Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Port Loko, Sierra Leone WaSH Program

Impact: 214 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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38-year-old Mariama has lived in Tintafor since she was young, and every day she has faced a persistent water crisis. She is not alone. The 214 other people who live in this community also suffer daily without sufficient water to meet their daily needs.

"I am the first daughter of the founder of this community. I have lived here for over 20 years, and since then, we have been suffering for water. The water crisis has been a significant issue in our community. If strict measures are not taken, [this] could lead to negative effects in our lives," said 38-year-old Marian, shown above collecting water from a private hand-dug well far from her home.

There is a well with a pump in the community (shown below), but it needs to be rehabilitated since it is too shallow, and has multiple issues that currently make it unreliable and risky to drink from.

When it is operational, the water recharge rate is slow, making it take longer to pump water and leading to overcrowding and exhaustingly long wait times.

During the dry season, the months of March-May, the water all but dries up, leaving people to rely on an unprotected private well in the community (shown below). But access to the well is at the homeowner's discretion, and the amount of water that can be collected is often limited.

Community members must drop a bucket on a rope into the well to collect water, so dirt and contaminants easily enter the well and put everyone's health at risk.

"Drinking from this water source has health implications like diarrhea, typhoid fever, and dysentery. In addition, the walking distance to the water source also affects their wellbeing, especially [for] children," said field officer Moses Kebbie.

"In the months of March to May, our main water source usually gets dry. We must walk to the alternate water source to fetch water. The alternate water source is private property, and the owners normally close it before the normal time. They also prevent us from fetching the number of containers we want. This really affects me and my family because the quantity of water we fetch is not enough for our daily activities," said Marian.

Sixteen-year-old Dominic C. echoed Marian's sentiment. "The water crisis has been a problem in our community," said Dominic (shown below).

"The alternate water source is private property, and it is in full control in such a way that the fetching of water is sometimes restricted. The owner may not open the well [at] the time we need water. As a result of such, we are normally late to go to school. This really has a negative impact on our academic performance," said Dominic.

"The water crisis becomes more alarming during the dry season when the main water source gets dry," said field officer Moses. "Sometimes, after trekking a long distance, they meet people who are also trying to fetch water. The crowd will be so large that people will return home without getting water. Those who came first will fill all their containers before giving [a] chance to others. Sometimes, this will lead to a serious fight or quarreling around the water source, and this could lead to damage to the pump and even the materials they are using to fetch water."

Without water, many other things suffer. Adults find it hard to complete essential daily household tasks and make sufficient income, and students miss out on important learning time.

"As a trader, I need water before going to my business center," said Marian. "I always go to my business center late due to the water crisis, and this could result [in] a loss of customers. This really affect me and my family due to the reduction in profit I make for the day. I will not be able to feed my family with the right amount of food if my profit is less for the day."

"I sometimes return home late with few containers [of water]. Mum could even change her mind about preparing food because it is already late. This makes us go to bed on [an] empty stomach and prevent us from reading our books because of hunger. I am also responsible to clean the compound and the bathroom. This needs a lot of water, and I will not be able to do these jobs if there is no sufficient water in the community," Dominic said.

The lack of water available to Dominic also makes life at school difficult for him as he faces judgment from other students.

"We need water to clean our uniforms and shoes. Imagine using a white shirt for a complete two days without laundering it. It will change its color due to the dust in our community. I come from a poor family that cannot afford to buy enough shirts and shoes for me. I only have one pair [of] uniforms and a pair of shoes. That is the reason I need water to launder and clean everything. This problem of the water crisis makes our fellow students see us as irresponsible students due to the way we appear with our rough and dirty uniforms," shared Dominic.

The community members in this area of Tintafor need their well rehabilitated so it can produce sufficient water to meet everyone's needs, and water can be available throughout the entire year.

"I hope with the help of [you,] [it] will make everything easy for us to get safe and pure drinking water in our community," concluded Dominic.

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, 2024: 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.

"Before, walking a long distance to access water with a bucket of water on [my] head was not easy for me. Especially, when I [was] off from school. With this water well I will [not] be walking long distances anymore. The pressure on fetching water at home is now over. I can fetch water easily. This waterpoint will help me to access safe drinking water. [I can] fetch enough water at home to prepare food and launder my uniform. I will go to school on time. Therefore, all these will be done easily and on time," shared 18-year-old Dominic.


39-year-old Marian Conteh, a trader, was just as excited! She said, "I have access to reliable and safe water, and drinking from this water helps to [things] grow well. Before, I faced constraints to access water [and] safe drinking water. I will not walk long distances to access water."


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 Port Loko, and the 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, Dominic and Marian made statements on their community's behalf. The ceremony concluded with celebration, singing, and dancing.

Celebrating their rehabilitated well!

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 20 meters with water at 13.6 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.

Pump installation.

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. Nurse Kadiatu 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.

Handwashing session.

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.

Field Officer Alie Kamara shared a crucial lesson for the community members. "The first memorable topic covered during the hygiene training was worms and parasites. During this session, the participants paid maximum attention. When nurse Kadiatu was presenting the participants were curious [about] the causes of worms.  She stated that worms are harmful and can cause diseases like pneumonia, anemia, filaria, etc. You can be infected by eating raw [or] uncooked meat, walking barefoot, not washing hands regularly, [or] consumption of contaminated food. During this session, Isha Blackie Conteh shared her experience of how [a] person can get infected with worms easily. She was told by her grandmother that people can get infected with worms by eating fish and eating plenty of palm kernels. She never knew the cause of worms in humans until the hygiene training. The nurse continued the training by explaining the treatment, if you get infected with worms, you can go [to a] nearby health facility."


When asked how the training would impact her life, Marian shared, "The training was valuable to me because I learned a lot. It is a great opportunity for me to add knowledge. It will help me to improve my poor sanitation behavior. I gained a lot of experience during the handwashing session. I was able to understand that most of the illnesses we get today come from our hands. [We should practice] frequent handwashing after using the latrine, or before eating. I do not usually practice this habit, but today I learned about the negative consequences of it. I will put it [into] practice. I will use this experience to teach my community members."


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, 2024: Tintafor Community Well Rehabilitation Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Tintafor 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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38 individual donor(s)