Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 107 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/30/2022

Project Features

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Mafereh Village has two water sources: one is a contaminated well that only works nine months out of the year, and the other is a swamp. This water scarcity leaves the community members, especially the women and children whose task it is to fetch water, unable to bathe, cook, clean, or drink as often as they would like.

"I always [am] late for school due to fetching water every morning before going to school," said Mabinty S., 15 (pictured below at the swamp). "I miss most lessons and that affects my class performance. I sometimes get sick with pain all over my body. It is difficult for me to practice hygiene at home."

The main source is a hand-dug well without a pump. It is located at the center of the community. The apron and drainage pit are broken. Animal urine and feces are evident around the apron and cover slab. The depth is about 14 feet with no fence and gate. The level of water cannot serve the entire community.

The swamp is close to the sea, down a steep hill. People fetching water have to balance on a fallen tree within the swamp and dip their buckets down into the greenish water.

Community members suffer a myriad of health consequences drinking from both of these sources: diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and cholera. Also, poisonous snakes have been known to bite people fetching water from the swamp, which has led to a few deaths within Mafereh.

"It makes life very hard, because life cannot exist without water, and it is very difficult to get water from the swamp well when it rains," said local housewife Memunatu Bangura.

"I am always worried about snakes and other wild animals causing harm to me and my children while going to the swamp to fetch water," Memunatu continued. "I and my children are always sick because of drinking contaminated water. As a result, I spent most of my earnings on medication."

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

Well Rehabilitation

The well marked for this overhaul is dry for most of the year and needs major work to supply adequate, clean water to the community year-round. 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

10/11/2022: Maffereh Community Well Rehabilitation Project Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Maffereh in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"Fetching water every morning before going to school [was] a hard task for me," said 12-year-old Rugiatu B.

Rugiatu pours water at the new pump.

Rugiatu continued: "I used to fetch water from the swamp down the hill at the seaside. The area of the swamp well is not safe, so I could not go there to fetch water alone. I am happy now that I can fetch water from this new pump. I [won't] go [a] far distance to fetch water anymore, and I can get clean and safe water from this pump to [bathe] and go to school early. I will also fetch enough water from this pump after school without wasting time. Thanks to the entire team."

"I used to suffer a lot and walk [a] far distance to get water," said 52-year-old farmer Salamatu Bangura.

Salamatu pours water as community members celebrate at the well.

"Sometimes when I [went] to the swamp, I even got injured because the road to this swamp source is slippery and hilly, which is difficult to walk on with a bucket of water on my head," Salamatu continued. "But with this pump in my community, all my problems have been solved, and all suffering to get water has [been] put to an end because now I get access to water in my village which is close to my house. I say thanks to [everyone] for such goodness in my village."

Rugiatu and Salamatu celebrate with other happy community members.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Port Loko District Council, the Ward Council, and the Ministry of Water Resources. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project and reminding everyone to take good care of it. Then, Rugiatu and Salamatu 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 their tools and supplies to prepare for drilling the next day. The community provided space for the team to store their belongings and 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 drilling tool. 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 17.2 meters. The hand-drill method allowed the team to install the cylinder far below the aquifer so that the community has excellent 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 new 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 be uncomfortable and unhygienic and a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

At last, we installed the pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

New Knowledge

Before conducting any hygiene training, we called and visited the local water user committee to 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 three-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, COVID-19, 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.

One of the most educative topics was malaria, which many people have been infected with in Maffereh.

"For some participants, this was their first time knowing that only a mosquito transmits the malaria parasite from one person to another," said our field officer, Alie. "It was the greatest surprise [for them] to know that mosquito does not only transmit malaria but also other diseases like "big foot" (Elephantiasis) and yellow fever. When these diseases were mentioned by the facilitators, [participants] were all seated with eyes opened. According to them, oranges, bedbugs, and nut oil are the causes of these diseases."

One community elder, Pa Sorie Kamara, said he was not convinced. He would only admit that mosquito bites can transmit some diseases, but not malaria, because mosquitos bite him every day, but he rarely gets sick. His fellow participants challenged this way of thinking by asking him why children get sick with malaria even though they are not allowed to eat oranges or vegetable oil or why people get malaria when no one plants oranges in their communities. At this point, Pa Sorie sat down quietly without saying a word. Another participant, Amadu, asked Pa Sorie to listen and learn what he had never known.

Participants show how shaking hands can trasmit germs.

Everyone asked how to prevent malaria now that they know its transmission routes. They were taught how to properly use the mosquito nets that their community health workers had supplied to them. We also reminded them to always visit the hospital whenever they or their children get sick and not to depend on traditional herbs or drug peddlers that may do more harm than good. They were all happy about the knowledge and promised to do just as advised by Amadu.

Another illuminating topic was childhood nutrition, which we demonstrated through the visual aid of a three-legged stool, with each leg representing a different food group. Our facilitators had noticed a few malnourished children in Maffereh, so they explained that children need a diverse diet with plenty of nourishing food to flourish.

Childhood nutrition.

One female participant named Emma Dumbuya said she always serves the best part of any meal to her husband because the man is head of the house and he must be taken care of. But one male participant stood up and said, "Children are our future leaders, so we must give them good nutritious food to eat so that they grow well and be healthy. They should not be treated as if they are not human."

In the end, the training participants said they would listen to the modern way of thinking and feed their children well-balanced foods.

Constructing the stool.

"Thank God for this new knowledge that I received from the team," said 64-year-old farmer Sorie Kamara. "I will teach my children how to take care of themselves as well as the community. And this lesson must make an impact on my life and my family as well. One thing I learned from this training is [about] drinking contaminated water. I never knew that the water I used to drink is not pure and safe to drink, and it [made] me get sick without knowing that it’s caused by these water sources I am using."



This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

08/23/2022: Maffereh Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Maffereh Community 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

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.


Project Underwriter - Estate of Ms. Malo
10 individual donor(s)