Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/19/2022

Project Features

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Sangoya's main well was built in 1985 and hasn't received any water treatment in two years, allowing worms and cockroaches to breed between the pipes. It also goes dry from February through April. For a village of 444 people, this is unacceptable.

There's a protected well in a neighboring village, but not only is it far away and overcrowded, but it's also experienced seasonal drying. So someone fetching water might trek a very far distance searching first for clean well water, then for questionable well water that's still better than nothing, yet still end up collecting water from their last resort: a murky, polluted stream.

The stream is littered with plastic waste, riddled with soap from the many people that launder and bathe at its edges, and laced with fertilizer from nearby farms. Human activities have altered the color of the water to be milky and opaque.

Unsurprisingly, children in Sangoya must receive regular deworming medication or become seriously ill (which is expensive for a community of farmers and traders). But even without parasites, cholera and typhoid are common here, especially amongst young people.

"Honestly speaking, the water we are using is not good for drinking," said Balu Kanu, a 45-year-old farmer and housewife (in the above photo). "Sometimes, my children and I suffer from a terrible sickness. This situation makes me spend all the money that I receive from the sales of my agricultural products on medicine."

As if all the water quality problems weren't enough, overcrowding is also more than inconvenient for the women and children who do most of the community's water-fetching, like 16-year-old Mabinty (in the photo below at the stream).

"The water situation in my community is not easy for us as students," Mabinty said. "I have to wake up very early in the morning to go in search of water. Usually, the wells will be jampacked with people. I have to wait until the others have completed fetching their water. This makes me not to be punctual in school. I receive punishment almost every day because of my lateness."

Then, after school, Mabinty has to repeat the entire process over again. "After school, I have to fill the remaining drums and go to the farm to join my parents. This action makes me eat late at night and also have limited time to study. I will be exhausted by then, and I have limited time to rest."

When the wells are too full or have dried, Mabinty's only option is the stream. "Fetching water from the stream makes me prone to danger from snakes, and also the boys. Some of them will leave their houses, pretending to draw water from the stream. When they see a girl, they try to have their way, especially when no one is around. Therefore, I will be happy if this community will have a borehole well with a hand pump that will never dry. This will eliminate my constraints in fetching water."

Balu also told us that the stream is dangerous for her children. But if she is to keep her farm afloat, she has no choice but to send them.

"My children face danger when going to the stream, especially in the evening hours," Balu explained. "They are being attacked by snakes. One of my children, Abu, was bitten by a snake on his way from the stream. I thank God, we used our local herbs to cure him."

It's basically impossible to count the ways in which a reliable source of water will aid the people of Sangoya. But mostly, every moment of their lives will be just a little easier. With clean water and training on hygiene and sanitation, everyone's health will improve.

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

06/21/2022: Sangoya Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"I had experienced [a] water crisis in my community wherein it takes me more time collecting water for my mother. She is a trader selling fish," said 15-year-old Adama D.

"When she returns home, I must fetch enough water to wash the fish, and this situation was a burden on me. Now, I can easily fetch water. I really appreciate [it] and say thanks."

Adama, on the left in the red shirt, cups water in her hands.

"The water well in my community is helping me to go to school early," Adama continued. "Before, I [would] go to school late, and I was having issues with my teachers because I [had to] fetch water before going to school. I struggled [a] lot to access water in my village. Now, I will fetch water easily."

"I am happy for such [a] project in my community," said 45-year-old farmer, Salamatu Turay.

Salamatu drinks water at the well.

"Having good water in my village is a blessing I appreciate. Before, I was experiencing water problems, but now I have access to safe drinking water. No more water crisis. I will no longer be walking far distances to access water because there is [a] good water well in my community."

Salamatu and Adama (center) celebrate with their fellow community members.

"Now, this water well will help me achieve my daily activities," Salamatu continued.

"I usually assist [with] childbirth in the community and it needs enough water. Before, it was difficult to access water in this community, but now I can accomplish my tasks. I will take great care of the water well and monitor it [to] make sure the community people abide by the rules and regulations."

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, Salamatu and Adama 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 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.

Bailing the dirty water from the well.

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. On each of the three days, more than one representative from each household attended the training, demonstrating Sangoya Community's commitment to change.

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 training was so important to me because I know the differences between the good and bad hygiene practices that I was doing unknowingly," said 45-year-old farmer, Mbalu Kanyu.

"This training has helped me gain new knowledge on personal hygiene, especially open defecation, which is frequently practiced in this community. Now I know that mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as malaria. Now I know how to prevent from being infected [by] such diseases, especially malaria, which is common in this community."

"I am aware that typhoid can [be] acquired through contaminated foods, cockroaches, and water with feces of an infected person. HIV/AIDS cannot be only transmitted through sexual intercourse, but also can [be] transmitted from an infected person [through] sharp objects like razor blades, needles, syringes, and knives used by more than one person."

One of the most notable topics during the training was open defecation - when people defecate anywhere within a community rather than in a toilet or latrine. While this discussion was happening, one of the children in attendance went behind the training venue to do just that.

When people pointed it out, the child's mother was embarrassed and said it would be too difficult to force her small children to always go to a latrine. Facilitators suggested having children use a portable bucket or stool that a parent can then empty into their family's latrine, and the mother agreed that that sounded doable.

Mosquito net use is demonstrated.

Another topic that community members found particularly enlightening was malaria and elephantiasis, which no one in Sangoya knew are transmitted through infected mosquito bites. At first, community members argued that witchcraft was the cause of such illnesses, but one of the community elders urged his fellow community members to listen, especially given how the community had mistreated those who had become infected with these diseases in the past. Facilitators urged community members with mosquito nets to use them properly and reminded everyone to eradicate possible places where mosquitos can breed.

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our partners, 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 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. We have an ongoing commitment to walk with each community, cooperatively problem-solving when they face challenges of any kind: with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. With all these components together, we strive to ensure 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!

04/12/2022: Sangoya Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Sangoya 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


Project Sponsor - Berkshire Blanket