Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 666 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/08/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Access to sufficient, safe water is a year-round problem for the 635 students and 31 staff of St. Augustine Jr. Secondary School in Tintafor. Students and staff would love to employ their school motto (seen below), "You reap what you sow," but the current water scarcity issues make it impossible because they spend all their energy collecting water.

"I hate being at this school throughout the day without getting water to drink," said 12-year-old student Jamestina K (seen below). "The tap is sometimes not providing water for us. That is why it would be difficult for me to get drinking water at school."

"It is difficult to stay at this school throughout the day without the effective use of water," said 38-year-old teacher Anthony Alieu Bah (shown below teaching). "The number of pupils and staff of this school is more than the quantity of water available to use every day. This causes [students to spend] more time going out in search of drinking water [and] the remaining time would not be enough for me to teach. The pupils are exceedingly difficult to oversee, [and they have difficulty paying] attention in class when there is not enough water for them to drink or use."

There is a hand-dug well on the school campus, but it is not functioning correctly and does not offer much water. The dry season is incredibly challenging because the water level falls so low that the little water available has an off-putting color and odor.

Since the well cannot provide enough usable water, the students have only a few less-than-ideal alternatives. They can carry water with them to school, which is exhausting; they can purchase water from vendors, which most cannot afford; or they can try to collect water from another well located off the school campus at the agricultural center. This well provides water for both the agricultural center and a poultry farm, so it is overtaxed and unable to provide enough water to meet the additional needs of the school. Trips to this well waste the pupils' time. They end up standing in long lines without water to show for it.

"I sometimes bring bottles of drinking water to school from my house. It is not enough to serve me throughout the day. It would finish during lunch after I had completed eating my food. I could only get water from the food vendors when I buy food from them to eat," continued Jamestina (shown above carrying water from the alternative well).

"When the water shortage gets intense during the dry season, the only way that I could get [water] to drink at this school is to buy a bundle of packet water from the community vendors to drink," said Mr. Bah.

When students cannot find water on the school campus, they will sadly drink any water they find. Of course, this increases their risk of contracting waterborne illnesses. When they inevitably contract typhoid, worms, or other water-related illnesses, they suffer unnecessarily and lose even more class time.

The lack of water access not only reduces available drinking water, keeping students thirsty and out of class, but also affects the school's overall sanitation and hygiene, making essential functions like using the latrines and washing hands very challenging.

"I cannot use the latrine without enough water. I prefer to wait 'til I go home. Sometimes it is not easy for me to wait, [as] I would be urgent to use the school latrine. The condition would not be good, but I have no option. There is also not enough water to use at the handwashing facility. This prevents me from washing my hands effectively," concluded Jamestina.

The repairs needed to rehabilitate the school's well (shown above) should make plenty of water available year-round for all of the school's needs. It will give students easy, quick access so they can have plenty to drink, properly maintain their hygiene and get back to class so they can focus on learning.

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

March, 2023: St. Augustine Jr. Secondary School Well Rehabilitation Complete!

We are excited to share that a safe, reliable water point at St. Augustine Jr. Secondary School in Sierra Leone is now providing clean water to students and neighboring community members! We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training, which focused on healthy practices such as handwashing and using latrines.

"I want to thank God Almighty, [and you] for rehabilitating our school water well. We had been crying for sufficient water in this school for some time now," said 12 year old Jamestina K. "Today, I have been able to achieve a goal of getting safe and pure drinking water. I will be able to stay in class without going out. This goal is important because it [will] help me to improve in my academic performance. Thank you."

Jamestina splashing water at the new well.

"As a teacher of this noble school, I am excited about the rehabilitation of the water well in this school. Before this time, there is less water in the school [so] we cannot satisfy our day to day activities in the school," said 38 year old teacher Anthony Bah.

Anthony Bah splashing water.

"With the newly rehabilitated well, I will be able to achieve several goals that will help me in the future," said Anthony. "From today onwards, we will rely on this water source to provide safe and drinking water for us, because the water is pure and safe and will it not give us water borne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and dysentery. Before this time, some of the pupils may boycott classes because of water shortages in the school main campus. I will no longer take those excuses because there is sufficient water in the school compound that is close to my class."

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, the Port Loko District Council and the local 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, Jamestina and Anthony 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.

Finally, we lined up the drill rods and started to drill! We reached a final depth of 22 meters with water at 14 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.

We also invited a nurse from the local clinic to help explain some topics and spread awareness about Sierra Leone's free vaccinations for children under five. She was instrumental in reinforcing each lesson.

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.

First, our hygiene team trained the teachers, who then shared the new lessons with the student body with our help.

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.

Malaria was a memorable topic. The nurse presented problematic areas like stagnant water and overgrown grass near dwellings that enhance the breeding of mosquitoes. She then presented how to properly use a bed net for protections. She also shared the symptoms of malaria like severe headache and fever and encouraged everyone to go to the nearest health facility for treatment.

One pupil raised his hand and thanked the facilitator for her presentation. He went on to say the community traditionally treats malaria using local herbs but still struggles with the deadly parasite so he plans to sensitize his family to what he learned about malaria. The nurse thanked him for his contribution and asked the other pupils to sensitize their various communities about the dangers of malaria and how to prevent it.

"I was able to learn the importance of visiting the hospital for checkups and treatment, the importance of cleaning our environment, sleeping under a protected bed net and draining of stagnated water that will prevent mosquitoes from breeding," said Jamestina, quoted earlier.


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!

January, 2023: St. Augustine Jr. Secondary School Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at St. Augustine Jr. Secondary School drains students’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school 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!


3 individual donor(s)