Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 150 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/10/2023

Project Features

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For the last couple of years, the 150 community members of Tintafor have been relying on water from a hand-dug protected well on the property of the Catholic Mission. It is well maintained, easy to access, and within a reasonable walking distance from every house in the community. The only problem is the seasonal low quantity that affects this location during the dry season (February - April) every year when there is not enough water.

The well is never completely dry, but the water table is so low that the number of times during the day the well is closed has increased so it can recharge. The proposed solution, converting the hand-dug well into a borehole well, will provide more water, ensuring the community has enough to meet their needs all year round.

Lauretta Thompson, 46, the community Infant and Nutrition Coordinator and member of the water committee, commented, "This water well has served this community for quite some time, with no reported main problems. Until recently when the water table started to drop, which caused the committee to increase the closing times. The frequent closing times will help the well to recharge and serve the people for a limited time only. There is more demand for water, and the more the demand, the more water points break down."

When the current well is not producing enough water, the people waiting in lines to collect water start earlier than usual and are very long. Other activities like work, school, and domestic duties have to be put on hold or neglected altogether. Because of the limited supply, water also has to be rationed so every community member can collect some.

Aminata K., a 16-year-old student, shared, "I come from a family where I am the eldest child, and the chores are all on my shoulders. I am responsible for sweeping, doing laundry, fetching water, and helping my mother to cook. The only time we suffer for water is during the months of February, March, and April [the dry season]."

Frustration levels continue to increase, and people are making their way to other communities for water, which steals their time and energy. The burden on surrounding communities of additional people collecting water is also becoming too much, leading to arguments.

Converting this well to a borehole will help give community members back their time to focus on other things during the day and hopefully maintain peaceful relationships with one another and the surrounding communities.

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for rehabilitation is the most-used source in the community. It is properly cared for, but since it is hand-dug, it is beginning to experience issues like lack of adequate supply. By converting it to a borehole, the well will provide water for years to come. 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, which we know will also improve water quality.

Once this plan is implemented, everyone within the community will have access to safe drinking water in both quality and quantity, 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 teach 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 help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.

Project Updates

February, 2022: St. Augustine Primary School Gate Well Rehab Complete!

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

"The newly rehabilitated water source is very helpful to me because I can fetch enough water to drink," said 46-year-old Lauretta Thompson, a petty trader. "This water source is very important to me because I need enough water to keep my business clean at the time of processing [items] for sale. I must be happy this day for receiving good drinking water. I believe that I am safe from sickness when I drink from this well because it is protected from contamination."

Lauretta, center, in the orange shirt, pours water from the well.

"I am getting access to enough water to drink, cook, bathe, and clean my house. I have enough time to do my business or other important activities after fetching water from this well," Lauretta continued. "To practice proper hygiene requires enough water and at [a] regular time. This well will be available anytime I need water to do proper hygiene at my house."

"This water well is going to bring good health by preventing us from getting sicknesses," said 16-year-old Alhaji. "[The water] is clean and good to drink. I believe that in [a] healthy life, I can do many things at my house and school. For this reason, this water well is a help to my life and future."

Alhaji at the well.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The ceremony was attended by several local dignitaries from the Port Loko District Council, the Ministry for Water Resources, and the Ward Council. Reverend Paul Turay also came to bless the well's opening and pray with the people gathered. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Lauretta and Alhaji made statements on their community's behalf.

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 24 meters with water at 14 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 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. On each of the training's three days, there were representatives from all households in the community, which is an excellent turnout.

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 training was valuable to me because I learned the various methods in dealing with the COVID-19 virus, like sneezing into the elbow, maintaining physical distance, and the avoidance of handshaking," said 25-year-old Michael Mattia. "The safest means is sneezing into the elbow and the wearing of facemasks, which we really enforced during the hygiene and sanitation training by making sure all participants put them on."

One particularly enlightening topic was water handling, which the participants recognized they needed improvement on. In one of the hygiene example posters, it shows a woman sweeping her floor next to an open bucket of drinking water on the ground. When the facilitator asked how the woman could improve her situation, everyone answered that she should put the bucket up on her table and cover it so the dust and dirt won't contaminate the water. It was a clear indicator that the participants had been listening and understanding.

Monica Samuels, 73, the pump's new caretaker, said she learned a lot. "During the training, we learned from each other that our latrines need to be clean. Moreover, in this period of rains, we should be more careful about leaving our latrines uncovered and dirty because of cholera and other related sickness."

When an issue arises concerning the well, community members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2021: St. Augustine Secondary School Gate Well Rehab Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Augustine 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!

A Year Later: Improved Community Hygiene!

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Tintafor Community in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Lauretta. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Tintafor St. Augustine Secondary School Gate.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tintafor St. Augustine Secondary School Gate 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 we first spoke to Lauretta Thompson last year, she told us the well at Tintafor St. Augustine Primary School suffered from seasonal dryness, making life challenging for her and fellow community members around Tintafor. But since the well was rehabilitated last year, water has been flowing, and dryness has not been an issue.

"We [have the] flow of water throughout the year," said Lauretta.

With consistent water access, things in the community have improved for adults and children.

"[The] hygiene conditions of our community [are] better now. [There is] less sickness in the community," Lauretta said.

With access to water at their fingertips, students like 17-year-old Chernoh J. are no longer late to school because they are able to fetch water for their households more easily and complete their chores on time.

Hopefully, things will continue to improve in Tintafor from now on!

Lauretta and Chernoh at the 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 Tintafor St. Augustine Secondary School Gate 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 Tintafor St. Augustine Secondary School Gate – 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.


4 individual donor(s)