Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/06/2024

Project Features

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Whenever people from Makontho Village need clean water, they walk a mile away to the neighboring village’s borehole well.

The village has two wells of its own. The first has been broken more years than it was functional (it was built in 2013) - it no longer pumps water. The second is an open, hand-dug well. The water in the hand-dug well has a slightly opaque, white tinge, and roots are growing into the well shaft. Anyone who fetches water from the open well needs to lower a bucket down 26 feet, keeping their balance so they don’t fall inside.

Aside from being dangerous to fetch, the water from the open well is also dangerous to drink - anyone who drinks the water from the open well gets sick. Common complaints include diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and several worms and parasites.

Mohamed Kamara, a former council member in the community, is well aware of the community’s water crisis. “During my tenure, I was able to make meaningful improvements and developments. The one area that [still needs] intervention is access to clean and safe water. Things have gotten so bad that I was forced into trying to construct a well at the back of my house.”

Mohamed is excited about the possibility of a new source of water for his community. It will save him the expense of having to buy packets of water, which some people can’t afford.

“Throughout the day, children are walking back and forth trying to provide water for their homes,” Mohamed explained.

Brima is one such child. He is 15 years old. “I live on the farthest end of the village away from the hand-dug well,” Brima explained. “I hate walking far distances. I also hate carrying water on my head far distances. I have tried several times to get out of fetching water, but each time my tactics are thwarted.”

The community members have already made strides to improve the hygiene and sanitation standards within their community. For example, Makontho was recently declared an open-defecation-free zone, which takes a substantial amount of community engagement, commitment, and teamwork. This shows how much they want to better themselves and their lives. But in order to curb the spread of waterborne illness, the community needs a source of safe and reliable water.

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. The pump will be removed, 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 that will ensure the well supplies water throughout all seasons.

As the team drills, 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 both quality and quantity, even through the dry months.

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered 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.

These trainings 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

January, 2022: Kamasondo, Makontho Village Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at Makontho Village 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 access to reliable and safe water from this water point has had a great impact on my life," said Adamsay K., 17.

She continued, "I no longer have to walk through footpaths to the next village to fetch water every day, early in the morning, and in the afternoon after I come home from school. It is not easy to be a girl in a village. We are not allowed to complain, and that is why some girls decide to get married and start with their family at a very early age. All the work is done by us but with little or no reward."

Adamsay gives a speech at the dedication.

Adamsay concluded, "The less time I spend fetching water translates to more time for me to study and take extra classes for my exams. The only way to achieve good scores in school is to put the time in and study. I plan on making sure I improve my scores in school and am able to move to senior secondary school."

We were impressed with the level of involvement by the male youth of this community. In most communities we have visited, typically, the activities that have to do with water are for women and young girls. But in this community, the young men were fed up with having women and their daughters going to the next village to fetch drinking water, where they faced unwanted advances. The completion of the project made them ecstatic.

Village elders using clean water.

We held a dedication ceremony to hand over the well to the community members officially. The neighboring community of Robombeh came to share in Makonthos joy and shared a feast with them. The women sang songs in Temne, the tribal language, praising the donors and everyone involved in the project.

Joyful for clean water.

Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including a Ministry of Water Resources member, the Port Loko District Council Representative, and the local Councilor. The chiefdom leader could not attend but sent his older brother, a regent chief, to come on his behalf. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. People from other villages stopped to admire the well and asked how their communities could be recipients. The ceremony concluded with singing, drumming, and dancing.

Women celebrating clean water!

Fatmata Kanu, a 25-year-old trader, said, "The positive impact having access to safe water has on my life is endless. For starters, I am able to prepare my food very early for my family so I can put more time into my business. Getting clean water can make all the difference in a person's life."

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 12.07 meters with water at 6.88 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!

"There are so many things that this water point is going to help me achieve. As a petty trader making foodstuff and anything I can get my hands on to sell, I now have more time to go to the open market and sell my food," said Fatmata.

She continued, "I can now plant my vegetables closer to the village with ease. I know my family will make more money this coming year because the number of times I buy medicine for myself or my children is going to reduce."

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.

The attendees found both the sustainability and personal hygiene sessions highly engaging. They are happy to have a properly functioning water point and were interested in keeping it sustainable. They decided the money collected each month will be kept safe until it is needed for repairs by a community member different from the landowner to discourage any misuse of funds.

Mohamed Kamara, 56, said, "As a former Councilor, I have always thought of such training as a way of fulfilling government requirements, but never as a life-saving tool. I have gained a lot of knowledge about my personal hygiene and my environment. As a teacher, I am going to make sure my students and teachers benefit greatly from this information."

Isha Kamara, 25, also a teacher, learned valuable information during the training. She said, "With every illness, there is always bound to be myths that most times overshadow reality. This training was valuable to me in more ways than I would have ever imagined. I have been made aware of the do's and don'ts when a person is showing symptoms. Proper hygiene is a major part of staying healthy."

She continued, "This training has created a positive impact on my life and my child. I am more aware of my surroundings, and I find myself cleaning and washing things up faster throughout the day."

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: Makontho Village Well Rehab Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Makontho 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

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 never fetch water from the swamp anymore."

January, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Makontho Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Makontho Community 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!

Before we rehabilitated the well in Makontho, the only source of water for all the community members was the local swamp, which was both far away and an open, unprotected source.

"We were fetching water from the swamp," said 18-year-old Memunatu B. "This water source was not safe or pure to drink. Drinking this water caused stomach pain for me, and other illnesses at times. This water source was far from our homes. The walking distance to the water source affected my health, and sometimes [I was] late to go to school on time."

But now, the people of Makontho have a safe, reliable water source just steps from their homes. This has eliminated their need to venture outside the community for water and improved everyone's health.

"Today, I must say thanks to [you] for [this] safe and pure drinking water point," Memunatu continued. "Since the water point was handed to us, I never fetch water from the swamp anymore. This water point has helped [me] to bathe and launder my uniforms on time. My health has improved because I have enough time to rest and read my school notes."

Now, life in Makontho is business as usual rather than an endless cycle of fetching water and lapsed responsibilities.

"It is easier for me to fetch water, and I can help do other domestic activities on time," Memunatu concluded. "Now, I go to school on time, also [I attend] extra classes after school."

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 Makontho Community 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 Makontho Community – 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 Underwriter - Wakillah
6 individual donor(s)