Thank you for your continued support of our work in South Sudan. Thanks to you, and many generous supporters like you around the world, Water for South Sudan is transforming lives in the world's newest country.
We finished the 2014-15 drilling season in May with 40 new wells and 40 new villages receiving hygiene training. We drill from December through May, during the dry season, when "roads" (or what passes for roads in South Sudan) are passable for our very heavy vehicles and equipment.
The new wells we drilled means that tens of thousands of people have a source of clean water nearby. Girls and women no longer spend the majority of their time walking for water, and life improves for everyone.
This year we met Achan, a widow who struggled to support herself and her daughter by making baskets. So many things in life require water, including making baskets. Achan and her daughter would take three to four trips a day to a water source two hours away, to gather water for their daily needs, and also for Achan to soak the reeds that she then weaves into baskets. When a well was drilled this year near her village, everything changed for Achan. She now has a ready source of water and can make more baskets, and more money, and can afford to send her daughter to school.
Water changes everything.
This year, marking our 10th anniversary of drilling wells, we conducted our first formal evaluation of wells. WFSS Board member Angelique Stevens traveled from Rochester, New York, USA to South Sudan. She and Field Operations Manager Ater Akol Thiep were able to visit 80 WFSS wells. They found that all of the wells were functioning, and the water was clean. Like all of us, and our equipment and appliances, our wells get older, and sometimes break down. Our well evaluation team noted that a number of the wells had experienced some kind of breakdown, but were then able to be repaired by the villagers.
Part of Water for South Sudan's success is involving villagers in every step of the drilling process-- from choosing the site, to moving parts and gravel, to training villagers in the use and maintenance of the well. WFSS leaves spare parts behind, and also connects remote villages to supply chains and repair processes so that a simple breakdown does not leave a village without a source of clean water. The well truly becomes the property, and responsibility, of the village.
The WFSS team is hard at work planning for next drilling season, which will include a particular focus on the cement platforms surrounding our wells, some of which are showing signs of wear. We are working on improving the process for making cement, as well as the design for the platforms.
Our US-based Director of Operations visited our Operations Center in Wau, South Sudan, this May. He and our South Sudan team worked together to review equipment and processes, and to plan for the upcoming 2015-16 season. We are always working to grow and learn more, and improve operations and efficiencies.
We look forward to another season, bringing access to clean water, and hygiene education, to those in need.
Thank you for being a part of the WFSS community, and for supporting our work.
Dear Friends of Water for South Sudan,
Thank you for your continued support of our work in South Sudan. We are pleased to report that our work continues in the newest nation in the world. Our local, on-the-ground leadership enables us to help bring sustainable development to a new country.
It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of the 2014-15 season, which began in December. Drilling will continue through April, or until the rainy season begins in earnest, when travel with our heavy equipment becomes impossible.
The first three wells of the 2014-15 season were drilled in December for the United Peace and Development Project (UPDP). The UPDP is a joint effort between Water for South Sudan and Omaha, Nebraska-based Aqua-Africa.
The UPDP aims to promote peace through development. Some of the current unrest in South Sudan goes back to long-standing conflict between two of the country's largest tribes, the Dinka and Nuer. Water for South Sudan, led by Salva Dut, who is of Dinka tribal heritage, and Aqua-Africa, led by Buey Ray Tut, who is of Nuer heritage, have come together to drill water wells in different tribal areas, demonstrating the strength of working together across tribal affiliations. We have now drilled seven wells together, with plans to drill three more this spring. We are pleased to bring access to clean water to more areas of South Sudan.
This year our drilling team faced the usual challenges of drilling in South Sudan-- extreme heat, few or no roads, lack of infrastructure, and equipment break-downs. Getting parts to our team is a continued struggle, but we continue to improve efficiencies at all levels of operations, through the dedication of our team in South Sudan, and our operation team support at our headquarters in Rochester, New York.
As of April 14, the team had drilled 31 wells, each serving an average of 1,500 to 3,000 people. With these wells, over 50,000 new people now have access to potable water. We estimate that approximately 600,000 South Sudanese are being served by WFSS wells.
When WFSS drills a well, everything changes in a village. Girls and women no longer have to walk miles for water and can begin to imagine a different future for themselves. Everyone is healthier. The things that we take for granted can also become reality.
WFSS conducted its first formal evaluation of wells this year as WFSS Board Member Angelique Stevens traveled with Ater "Lion" Thiep, our Director of Field Operations. They were able to visit 80 villages where WFSS has installed wells over the last 10 years. A full report will be available this summer, and initial results on WFSS well functionality look very positive.
In one village they visited, they talked to a woman who had taken it upon herself to maintain the well, and to grow food on a farm space next to the well. She said she was grateful for the water because now she has time for farming and feeding her children. When asked what she wanted to grow, she said she will grow tomatoes and okra. When asked what makes her happy. She said, “When I have food.”
WFSS provides a simple necessity, water. With water, all things can grow.
Thank you for your support, which enables us to water the seeds of change in South Sudan.
Dear Friends of Water for South Sudan:
Thank you for your support!
Thanks to the generosity of donors like you our work in South Sudan continues. Donations for our GlobalGiving well continue to come in, and we are moving closer to our goal of $15,000 to sponsor our GlobalGiving well. Each well we drill serves an average of 1,500 to 3,000 people. When a village gets a well, life improves on every level. Clean water means better health for all, especially pregnant women and young children. A well frees women and girls from having to walk miles for water each day; and clean water helps everything grow- from markets and schools to medical clinics.
News from our Operations Center in Wau, South SudanOur team spent the fall intensively preparing for the 2014-15 season, repairing vehicles and equipment, procuring parts and supplies, and working on improving efficiencies at all levels of our operations.
The hard work of the fall paid off and our drilling team was able to begin drilling in December, and has now completed the first seven wells, on our way to a goal of 40 for the season. Three of these wells are for our ongoing United Peace and Development Project (UPDP) with Aqua-Africa. Working with Aqua-Africa, we have now drilled seven wells for this project, and plan to drill three more this year. The UPDP aims to bring Dinka and Nuer people together, through the leadership of Salva Dut of WFSS (of Dinka heritage) and Buey Ray Tut of Aqua-Africa (of Nuer heritage). Both men see themselves as South Sudanese first, and are committed to helping their young country grow and develop. Wells are being drilled for the UPDP in both Dinka and Nuer areas.
WFSS Hygiene Education TeamOur hygiene education team is ready to start its second season of teaching people the importance of cleanliness and how germs and disease can spread. The team now has its own vehicle and can travel at a pace that allows for full training in each village. Up to 8 people (4 men and 4 women) are trained in each village and can then train others. This vital hygiene education helps us to extend the impact of clean water in the remote villages in which we drill.
WFSS Evaluation of WellsWFSS board member Angelique Stevens has just left Rochester, New York to travel to South Sudan to begin our first formal evaluation of wells drilled. Angelique will be visiting many of the first wells drilled by WFSS to determine how the wells are functioning, and to see the impact of clean water on a village and its people.
Where We've Been. Where We're GoingWFSS has now drilled 224 wells since 2005. The first year we drilled seven wells, using a contractor. This past year we drilled 40 wells with our own crew and equipment. It is estimated that our wells are providing clean water to over half a million people. We are committed to helping the people of South Sudan transform their lives, and helping the young nation of South Sudan develop. Thank you for being a part of our community.
Dear Friends of WFSS,
Thank you for your continued support. Thanks to donors like you, WFSS can continue to change lives in South Sudan-- helping young girls and women have more to life than walking for water, helping young children survive the critical first 5 years of life thanks to clean drinking water, helping villages to grow and thrive, and helping a young nation begin to develop, one well at a time.
As one drilling season ends, planning for the next one begins. The WFSS team, in the US and South Sudan, began planning for the 2014-15 season in June, with operations meetings at our headquarters in Rochester, NY. Our South Sudan team of Salva Dut, Ater "Lion" Thiep and John Mourwel had extensive meetings with our tireless COO, Don Fairman, and with our board of directors.
Team members debriefed on the 2013-14 season, and made recommendations on improvements for the following season operations. Keeping our drilling equipment and vehicles in good running order is always a top priority as they identified the most urgent repairs and replacement needs.
Looking ahead to 2014-15, the team will once again consult with county officials in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap States in South Sudan, to identify which areas we will drill in. Once the drilling areas are identified, the assessment process will continue, as our team meets with village chiefs in the designated areas. WFSS does not determine final placement of a well. Rather, we leave that decision-making to the village chiefs because the well will ultimately belong to the villages.
Part of WFSS's success, over 10 years, is our on-the-ground leadership in South Sudan. The WFSS management team in South Sudan is four former "Lost Boys" who are now all dual US-South Sudan citizens. Their familiarity with local people, languages and customs helps at every step of the process, from discussions with village chiefs, to working with villagers to drill the well, to training chosen villagers who will maintain the wells once WFSS leaves.
Since 2005, this comprehensive process has allowed WFSS to drill 217 wells, bringing access to clean water to over 500,000 in South Sudan.
In addition to our drilling team, WFSS will continue with the newly formed Hygiene Education Team, started in 2014. This year the team will travel independent of the drilling team, so that each team can move at its own pace, and maximize our impact.
Finally, WFSS will continue the second year of the United Peace and Development Project, a collaboration with Omaha-based Aqua-Africa, led by Buey Ray Tut. Buey, of Nuer heritage, and WFSS's Salva Dut, of Dinka heritage, came together last year to drill 4 wells on behalf of both organizations. Historically the Nuer and Dinka have been in conflict, but Salva and Buey come together as South Sudanese, to show their countrymen that working together is the best way to help their young nation develop. Last year the wells drilled were in Dinka areas. This year we plan to drill in Nuer areas.
We look forward to another productive year of drilling wells, spreading the message of hygiene education, and helping to transform lives in South Sudan. Thank you for your support and contributions. We couldn't do it without you!
Thank you for your continued support. Thanks to generous donors like you, WFSS drilled 40 new water wells in South Sudan this year. With 217 total wells, Water for South Sudan continues to bring access to fresh clean water to over half a million South Sudanese.
At a time when it looks like conflict is consuming the young country of South Sudan, Water for South Sudan is finding ways to become a model for peace and sustainability.
While civil unrest is evident in three of South Sudan’s ten states, Salva Dut, our founder and Executive Director for East African Operations, has reminded us that the remaining seven states are peaceful. It is there we are doing our work, helping peace and development to spread.
UNITED PEACE & DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
This year we embarked on the United Peace and Development Project with Aqua-Africa, an Omaha-based non-profit, led by Buey Ray Tut. Salva, a Dinka, and Buey, a Nuer, come from traditionally conflicting tribes. Their collaboration, however, stands as a model for peace in South Sudan.
Funded jointly by both organizations, WFSS drilled four water wells for the project this drilling season. In one Dinka village, Salva said, “They knew Buey was Nuer, but they called him their brother.” Salva said that there was no animosity or conflict, only two South Sudanese united in rebuilding a war-torn country. “We want to show the world how we can all work together,” said Salva.
This summer, Salva and Buey will scout out drilling projects that serve the Nuer. “It is our hope that one well at time, we can show the world that the people of South Sudan want peace and sustainability,” said Salva.
DRILLING WELLS & TEACHING HYGIENE
This year we were able to drill 40 wells as planned and we also launched our new Hygiene Education Pilot Project. Our new Hygiene Team (one man and one woman) traveled with our drilling team and visited 23 villages, teaching and spreading the message of the importance of hygiene.
As we plan for the next drilling season, set to start in December, Water for South Sudan continues its mission to deliver transformative services to South Sudan. Thank you for your generous support.
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