Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

Project Features

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The protected hand-dug well serving the 500 community members of Lungi Lol cannot provide enough water because it is too shallow to refill water fast enough to meet the demand. Seasonal drying four months out of the year makes the water level even more deficient. Community members must make a difficult decision and resort to collecting water from the area swamp, facing significant risks.

Drinking contaminated water is unsafe for human consumption. Community members have no alternative, so they suffer from water-related illnesses and infestations of worms and amoebas. Struggling with decreased energy and health leaves people missing out on important activities like work and school.

The area around the swamp is well known as a hiding place for dangerous snakes, and people run the risk of being bitten each time they fetch water there, especially children. Young girls have a spot near the stream scoop hole where they pluck palm kernel nuts, and on an unfortunate day, Rashidatu (16) was busy plucking away when a snake sprung at her hand, biting her. She fell unconscious and was immediately brought to the village, but thankfully later regained consciousness because the bite inflicted did not have enough venom to be deadly.

The months of the dry season are the hardest to access safe water in the community. It is grueling work to go back and forth carrying heavy water containers while squatting because of branches that hang low along the footpath. Most people are only able to make two round trips a day.

"I normally take to the stream two buckets. [It is all] I can manage and bring it all back from the far distance. Anything more than that will have to wait until the evening or the following day," said 20-year-old mother, Fatmata Conteh.

Children especially feel the pressure, as they wake early to collect water. Waking up so early in the morning and expending the energy to collect water makes it difficult to stay awake and concentrate in school.

Fatmata D., 16, said, "My siblings and I are tasked with the responsibility of fetching water every day before and after school. I prefer fetching water early in the morning than when I return from school. In the morning, I harbor hope on the leftover rice and sauce left from the previous night, usually [still on the] hot fire. It is usually ready just in time to eat the moment we are done fetching our portion for that morning." She continued, "The hard part comes when I come from school under the hot 2 pm sun and [I] am told to go and fetch [water] on an empty stomach."

Fatmata is not shy about letting her mother know she is hungry when she arrives home from school before collecting water for the afternoon by saying, "An empty bag cannot stand!" Her mother gives her a cup of gari with sugar (a derivative of cassava) to hold her over until the evening meal as she makes the trek back to the swamp.

The proposed water project will convert the hand-dug well near the mosque to a borehole. This conversion will eliminate seasonal drying and provide sufficient, clean, safe water for the community throughout the entire year.

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, a 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

February, 2022: Pepel Road Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

Smiles for clean water!

"I used to fetch water from the stream before and after school every day. The distance is far and dangerous. But today, I thank God I will not walk far distance again to fetch water. Again, this water well we had was not enough to serve the whole community, and it dries very early sometime in March that cause us to fetch water from the stream, which is not good for us. I am very happy today, and I am saying thanks to Mariatu's Hope and support from The Water Project for giving us safe and pure drinking water," said Fatmata D., 16.

Children celebrate clean water.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Women and children sang and danced in jubilation. The ceremony was attended by several local dignitaries from the Port Loko District Council and the Ministry of Water Resources. The village headman and each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Adamsay and Fatmata made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

The community celebrating clean water.

The Lungi Lol community headman Mr. Sorie Kanu expressed gratitude on behalf of his community for giving them pure drinking water. He said, "As community headman, I will make sure that the water well is always clean and protected from harmful practices."

Community headman celebrating with children.

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 19 meters with water at 10 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.

Installing the pump.

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!

Abubakarr Bangura, Port Loko District Rep, celebrates clean water with the community.

Female farmer Adamsay Sankoh, 45, shared, "I am very happy to have safe and pure drinking water in this community. Before it was difficult for the women to fetch water in this community, more especially pure drinking water. My children are not strong [enough] to help me fetch water. I do it all alone. Fetching water from the stream was very challenging for me. I have other activities like farming, but the time I spent fetching water from the stream delayed my time to do other activities. Today it is good that our water well is now safe to drink with enough water. I am thanking Mariatu's Hope and The Water Project for providing us [a] pure drinking water well.

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.

Learning proper handwashing techniques.

Mohamed Kamara, a 39-year-old motorcycle taxi driver said, "The training was valuable to me because it has given me knowledge which I had never known before. Previously, I was ignorant to the fact that washing my hands and not using soap does not matter. But through this training, I have come to know that each time I wash my hands, I should use soap and water and observe the handwashing techniques to be able to curtail the virus. Additionally, I will serve as an agent to this new knowledge to share this information and enforce the right thing to happen in our community."

One of the more intriguing topics for community members during the training was malaria. Participant Nabie Kamara admitted he felt guilty because he passed on incorrect information about how to sleep using a mosquito net. Like many in the community, he thought you laid the mosquito net on top of you so you could sleep under it. His son had shared with him that you are supposed to sleep inside the net, but he didn't believe him and ignored him.

Learning how to properly use a mosquito net.

Community members also confessed that whenever they noticed the signs and symptoms of malaria, they attempted to cure it using native herbs that had caused them harm. But after the training, participants committed that whenever they notice the signs and symptoms of malaria in the future, they will go to the hospital for the proper medical treatment.

Participants display posters related to disease transmission.

Trader Kadiatu Fofanah, 45, said, "Yes, the training was valuable to me because through this training I have come to know how to observe personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, and food hygiene and the danger behind this bad practice which we have been doing as a community. Since I started childbearing, I never knew that leaving my breast uncovered can cause flies to come [to] sit on it and [in] the end will lead to a running stomach [diarrhea] for my baby. But from this teaching, I have come to know that all these attitudes are bad and that it has negative aftereffects. And that from today, I personally will start telling people that are in the habit of these practices that these are not good practices, and it will cause them harm."

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!

January, 2022: Pepel Road Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Pepel Road 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: "Thank you, thank you for this great gift."

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lungi Lol 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!

Last year, the dug well in Lungi Lol was open to contamination and did not provide sufficient water, wasting people's valuable time.

"Most times, this water point was overcrowded because the water could not serve the entire community. This caused me sometimes to be late going to school on time. The water was not even pure to drink," said 18-year-old Mafereh K.

But last year, we rehabilitated the well and converted it from a hand-dug well to a borehole, making water both readily available and safer.

"Now, the water is safe and pure to drink," said Mafereh. "I can fetch enough water without wasting more time. I can now go to school on time. I have enough time to rest and read my lesson notes. Thank you, thank you for this great gift."

Mafereh outside 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 Lungi Lol 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 Lungi Lol 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.


Arabel Lebrusan
10 individual donor(s)