Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/09/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Fetching water has become a complex, dangerous task for the 400 people who live in Gbaneh Bana. Community members, especially children and the elderly, who are most susceptible because of weaker immune systems, suffer from common water-related illnesses like typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery from drinking water collected at unprotected contaminated water sources.

Most people in the community currently rely on a nearby stream for their daily water needs since the community well requires rehabilitation. The stream is open to animals and pollutants from farming and people, so it is in no way safe to drink. To access the stream also requires traversing a steep pathway, as shown in the photo above. It is a struggle on the way down and on the way back up, limiting the number of people who can fetch water.

The alternative is an open hand-dug well located next to the mosque across the highway. The well is open to contamination, and near-miss accidents while crossing the road happen daily, making fetching water from this source hazardous.

Gbassay B., age 17, shared, "Fetching water from the stream requires the effort of all members of the family. Very early in the morning, I am up ready for the grueling exercise of trying to get water from the stream. I sometimes wake and wait for others to go along with me because it is not encouraged for just one person to venture there any time of the day."

Sadly, although Gbassay is only 17, she already feels the pain of sore muscles and joints from her daily water tasks. "Not a day goes by when I don't complain about body aches and pains from trying to climb the hill after fetching water. I prefer going to the stream than walking across the road to fetch at the open well for two reasons: one being it is safer at the stream, and the second [is that] the water from the stream is available all year round."

Isatu Kamara, a 22-year-old petty trader, said, "I can never get the amount of water I need for the entire day."

Isatu described the arduous task of collecting and carrying water due to the very steep hill requiring her and other family members to share the job. "Not many people can walk up and down the hill without falling down. Most of the time, I will fetch the water and bring it to the hill while another member of my family takes it to the house. Fetching water is something that has to be properly planned and coordinated to make sure there are more people to complete the task. To reduce the number of trips we make to the stream, we sat together as a family and reduced the wastage of water by recycling the water for other uses."

The people of Gbaneh Bana need their well (in the photo above) rehabilitated, so they do not have to expend as much time and energy simply collecting water. With the well repaired and functioning again, everyone will have access to clean, safe 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

March, 2022: Gbaneh Bana Well Rehab Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Gbaneh Bana. As a result, the students and community members no longer have to rely on unsafe water to meet their daily needs. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

Petty trader Isatu Kamara, 22, said, "My challenges on access to good water have ended. This water well is next to my house. I do not need to delay on fetching water anymore."

Isatu pumping clean water.

She continued, "The water is clean and enough to do all my daily activities. It is also good that I am now having [the] privilege to drink pure water which will protect me from getting sick."

Gbessay giving her speech.

"It was hard for me to access water to do my home activities, but now it is quite good that I have easy access to pure drinking water. The water I used to fetch would sometimes not be clean, but this new water well is clean and pure to drink. I will not have [to] delay on accessing good water before going to school in the morning," said Gbessay B., age 17.

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 Ministry of Water Resources and the Port Loko District Council. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project. Then, Isatu and Gbessay said some words. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Osman Fofanah, Ministry of Water Resources.

New Well

The drilling of this new borehole was a success, and clean water is flowing!

The Process

The drill team arrived the day before beginning work. They set up camp and unpacked all 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.

Our team dug two pits next to the drill rig, one for the drill's water supply and another for what the drill pulls out of the borehole. In some cases, we order a private supplier to deliver the water for drilling since water access is already a challenge.

Day one of drilling began with the team filling the two pits with water mixed with bentonite, an absorbing, swelling clay. Next, the team fixed a four-inch carbide-tipped bit to the five-foot-long drill stem. They started the mud pump to supply water to the drill rig so that drilling could begin! The team took material samples after putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole. We labeled the bags so we could review them later to determine the aquifer locations.

On the second day of drilling, the team expanded the hole and cleared it of mud. After reaching a total depth of 18 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to clear any mud and debris from the drilling process. We then protected the screened pipe by adding a filter pack. The team hoisted the temporary drilling casing to fortify the pipes with cement.

Next, we bailed the well by hand for three days before conducting a yield test to verify the water quantity. The static water level of the well is 11 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel India MkII pump. Water quality 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 understand better 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.

54 people attended the training at the home of the Chairperson of the Water User Committee, Peter Kamara.

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.

Teacher Isatu Kanu, the Vice-Chairperson of the Water User Committee, commented, "This training is particularly important to me as a teacher because it has added more knowledge to my teaching skills."

She continued, "The new knowledge has impacted me to always clean my environment, sleep inside [a] bed net to avoid malaria, to wash my hands with soap and water after using the toilet, and the proper use of the tippy tap as a handwashing station at my house. I have also learned things from this training, and as a teacher, I will make sure I pass on these good hygiene practices lessons to my pupils."

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!

February, 2022: Gbaneh Bana Community 2 Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Gbaneh Bana Community 2 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: Safe and Pure Water!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Gbaneh Bana Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Gbaneh Bana Community 2 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!

Isiatu K., 18, recalled what life was like in Gbaneh Bana Community before her community’s well was rehabilitated last year.

"Before, it was challenging for me to fetch water from the stream. I could not complete domestic activities in the morning before going to school. I normally went to school late because of the distance I [had to] walk to fetch water in the morning. Also, I could not launder my uniforms regularly, all [of] this [because] of the water challenges," Isiatu shared.

But life is much easier for Isiatu and the other community members in Gbaneh Bana now.

"I am happy for this water point because my challenges on access[ing] safe and pure water [are] over. Since this water point was constructed and handed over to us, [it] has impacted my life. I can now go to school on time and launder my uniforms regularly. Also, I have more time to read my lesson notes," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the rehabilitated well has made a difference for Isiatu. She no longer struggles to do basic tasks, such as washing her clothes and getting to school on time.

"As children, it's our responsibility to clean the water point and follow the rules and regulations set up by the water committee members. This water point has enough water, and it's never [been] faulty since it was handed over to us. I have achieved fetch[ing] water, and [I'm] help[ing] my mother do domestic activities," she concluded.

Thank you for helping Isiatu access clean water! Tasks that were once challenging are now much easier for her. This gives Isiata the ability to focus on what's important and build a better life for herself.

Right now, there are others just like her in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.

Isiatu 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 Gbaneh Bana Community 2 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 Gbaneh Bana Community 2 – 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 Sponsor - Magic Charitable Foundation
23 individual donor(s)