Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 337 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

In 2022, the well in Mathen failed to yield water from March through June. Each year, the well's dry period extends further as climate change lowers the region's water table. This leaves the water-fetchers of the community battling treacherous terrain multiple times a day in search of water at the local swamp.

Using water from the swamp is also detrimental to the community members' health. When they bathe with it, they develop skin rashes. They must also launder their clothes on the shores of the water source, which fills the pool with suds. The swamp is open to contamination from human, animal, and environmental factors. Drinking the water infects them with diarrheal diseases that they must spend precious money to treat.

For 33-year-old Hawa (pictured above on the path home from the swamp), this situation is devastating. As a mother and soap trader, the water crisis robs her of time, energy, and money every day.

"I produce local soap to sell for my living, and my husband is not staying with me," Hawa explained. "He only sends me an amount of money every month for my living with my four children. I must wake up early morning to get water from the swamp at [a] far distance, and I find it hard to make [multiple] trips a day, unless I must involve my children to assist me [to] collect water. I cannot produce enough soap at this time because of the water challenges in my village."

And even when Mathen's well (pictured above covered by logs) is working, it is only one water source serving a congested community. People must line up and wait for their turn to fetch water during peak collection times, which wreaks havoc on people's schedules and well-being.

"The only well in the community gets overcrowded in the morning hours and gets dry or provides [a] low quantity of water," Hawa said. "Most people need water and use it for domestic activities. I need enough water to prepare the soap. As a result, this affects me greatly. At times I must hire [a] motorbike to transport the water containers, which also affects my saving from the business that I should use for my welfare. I think if the water well in my village is rehabilitated, it will help me greatly."

"I must fetch water very early in the morning before going to school," said 14-year-old Aminata S, shown below concentrating on her journey home.

"I am the [eldest] child in my family, so I am responsible to fetch water at home," Aminata continued. "My mother is a trader. She walks in different communities to trade for our living and welfare and prepare food for the house. When my mother is not around, I have to fetch water for cooking, drinking, and laundering clothes. This causes delays for me to do [my] domestic activities on time. Because of the water problem in my community, I [do] not have enough time to rest and also to read my lesson notes because, most often, I [am] engaged in fetching water. I will be grateful if the water source gets rehabilitated."

Rehabilitating Mathen's well will hopefully improve people's health as well as their livelihoods. And with water close at hand, their schedules and tasks should be simpler to manage.

Note: Our proposed water point can only serve 300 people per day. We are working with the community to identify other water solutions that will ensure all 337 people in the community have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

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: Mathen Community Well Rehabilitated!

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

The community sings in celebration.

"Before I suffered to access water before going to school. I must sweep the compound, and after that, I collected my rubber bucket and [went] to the stream. Sometimes, I met the water dirty because people [had] already fetched water, so I [had to] wait for minutes before I could fetch clean water. Sometimes, I was late for school and missed out on teaching," said 14-year-old Aminata S.

She continued, "The water I used to drink is swamp water, and this water was open to contamination. It was far from my house, and this caused me to walk long distances. After making more trips, I got tired, and I felt pain all over my body. Today, with the help of this water well, I will not be late for school [or] walk long distances. Before, I usually complained about water-related illnesses. With the help of this safe drinking water, when I drink such water, I will not get waterborne illnesses," said 14-year-old Aminata Sesay.

Aminata S.

"Today, I am happy to have access to safe water, and when I drink this water, it contributes to sound health. I will not contract waterborne illnesses anymore. It is close to my house, so I would not be walking long distances anymore. I want to say thanks to you for providing safe and sustainable drinking water in my community," said 33-year-old trader Hannah Kamara.

"Now, with the help of this water point, I will be able to complete my daily activities like preparing food quickly for my family, fetching drinking water, fetching bathing water, laundering, etc. Again, I say thanks to the donors and the entire organization," exclaimed Hannah.

Hannah Kamara.

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 Resource and 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, Aminata and Hannah 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 15 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 is rehabilitated!

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, 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.


Hannah found the training to be very engaging. When asked if the training held anything valuable, she responded enthusiastically, "Yes!"

She said, "The training was valuable to me. I was able to learn about good and bad hygiene. This training helped me learn things that I was never aware of about hygiene, such as clean teeth, the importance of handwashing techniques, cleaning your environment, etc.. During this lesson, I paid maximum attention because I had been going through a toothache, but I did not know the cause of the infection until today."

Hannah continued, "I also learned about malaria; despite my awareness of the disease, I did not know the prevention method of malaria until this training. Although I got a bed net supplied at Mathen MCHP (Maternal Child Health Post), I still used the bed net on my garden farm. Now, I have learned the importance of a bed net and must use it for its intended purpose. Also, my children will sleep under a mosquito net frequently. I will use this opportunity to teach others about hygiene to improve sanitation. I will not allow such a habit to happen again."


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: Mathen Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Mathen 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!


5 individual donor(s)