Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 254 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2023

Project Features

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Kankalay Islamic Primary School was founded in 1994 during the civil war when Malap and other nearby communities lacked an educational facility, so their children were not attending school. Since then, it has grown to 250 students (130 boys and 120 girls) and four teachers.

Every day, students and staff face the challenge of supplying their drinking water which is difficult because there is no functioning water point on the school's campus. Students and teachers walk to collect water from a hand-dug open water hole in the community swamp throughout the day.

The water source has animals drinking and defecating near it. Trash, tree branches, leaves, and dirt run into it, causing it to be cloudy and contaminated. Children often complain about feeling sick and having diarrhea, leading to a high rate of absenteeism.

Students are sent to fetch water during school hours but are resistant to going because of the distance and dangerous road they must travel to get there.

Fatama, a 12-year-old student at the school, shared her frustrations with the lack of water at the school. "It is not easy to get water at the school to drink. The school pump is not providing water for us. In the morning, we walk to the swamp to fetch water for the school. I also bring water to school every day in a plastic bottle. I share it with my friends during lunch after we have eaten. If I could not keep it from the sight of them, they would drink [it] all."

Fatama also mentioned how the boys use the opportunity to take advantage of the girls to have water. "The little water we fetch from the swamp is not enough for the whole school. The boys in this school always fight us for water. They go after us during lunch to forcefully take water from us. We always complain about them to the teachers."

Even the teachers must leave throughout the day in search of water. But with only four teachers for the 250 students, classrooms are left unattended, and students are not learning when they should be.

Teacher Abu Bakarr Kamara, age 41, commented, "Presently, the school pump is not working. We have tried our best to fix it, but our efforts did not bring a good outcome. The only choice the school is having for water is the well at the swamp. It is very risky and hard to take children from school to fetch water at that source. This is causing a lot of worry on me because I always have complaints from students about water."

He went on to explain that students are becoming disruptive and challenging to manage due to the ongoing water issues. "They fight amongst themselves, skip classes, and later report that they went in search of water. I found it hard to always control them. This is making my job difficult every day."

The school has a protected dug well with a hand pump on the property, but it has not worked for the last two years. The school has tried its best to contact the organization that made the well and sought engineers to solve the problem, but they have been unwilling to help and unable to fix it, so the school continues without a safe water source. Even before its breakdown, the well could not provide enough water for the school throughout the entire year. During the dry season, the well would dry up, and there was no water available.

A new well for this school will enable students to return to learning and mean they do not have to fight for clean water to drink every day.

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

August, 2022: Malap Kankalay Islamic Primary School Well Complete!

We are excited to share that there is now a safe, reliable borehole well at Malap Kankalay Islamic Primary School. As a result, the students and community members no longer 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.

Celebrating clean water!

"As a head teacher, I had a great challenge on access to water at this school. The pupils used to help to fetch water from the swamp. One of my tasks is to protect the pupils at the school. It was not an easy task for me, especially when they are desperate for water and they could not get any at the school," said forty-year-old head teacher Lamin Swarray.

Teacher Lamin Swarray.

"The completion of this school water well is a great help to my job and the protection of the pupils. We can no longer drink contaminated water from the swamp. The health of everyone at the school is safe because there is now safe water to drink at the school."

"The swamp water is not clean, but I used to drink it because there was no other water to drink. I was so exhausted after I had finished fetching water from the swamp to the school in the morning," said Abubakarr J., age 15.

Abubakarr pumping water.

"It is good that our school pump is now providing enough water for us to be drinking and to use the restroom at the school. I will not go to the swamp again to fetch water because there is now clean water at my school. I will be safe when I drink the clean water from the pump and stop drinking water from the swamp."

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 Ministry of Water Resources and the Port Loko District Council.

Mr. Fofanah from the Ministry of Water Resources celebrating with children.

Each official gave a short speech thanking everyone who contributed to this water project and reminding the staff and students to take good care of it. Then, Lamin and Abu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

New Well

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, 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 challenging.

Day one of drilling began as the team mixed water with bentonite, an absorbent clay, in the two dug pits. 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!

After putting each five-foot length of drill stem into the hole, the team took material samples. We labeled the bags to review them later and 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 23 meters, the team forcefully pumped clean water into the well to remove any dirt 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. This well has a static water level of 14 meters. With these excellent results, we installed a stainless steel pump. Water quality test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

Completed well.

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 for committee members.

Training topics covered included handwashing and tippy taps, good and bad hygiene habits, disease transmission and prevention, COVID-19, worms and parasites, proper dental hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, the importance of using dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and HIV and AIDS.

Using a tippy tap.

"I am now able to understand how important it is to wash our hands with clean water and soap," shared Abu Bakarr Kamara, a 40-year-old teacher at the school.

"The act of handwashing will greatly help me as a teacher because I usually interact with my colleagues, pupils, and even parents. But with this new knowledge, I will be able to wash my hands every time. The training is indeed vital in changing our lives from bad hygienic practices to good ones."

The Water User Committee with their training certificates.


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!

June, 2022: Malap Kankalay Islamic Primary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Malap Kankalay Islamic Primary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school 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.


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