Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 93 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Climate change and overuse have crippled Forikolo Community's hand-dug well. When the well inevitably runs out of water in the driest months of the year, this sends Forikolo's 93 people out to a nearby stream to fill their water containers. During the remainder of the year, they are left waiting in lines at the overcrowded well. Needless to say, neither water source serves the community's needs well.

As a result, everything in the community runs late or goes undone. Without adequate water, it's hard to accomplish simple tasks like laundry, washing dishes, or bathing.

"The shortage [of] water in this community is affecting my daily activities," said 45-year-old farmer Fatmata Conteh (pictured on the left).

"The well with the pump is the source where everyone rushes to fetch water in this community. It is difficult for my children and I to fetch enough water in this house, especially in the morning before they leave the house for school. Sometimes, it could be hard for me to get enough water in this house to do all my daily activities on time."

16-year-old Alusine S. (pictured on the right) fetches water for his family twice a day, before and after school, and yet he dreads it the most out of any of his chores. "That is the most difficult moment that I am always worried about, even when I am in school. I think about the quarrels at the pump when there are lots of people waiting to fetch water, and the long distance to the stream to fetch water. It is not easy sometimes to fetch water [in] large quantities from the well in this community or the stream."

No matter how long it takes, most people would rather wait in line at the pump than go to the stream. The stream is roughly a 30-minute walk from Forikolo through a wild and bushy area where snakes and scorpions have been known to lurk. This explains why the community's children fear fetching water there.

"It is harder to fetch water from the stream because the road is far and challenging," Fatmata explained. "It is not easy to do a single trip of water from the stream. This is one of the reasons that my house would be empty of water. My children become angry when I tell them to fetch water from the stream, because it is not an easy task. They would also be frightened to go to the stream alone, except they wait for other people who would be going to the stream to fetch water at the same time. This would cause a delay on the use of water at that moment. Life is becoming more difficult for me in this community when access to water is a challenge."

Although the community members have become used to drinking the stream's water when they have no other choice, it is likely taking a toll on their health. People do laundry and bathe at the stream so they won't have to haul containers of water back to their homes. Domestic and wild animals drink and defecate on the shores. And the fact that they delay tasks like washing dishes, bathing, and cleaning means that they are even more likely to fall ill from preventable diseases.

Reliable water will help Forikolo's people stay healthy, regain lost time, and accomplish everything they need to throughout the day.

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

February, 2024: Forikolo Community Well Rehabilitated!

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

16-year-old Gassimu S. shared his excitement about the chance to achieve his dreams. "To complete my education was my biggest dream, which is why [I] am so happy for this water point in my community. I have suffered a lot because of the water crisis. I must go to the stream every day to fetch water before going to school and after I return from school. This has been a burden to me all this while. This has made me not to concentrate on my academic work. With this water point, I now have time to study and have enough rest on weekends. I want to take my time to say a big thank you."

Gassimu at the newly rehabilitated well.

"This water point is a motivation for me to forward my education because [there's] no more going to the stream early in the morning. Especially during the dry season when the well dried, we, the children, [became] water bouncers every day. If we failed to fetch water at home, we would face serious punishment from our parents. You are our savior; thanks for saving me from all the punishment I usually face in terms of water constraints. I will now get good grades this next academic year," Gassimu continued.

45-year-old Fatmata Conteh shared, "I usually go to my farm late because of the water constraints we always face in our community. Sometimes, the number of jerrycans at the well will be numerous. Therefore, some of us will prefer to go to the stream instead of waiting at the pump. I am glad that we now have a water point in our community. As a result, all our plans will now come to pass."

"This water point now helps me to produce enough palm oil, [and] my palm nut will not get spoiled at the bush anymore. I will harvest plenty of crops and make more money, which I will use to buy more seeds for the next farming year. Also, our children will have time to read their books and go to school early. Our children will no longer go to school late because of the water crisis. They will now be punctual at school because they have a pump at their doorstep," continued Fatmata.

"As a mother, I am so happy for this water point that will never get dried. We now have water anytime: dry season or rainy season, whenever water is available," Fatmata said.

Fatmata celebrating the well.

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 Ministry of Water Resources and the Port Loko District Council were present. 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, Gassimu 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.

Drilling begins!

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 19 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.

The well rehabilitation is complete!

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.

Handwash training.

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.

We invited a nurse from the local clinic to help explain some health-related training topics. A topic that made a significant impact on the community was handwashing and the prevention of disease. She also shared about Sierra Leone's free vaccination program for children under five. This training was a success!

Disease transmission lesson.

Fatmata shared her experience in the training. "I am glad to be part of these three days of hygiene and sanitation training. Indeed, this training is valuable to me as a parent. Since I was able to learn how to prevent myself and my children from sickness. Also, the tippy tap is a new handwashing station to me. This is my first time to see and use it. This reminds me [of] the time of Ebola and Coronavirus. You also encourage us to always wash our hands after using the toilet with soap and clean water. This alone will prevent us from a lot of sicknesses."

Water User Committee

"In the same way, the other important lesson I have learned from the training is the importance of visiting the hospital when we get sick. The nurse is saying the truth that most of us are in the habit of using herbs to treat malaria instead of going to the health facilities for proper checkups. Therefore, I will ensure I practice what I have learned from this training," she continued.


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: Forikolo Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Forikolo 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!


Project Sponsor - TGB Caring with Crypto
8 individual donor(s)