Oct 20, 2015

Planning for 2015-16 Drilling Season

Clean water means healthier children
Clean water means healthier children

Dear Friends of Water for South Sudan,

As I write to you from our offices in Rochester, New York, autumn is here, and the leaves are turning many beautiful colors. For us, autumn also means it's time to prepare for the next drilling season in South Sudan.

As the world's newest country, South Sudan has many struggles, including very little infrastructure. Our team in South Sudan is getting ready for their annual trip to Kampala, Uganda to buy drilling supplies and fuel. Our volunteer Operations Team in Rochester, NY is also working hard to prepare, including revising the design of our well platforms.

In February of 2015, our first formal well evaluation survey found that all 80 wells surveyed were in good working order and able to produce clean water. They also found, however, that the cement platforms around some of the wells were showing signs of erosion. Part of our plan for 2015-16 is to launch a pilot well rehabilitation team, which will go back to 20 of the wells most in need of platform repair and rebuild the cement platforms. We will also be using this new well platform design for the new wells we drill this year.

WFSS PLANS FOR 2015-16:

  • Drill up to 40 new wells
  • Conduct hygiene education in each village in which we drill
  • Launch well rehabilitation pilot project to repair well platforms for up to 20 of the wells most in need of repair
  • Continue drilling wells with the United Peace and Development Project

We know that clean water changes everything in South Sudan. When a village has access to clean water, women and girls no longer have to walk miles each day to collect water. Everyone is healthier, and villages can begin to grow and become more stable. Markets, schools and clinics can also grow if there is a sustainable source of fresh water nearby. 

This past year, our well evaluation team met a woman, Arual, from Wunrok village. She had taken it upon herself to maintain the village well and to till the farm space next to it. 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.”

Drilling wells. Transforming lives. That's what we do, thanks to supporters like you.

Clean water helps grow healthy food
Clean water helps grow healthy food
Learn more about sponsoring a well!
Learn more about sponsoring a well!

Links:

Jul 24, 2015

Summer News from Water for South Sudan

Achan, with her daughter, making basket
Achan, with her daughter, making basket

Dear Friends,

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.

With gratitude

Water brings growth, and food
Water brings growth, and food
Water brings health, and smiles
Water brings health, and smiles
Sunset behind a tukol in South Sudan
Sunset behind a tukol in South Sudan

Links:

Apr 15, 2015

Another Successful Season in South Sudan

United Peace & Development Project
United Peace & Development Project

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.

Clean water changes everything for girls
Clean water changes everything for girls
Even the smallest children help carry water
Even the smallest children help carry water
A new well can enable a new future
A new well can enable a new future

Links:

 
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