Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 842 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/07/2022

Project Features

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Community Profile

Field Officer Philip shared the following report on the area near Petifu Junction Saint Paul's Primary School: "Petifu Junction is at the center of Lokomasama Chiefdom, Port Loko District. It is a big community with social, economic, and educational opportunities. People from the surrounding communities within the same chiefdom drive to this location to meet their essential needs. Saint Paul’s RC Primary School is in an open area at the center part of the Petifu Junction community, along the main road from Lungi to Port Loko. The school has a large field fenced with local sticks. Saint Paul’s Parish Roman Catholic Church is located at the end of the school ground towards Port Loko. At the side of the church, on the school grounds, are parish quarters for the Reverend Father. The school has three pink and blue buildings. The school grounds are spacious, and the field is a vast open area where students play during break time at school. There are houses and other buildings around the school grounds. During the afternoon hours, the school grounds become hot because there are no trees to provide shade and cool air. At the back of the school grounds, there are three toilet buildings."

He also shared about the current water source that provides water for 562 students and staff. "The water situation is challenging to the students and staff of the school. The main water source is a protected dug well with a hand pump. The pump for this water source was stolen, and there is no way the school can currently get water from the well. The students struggle to access quality drinking water as most cannot afford to buy packaged water to drink. Some prefer to search around the school's neighboring houses to access drinking water or drink from any source they might find without considering water contamination. The students bear the bulk of fetching water for the school from the alternate well (off-campus). It takes too much time to make a single trip for water. The delay at the alternate well cuts the time for lessons, which is one reason why most of the students cannot perform well in classes and exams."

He continued, "Most students are also tasked with the responsibility to fetch water at home every morning before coming to school and later in the day after school. When they go out in the morning to fetch water before going to school, the delay at the well, especially when it is overcrowded, is why they arrive at school late. The students have access to other water wells, but they are further away across the busy Port Loko Highway, a safety risk."

Kombrabai, an 8-year-old student, shared what it is like, "It is always difficult to access drinking water on the school grounds because the school pump is not providing water for us. Anytime I want to drink water during school break, I usually take my colleagues along to the alternate water source to access drinking water. Sometimes we return late to school because of the long-distance to the alternate water source, and our class teacher punishes us for not being in class on time."

The proposed water project will help replace the stolen pump and rehabilitate the school grounds by converting it into a borehole for a sustainable water supply. It will help stop the student's burden of carrying water far distances. It also gives them the chance to stay in class for lessons.

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

02/04/2022: St. Paul's Roman Catholic Primary School Well Rehab Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Primary 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.

"Anytime I was at school, I found it hard to get drinking water,"said 12-year-old Ibrahim K, recalling the struggles he once endured. "I used to go to the well across the main road to get water to drink during lunch. If I returned late, I would be punished by my teacher for not being in class. If classes started, I had to copy notes from my friends."

And when lunchtime came around, Ibrahim and a lot of others had to go without water. "The school food sellers would bring water to school every day, but they would only give [it to] those who bought food. The water also was not enough to serve all their customers. Sometimes others would fight for it after eating."

But now that the school's well has been rehabilitated, Ibrahim is excited to no longer go thirsty or get in trouble for coming to class late. "The new water well is clean, and I can always drink from it," Ibrahim said.

"Today, I believe that this water well that is given to the school will help to end all our water challenges," said 30-year-old Isatu Samura, a teacher at the school.

Isatu, center, celebrates with students.

"It is good that [the] school has been provided good and enough water to do all the necessary activities. The children will now stay in classes and [their] attention will not be taken from them. With this water well, I will make sure that the [handwashing] buckets are full, and students will get enough water to drink."

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 school committee, the Ministry of Water Resources, and more. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Ibrahim and Isatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

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 20 meters with water at 17 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.

Chlorinating the water.

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!

Pump installation.

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. First, we held a two-day training with the teachers, who then took three days to train the students.

Teachers constructing a tippy-tap.

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 topic that created the most discussion was dental hygiene, in which many of the students and teachers admitted they had not taken proper care of their teeth. One of the teachers said that the drawing of decaying teeth looked exactly like her mouth, but she promised to purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste to use going forward.

"The training is important," said 28-year-old teacher Emmanuel Conteh. "My fellow teachers and the school committee members are all happy about such an opportunity. This knowledge will positively impact my life. The facilitators have added to my knowledge about hygiene and sanitation. Topics like proper handwashing techniques, the need to have a protected latrine facility, and, more importantly, the function of the Water User Committee and cost recovery."

Handwashing technique.

"The first day of the training, it was mainly [about] our daily life activities, which shows me many things that I used to do and need to change," said 12-year-old student Hannah S. "It helps me and shows me how to take care of myself. The knowledge that I have gotten from the training will help me live without getting sick. I will tell my friends about the things that I have learned."

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!

12/17/2021: Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Primary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Primary 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

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.


1 individual donor(s)