Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 499 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/04/2024

Project Features

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The community well in Madina has been broken for quite a while. The only working water source is privately owned, and now that it has begun to yield less water, the owners are restricting access to the well—despite the monthly fees they have paid for the privilege of using it.

"The people taking care of the well put on a bad attitude," said 27-year-old trader and mother Kadiatu Kanu (shown in the photo below). "At times, they hold on to the keys and retain them from us. I must beg them to have access to the key so that I can fetch one jerrycan of water. The water is not even safe for domestic use, especially drinking."

"I normally [pay] 5,000 Leones per month, and it is necessary to come and clean the well surroundings," Kadiatu explained. "The owner of the water source decides the amount you can fetch for a day. But there are times I will not be able to fetch water."

Not having enough water affects every aspect of Kadiatu's life.

"This situation affects me because I need [a] lot of water to wash the napkins (diapers) of my child," Kadiatu explained. "Having less water will make it hard for me to do this work. We all know the difficulties to take care of a child."

It also hurts Kadiatu's ability to make money. All her morning chores require water, but the time to fetch water has become longer and longer as she has to travel farther for it or fight others in long lines. By the time she gets out to sell her wares, she is always late, and many of her customers will already be at their businesses or farms.

"I am living with an extended family and more water is needed to cook and wash the cooking utensils like pots, dishes, mortar, and pestle," Kadiatu said.

As it is often the women and children who are most often sent to fetch water, it's women like Kadiatu and girls like Mariatu who suffer most when a community lacks enough water.

"As a student, there are so many challenges I face in relation to water," said 15-year-old Mariatu S (carrying water from the private well in the photo above).

"Early in the morning, I must go to [the well owners'] compound to fetch water from the protected hand-dug well. The well will be crowded with people, especially in the morning hours. The long waiting time is one of the challenges I usually face when fetching water."

"I need water in the morning to help with things that deal with water, such as boiling water for my grandmother to take her bath before I leave for school," Mariatu continued.

"After I return to the house from school, immediately I must fetch water to cook and launder my siblings' uniforms. I must spend more time at the water source, and it could be difficult to make two trips a day because mostly the well is always overcrowded. This must cause me not to achieve these domestic activities on time, and I [don't] have enough time to rest and read my lesson notes."

With the community's well rehabilitated, water-fetchers will no longer be beholden to private landowners to provide such a necessary resource every day. They will have more time and freedom to accomplish their tasks, and hopefully more happiness and energy will flourish as well.

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

December, 2022: Madina Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

"As an elder in this community, it is a blessing for my community which has been suffering for a while now from lack of safe drinking water. I am a trader, selling cooking condiments, and trust me, I have been going to the market late because in the morning, I must wait for a long time for my turn to reach so I can have access to fetch my own water," said Kadiatu Kamara.

Kadiatu pours water.

Kadiatu continued, " I will make sure I monitor the water user committee to ensure proper management of the water project. I know I can’t have time to come for the cleaning of the water point, but I will try to financially support or provide food [for] those that will be able to do the work so the water point will always be clean."

"As a pupil and student in this community, I am very happy for this water project. Now I can boast of our community having quality and safe drinking water. Every morning I must walk and spend more than an hour fetching water. I am the only kid at home, and for me to fill all the water containers at home is not an easy task, and sometimes [it] causes me to go late to school. Sometimes I don’t have water to even wash for school, and for me to do my laundry, I have to use the swamp water," said 15-year-old Mariatu S.

Mariatu fills a container with clean water.

"With the water point at our doorstep [this] will enable me to do domestic activities dealing with water directly on time. And to prepare to go to school on time," concluded Mariatu.

We held a dedication ceremony to 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, Kadiatu and Mariatu made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

"Even though it was raining, the turnout for the dedication was more than encouraging. Women and children beat rubber drums, and some clapped their hands to match up with the singers, so the ceremony was graceful. The people sang traditional songs but later switched to religious ones such as "Cast Your Burden on Jesus" and other songs. The people were so happy because they suffered greatly from the water crisis," shared field officer Moses Kebbie.

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 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.

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.

Learning about a tippy tap handwashing station.

The most memorable topic was healthy vs. unhealthy communities. It really captured the attention of the participants as an area of concern because they wanted to know how one community can be clean and decent to live in and another community is filthy. The facilitator explained what proper care of a community entails. One of the participants, Mabinty Karabo, shared about an unhealthy community she had once visited when visiting one of her family members. She explained what she witnessed and that, similarly, their community is unhealthy and very dangerous since most of the sickness they encounter is because they do not clean their environment.

Kadiatu, quoted earlier, said, "Yes, the training was valuable to me because I had more knowledge of cleanliness. At first, I was doing things that I didn't know were bad, but through your intervention, these three days of hygiene and sanitation training have helped me greatly."

She continued, "Especially in hand washing, especially after using the latrine. Before your visit to my community, I normally [would] visit the toilet without washing my hands. At the same time, I prepare food for my family, myself, and my children, who get sick most often. From now on, I will make sure I follow all the things you have told me concerning my health and how to take care of my environment."


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!

October, 2022: Madina Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Madina 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: Business is Flourishing!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Madina Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Madina Community 3 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!

Mariatu Bangura, 22, recalled what life was like in the Madina Community before her community's well was rehabilitated last year.

"I'm a trader. Before, I had to fetch water at the wharf before I could prepare the cooked food [that] I sell around the community. Sometimes, I would not make enough sales because, by the time I could fetch water to prepare the food, most of my customers would have eaten. Also, to take care of my daughter was a big problem. It was difficult to launder and bathe on time because of the constraints of fetching water," Mariatu shared.

Collecting water now steals less of Mariatu's and the other community member's precious time.

Community members use clean water to prepare cassava leaf sauce.

"Since we got this well in the community, I could prepare my food on time, have enough sales, and [have] saved money to take care of myself with my daughter. No more struggling for safe and clean water because the well is close to our home," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the well has made a difference for Mariatu, giving her the resources to effectively provide for her daughter while keeping her business thriving.

"I have achieved cooking [with] and drinking safe and clean water. Also, my customers now drink clean water. Thank you for providing us with safe and clean drinking water," Mariatu expressed.


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 Madina Community 3 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 Madina Community 3 – 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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