Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 369 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/17/2024

Project Features

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When people from the Court Barrie section of Menika visit their well, they often find it dry or broken or both. The population here is booming at 369 people and growing every day, which has increased the demand on the well. The well's frequent outages spurred community members to dig another well near the ocean, but this source is rudimentary at best, and can only be reached by climbing a steep, slippery hill.

Because water is scarce, quarrels often break out among those waiting to fetch water. People see each other differently when they are desperately in need of water; they are always in a rush to be the first. The fighting got so bad that the community council has started fining those who don't wait their turn or instigate conflict at the well.

"It is very difficult to access water to do household activities and to drink," said Salaimatu Bull, a 25-year-old fish trader (in the above photo). "In the [dry season], it becomes harder for me to fetch just a single bucket of water for my family."

Aminata, a 17-year-old student (in the photo below), explained the situation that resulted in her being fined. "Sometimes, it is hard to fetch water at the main well because of overcrowding. I had quarrels with people who wanted to bully me and fetch water even when I was the first to fetch water at that time. I was accused of provoking my elders and the matter was taken to the local chiefs. They levied charges on me. My father paid and wanted to stop financing my education."

The alternative water source in the swamp shown below provides plenty of salty, muddy water. The villagers who get water here must first strain, filter, and boil the water before using it, which takes time.

"If I was not fortunate to fetch water from the main source, the only choice would be the swamp well, which is always open to everyone in the community, but very hard to reach because of the distance and the hill," Salaimatu continued. "The water is not good for drinking, but it is difficult to prevent my kids from drinking it because they cannot bear it when they are thirsty for water. The only thing I could do was to filter, boil, and allow it to cool before everyone would have access to drink it."

Because water is so difficult to get in Menika, many people delay doing chores and work duties that require water.

"I also take clothes to the swamp well to launder and bring them back," Salaimatu explained. "It is very difficult to carry them and climb the hill to the house, therefore I usually do not launder clothes regularly."

"[The] water shortage is not good, and I hope this community will get another source where we can get enough water at any time," Aminata concluded.

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: Menika Community 3 Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Menika 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 member singing and celebrating.

"It was difficult to fetch water from the swamp because the distance [is] too far and sometimes the water would be dirty," said 15-year-old Fatmata K, recalling what the water crisis was like before.

Fatmata uses the new pump.

"Sometimes, the pump [would get] dry, and I would go to the swamp to fetch water. This situation caused me not to complete [my] domestic work before going to school because of the delay of accessing the water. When I returned home, I would continue fetching water to complete the remaining domestic work. I [would] get tired at night and could not do my homework."

"I am happy because the water well [makes it] easy for me to access water in my community," Fatmata concluded. "I am happy that the pump is providing enough water. There is no need to go to the swamp to fetch water. [I] can easily access the pump to do all my daily work."

Salaimatu pours water while community members celebrate.

"It was hard for me to fetch water from the swamp," said Salaimatu Bull, who we spoke to when we first visited Menika (see the Community Profile tab to remember her story!). "The swamp water is located down a hill, and it is difficult to climb the hill with a bucket of water on my head. People launder clothes and bathe in the same water, which is not good. Sometimes when I drink this water, I experience diarrhea."

"Today, I am happy because the pump has been renewed to a state that is far better than the previous condition," Salaimatu continued. "The water is now clean, and the pump is providing sufficient water which I will quickly fetch, and it has a fence with white paint. The pump is now safe, and the water is good to drink. I will not struggle to fetch water anymore."

Salaimatu drinks water from the well.

"I sell fish at the trade fair," Salaimatu explained. "My husband is a fisherman, and I am responsible [for] process[ing] and sell[ing] the fish. I need enough water to process the fish before selling it. I had a lot of constraints in getting water. Sometimes, [this] caused [a] delay in getting the process completed. This made the fish go bad. I am grateful to God today because of the good condition of this pump and it will help me do all my daily activities on time."

We held a dedication ceremony to officially hand over the well to the community members. The entire community sang a welcoming song to our team when they arrived. Several local dignitaries attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Ministry of Water Resources, the Port Loko District Council, and the Ward Council.

Community elders splash at the well.

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, Fatmata and Salaimatu 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.

Drilling begins.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 17 meters with water at 10 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.

Community members brought containers for our technicians to use during the 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 pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this is clean water fit for drinking!

The finished 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. On each of the training's three days, all of the 40 households within the community sent more than one representative. This was more than we had asked for, and serves to demonstrate this community's commitment to better hygiene and sanitation in the future.

The facilitator shows participants examples of healthy vs. unhealthy communities.

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.

Even though the community's participation was high, several community members, including our friend Salaimatu, were not happy that a few specific individuals hadn't attended. This was mentioned during the topic of open defecation and its horrible effects on community members' health.

This poster shows a child practicing open defecation behind a house.

Salaimatu and another man, Musa, mentioned that there are households still practicing open defecation who have not heeded the advice on this subject in the past. In response, the community put together a plan, along with the community elders, to implement consequences for households who don't use and clean latrines.

"As for me, this hygiene training is very important and valuable, because this teaches me how to live healthier and safe," said Salaimatu.

"Before this training, I have been practicing cleanliness, but this teaching has motivated me to improve more. I do not have [a] dishrack, but I will try to construct one. Preventing myself and my family from contracting diseases is a must, and I must make sure that I always wash my hands when I am cooking because I have learned that uncleanliness is not good at all.

"This new knowledge I must share [with] my neighbors for them to practice the same hygiene that the team had taught me. It would bring change to our community if we applied them."

Salaimatu washes her hands at a tippy-tap constructed during the training.

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: Menika Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Menika 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: Plenty of water to meet needs!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Menika Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Menika Community 3 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!

Emma E., 17, recalled what life was like in Menika before her community’s well was rehabilitated last year.

"We the children, were having issues to get water, and we sometimes [were] late to go to school [because we had to fetch] water. The distance was far to get water to launder our clothes," said Emma.

But life is much simpler for Emma and the other community members in Menika now.

"Indeed, this water well has helped us greatly, and we, the children, are very happy to have this water well. We use this clean water to drink, launder our clothes, and wash our bodies clean," said Emma.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Emma, allowing her to practice better hygiene and make it to school on time.

"We now have good health and [can] stop putting our lives in danger through going to the sea [to] launder our clothes. We now go to school on time. Our parents are now happy for having this clean water in this village. We want to say thanks for constructing this water point for us," concluded Emma.

Thank you for helping Emma access clean water and have a brighter future.

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.

Emma outside the 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 Menika Community 3 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 Menika Community 3 – 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.


Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
Campaign for Critical Water Access
Hilonee's 2020/21 Campaign for Water
Fruvilla's Campaign for Water
The Brad Smith Water Fund

And 2 other fundraising page(s)
16 individual donor(s)