Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 156 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Every year from February to May, Amaraya's well dries from seasonality and overuse. During this time, the 156 community members are left scooping up containers of water from the local swamp. This negatively impacts everyone in the community, but especially those who use water for their livelihoods, like 41-year-old palm oil producer Kadiatu Kamara.

"The water situation is affecting me as a trader," said Kadiatu (shown in the photo below carrying water). "I process and sell palm oil to make a living, and processing palm oil requires a lot of water. It is a hard task, but if water is available, the work will be done faster. The problem I face now is the main water source is presently dry, which is a seasonal pattern. Every dry season, the water source dries out."

"This increases the burden for me because I must fetch water for our use at home and then fetch extra water to process the palm kernels into palm oil," Kadiatu continued. "Imagine having the responsibility of cooking every day for an extended family. Water is needed to do many domestic tasks, but due to the walking distance and frequent overcrowding at [our] alternate water source, activities at home [are] greatly affected."

The community's well was built in 1987, so it's no wonder that fluctuations in the region's water table have caused the well to run dry. The only wonder is that Amaraya's people have been able to keep up with everyday tasks for as long as they have using unsafe water from an open source—and the local swamp, too, has begun to turn to mud in the long periods between bursts of rainfall due to overuse. This leaves community members worried about what they will do if both of their available water sources dry up entirely.

"The water situation is delaying the work I normally do at home," said 13-year-old Mariama (shown below collecting water from the swamp).

"I am the eldest child in my family and my siblings are under the age of seven. I have no one to help me to fetch water for my parents. When the well had water, I was able to fetch water without walking a far distance because the well is close to our house. Since it dried out, I find it very difficult to fetch water from the swamp. The swamp source is far from our [house] and most times, [it] is crowded with people also fetching water, especially in the morning hours," Mariama said.

"The delay in fetching water from the swamp slows the work I must do every day, such as washing dishes, cleaning the bath shelter, and fetching drinking water," Mariama continued. "On Saturdays, the competition at the swamp water source is high. I normally use that opportunity to [do laundry] at the swamp. As time goes on, the water in the swamp changes color. This makes it difficult for me to fetch drinking water when returning home. There are times the water at the swamp will be less due to [the] large number of water users at this water point."

Unfortunately, the swamp water is undeniably dangerous for human consumption. Community members like Mariama use the banks of the swamp to do domestic activities like laundering clothes, bathing, and farming. The water is cloudy in color, and the majority of those who drink it complain of stomach pain, diarrhea, and typhoid. The swamp is also a frequent drinking point for animals.

A rehabilitated well will allow Amaraya's people to drink safe water from a reliable source, freeing up time and rejuvenating their health.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community’s input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We’ll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Project Updates

March, 2024: Amaraya Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

Community celebration of clean water!

"I'm happy to have access to safe drinking water in my community today. I have been suffering for so long, especially during the dry season. My children and I must walk long distances to fetch water from the swamp. The water situation always affects my business because I go out with my goods late. Sometimes I feel discouraged to stay in the community. The suffering for water is too much for me," shared 41-year-old trader Kadiatu Kamara

Kadiatu (green shirt) celebrates the rehabilitated well.

"But now that I have this water point in my community, all my struggle for water is over. My children will now go to school on time. I will now produce enough palm oil and make enough money because I have water in my community. No more going to the swamp to fetch water. Thank you, Mariatu's Hope and The Water Project, for giving me safe drinking water in my community," she continued.

Children were just as excited about the rehabilitated well!

13-year-old Mariama has longed for easy access to clean water as she is the eldest daughter in her home, so water is her responsibility. She shared, "Access to safe drinking in my community is always my prayer, and God has answered my prayer."

"I'm the grown-up female child in the house. I must wake up very early in the morning to start doing my domestic work. I first swept the compound and then [was] ready to go to the swamp to fetch water for the house. The distance from my community to the swamp is far. I must fill all the water cans before I leave the house to go to school. I walk two and [a] half miles from my community to the school every day. I always go to school late and face punishment from my teachers," Mariama continued.

Mariama (yellow shirt, center) dances with joy.

Mariama continued, "Now that I have water at my doorstep, my educational plan will now come to pass. I have total concentration on my studies because I will no longer go to the swamp to fetch water. No more going to school late and facing punishment from my teachers. [I] am now free from drinking contaminated water, [and] wash[ing] with contaminated water. In [the] past, even washing my school uniforms was a big problem for me because of water constraints. But all my sufferings are over from now on. I will wash my school uniform and prepare for school the next day. Thank you for giving me hope towards my education."

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 Ministry of Water Resources and the Port Loko District Council. 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 Mariama made statements on their community's behalf. There was a grand celebration during the dedication ceremony; everyone was dancing and singing songs from their local language, Susu.

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 12 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.

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.

Installing the pump.

At last, we installed the pump and conducted a water quality test. The test results showed that this was clean water fit for drinking!

Rehabilitation is successful!

New Knowledge

Before conducting 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. The team also wrote a letter of invitation to the community health worker, the Chiefdom health inspector, and the Ward Councilor.

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, teen pregnancy, worms and parasites, proper dental hygiene, menstrual hygiene, proper care of the well's pump, keeping the water clean, the cost recovery system, the importance of using dish racks and clotheslines, the importance of toilets, keeping latrines clean, balanced diets, the diarrhea doll, and disease transmission and prevention, COVID-19, Ebola, Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS.

One lesson that impacted the community was the topic of worms and parasites. An attendee by the name of Osman Sumah shared his own harrowing experience with his daughter. "At one time, my daughter was sick and was having a protruding stomach. Some of the neighboring people thought it was a sign of good living, failing to realize that the child was infected with worms. [At the same time], others accused her [of being] a witch. The only way for her to be free from this situation is to confess. This made [us] so confused. As a result, they urged us to go to Freetown at Ola During Hospital. They conducted a test on her. Based on the result from the laboratory, it was clear that she was suffering from worm infestation. They were able to administer certain treatments to her. She gradually responded to treatment from the drugs she received. Within the shortest possible time, she was able to recover. When she finally returned to the village, the other community members were surprised that she looked very healthy."

Lesson on the dangers of open defecation.

Osman's experience was very touching and informative for the rest of the community. With this new knowledge, they can more easily prevent the spread of disease and identify when family members require medical attention.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we're working toward complete coverage. That means 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, 2024: Amaraya Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Amaraya Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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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77 individual donor(s)