Apr 4, 2017

Update on Drilling Wells in South Sudan

The first well drilled by WFSS in 2017
The first well drilled by WFSS in 2017

Water for South Sudan's (WFSS) 2016-2017 drilling season is successfully underway. Although the media reports of unrest in South Sudan are real, WFSS's team is safe and able to continue drilling wells in remote rural villages in South Sudan.

The WFSS compound is located in Wau. There are over twenty NGO's operating in Wau and none of them have considered evacuating their employees or their equipment. WFSS leadership in South Sudan receives security reports from NGO Forum Security Focal Point, an ACTED organization. If there is a situation where other NGO's are evacuating the WFSS team will evacuate to an NGO assembling point, or other safe place. 

In addition to WFSS, some of the other NGO's operating in Wau are:

  • United Nations Mission in South Sudan
  • World Food Programme
  • World Health Organization
  • UNICEF
  • Medicine Sans Frontiers
  • OXFAM 

To date this season, WFSS has drilled 11 new wells and rehabilitated 16 wells drilled in previous years. The need for rehabbing some of WFSS's earliest wells arose from an evaluation of 80 wells conducted by a WFSS team in 2015. The team discovered that while all of the wells were operational, many of the wells had cracked and broken cement platforms caused by animals drinking from the well. To rectify this, in 2016 WFSS redesigned the well to draw animals away from the pump to a drinking pool. In addition, WFSS is now using bentonite, a stronger substance, for the well platforms. Several years ago, WFSS began conducting hygiene training in every village where they drill a well. This season WFSS added a second hygiene team to travel with the rehab team to provide hygiene training in villages where our earliest wells were drilled.

This season, WFSS has rehabbed a borehole drilled in 2007 in Boul, a village in Alabek County Tonj State. Yar is a woman living in the community of Boul. Yar spoke with the WFSS rehab / hygiene team, noting the positive impacts on the community as a result of clean water and hygiene training. Yar pointed out that the lives of human beings have improved because everyone has access to safe drinking water and many families have improved their personal hygiene practice. One of the most significant indicators is the reduction in Guinea Worm Disease, diarrheal disease, Bilharzia, and Typhoid. Yar stated, "Since 2011 we have not seen one person in the area affected by Guinea Worm." 

Yar also spoke of changes in village lifestyle as a result of having clean water, "before the well was drilled only four people went to school, the number has increased to 26, including nine girls." Yar applauded WFSS, "the villagers of Boul are grateful to WFSS and to the donors who contribute to life-supporting projects to safeguard the life of South Sudan's rural population."  

Thank you to GlobalGiving and to all of you who have contributed to this project. WFSS is 100 percent privately funded, receiving no revenue from either the US or South Sudanese governments. Without you, the WFSS team would not have the capacity to bring safe, clean water to people like Yar and the Boul community. 

Since 2005, WFSS has installed 293 borehole wells and conducted hygiene in villages. The wells become the property of the villages, who are responsible for maintaining the wells. 

WFSS redesigned the cement base of wells in 2016
WFSS redesigned the cement base of wells in 2016
WFSS hygiene team training villagers
WFSS hygiene team training villagers

Links:

Jan 5, 2017

Water for South Sudan Prepares for 2017 Drilling Season

Getting the truck ready
Getting the truck ready

Dear friends:

Thanks to your generosity Water for South Sudan (WFSS) has drilled 282 wells in remote, South Sudanese villages. We are grateful for your support.

Imagine living in an environment where for half of the year there is no rain and the temperature averages 120°F. Now imagine there is no air conditioning, no refrigerator with cold water to drink, and no supermarket where you can purchase drinking water. In order to get water you must walk miles in the heat, only to find water that is dirty and contaminated. Hundreds of thousands of people live like this today. Water for South Sudan drills wells in remote South Sudanese villages, providing access to clean, safe water and transforming lives.

WFSS is preparing to begin its 2017 drilling season in the coming days. WFSS drills only during the dry season, which runs from November through May. Once the rains come it is impossible to travel or to drill. In October, November, and December, the WFSS team in South Sudan prepares for drilling to begin in January.

Preparations include working with county and village leaders to determine where wells are needed, conducting assessments, and procuring supplies for the season. Once WFSS, in conjunction with county and village leaders have agreed in which villages wells will be drilled, the WFSS team conducts an assessment. The assessment entails confirming that there is access to the underground aquifer that provides water and determining what needs to be done prior to drilling.

For example, in a country the geographic size of Texas there are only about 100 miles of paved road. In most of the country even dirt roads are nonexistent. Therefore, often trees and brush need to be cleared to create a road where WFSS can drive in their trucks and drilling rig. WFSS engages villagers to complete this work before the team comes back to drill. In addition, because South Sudan has few resources, supplies must be purchased in other countries, such as Uganda and the United States, and shipped to South Sudan.  

When WFSS arrives in a village to drill a well everyone is very excited because they know that close proximity to clean, safe water will be transformational. Therefore, people want to help the WFSS team. Children will help to collect rocks needed and women will even cook for the team.

During the 2017 drilling season, WFSS anticipates drilling approximately 20 new wells, providing hygiene training in villages where new wells are constructed, and revisiting villages to repair some of our earliest wells. It is your support that allows us to continue bringing water to areas where it is desperately needed. 

Drilling
Drilling
Gathering Water
Gathering Water

Links:

Oct 11, 2016

Bringing Water to Remote South Sudanese Villages

Hygiene Training in Bookanyara Village
Hygiene Training in Bookanyara Village

Dear Friends of Water for South Sudan (WFSS),

It is my pleasure to share this report on our work in South Sudan. Since 2005, WFSS has installed 282 wells, providing more than 250,000 people with access to fresh water every day. During the 2015-2016 drilling season WFSS installed 23 new borehole wells in remote, rural villages in South Sudan, serving approximately 15,000 people who previously did not have access to clean, fresh water. In addition, in each village where WFSS drilled a well our hygiene team educated villagers on best hygiene practices.

Aruel Ayuel is a 28 year old woman living in Bookanyara village. Bookanyara lies between two streams. Villagers used to access water from the stream via a hand dug well. Aruel said, "We always feel sick, with runny nose, fever, stomach pain, and itching throat after drinking water." In 2014, two people were taken to the Carter Center to be treated for guinea worm.

WFSS drilled a well in Bookanyara and provided hygiene training. Villagers no longer get drinking water from a hand dug well. Villagers now know to boil and filter water before drinking if it becomes necessary. They have learned how to keep the well water from becoming contaminated by washing their hands and cleaning jerry cans.

Aruel Ayuel said, "I agree to follow good hygiene ways and drink clean water everyday. Thank you Water for South Sudan."

As the WFSS operations team gears up for the 2016 - 2017 season they are looking to further improve our processes and the sustainability of wells. In response to our 2015 well evaluation the US and South Sudan operations teams studied and improved the cement platforms around the wells. The new design:

  • Strengthens wells with a more robust concrete composition.
  • Eliminates animal contact with the well or platform.
  • Reinforces drainage channels, susceptible to weather erosion and animal traffic.
  • Directs animals to drinking pools farther removed from the well heads. 

"We know that we have a much better process now," says US Operations Director and Board member Don Fairman. "Greater sustainability of our wells means that in the long run we'll be able to help even more people as our wells last longer and have fewer breakdowns."

WFSS has been an advocate for the people of South Sudan since our founding in 2003, and we continue to support development in the world's newest nation. WFSS began drilling wells in 2005 and we have never wavered from our mission: to deliver direct, transformative, and sustainable quality-of-life service to the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water, as well as improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need. 

We joined the world celebrating South Sudan's independence in 2011. We are disappointed that the latest conflict, which broke out in 2013, has continued. Along with the people and nations of the world, we condemn the violence and corruption in South Sudan and support a peaceful resolution to the unrest. WFSS is more committed than ever to our mission, knowing that our work will help bring stability in this emerging young nation.

WFSS's US-based Executive Director is in contact with our team in South Sudan daily to ensure that they are safe and able to continue drilling wells. WFSS Founder and Senior Advisor, Salva Dut reports that "The political unrest has not impeded our team's ability to work in the field. In a country about the size of Texas, the rural villages where we drill are far away from the conflict. Being South Sudanese, our team has a great advantage - we know the people, the language, the culture, and the tribal issues. We have family and friends in South Sudan. We are all committed to rebuilding our country." 

On behaf of Salva and our team in South Sudan, our Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff, thank you for joining us in bringing fresh, clean water to the people of South Sudan.

WFSS Deputy Country Director, AJ Agok
WFSS Deputy Country Director, AJ Agok
Farming is possible with water
Farming is possible with water

Links:

 
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