Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 136 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/25/2024

Project Features

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This school was constructed and opened in 2003 by the Shepherd Foundation and is funded by the New Apostolic Church. The Church has been part of the community for quite a long time. It started as a private donor school, but through the years, the government has verified and taken on the role of a government-assisted school helping to pay the salaries of some of the teachers. The school started with just 28 students in 2003 and has grown to 136 students today.

Mahera community is home to swampland which people use to plant fruits and vegetables. The swamps are the dividing lines between communities. The closer you get to the swamp, the taller the trees become, giving the crops enough needed shade to protect them from the harmful effects of the intense sun.

Mahera community is also a great source for fishing and sand mining. Both jobs bring in a lot of money for the chiefdom. The homes are built with mud blocks and cement plastering.

The primary well at the school has a problem with seasonal drying. The hand-dug well was not dug deep enough. This means that each March and April, the entire community goes through a severe water crisis.

When the well goes dry, the students and local community members are left with no option but to go to different parts of the community searching for water. Sometimes during the year, the community has complained of the water having a bad odor and light brown color - signs that the water is contaminated and that the well requires rehabilitation.

"I am constantly at the edge of my seat until I see that time of year when our well dries has long gone and there are no incidents with any of my students. There is a price to pay for being the Head Teacher of a primary school. Apart from the cries and complaints of children, I am obligated and responsible for everyone in the school until the bell rings for everyone to go home," said Head Teacher Fatmata Kalokoh.

Whenever there is a water shortage at this well, the entire population settles for a less reliable, unsafe water source. The children in the upper classes are given the responsibility of going home with drinking buckets and bringing them back filled with water the following day. But not just any student is asked. The latecomers are singled out and given the responsibility of bringing water to school. The children take the long walk very early in the morning and walk to school with the water and immediately go back home to complete their chores before preparing for the school day.

"I never want the dry season to come because that is when our well on the school ground goes dry. We are left with limited options as to where we fetch our drinking water. I never have to fetch water for the school, but I have my chores at home," shared Andrew K, the Headboy of the school.

"What I am fearful of is the latecomers that have to take the containers home with them to fetch water for the following day. I am given the responsibility of picking out the latecomers, and that is one responsibility I am really not fond of."

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. 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

August, 2021: New Apostolic Church and Primary School Project Complete!

We are excited to share a safe, reliable water point at New Apostolic Church and 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.

"I live close to the school but I was always late for school because I had to fetch water in the morning before going to school. Sometimes I missed my lesson. Now, I will not be late any longer. It is easy to access this water source and fetch water on time," said Haja K.

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 16 meters with water at 8 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!

The well was dedicated to the community with much celebration. The supervisor for schools in Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Philip N. Kanu said he is happy to witness the dedication of a converted water source to a borehole for the use of the school and the community.

Mariatu Kargbo, a housewife who has resided in the community for the past 15 years expressed thanks and appreciation for bringing them a reliable and safe water source because they used to fetch water to drink from the swamp.

"Before it was difficult for us to practice proper handwashing due to the lack of safe water in our school. Now that we have a safe and pure water source, teachers and pupils will practice better hygiene and sanitation in the school and within the community. We have already formed our Water Users Committee to control the water source and protect the water source from harmful practices," said teacher Fatmata Kalokoh.

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.

Practicing Handwashing

"Yes, this training is valuable to me and the pupils at large, more especially the hygiene part of it. Before, we were blind on how to protect our pupils from germs by washing their hands with soap and water after using the toilet. We now know how to do the techniques to wash our hands, how to take care of our latrines, how to take care of our food at school and our homes. This new knowledge will impact my life and the pupils," said teacher Fatmata Kalokoh.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2021: Shepherd Foundation, New Apostolic Church and Primary School project underway!

A severe clean water shortage at New Apostolic Church and 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

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: 100% Passed their Exams!

January, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped New Apostolic Church Primary School in Sierra Leone access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Fatmata. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in New Apostolic Church and Primary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help New Apostolic Church and Primary 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 the students and staff at New Apostolic Church Primary School was not easy before the school's well was rehabilitated last year.

"There was a great challenge for me as [the] head of [the] school because we had no source of good drinking water in the school compound by then. Our children had to go down [to] the nearby swamp to fetch water which was not pure for drinking," said 50-year-old headteacher Fatmata Kolokoh, whom we initially spoke to when we first visited the school.

She continued: "The teachers had to wait for those who went out to fetch water before they [could] start teaching. It was a great concern for me because it was telling poorly on the academic performance of the school children. The teachers were not able to complete their syllabus because they wasted a lot of time waiting for the children who [went] down [to] the swamp to fetch water."

But since their well was rehabilitated, life has dramatically improved for everyone.

"I'm so happy right now as the head of the school to have this facility in the school," exclaimed Fatmata. "It has eased the burdens on the pupils and the teachers in terms of having access to clean and safe drinking water. The performance of the school has greatly improved compared to previous years. This year we have 100% passes in the just-concluded public exams, all because my teachers have full access to the pupils, and they are paying attention to their learning."

She went on to describe other changes they have been able to implement since the well's rehabilitation last year.

"One of the greatest achievements is that it has helped with sufficient water in our building project because this year, we are planning to expand the school. All the water is from this water facility, and I [am] not paying labor to fetch me water for the molding of blocks. I have it right in the school compound," concluded Fatmata.

Fatmata standing 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 New Apostolic Church and Primary 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 New Apostolic Church and Primary 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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