Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/22/2024

Project Features

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The community of Karma has a hand-dug well, but it is in severe disrepair and cannot provide the needed water for the community of 300. Beyond the broken components, it also suffers from seasonal drying at least two months of the year. The water hasn't been chlorinated in three years.

As a result, community members have resorted to collecting water at the local swamp. It is nearly a 30-minute walk in each direction on a narrow, bushy pathway, but water has to be collected before going to school or starting farm work, so there is no choice but to make the tiresome trek every day.

Trader Mariatu Kamara (35), in the photo below collecting water, shared, "The water situation is really affecting my trade because I need enough water to prepare the food I sell, such as foo-foo and pepper soup." (Foo-foo is a starchy staple dish in many African cuisines made from ground cassava.)

"When the main water source gets spoilt, I have no choice but to fetch water from the stream, which is a distance away from my house," Mariatu continued. "At times, I even pay the boys in my area to fetch water for me, or I provide them food as [a] reward. This makes me spend my money on water, which should have been used to promote my trade."

Sadly, all the effort spent only leads to collecting dirty and unsafe water for drinking, but there is no other suitable alternative.

The water point is surrounded by grass and trees, and nearby farming allows runoff to drain into it. People wade into the water to fill their buckets, do laundry, and bathe. With so many people accessing the water, sediment is stirred up, and it is not uncommon to have to wait for an hour for the water to settle before collecting it again.

Mustapha K., shown below at the swamp, 17, said, "Honestly, there are a lot of constraints I face regarding fetching water. We have only one source of fetching water, the protected hand-dug well with [a] hand pump in the community. But with time, the pump machine gets spoilt, and the water well gets dry with a low quantity of water."

He continued, "I am left with no option but to fetch water from the stream. The distance from my house to the stream is too far. Every day I must wake up by 5:30 am to fetch water in the stream because my aunty must prepare her foodstuff to sell. This has affected me to the point that sometimes I go to school late. After school, I must walk miles to come home. On my arrival, I will take empty containers to fetch water for cooking and to launder my uniform. All this has made me get limited time to rest and study."

Community members in Karma need access to reliable, safe water without wasting all of their valuable time and energy.

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

January, 2023: Karma Community Well Complete!

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

"When the drillers were working at the well, I sometimes provided them with small fruits as [a] demonstration of love for their effort," said 18-year-old Mustapha. "The day I got the news that the water point [would] be dedicated, on that day, there were no delays for me to attend the dedication ceremony. The new water point is now safe, protected, and pure to drink [and] has alleviated the water problems in this community. It only requires a simple effort now to get water that is only about a five-minute walk away from the majority [of our] homes."


"I am happy for the new well, for me and my community members," said 35-year-old farmer Ramatu Kargbo. "The new well will help me to practice better hygiene behavior. The rules and regulations set up by the water user committee members, such as cleaning the well, no bathing, and [no] washing of clothes around the well, will help us not to contaminate the 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 Port Loko District Council, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Port Loko District Water Directorate. 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, Rumatu and Mustapha 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.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 20 meters with water at 13 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.

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.

Our field officer, Moses Kebbie, said, "It was during the lesson on worms and parasites that something unusual happened. An elderly woman, who had never made any contribution during the previous lessons, was bold enough to stand up and make a statement. The other participants were surprised, and it was seen from the countenance of their faces. The woman said, 'I want to thank the facilitator for this lesson. I hardly say anything during gatherings like this. Honestly speaking, this topic made me learn that most of the diseases we are suffering from [are] due to cultural beliefs. For years now, I have not been wearing slippers (shoes). I know some people are aware about this, whilst others are surprised. The reason for this is because I am [a] society woman, and by virtue of my position in our society, I should not wear slippers. Customs demand that wearing slippers is not allowed, especially when going in the sacred places of our society. I have had this perception since I was a teenager. My grandmum passed this culture directly to me. I was ignorant all these years that walking barefoot will create room for the occurrence of diseases. Although it may be hard to change now, but I will try as much as possible to wear slippers, especially when going to the bush. I shared my experience for all of us to learn that culture really changes our lifestyle. Therefore, I am advising all of us to please take the lessons we are learning in this training very seriously and then put it into practice.'"

"Yes, the training was very much valuable to me because I was able to learn a lot of things on hygiene. I now understand how important it is for us to wash our hands with soap and water. Also, I learned the importance of having a dishrack at home. Failure to have a dishrack and not practicing the act of covering of food can lead to disease transmission," said 45-year-old farmer Sorie Dura 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!

December, 2022: Karma Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Karma 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: Fewer Water-Related Illnesses!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Karma Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Karma Community 2 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!

Forty-six-year-old farmer Ibrahim Kamara recalled what life was like in the Karma Community before his community's well was rehabilitated last year.

"It was so difficult for this village in terms of safe drinking water. Our women and children went through a lot of struggles by going all the way to the swamps to fetch water, which was not good for our health. For this reason, we have lost a lot [of] lives because [of] the waterborne illnesses we got from the swamps and stream [water]," said Ibrahim.

Collecting safe water to drink from the protected well is now much simpler for Ibrahim's community.

"Things have changed totally for the good. We now have safe drinking water in this village, which has helped us reduce the illnesses we got [from] the water we used to drink," continued Ibrahim.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference, allowing community members to spend time completing their other critical daily tasks.

"Many thanks to you for the immediate response, which has helped us to achieve [our] goals because now our children go to school on time, and the women also have [time] to go and do their business," concluded Ibrahim.

Ibrahim waters plants.

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 Karma Community 2 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 Karma Community 2 – 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.


2 individual donor(s)