Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 480 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/26/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

For years, the Tagrin community was synonymous with cholera and diarrhea. During the cholera epidemic of 2012, this community was the worst hit with numerous people losing their lives.

The most common livelihoods in the community are fishing, gardening, taxi driving, petty trading, and sand mining. Fishing is the predominant source of income for people here. The young boys are trained on the methods and types of fishing from a very young age. The population keeps growing here, but there are not enough reliable sources of water.

The community has a lot of shallow and open unprotected hand-dug wells which they use most of the time as a source of drinking water. After the intervention of our organization and the rehabilitation of some hand-dug wells, the number of reported cases of waterborne illnesses has greatly reduced, but there are still gaps that need to be filled.

There is only one protected hand-dug well for the 480 people living in the King Street section of Tagrin that is chlorinated and maintained.

"I was born and raised in this community and have been blessed to have survived the outbreak of cholera, Ebola, and now Coronavirus. Before the well was rehabilitated in 2014, several people lost their lives in this community," shared Papani Kargbo, a local fisherman.

"The increasing population has caused the main well to become overly crowded."

During the dry months, the problem of crowding gets worse. Climate change has caused a drop in the local water table, leading to issues with hand-dug wells in this community. The King Street well struggles to provide enough water during the dry season - especially when other wells in the community dry up. The extra pressure leaves it prone to breakdowns during this time of the year, which then forces some people to seek out alternative water sources that are usually unsafe for drinking.

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

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul 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 in quality and quantity, 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

09/07/2021: Lungi, Targrin, #11 King Street Borehole Well Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point in Targrin, 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.

One local fisherman, Papanie Kargbo (35), expressed his relief at having a source of clean water. "This water source has relieved my worries of getting sick from drinking contaminated water. I can now get access to water anytime in the day, including night hours. I am safe because I now have safe drinking [water] and [a] sustainable water source."

His neighbor, a 15-year-old student named Rigiatu, is excited for the future now that this well is in place. "It was difficult to fetch water at any of the water sources in this community on time. Now that we have got this safe water close to my house, I do not have to waste time. It is easy to fetch water from this water point and prepare to go to school on time. There will now be enough water at home to drink, bathe, and cook on time."

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 7.48 meters with water at 6 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.

During the discussion of bad hygiene practices, a lady among the participants pointed at the illustration of an unhealthy community and said, "This is how some communities at Targrin look." The majority of her colleagues supported her, while others were trying to call out names of certain compounds. From the participants' facial expressions, you could see their guilt and shame.

One of the victims of such illustration boldly stood up and said the poster described her home. She promised to clean her compound and practice proper hygiene and sanitation from that point forward.

We asked a local community elder, Alhmamie Kargbo, her thoughts on the training. She said the facilitators changed her mind about COVID-19. "I never believed that the virus is real, so I did not make any effort to prevent myself from it. It is a great help that I have completed this training because now I know that the virus is real."

Alhmamie said, moving forward, she'll be using all of the transmission prevention methods she learned. "I will meet with other stakeholders in the community to institute a procedure to implement the knowledge we have got from this training. I will share the skills on the construction of tippy taps in my community and tell them the importance of handwashing. I will also sensitize people about the importance of wearing a facemask and urge everyone to wear a facemask in public places."

Alhmamie making a statement at the well dedication.

Papanie also expressed his gratitude for the training. "With the help of the training knowledge, I now know that most of the sicknesses that we get are because of poor hygiene and sanitation practices. I have also learned new innovations on hygiene and sanitation that will serve to make my community a good place to live."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

08/10/2021: Targrin, #11 King Street Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Targrin drains people’s 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 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


United Way of Greater Kansas City - Donor Choice
Lytle United Methodist Church
Holy Family Cathedral School 6th Grade
Hillcrest Baptist Church
Fishing Creek Baptist Church
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Waldorf School of Princeton
Miller School of Albemarle
Bulkin Charitable Fund
JP Morgan Chase Employee Match
Stephen and Patricia Charitable Gift Fund
Rose of Sharon Family Christian Center
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries
11º3 Water Project
71 individual donor(s)