Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 212 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/22/2024

Project Features

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Sakaya Village, a community of  212, has a hand-dug well for the water they need. But the well cannot provide sufficient water in its current state, so it needs to be drilled deeper. It has not been rehabilitated in the past 35 years and there is no routine maintenance, chlorination, water testing, or proper monitoring.

There is no fence around the well, leaving it open to animals. The well pad is crumbling and because of the high demand, there are frequent breakdowns of the pump. The well is also seasonal, so during the dry months (March-May), it does not have enough water to offer, and people must collect water from the nearby swamp instead.

Farmer Kadiatu Sankoh (in the photo above), 32, said, "It is hard to fetch water at the main water source at the beginning of every dry season because of the demand from the whole village. There would not be enough water in the well to serve everyone at the same moment."

She continued, "It is not easy to fetch water at the swamp because the place is far from my house. Sometimes the water gets filthy when so many people fetch water, or some had done washing activities at the source."

She also shared her struggle to complete her everyday tasks. "Most of my daily activities are not properly done or delayed because I [take] more time fetching water than any other thing I have to do. I need to spend more time on my farming during the planting season, but I cannot leave my house without water to go and work on the farm. I had to cook and bathe my children after coming from the farm, but without water, I would not be able to do all those things."

As Kadiatu shared, the swamp is far away and difficult for people to access. They must follow a footpath through the bushy environment where snakes are known to be. The swamp sits at the bottom of the sloping landscape and is open to all kinds of contamination, including runoff from farms, people doing their laundry or bathing in the vicinity, and animals.

Water from the swamp is dirty, especially during periods of high demand, because people stir up dirt and debris to scoop water. Community members try to make the water "cleaner" before consuming it and place their bucket of water on the ground to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom, but this does not make the water safe.

"I thank God because now the rain is providing water for us, but after this season, it will be hard to fetch water in this community, especially to drink. I fetch water at the main pump, but there will come a time the well gets dry or low. At that moment, there will be more people waiting to fetch the little water the pump provides. It is not an easy moment because having other things to do and spending more time at the well will cause delays on other things I have to do," said Fatmata B. (in the photo above), 16.

The water challenges individuals face in this community also produce health threats. By consuming contaminated water, many struggle with water-related illnesses such as ongoing diarrhea, which leaves them without the energy to be productive.

It is challenging and sometimes fruitless for people to attempt to collect water from the main well, and often people return to their houses with little or no water. It needs rehabilitation to provide sufficient, clean water for all those who rely on it to focus on other tasks they need to accomplish in their 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

October, 2022: Sakaya Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"We use to fetch water from the stream where we normally do our [farming], [laundering], and [bathing]," said 17-year-old Fatmata B., whom we spoke to when we first visited Sakaya. "The distance is too far from my house. By the time I finished two trips, I would already be [too] tired to help my mother with the farm work. Therefore, the new waterpoint will prevent all the constraints I used to face."

Fatmata fetches water from the new well.

"The new water point will help me to concentrate on my schoolwork," Fatmata continued. "I will also be able to clean the house, especially the latrine, and launder clothes because of the new water point that is next to my house."

"I want to say thanks to [everyone] for the safe and pure water they have given to us," said 28-year-old Kadiatu Sankoh.

Kadiatu, center, splashes water with others from the community.

Kadiatu continued: "Before your intervention, we the people of Sakaya community [had] been suffering for safe and pure water. The main source we solely [relied] on to fetch water easily [got] dry during the dry season. We [were] left with no choice but to go far distances in search of water to do our domestic work like cooking, laundering, and washing the dishes and cooking utensils. Therefore, I am grateful to [you] for providing this new water point for us. All the challenges I used to face are now over. I have sufficient water to take care of things on time."

Paul Dickson from the Ward Council splashes water with women from Sakaya.

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, the Ward 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, Fatmata and Kadiatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Osman Fofanah from the Ministry of Water Resources splashes water with children from Sakaya.

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 16 meters with water at ten 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 help with 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 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.

All 25 households were represented during all three days, which demonstrates Sakaya's commitment to changing hygiene and sanitation practices for the better.

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 village headman, Pa Alusine Sesay, told a story during our training on dental hygiene that had community members laughing. "I [have] not [had] teeth in my mouth for a very long time, but I always use [a] soft toothbrush and paste to clean my mouth because I don’t want to suffocate people around me," he said. He continued saying that he now knows to clean his mouth twice a day rather than just once as he had been doing before.

The community members applauded the story he had shared and chuckled at his use of words.

A community member demonstrates oral hygiene.

Another topic that caused a stir was worms and parasites, a prevalent problem in Sierra Leone. We use lifesize worms as a teaching aid to demonstrate the types of pests that can cause serious harm to infected people, which most participants were afraid to touch.

The worm/parasite teaching aids.

An older woman from the group exclaimed that she had never learned this information before. "Thank God for this training," she said. "I was thinking we could get worms when we eat fish and chew palm nuts. So we have been depriving our children of protein, all in the name of protecting them from worms. I will take my grandchildren to the hospital for worm treatment, and I will continue to give them the treatment after every three months."

40-year-old trader Aminata Kamara shared her opinion of the training: "This training is valuable to me, especially as a mother, because the knowledge I have received from this three-day training will help me to take safe care of my environment. This training has impacted me to change from my bad hygiene deeds to good. Before, even to wash my hands with soap and water after using the toilet, I have not been doing that before. But now, it will be law and order in my house for all my children. That is why I hung the tippy-tap (handwashing station) at the door of my latrine, so there will be no excuse for all of us. I want to thank the team for bringing light to us."

Aminata on the day of the training.

In the end, all the participants were happy with the good news they received from the training, and they agreed to change their bad hygiene practices to save their lives from diseases.


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!

August, 2022: Sakaya Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Sakaya 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 Provides Better Health!

November, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sakaya 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!

Trader Isatu Kargbo, 42, recalled what life was like in Sakaya Community before her community’s well was rehabilitated last year.

“It was a bad situation during the past years when this water was not in this village. Many people died because of the dirty water we were drinking. It [is] a small stream that runs from the other villages and passes through our village. Those villages at the top do all their domestic work like laundry and agriculture. As a result of all these human activities, we ended up having sicknesses like cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery,” said Isatu.

But now, the members of the Sakaya Community collect life-saving water; they are no longer consumed by fear of water-related illnesses, creating an opportunity for a safer, healthier life.

“By providing safe drinking water for us [you] have helped improve the health system in this village because there are no sicknesses again compared to the previous years,” said Isatu.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Isatu and the other community members in Sakaya, allowing them to drink water whenever they need it without the worry that it will make them ill.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Sakaya 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 Sakaya 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.


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