200 Wells Drilled to Date. Crew Safe in South Sudan.

Ater "Lion" Thiep, WFSS Drilling Manager, helps bring fresh water,and smiles, to villages.Water for South Sudan has begun 2014 in record fashion with 23 wells drilled as of early March, which brings our grand total to 200 wells drilled since 2005. Last fall team members prepared for the drilling season by repairing vehicles and equipment and procuring supplies. They went into the field in early December and have been drilling successfully since then with small time-outs for additional repairs.  

In January, the new WFSS Hygiene Team joined the drilling crew, bringing hygiene education to villages receiving wells. Our new team helps villagers deal with a number of water and hygiene related health problems. They involve the villagers in identifying those problems and their solutions. Read more on this exciting new project here.

Our drilling team has also begun a systematic reporting of the additional wells that they repair as they travel to drilling sites. Repairing and maintaining non-functioning wells is now an integral part of drilling operations.  Since 2013 we have helped villages to maintain at least 17 wells, not originally drilled by Water for South Sudan.  Knowing that wells serve an average 1500 people, these recent repairs have enabled renewed access to clean water for more than 25,000 people.

On December 15, 2013 fighting broke out in the South Sudan capital of Juba and later spread to three of South Sudan’s 10 states as forces loyal to President Salva Kiir battled anti-government rebels linked to former vice-president Riek Machar.  Since then, violence has affected parts of the country and over 700,000 people have been displaced.

WFSS crews have been safe at all times, reporting that the situation in Wau, home to the WFSS operations compound, has been unaffected by the turmoil. Our operations and drilling in the region continues to be unaffected.  The WFSS board and staff in the US have been in close contact with our South Sudan team and continue to monitor the situation very closely.

WFSS joins the international community in supporting a peaceful resolution of conflict in South Sudan.


WFSS Expands Services with New Hygiene Team

WFSS hygiene education involves villagers in identifying problems and solutions.According to UNICEF, poor access to water and sanitation facilities and unsafe hygiene practices are the main causes of diarrhea, one of the biggest child killers in the world. Addressing the problems in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), are crucial to helping children attain optimal health. WASH is regarded as a central component of the millennium development agenda. Progress in this area is closely related to that of child mortality, primary education, and poverty eradication. 

WFSS has been providing access to clean water since we began drilling in 2005.  This year we were able to expand into hygiene with the establishment of our new hygiene team.  Our team members, Matthew and Sara, are local South Sudanese who have received hygiene training.  They started traveling with our drilling crew in January to help bring hygiene education to villages which are receiving new wells.

The WFSS hygiene team  is working with villagers to: identify good and bad hygiene practices; learn how diarrheal diseases spread and how to block that spread; identify health problems; choose improved hygiene methods; identify the tasks of men and women in the community; and, identify what might go wrong and plan for change.

 “It is important for us to be able to help people with safe hygiene practices,” says Salva Dut, Director for East African Operations. “We are glad we can provide this important education for people who need it, especially children.”

Salva and our African team are already looking for ways to expand and improve our hygiene education program for next year, helping to transform even more lives.


World Water Day is Saturday, March 22

Each year the UN declares March 22 as World Water Day to raise awareness of the global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) crisis faced by billions of people in the poorest parts of the world. Organizations around the world host events to help accelerate progress.

Global celebrations for World Water Day 2014 will address the nexus of water and energy, and will be coordinated by the United Nations University and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization on behalf of UN-Water. You can learn more about World Water Day, including educational materials, here.

This year, to take advantage of the Congressional schedule, advocates on US water policy will gather in Washington DC on Thursday, March 13 (instead of March 22), to make their case. To find out how you can help, even from home, click here.


Could your contacts help WFSS secure grant funding?

Water for South Sudan has been fortunate to receive gifts and grants from many generous benefactors. This support has enabled us to drill 200 borehole wells (to date) over the past 10 years. We have expanded our operations to drill 40 wells each season (November to May.) This season we have added a hygiene component.

As WFSS expands the volume and scope of its work we need  increased funding to support that growth. To that end, we are putting more effort into securing grants. We have hired a part-time grant writer, Cindy DeCarolis, to help us with this endeavor. You may be able to help as well.

Do you sit on a foundation Board, or know people who work at foundations or sit on their boards? Do you, or others you know, have family foundations? Having an inside contact can make a world of difference in securing grants.

WFSS is seeking grants for:

  • The cost to build one well in South Sudan ($15,000)
  • Operating support
  • Capital projects
  • Expand sanitation and hygiene program
  • Staff development

Some of the foundations where we could use help getting our foot in the door are:

  • The Oak Foundation; Geneva, Switzerland
  • Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund; New York, New York
  • The Coca-Cola Foundation; Atlanta, Georgia
  • Abbott Fund; Abbott Park, Illinois

Please e-mail Cindy at if you can help. As always, thank you for all that you do for Water for South Sudan. We couldn’t do what we do without you!


Fresh Water Wells for Villages in AGI Catalog

WFSS is grateful to once again have the opportunity to be featured in the Alternative Gifts International (AGI) Gifts Inspiring Change Catalog. Our project, Fresh Water Wells, offers AGI shoppers an opportunity to help drill a well in South Sudan. The gift of clean water is lifesaving and transforms families and communities in South Sudan.  

Alternative Gifts International is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes. The global mission of AGI is to send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world -- gifts that build a partnership with oppressed people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth's endangered environment -- to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community. AGI offers donors the option to designate charitable gifts through carefully selected agencies in the name of their relatives, friends and associates. You can learn more about Alternative Gifts International here.