Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/12/2024

Project Features

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The 300 community members of Santiguiya Village struggle without sufficient clean water to meet their daily needs. The current well they rely on has fallen into disrepair and needs rehabilitation. It only provides limited water that has been exposed to contamination. The shortage of water causes delays in the community's daily activities.

The impact is widespread and affects every facet of their lives. They spend more time fetching water than doing any other tasks. The community is Muslim but does not have sufficient water to do their daily ablution prayers. Women find it difficult to prepare food for their families on time. Those who use water for their livelihoods do not have the water they need, and their incomes suffer. And people's hygiene, like bathing, laundering, and cleaning of their household, is being neglected.

Single mother Hassanatu, age 14, commented, "I am one of the most affected by the water crisis in this community because I am a petty trader dealing with water every day in preparing my cassava product. Sometimes it is difficult for me to fetch enough water to wash my cassava due to the shortage of water in our community."

"[I] am a single parent that responsible for my daughter's schooling," Hassanatu continued. "Now it is difficult for me to prepare a large quantity of cassava to sell and make money for my livelihood. I will be happy when this well will be rehabilitated and have enough water that will serve the entire community."

The primary water source needing rehabilitation is a hand-dug well with a hand pump that has many issues. Water from the well tastes terrible and has a cloudy color. A disposable plastic water bottle acts as a siphon attached to the discharge pipe to redirect water into a longer tube so people can place their collection containers on the ground, exposing them to contamination. The pump breaks down frequently because of the overdemands of the community. The well pad is beginning to crumble, and the area is not fenced in. More importantly, the well is seasonal, meaning three months of the year (the dry season of April-June), it does not provide water.

There is another well on the outskirts of the community, but it is in even worse shape than the well currently being used.

"I am a baker and I find it very difficult to access safe and pure water to prepare my bread and rice cakes to bake and sell because of a shortage of water," said Foday Sillah, a 23-year-old farmer.

This community needs a reliable and functional water source that will provide them with clean, safe water to go about their daily lives and focus on things other than finding and collecting 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

May, 2022: Santiguiya Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Sanitguiya 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 because of the way our pump has become now," said 13-year-old Isha S. "I used to wake up early in the morning to fetch water, sweep, and warm food and eat before going to school. It was not easy to fetch water at the stream when the pump was not providing enough water. I am now happy because the pump water is now in good working order to provide enough water."

Isha drinks water at the pump.

"Before this time, water was a crisis in this community," said 23-year-old farmer, Foday Sillah. "I struggled [a] lot to access good water to drink, especially when the pump gets dry. I [was] left with no choice but to fetch water from the stream. This really put my life at risk because I [was] exposed to [a] lot of water sicknesses."

Foday collects water at the pump.

"Life without good water is nothing," Foday continued. "That is why my family and I depended on the stream every day. I am happy because the pump is now good and safe to provide enough water for us in this community. I am personally grateful for this, and I am now safe from drinking filthy water."

Mr. Abu Bakarr Bangura from the Port Loko District Council at the well with Foday.

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including a representative 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 everyone to take good care of it. Then, Isha and Foday 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 17 meters with water at 11 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.

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 diarrhea doll illustrates what happens to the body when experiencing severe diarrhea.

The topic that interested Santiguiya's people the most was the topic of diarrhea and Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). ORS is used in cases of severe diarrhea to safely replenish the body's levels of sodium and glucose to sustainable levels and can be made at home with a simple solution of salt, sugar, and clean water. One woman expressed interest in this concept because her son died due to severe diarrhea. She lamented that she had salt and sugar at home, and had she known of ORS back then she may have been able to save him.

Another enlightening issue was the topic of eating a balanced diet, which is illustrated with the image of a three-legged stool, with each leg of the stool representing an important food group. Without any of the legs, the stool cannot stand.

The facilitator presents the three-legged stool representing a balanced diet.

A few people said that they had always been taught not to eat certain fruits and vegetables like papaya, squash, mangoes, and others because traditional beliefs state they can cause undesirable outcomes caused by witchcraft. One of the community elders spoke up, saying that he had eaten those things all his life and had never been adversely affected by them. He advised everyone to listen to the training over traditional beliefs.

Handwashing with a tippy-tap.

"This training was valuable to me because I have learned things that I have not known before," said 21-year-old trader, Mafereh Mansaray. "Mostly like taking care around my environment, the importance of having and using a latrine. Initially, I was not practicing good hand washing because of [a] lack of water and soap. But now, I will practice [a] good handwashing technique by using a tippy-tap. I will continue with the act of handwashing daily."

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 Community Well Rehab Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in the Santiguiya 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

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: "The water is now safe to drink."

August, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Santiguiya Community 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 Santiguiya Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Santiguiya 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!

Fatmata Sesay, 19, recalled what life was like in Santiguiya before her community's well was rehabilitated last year.

"I want to say thank you for the provision of this water point. Initially, it was not easy for us to fetch water. This was because of the long walking distance to the swamp we used to fetch water from," said Fatmata.

But life is much simpler and less burdensome for Fatmata and the other community members.

"But now, we can fetch with ease due to the water point that is now available. As a result, we will be able to fetch water to launder and cook. Also, the water point has helped us to be punctual in school and have [time] to read our lesson notes," Fatmata shared.

Having ready access to water from the well has also made differences in other parts of Fatmata's life, like improving her hygiene practices.

"Similarly, the water point has also helped us to practice good hygiene. The water is now used to wash our drinking buckets clean. So that we will be able to get clean water for drinking. The water is now safe to drink. Once again, I say thank you," she concluded.

Thank you for helping Fatmata access clean water and improve her daily life.

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.

Fatmata 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 Santiguiya 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 Santiguiya 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.


The Buller Foundation
12 individual donor(s)