Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 167 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/30/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The water scarcity in this part of Komrabai is causing its 167 people to suffer daily.

"There is only one protected dug well with [a] hand pump in this community," said field officer Philip James Allieu. "The water well is not sustainable. It dries from April to May every year. Sometimes, the water becomes filthy when it is about to dry [up]. The pump on the well is old, therefore, [it] cannot bear the pressure from the community. The pump frequently breaks down because of the high demand of water from the community people."

"I am not happy about the condition of water in this community. I use water every day to drink, bathe, prepare food, and to launder clothes. All those activities can be only completed with the use of enough water," said 25-year-old farmer Kadiatu Kamara (shown above).

When the well that needs to be rehabilitated (pictured below) is not functioning or is too overcrowded for community members to access, they resort to collecting water from the local stream.

"The water well in this community is not providing the amount of water I need to use every day. This always causes me a burden of going to fetch water from the stream. I cannot fetch enough water from the stream because of the long distance and the low amount of water," said Kadiatu, at the stream below.

Because of the amount of time it takes for Kadiatu to collect and carry water, she simply runs out of time to meet her other obligations.

"My children are too young to fetch me water," said Kadiatu. "I am the only one fetching enough water for my family. Doing other domestic activities is also my responsibility as a married woman. I also work in my farm every day before coming to the house to fetch water and prepare food for my family. I need more time to do all the daily activities. The time I am spending on fetching water is more than the time I need to complete the other activities. Sometimes, I could not finish all that I wanted to complete because of the shortage in water."

Not only is it difficult to collect sufficient water to meet her needs, but what she does manage to collect leaves her concerned because she knows it is not safe to consume.

"Sometimes, I could not be happy when I am drinking water from the stream because I know it is not clean and the water is always open [to contamination]," she said. "Any animal can step into it to drink. I always feel bad when I think about that. The difficulties that I have on accessing water [are] becoming more worrying, especially during [the] dry season. That is the moment the water well in this community gets dry, and the stream gets low in water," concluded Kadiatu.

"The shortage in water in this community is causing the people to drink from the stream that is not safe. The community [has] reported...experiencing typhoid fever and diarrhea," said field officer Phillip.

14-year-old Adamsay has the burden of collecting enough water for her and her family to use. This means every day, she must collect water before school and again in the evening. The task is leaving her exhausted, with little energy for anything else.

"My daily engagement with domestic activities is too much. I have less time to rest or do my school assignments at home. Trekking from here to my school is not easy because of the long distance," said Adamsay.

She concluded: "If this water well here is working throughout [the year], it will always be easier to fetch enough water to do all other domestic activities. I will be happy if that happens. My worries will also be minimized."

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

April, 2024: Komrabai Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point in the Komrabai Community, 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 members celebrate the completed well.

"I am glad today because I have access to safe water, and when I drink this water, it will impact my life in such a way that I will not contract water-related illness anymore. I will not be walking a long distance anymore. Before, I was scared [of] going to the swamp alone, but all this has been ended today. Before, I found it hard to carry out my domestic tasks like preparing food, laundry, and bathing. All [of] these could not be done, but with this water point, I will do these completely. I will not be going to the swamp again. Today, I want to say thanks to God Almighty and the donors for providing this water well for us in the community," said 26-year-old farmer Kadiatu Kamara.

Kadiatu celebrating clean water.

"Today is a day that I will not forget in my life. Our water well is now in good order, and it is safe for drinking. Before, it was very difficult for me to access safe water to drink. Especially the swamp water, and sometimes, when I drank this water, I experienced diarrhea. With the help of this water well, I will not get such illnesses. Also, I will not be walking a long distance to access water. The pressure I received on fetching at home is now reduced," said 16-year-old Adamsay.

Adamsay celebrating!

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 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 Adamsay 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 set up the drill. 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 15 meters with water at 6.9 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.

Building the well pad.

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.

Installing the well 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!

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.

Learning about proper handwashing.

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.

Learning about a tippy tap handwashing station.

The participants found the session on proper dental hygiene interesting. They were surprised to learn the causes of tooth decay and the importance of protecting their toothbrushes from contamination by household pests like flies, cockroaches, lizards, etc.

Learning about proper hygiene practices.

"The training was valuable to me, and it will impact my life and my family. During the training, I learned that proper handwashing is necessary. Especially after using the toilet, when I want to eat, and when I am cooking. I came to realize that washing my hands with soap and water will help me stay safe and prevent me and my family from sickness if only [I] follow the method which we learned during the training. Before, I used to use the toilet without washing my hands. I thought it was the right way to do it not knowing that I was doing bad practices. With the help of this training, starting today, I will continue to practice what I learned," said Kadiatu (quoted earlier).


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!

February, 2024: Komrabai Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Komrabai 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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