On the Sixth Anniversary of South Sudan Independence

WFSS Remains Committed to Serving the People of South Sudan

WFSS Country Director Ater Thiep, left, and Founder Salva Dut at WFSS well in Wau.

WFSS Country Director Ater Thiep, left, and Founder Salva Dut at WFSS well in Wau.

Having just marked the USA’s 241st birthday, Water for South Sudan (WFSS) joins the South Sudanese people in celebrating the sixth anniversary of the world’s newest nation’s hard-won independence. Yet, the South Sudanese are still suffering from decades of civil war. There are tremendous challenges in this young country, but also many opportunities.

Founded in 2005, WFSS’ mission is to empower the people of South Sudan to transform their lives through providing access to fresh water and hygiene education. Funded by donors in all 50 states and 33 other countries, WFSS waters the seeds of change in South Sudan by helping remote rural villages grow and develop in a country that lacks necessary infrastructure like roads, plumbing, and electricity.

Reliable access to safe water is usually the first step in development. A constant source of clean, safe water means villagers no longer need to migrate for half of each year in search of water.  The stability that comes with access to water allows villages to plan for the future. Markets, schools, and clinics can be established. The lives of all, particularly those of women, girls and infants, are transformed by access to fresh water and hygiene education.

Well drilled in Kuac North County in Gogrial State.

Well drilled in Kuac North County in Gogrial State.

When WFSS drills a new well villagers are involved in every step of the process: from determining the well’s placement to assisting our teams with village labor as needed. WFSS also requires villages receiving a well to create water committees that will help them manage their new resource. Water committees oversee the wells as a shared community resource.

With more than 300 wells drilled to date, and over 1,000 villagers educated on how to train others about safe hygiene, the impact of our work is visible and growing. Access to water means that villagers can stay in one place more permanently, and helps prevent conflict or competition around sources of ground water.

WFSS is not only empowering people but also developing South Sudanese talent and capabilities. Our leadership in South Sudan has expanded, thanks to our founder, former “Lost Boy” Salva Dut. Ater Akol Thiep and Ajang Agok lead the operations teams based at our Operations Center in Wau in South Sudan’s northwest region. We work with our leadership team there to help them build their management and technical skills. Our intern program in South Sudan enables us to identify and develop the skilled people we need to implement our expanding programs.   

Buey Ray Tut, left, and Salva Dut, right, at UPDP well

Buey Ray Tut, left, and Salva Dut, right, at UPDP well

WFSS is also working to establish examples of positive cross-tribal collaboration with Omaha, Nebraska-based Aqua-Africa (A-A). In partnership, WFSS and A-A began the United Peace and Development Project (UPDP), which has provided 14 water wells to date, along with community-building discussions and training. Equally important, the UPDP showcases cross-tribal leadership and co-operation, demonstrating that collaboration between tribes is possible.

We join all who work for peace and development in South Sudan. We’re grateful to our world-wide supporters who enable WFSS to remain committed to the people of this young country through our locally-led, grassroots development work.