Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 366 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/18/2023

Project Features

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Santiguiya's 366 people spend more time looking for water than doing anything else.

Their main water source is a protected dug well with a hand-pump, which can't provide water throughout the year. The water level lowers early in the dry season and then dries out completely from March to May. The wall around the well is broken, which leaves it open for animals like goats, sheep, or dogs to defecate around the area.

Even so, the well is constantly overcrowded. The little water that the well does have can't serve everyone. This has always been frustrating.

There are two other wells within the community: one has a faulty hand-pump that is almost always broken, and the third is owned by the local mosque, which restricts water access at certain hours. During the dry season, people could be at a well struggling to fetch water until late in the evening. This means a person could walk around an entire community for over an hour and still return home with an empty bucket.

"In the dry season, all the wells in this community get dry," said 27-year-old trader Safiatu Bangura. "The only hope for safe drinking water is the borehole next to the Mosque. Our chances of fetching water at that source are limited. There has always been a high demand for water."

"It is frustrating to me when I end up not fortunate to fetch water after long waiting in the queue," Safiatu continued. "I am a petty trader who makes local soap and sells it in the surrounding villages. This is my only means of getting money to take care of my family, but it is difficult sometimes to fetch water to make soap. The water crisis postpones my trade, mostly at the time customers demand my product. It is a great loss on my business."

15-year-old Abdul K. doesn't have a trade yet, but he still doesn't eat when he can't get water. "I become angry at the well when I am struggling to fetch water with an empty stomach, but I have to do it because my mother will not give me food if I refuse to fetch water for her to cook and for other activities at home."

"When I carry water, I feel my head aching until my mother gives me a drug to stop the pain. Then I start fetching water again," Abdul said.

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

April, 2022: Sanituguiya Forie Community Well Rehab Complete!

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

"I am happy for this pump because it was not easy to fetch enough water from this pump," said 17-year-old Kadiatu S. "I used to struggle a lot to fetch water for my parents. I had to go to the stream looking for water to collect. It was risky, because the road to the stream is bushy and there are snakes around. I am now safe to fetch water from this pump at any time with no risk and fear."

Kadiatu holds a container of water.

"My activities were [never] complete because there was not enough water," Kadiatu continued. "The time I spent fetching water was long, so I could only have time to complete a few. I fetch water to cook, clean, for drinking, and bathing. This pump is making it simple for me to fetch enough water to do all my domestic activities early. I am happy because my stress on getting water from the stream is over."

28-year-old mother Saffiatu Bangura couldn't contain her joy about the newly rehabilitated well.

Saffiatu at the pump.

"I am exceedingly happy about the good condition of our pump," Saffiatu said. "I can now have enough water that will serve my family. This will help me to do all my daily activities before the day ends. I will not drink water from the stream because this pump will not dry again."

"During this time of year, this pump dried, and the stream water was the source I fetched water to drink. It is not good water, but I had no choice," Saffiatu continued. "I cannot afford to buy packet water regularly, so I chose to drink from the stream."

"Presently, I have a three-month-old baby. It is now good that I have access to safe water so I can give my baby safe care using clean water," Saffiatu concluded.

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. Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of the water project and reminding the staff and students to take good care of it. Then, Kadiatu and Saffiatu 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 13 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.

Yield test underway.

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 stainless steel India Mk11 pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this is 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 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, 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.

The most notable topic in Santiguiya Forie was handwashing. Community members had previously scoffed at the practice, but after learning the many ways diseases can transfer from hand to mouth, they changed their outlook.

"The training was valuable to me because now I can understand the importance of handwashing," explained 39-year-old trader Yeabu Turay. "Before this time, I saw handwashing as a waste of time. There are instances, in which I have failed to wash my hands before eating, and this has led me to become sick. But now, I must practice the knowledge I have received on handwashing every day. This will prevent me from the terrible sicknesses I use to suffer before. I know they will never reoccur again if I wash my hands with clean water and soap."

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!

March, 2022: Santiguiya Forie Community Well Rehab Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Santiguiya Forie 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.


1 individual donor(s)