Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 90 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/15/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

For the 90 people in this section of the large town of Rotifunk, finding a water source is never easy. The main well goes dry at several points throughout the year, leaving the people of this urban area with no option but to wander through the city until they find a working well or purchase plastic packets of water, whether or not they have the funds to spare.

While there are two other wells in the community, they are owned by a school and a church and locked outside hours of operation. This means that those with jobs can't make much use of them.

"Access to water in this community is very difficult for me," said 30-year-old teacher Marian Sesay (shown in the photo below carrying water). "I need water to prepare breakfast, clean the house, and to drink. It is not easy to fetch water in the morning to do all my domestic work before going to work."

"Because of the limited water sources in this community, there is always overcrowding at the pump where I fetch water every day," Marian continued. "I must join the queue at the water well before I can reach the pump to fetch water. This requires time, and I have limited time to complete [everything in] my morning schedule. I go to work late, and sometimes I [will] not complete my activities in the morning before going to work."

"I go in search of water after work to cook and wash the dirty uniforms of my kids. This is also another challenge. The water well could be locked, and I need to wait for the time it could be opened before I can go to fetch water. This also delays my time to cook and wash my kids' school uniforms. It is very unpleasant for me to spend a night with no water in the house to use. I have been experiencing a situation like this, and it affects me greatly."

12-year-old Edison (pictured above carrying water) fetches water at least twice a day for his household, both before and after school. "It's sometimes difficult for me to fetch water early because people that are older than me could bully me [so that they can] fetch water before me, even though I arrived at the water well before [them]."

"It is not easy because I sometimes [don't] fetch enough water," Edison continued. "I feel pain in my body when I pump water from the well and carry water on my head every day to the house. This sometimes will leave me tired and not able to do more work."

With a reliable, rehabilitated well paired with other water sources sprouting up within the community of Rotifunk, there will no longer be long queues at the water points. People in Rotifunk won't struggle to complete their daily tasks, and life will begin to 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

January, 2023: Rotifunk Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"I am grateful for this water well," said 33-year-old Marian Sesay, who we interviewed when we first visited Rotifunk Community. "I want to thank [you] for constructing this water well for us in this community. Before this time, I normally walked a long distance to fetch water. Due to the distance, I was always unable to fetch enough water for my domestic use. Also, I was unable to prepare food on time due to the water crisis."

"This water well will help me to solve all the problems of water I faced during the previous years," Marian continued. "From now onwards, I will be able to go to school on time, because there is a water well in our community that provides sufficient water for me. Also, there will be pure and safe drinking water in this community. There will also be sufficient water for my household's use. So, therefore, this water well will play a significant role in this community and in our various households. I am safe from waterborne diseases because this water well will provide safe and pure drinking water for me. I, therefore, thank [you] for making me be able to achieve these goals. I will forever be grateful for this water well. Thank you."

"I thank [you] for rehabilitating this water well in this community," said 12-year-old Edison, who we also interviewed during our first visit to Rotifunk. "Before this time, I was always late to go to school, because there is no water well in this community. That was why my class teacher always flogged me because it had been a habit of going to school late. Also, due to the lack of sufficient water in the community, I was unable to get the correct quantity of water I need to bathe before going to school. I am happy today because the newly constructed water well will play a key role in my academic performance. It will help me to go to school early in the morning and on time. So, therefore, I will be able to perform well in my academic activities. My teacher will no longer flog me because there is a water well in this community that provides sufficient water for me and my family."

Edison collects water at the rehabilitated well.

"As a student, I will have enough time to study when I return home," Edison continued. "I will no longer go out of the community to fetch water. Besides, the water well is close to my house. Therefore, I will have enough time to fetch water as much as I can. After fetching the quantity of water I need, there will still be enough time to study before going to bed."

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, Marian and Edison 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 18 meters with water at eight 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.

Bailing dirty water.

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.

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.

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.

Training participants look over the disease transmission stages.

The most notable topic was disease transmission, during which we hand out posters demonstrating a few ways hygiene-related illnesses can pass from one person to another. At the end of the exercise, one woman shared a story with the rest of the participants. In her household, there was no latrine or handwashing station. So one day, her baby became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. When she took him to the clinic, the medical staff asked about the woman's hygiene and sanitation situation at home. They told her to construct a covered latrine in her compound and to always wash her hands after she used it, especially if she would soon after be handling her baby. She agreed and said that her baby has been healthy ever since following those instructions.

"The three days' training has really changed my notion about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation," said Marian Sesay (quoted earlier). "During the training, I was able to figure out three main issues that I was not really practicing. I was not well grounded that when diarrhea catches a person, I must administer Oral Rehydration Solution to that person, but now that I have been taught how to treat it, I will expand the idea to other people so many lives will be saved. I have also understood the importance of the tippy tap (handwashing station). I have been using the latrine without proper handwashing, but now that I have been taught about it, I will start practicing it and even extend it to everybody in my household."


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!

November, 2022: Rotifunk Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Rotifunk 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: "I'm grateful to all those who made it possible."

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Rotifunk Community 7.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Rotifunk Community 7 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 and pump caretaker Adama Bah, 37, recalled what life was like in the Rotifunk Community before her community's well was rehabilitated last year.

"I used to wake up very early to fetch water for use at home. This was because the well in the community was congested with a lot of people in the morning hours. Even though I woke up early, it was hard to fetch water on time. This made me delay doing my work at home. It was not easy for me," said Adama.

"Cooking and laundering were the most difficult things for me to do. Now, with this water well, I am able to do both works easily. This alone reduces [the] amount of energy I utilize [unlike] before when I used [all of my energy] to go in search of water," continued Adama.

Collecting water is now much quicker and simpler for Adama and the other community members in Rotifunk.

"Today, with this water well, I am able to do a lot of things at home and also have more time to pay attention to my trade. Thank God for that. I'm grateful to all those who made it possible," concluded Adama.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Adama.

Adama collecting water from the protected well.

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 Rotifunk Community 7 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 Rotifunk Community 7 – 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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