Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 339 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/13/2024

Project Features

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The water from Kamayea village's well is "slippery" and cloudy. Initially, when the well was built over ten years ago, the well was protected and the water chlorinated. Now, not only does the water go untreated and the well pad unrepaired, but the water disappears during the dry season. This sad situation leaves Kamayea's 339 people sick all the time, and desperate for water during several months of the year.

"Water is very important to me, especially in my line of business," said 20-year-old fish trader Mariatu Kargbo (pictured below). "[A] shortage in water always affects me greatly. It is hard for me to fetch water to wash my fish before selling them in the market. I have a great loss sometimes on sales."

But Mariatu's only other option is to go to the neighboring village, which is several kilometers away, to fetch water. It's difficult for her to make it to the market during the hours when customers are looking to buy.

"There was a time I could not get any water to process my fish," Mariatu continued. "So, I decided to take it to the market for sale unclean. My customers were complaining that the fish had sand and they would never buy my fish any longer. I became worried and pleaded to them, but it was difficult for them to have the confidence of buying my fish."

And when the well isn't dry, it's still slow to refill. The water table in the region has dropped a great deal due to global warming. This leaves everyone impatient with each other when they're waiting in a queue to fetch water, and poses problems for girls like Mayillah.

"Sometimes, I could be at the well for so long waiting to fetch water," said 12-year-old Mayillah, pictured below. "But those that are stronger than me always succeed to fetch water, and as for me, I have to struggle a lot before fetching water. Because of that, when I get home my mother [does] not listen, but angrily punishes me for delaying at the well. This is a great burden to me because of the water shortage in the community."

Mayillah's case is not unique; many children in Kamayea pay the price when their households lack water. Another woman we spoke to at the village confessed to us that she punished her 7-year-old daughter for using the family's water stores to do laundry when they needed that water to cook the morning meal. She told us she was so frustrated at the thought of having to wait in the long lines that she almost caused her daughter permanent damage.

But with a working water source, one that fills containers quickly and never runs dry, such frustrations could soon be over.

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: Kamayea Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

Community children splash water at the well.

"I feel blessed this water point is accessible to all and sundry in my village," said 17-year-old Mohamed K.

Mohamed, center, pours water at the rehabilitated well.

"The water is clean and safe to drink. Now I will no longer walk far distances to go in search of water. I can get access to clean and safe water in my community at any time of the day I need water to use. I am happy for such goodness, and I believe this will bring a turnaround in my life."

Mohamed splashes water with some young ladies from the community.

"I will have enough time to prepare for school and sufficient time to rest and enough time to study at home," Mohamed concluded. "I will now practice better hygiene. This new well will provide enough water for me to bathe on time and do other domestic work."

"Before this time, I used to face challenges in my village to access clean and safe water," said 28-year-old trader, Mariatu Kargbo. "But now, the new water point is accessible to me. It is close to my house, and I can access it easily without walking [a] long distance or paying money. Therefore, the new water point will help me to save time in doing my household chores."

Mariatu collects water at the rehabilitated well.

"I will also be able to focus more on my trade than ever before. This is a significant impact because when there was no water facility in this community, I found it difficult to pay attention to my trade. By the time I finished fetching water from the stream, there would be limited time to sell to customers. This [well] will allow me to fetch [a] lot of water and then have enough time to prepare for my trade fare."

Mariatu (center, in the white shirt and beige printed skirt) celebrates water with community women.

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 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, Mohamed and Mariatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony began and ended with celebration, singing, and dancing in the local Temne language.

Singing at the dedication ceremony.

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 21 meters with water at 15 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.

Yield test underway.

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.

The new well pad under construction.

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 three-day hygiene and sanitation training. We then dispatched our teams to the agreed-upon location to hold the meeting, which was under a mango tree close to the rehabilitated well.

A training facilitator and woman discuss one of the visual aids.

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.

Community members discuss examples of poor hygiene.

One of the more memorable moments of the training was during the lecture on proper care and maintenance of the rehabilitated well. Two young girls in the community who had come to fetch water from the new well started fighting over who had gotten there first. The chief of the village, Pa Foday, who was attending the training, used the occurrence as an example of why implementing some rules for fetching water would be so important.

"We have a role to play as parents and elders of this village to bring about laws to monitor and control the pump," he said.

"The new water point will promote good hygiene in this community," said Mariatu Kargbo, one of those quoted earlier.

"Honestly, we have been practicing bad hygiene because of ignorance and the lack of clean water. But now, I personally will be able to wash my hands well before eating and after using the toilet. I will be able to clean my house and latrine well due to the availability of water. All this will prevent me from [getting] diseases I use to experience due to poor hygiene."

A training facilitator shows the rubber worm and parasite to community members.

Another topic that stirred up a lot of interest was worms and parasites. When we showed examples of what these can look like and explained the symptoms of a parasitic infection, one woman named Aminata realized that she may have suffered from a hookworm infestation after all the time she spent walking without shoes on bare soil. She said when she went to the community's local witch doctor, she had been told that her symptoms were the result of witchcraft. However, after further discussion, she decided she would go to the local health clinic after our training.

Lamin on the day of the training.

"The training was valuable to me because I am now able to learn the different aspects of hygiene such as handwashing, covering food, and [the] avoidance of open defecation," said Lamin Kamara, a 47-year-old farmer.

"This new knowledge received will prevent me from unnecessary diseases I used to suffer from," he continued. "I will also take this new knowledge to my household, for us to put into practice the hygienic principles we have learned. This will enable us to be safer from getting diseases that can easily [be] transmitted."

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!

April, 2022: Kamayea Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kamayea 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: Clean Water Close to Home!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kamayea 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!

Thirty-two-year-old trader Fatima Turay recalled what life was like in Kamayea before her community’s well was rehabilitated last year.

"[I was] born and grew up in Kamayea. Before, we must get water from the swamp, and that was challenging for us to do. It was very difficult to complete domestic activities, such as cooking, trading, and laundering. Even to do my trading was difficult because I have [to] fetch water and clean up my kids before I can move out to trade," Fatima said.

But life is much simpler for Fatima and the other community members in Kamayea now.

"Thanks to you for bringing clean and safe water to our doorsteps last year. Since the water point was constructed, and [they] hand[ed] it over to us, it has been functioning throughout without any breakdown or dry[ing][up]. The water is clean and safe to drink and for domestic uses,' Fatima continued.

Having ready access to water from the rehabilitated well has made a difference for Fatima, allowing her to do her daily activities safely and make time to work, providing a better life for her family.

"Especially [for] me, the water point is about 5 meters to my home. I always fetch water on time to do domestic activities. It has helped me to do my trading and have [time to] prepare food for my kids on time," Fatima concluded.

Thank you for helping Fatima access clean water and giving her time to prioritize her family's needs.

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.

Fatima carrying water.

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 Kamayea 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 Kamayea 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.


55 individual donor(s)