Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 288 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/30/2024

Project Features

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The 288 people of Royeama currently rely on a hand-dug well for their water. Yet recently, due to an increase in the community's population and seasonal drying, the well has been unable to produce sufficient water to meet the communities needs. When the well runs low, community members resort to collecting water from the swamp.

The swamp water is deceptive because although it can appear clear first thing in the morning, it is open to various kinds of contamination and unsafe to drink. People must walk into the water to reach a point where they can dip their buckets in, children swim in the water, and people use it to launder clothes. With more human activity around the water, the water becomes cloudy, greenish, and infested with blood-sucking leeches.

The swamp water may provide for the community members' immediate needs. Still, as a result of drinking it, many in the community suffer from regular diarrhea and abdominal pain. They are also prone to contracting waterborne diseases that leave them ill and unable to work and attend school.

Mohamed K. (pictured above collecting water from the swamp), 13, said, "When I wake up early in the morning, I take my rubber bucket [and] go to the pump to collect water, but now, the pump is not providing enough water to serve everyone at the pump at the same time. It causes delays because the amount of water the pump could release is [just a] little drop. It takes time to fill one jerrycan, and there will be more people waiting to fetch water."

Royeama is a farming community that depends on crops for their livelihood. Every morning, before people rush to their farms to work, they attempt to collect enough water to do other domestic activities like laundering clothes, cooking breakfast, and washing dishes. But due to the water crisis in the community, it takes an excessive amount of time to find the necessary amount. As a result, farm work is delayed, production reduces, and people's incomes suffer.

"Every early morning, when I wake up and pick up my rubber bucket, I rush to the pump to collect some water. Sometimes when there is a shortage in water, [a] pump break down, or overcrowding at the water well, I decide to go to the swamp to fetch water. The swamp water is dirty, but I must fetch it and return home to allow it to settle for a few minutes [to] later filter it properly before drinking it," said farmer Mariatu Kamara, 33, shown above.

The majority of women in the community must work on their farms, then return home and search for water again in the evening to have sufficient water to cook another meal and for their family to bathe. They work late into the evening, go to bed very tired and wake up very early again the next day to repeat the process. It is a tiring and burdensome process.

The community's hygiene and sanitation also suffer because of the water shortage. It is difficult to fetch enough water to do everything, so people prioritize the pressing needs and often neglect their hygiene and sanitation.

This community needs a nearby, safe, reliable water source to concentrate on producing enough income to improve their daily lives and reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to do the daily necessities.

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, 2023: Royeama Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Royeama Community 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.

"I am now happy because I can easily fetch water from this water well to my house. I will no longer [be] late for school because I can quickly fetch water to my house and go to school early," said 16-year-old Hawanatu K. "The repairing of our water well will help to provide enough water for us in this community. This will also help me to complete my daily activities on time and read my school notes at home."

Hawanatu washes her hands at the new well.

"When I remember the struggle that I had to fetch water in this community, I must say thank you for repairing our water well. It was difficult for me to fetch enough water to do my household chores because of the shortage in water," said 33-year-old Mariatu Kamara, who we spoke to on our prior visit to the community. "Today, I am happy because our water well is providing enough water. I believe that it will not dry in the dry season because there is enough water coming out than before. I will save the time that I spent searching for water to do other tasks, especially the farm work."

Mariatu splashing water.

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, the Port Loko District Council, and the local Ward Councilor. 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, Mariatu and Hawanatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

The community celebrating!

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 15 meters with water at seven 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.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Community.

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.

Learning the importance of mosquito nets.

Our field officer Philip James Allieu said, "One of the training participants narrated a story she experienced years ago. One day, one of her relatives came to stay with her. Unfortunately, at night, she [had persistent] diarrhea, and there was no way to access the nearby health facility for treatment. She was seriously bothered with continuous stooling and vomiting. At that time, she had no Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in her house and no salt and sugar in her possession. The situation was getting worse. She made up her mind to go to [the] nearest neighboring compound for assistance for salt and sugar. She was able to get salt and sugar to prepare the local mixture. After giving her the local content, it helped her remedy the situation. From that day, she has learned the importance [of] ORS as well [as having] salt and sugar at home."

The community headman echoed her sentiments. He instructed community members to always have salt, sugar, and clean water at home. Then he encouraged them to adhere to the precautionary measures and employ the knowledge they received from the training on how to prepare ORS when needed.


"This training is valuable to me because I have learned new things relating to health. On the first day of the hygiene training, the facilitator said about how to take care of our teeth. Through this lesson, I got to know that washing or scrubbing our teeth two times a day is very meaningful to avoid toothaches," said 45-year-old trader Hassanatu Kamara.


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!

January, 2023: Royeama Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Royeama 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!

Better health and more energy for Hawanatu!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Royeama 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!

Seventeen-year-old Hawanatu recalled what life was like in the Royeama Community before her community's well was rehabilitated in March of last year.

"It was difficult to fetch water for my parents because of the water situation. The well [had] breakdowns, and the water [decreased] with time. It was not easy for me to fetch enough water unless I [went] to the swamp. This prevented me from fetching water on time," Hawanatu shared.

Collecting water is now simpler and not as physically strenuous for Hawanatu and the other community members and students in Royeama.

"Ever since the well was repaired, I am no longer suffering for water, [especially] during the dry season. I can fetch enough water that serves us at home because the well no longer runs dry. I have ample time to do other things as I am no longer walking far distances to fetch water," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference, allowing her to maintain her health and reserve her time and energy for learning and resting.

"I noticed that ever since I started using this water to drink, [I] hardly experience frequent stooling or get sick from waterborne illnesses. I thank God for that. My parents will no longer spend money to buy medicine for me. Also, with this water well, I am able to fetch water before going to school. This lessens the burden for me to have enough time to rest after school [and] I utilize my time to study my notes," Hawanatu concluded.

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 Royeama 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 Royeama 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.