will also help to prevent me from getting waterborne diseases. It is a better chance for me having good health, and this will also increase my regularity in school."

At the well's dedication ceremony, the school's principal, Margaret Kargbo, expressed her elation to have a reliable source of water for her students.

Margaret Kargbo celebrates with students.

"As the adage says, water is life," Margaret said. "This pump is a solution to the pressure that I had from my students at the school. It was hard on me when the school pump had broken down. Students became difficult to handle because they moved everywhere around the school campus searching for water to drink. It is their right to safe water. Today, I am happy that the school has gotten a safe and sustainable water source."

The ceremony was also attended by the school market staff and several local dignitaries from the Ministry of Water Resources, Port Loko District Council, and Ward Council. The market women recognize the new well as a way of boosting sales on the school grounds by better enabling them to cook meals for the students. Representatives from the different sectors made statements. Everyone sang, danced, and splashed in the water to celebrate the occasion.

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 19 meters with water at 13 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 the community’s challenges and lack of sanitation facilities.

After this preparatory period, we scheduled a time when teachers and students could attend a multi-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting. First, we trained the school's teachers, and then we held a follow-up training for the students.

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.

"All this new knowledge I will implement in this school," said Principal Kargbo. "I will also teach my families about the new knowledge, especially in constructing the tippy tap and the nutrition aspect which comprises all the food nutrients in their correct proportion. All of these are important advice to follow if I want to live long and healthy."

The most memorable topic for students was dental hygiene, especially when one of the teachers, Mr. Joseph Fissa, shared a personal story. He said he had a horrible toothache experience that almost led to him losing his hearing in one ear. He cautioned the students and teachers to always take proper care of their teeth to avoid a similar situation themselves.

The students also loved learning about tippy taps and how easy they are to construct. Some students even rushed to the table to watch closely as the selected students carry out the construction.

Tippy-tap construction.

Many students rushed to wash their hands to explore this innovation. For some students, this was their first time seeing one-gallon containers transformed into handwashing stations.

Esther C., 16, the school's head girl, was especially interested in the topic of COVID-19. "The knowledge from this training will impact my life, the lives of my teachers, and the lives of my colleague students in various ways. This training has helped allay my fears and give answers to the many questions I use to ask myself. I am now aware of the COVID-19 transmission routes, preventive measures, and guidelines. Therefore, I am calling on my teachers, and fellow students to always remember to put this knowledge to practice, as it is for the betterment of all."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

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

A severe clean water shortage at St. Joseph Senior 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: "I can now drink enough water"

January, 2023

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

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

Life for students at St. Joseph Senior Secondary School used to include a daily hunt for water to meet their needs before they could think about learning. The well that students relied upon was not functional.

"Before, the water was not enough for us. We are more [than] one thousand [students] in the school. During the dry season, the water point went dry. We were unable to practice proper hygiene behavior," said 18-year-old Grace K.

But after we rehabilitated the well last year, things have improved for students, and they now trust they will have adequate water to meet their daily needs.

"With the new water point, it is protected and safe to drink. I can now drink enough water. It has never [gone] dry since the project was completed," said Grace.

"We are now practicing good hygiene behavior because of the availability of enough water," concluded Grace.

Grace and her teacher, Margret Karbo, 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 St. Joseph Senior 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 Senior 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.


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