Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 128 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

People come from miles around for the good telecommunications service in the bustling community of Tintafor. But many people don't stay once they find out the community's water situation.

This section of Tintafor only has one unprotected hand-dug well (pictured below) for all the 128 people who live here, and it has numerous issues. During the dry seasons (from at least March to May each year), the water level in the well falls or dries out completely. But when the well does have water, its quality is highly suspect.

The water hasn't been tested or treated in three years. And each time someone fetches water, they lower a bucket and rope down inside, inviting dirt and bacteria into everyone's drinking water. Because of this, community members reported cases of diarrhea, typhoid, and worm infestations.

But although the poor water quality is chief among the well's problems, that is far from its only issue. There aren't enough water sources for all the people in Tintafor, even with a well we installed in a neighboring community, which serves as the alternative water source for the people of Tintafor. But, unfortunately, both sources are constantly overcrowded: a problem made worse by the fact that drawing water up from the hand-dug well is labor-intensive.

"To bend down and draw water from the well is difficult," said our field officer Alimamy. "Most times, the [bucket] they use to fetch water drops on the ground, further contaminating [the water]. It requires a lot of strength to be able to fetch water from the open well, limiting the children from accessing the water point. Fetching water in most communities is the responsibility of women and children. Hoisting the [bucket] filled with water a distance of 39 feet can be very dangerous, limiting school children from fetching it. They have to rely on the help of their parents or older children. This normally holds them back, especially when they have a lot of things to do."

"The water situation in this community is affecting me as a pupil," said 14-year-old Theresa (shown to the left). "As a pupil, I need a lot of water when I want to go to school and when I return from school. In the morning, there are [a] lot of people at the water well who will prevent me from fetching water at the time I need it. I will keep waiting until my turn to fetch water. By the time I fetch the water I need, it is already late to go to school, as the school where I am attending is far away from this community. My academic performance is always affected due to this problem. When I return from school, I also need water to launder my uniform and bathe before going for studies."

When the hand-dug well dries out, things worsen for Theresa.

"The other challenge I face is when the water changes color," Theresa explained. "The color of the water [becomes] just like clay. This is the sign the well gives when it wants to run out of water. Fetching water for drinking becomes a problem. When the water well in our community becomes dry, I walk to other communities to fetch water that is pure and safe for drinking purposes. The alternate water source is always overcrowded because it is the only source that provides safe and pure drinking water for our community and the community where it is located. So every morning, it is choked with a different set of people. The congestion of people will lead to theft cases and airborne diseases. This will also prevent me from getting sufficient water for myself and my family."

Because of the crowding and the lack of water at the hand-dug well, there is never enough water for the community members to do all the things they need to accomplish in a day — a problem that only compounds the longer it goes on.

"I am also responsible for the cleaning of the house and the household utensils (dishes)," Theresa explained. "This could be difficult if there is no sufficient water in the house. Sometimes, I will leave the household utensils unwashed due to insufficient water in the house."

And, unfortunately, leaving chores undone for some households translates to reduced income, as is the case with 35-year-old food trader Grace Amara (shown below).

"I am unable to sell enough food due to the lack of sufficient, pure, and safe drinking water in the community," Grace explained. "The people who normally come to me to buy food need safe and pure drinking water. If there is no safe and pure drinking water, they will not come to buy food. This will prevent me from getting the income I expect for a day.

"Our water well is not providing safe and pure water, which is why I normally [go] to the other community to fetch water. The distance prevents us from fetching enough water that will serve me and my family, including my customers. Also, I need sufficient water for cleaning the house. This can be impossible if there is not sufficient water in the house, and hence leads to the untidiness of the house.

"As a housewife and trader, I need water for laundry and bathing. Laundry of my clothes will always be difficult when there is a water crisis in my community. It will take some time before I get enough water to [do] the laundry work. Also, I need water to bathe every morning and evening. If there is no water at home, I will not be able to bathe on time, especially in the morning hours. Sometimes I go to bed without bathing. It is very important to have sufficient water in the community to help eradicate all the problems I have highlighted above.

"It will be an opportunity for me and the entire community if this water well is rehabilitated so we can have safe and pure drinking water in our community," Grace concluded. "Also, our community will no longer face a water crisis because this water well will provide sufficient water for the community."

Theresa, too, is already dreaming of life after the community well is fixed. "Our cry for sufficient, pure, and safe drinking water will be over, and my academic performance will not be affected again."

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

May, 2023: Tintafor Community Well Rehabilitation Complete!

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

Thirty-five-year-old trader Grace Amara shared, "Water challenges have been a disturbing factor in this community. Our community lacked safe and pure drinking water. This situation of [our] water shortage normally became worse during the dry season when there was serious water scarcity in the community."

Grace (in the green shirt) celebrates clean water with other community members.

"I want to thank God Almighty and you for rehabilitating the water well in my community. This well will greatly help to impact my life in diverse ways. To start with, the newly rehabilitated well will help me to be able to do all my household work on time without delay. Also, there will be sufficient water that I will use to clean my bathroom and restroom. My children will no longer be late to go to school. I would not have been [able] to achieve all [of] these impacts if not for the rehabilitation of the well in our community," said Grace.

"As a pupil of this community, I had been experiencing water challenges for a long time. Water has a great role to play in the life of school-going pupils. I need to bathe every morning before going to school. As a pupil, I need water to launder my uniform, so it will look clean the following day before going to school. As a pupil in this community, all the problems I stated above will be erased with the newly rehabilitated water well. The rehabilitated well will impact my life by providing the right quantity of water I need that will help me to solve all the problems that I was facing concerning water," said 13-year-old Theresa A.

Theresa pumps water at the new well.

Theresa continued, "I will have more time to study, and I will no longer be late to go to school. There will be sufficient water in the house that I will use for my household activities like cleaning the house, laundry, and cleaning of household utensils. I will be able to drink safe and pure water every day. This will prevent me from getting waterborne diseases like dysentery, cholera, and diarrhea."

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, Grace and Theresa 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 19 meters with water at 13 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.

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!

The completed well.

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.

Sharing informational posters to help reinforce learning topics.

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.

Proper dental hygiene demonstration.

A memorable session during the training was proper oral hygiene. The facilitator explained that brushing teeth every day would lead to better oral health with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The facilitator explained that if people could not afford toothpaste, they could use alternatives like ashes or charcoal to clean their teeth. The participants promised to clean their teeth every morning for better oral health.

The elected Water User Committee.

"I want to thank God for such an opportunity to attend the three days of hygiene and sanitation training. I have learned a lot about hygiene. Things that I used to do, I will do them no more. I was able to learn today about the clean teeth lesson and the negative effect related to the odor of the mouth. I will not allow such things to happen again. I will also use this opportunity to train my colleagues that are not around about hygiene. I will use this opportunity to improve my community on sanitation. On behalf of me and my community people [I] want to thank you for such training," said Grace Amara, whom we 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!

April, 2023: Tintafor Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Tintafor Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community 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

Borehole and Hand Pump

Girls and women walk long distances for water when safe water is very often right under their feet! Underground rivers, called aquifers, often contain a constant supply of safe water – but you have to get to it. No matter what machine or piece of equipment is used, all drilling is aiming for a borehole that reaches into an aquifer. If the aquifer has water - and after the well is developed - we are able to pull water to the surface utilizing a hand-pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around 5 gallons of water a minute through a hand-pump.


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