Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 151 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/21/2024

Project Features

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The main well in Laminaya dries for several months out of each year. This leaves the 151 people relying on that water with no choice but an open, hand-dug hole in the swamp.

Community members rush to the protected main well each morning, jostling to claim what little water might still remain at the bottom of the well. But during the dry season, which stretches from March to June of each year, the water disappears quickly. This means people who have waited in line, sometimes for hours, will be frustrated to discover that this time was wasted.

We interviewed community members in February, right before the start of the dry season. This is why 35-year-old Fatmata, a food trader (in the above photo), was so full of worry.

Fatmata said: "The pump water well will soon get dry and the water well at the swamp will also be hard to get clean water to drink, because everyone in this village will use it for different purposes. Laundering of our dirty clothes, cooking, and bathing will be hard to complete because of water shortage."

Fetching water from the swamp well requires a lot of energy. The villagers use a hook on a stick to hold the container that they dip in the well to fetch water. Pulling the bucket of water out is difficult, especially for children.

"I wake up early in the morning to fetch water before going to school," said 13-year-old Yusuf T, pictured above at the swamp well. "I use water to bathe and eat in the morning before going to school. When there are too many people at the water well, I go to school and fetch water after I have returned home. To fetch water after school is not easy for me because I get tired and hungry after school, but I must fetch water for my mother to prepare food for us to eat."

The demand for water is ever-present, which means even the swamp well has run dry on a few occasions. Community youths have been commissioned to dig the swamp well deeper, which is dangerous (hand-dug wells without proper casings can sometimes collapse inward). Without this risk, however, the entire community would be without water entirely.

"The water is sometimes dirty," Yusuf explained. "I fetch it and place it to settle before my mother could drain the dirt from the water."

But just because the water appears clear doesn't mean that it is clean. The condition of the swamp well is a recipe for contamination. People do laundry and bathe around the area, which is also open to wildlife. These factors cause illnesses like stomach cramping, diarrhea, typhoid, and parasitic infection.

Not only does this critical water shortage affect community members' health, but it also prevents them from earning a proper income. So many of the common livelihoods in this community need water to complete tasks properly. This perpetually reduces the income they are able to earn.

"I need water to do my business every day," Fatmata explained. "The little amount of water I can get from the pump is not enough for my business and other domestic activities. My children go to school in the morning. I do all the house activities before selling my business. Sometimes I am late to reach my customers. I lose better sales because of that."

"[The] water shortage is a challenge [for] me and my family in this village," Fatmata concluded. "I hope the problem of water will come to [an] end."

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: Laminaya Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at Laminaya Community in Sierra Leone now provides community members with clean water! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, focusing on healthy practices such as handwashing and latrines.

"I used to be late to go to school because there was no water well in my community," said 12-year-old Yusif. "[Now] I will be able to get pure, safe, and sufficient water in my community without any headache. I will also go to school earlier without being late. I, therefore, want to thank God for the impact this water well will play on my life."

Yusif splashing.

"I want to thank God for rehabilitating our water well, and I pray for whosoever participated in rehabilitating this water well. The problem of water has been affecting my family and me for quite some time now, especially in the area of laundry and cooking," said 35-year-old trader Fatmata Kargbo.

Fatmata celebrating clean water.

"The newly rehabilitated water well will help me to achieve goals that are important in my life and the community. To start with, it will provide pure and safe drinking water for my family and me," Fatmata continued.

"With sufficient water, the job of processing palm oil will be easy for me. I will be able to process my palm oil every time the need arises without delay."

We held a dedication ceremony to hand over the well to the community members officially. 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, Yusif and Fatmata 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 15 meters with water at nine 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.

We also invited a nurse from the local clinic to help explain some topics and spread awareness about Sierra Leone's free vaccinations for children under five. She was instrumental in reinforcing each lesson.

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.

Discussing disease prevention.

One of the popular training sessions addressed lactating mothers and the need for women to maintain proper hygiene while breastfeeding to prevent their children from potential illness.

A tippy tap handwashing station.

"The training will impact my life if I follow the teachings of this training. Today, I have learned the importance of constructing a latrine [at] my house, [using a] dish rack, and cleaning the environment. I will also take my children to a health center when he/she is sick. I will help facilitate construction [of] latrines in my community, so the habit of open defecation will stop in our community," said Fatmata.


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 facing functionality, seasonality, or water quality challenges. 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: Laminaya Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Laminaya 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!


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