Season Winding Down as Rainy Season Approaches

 community members in Mabil village in aweil east state celebrate a new well

community members in Mabil village in aweil east state celebrate a new well

The WFSS teams have had a successful season, and are now beginning to wind down as the rainy season approaches.

To date, the drilling team has drilled 36 new wells, and is on target to hit its goal of 44 new wells. The rehabilitation team has repaired 19 of our older wells, and is also on target, planning to repair 25 older wells. Our two hygiene teams have traveled with the drilling and rehab teams, helping communities improve hygiene practices. 

All of the teams are making their way back to our Operations Center in Wau, and will be able to continue their work as they travel. As the rainy season begins, the roads we use will soon become impassable.

We are looking forward to sharing updates on our almost-completed school sanitation project in Wau, where we are installing latrines at the Zogolona Primary School.

Thanks to our supporters around the world for supporting our work and helping to improve the lives of those we serve as we help to develop communities in South Sudan.

More new wells as season continues

 Our 9th well drilled this season, sponsored by King philip middle school. this is our 313th well overall!

Our 9th well drilled this season, sponsored by King philip middle school. this is our 313th well overall!

The 2018 season continues with 20 new wells drilled. Each village has also received hygiene training with its new well.

Progress continues on the sanitation project and we look forward to sharing updates.

Thanks to all of our supporters who enable our work!

Look for updates on World Water Day and other upcoming events in 2018.

2018 Season Continues - 16 Wells Completed

 Well drilled at Zagalona School in Wau.

Well drilled at Zagalona School in Wau.

The 2018 season continues and our team reports that they have now drilled 16 wells. The first well was drilled at the Zagalona Primary School near Wau. The other 15 wells have been drilled in the Aweil area.

The WFSS Hygiene Education team has conducted hygiene education in all of the villages where they installed wells in Aweil. The Zagalona School is also the site of our pilot sanitation project, installing six latrines in the school.  A full hygiene and sanitation training will be conducted when that project is complete.

The team reports that they are on track to drill at least 40 wells this season and look forward to supplying more people with access to fresh water. The rehab team is currently traveling with the drilling team, completing the platforms on the new wells, to help reach the goal of 40 wells this season. The rehab team will split off later this season to work on repairing older WFSS wells.

WFSS is pleased to be celebrating our 15th year since our founding! Read more on our Celebrating 15 Years Blog.

12 New Wells Already Completed This Season

 the first well of the 2017-18 season was drilled for the zagalona primary school in wau, site of wfss's pilot sanitation project.

the first well of the 2017-18 season was drilled for the zagalona primary school in wau, site of wfss's pilot sanitation project.

The WFSS season began in December, and teams are now in Aweil drilling new wells and providing hygiene education. Our teams are safe and able to continue our work, helping to transform lives in South Sudan.

As of January 30, 12 new wells have been drilled, and we have also broken ground on our pilot sanitation project, building latrines in a school. Read more about this season's progress here.

 

 

2017-18 Season Has Begun!

 a student at zogolona primary school tests first well of 2017-18 season.

a student at zogolona primary school tests first well of 2017-18 season.

The Water for South Sudan drilled the first well of the 2017-18 season for the Zogalona Primary School near Wau and the WFSS Operations Center.

The WFSS team has been meeting with staff at the Zogalona school to explore the possibility of installing a latrine pilot project. The school is eager to have a small latrine pilot, but first they needed a well.

WFSS Associate Country Director Ajang Agok led the team and is pleased to have the first well completed so early in the season. The team is looking into drilling another well for a school near Wau before they head north to Aweil for the bulk of the 2017-18 season, where they will also focus on schools needing wells.

The WFSS rehab team, formed in 2017, will join the drilling team for the first month of drilling, doing the finishing work of installing the well platforms, allowing the drilling team to go on ahead to the next village well site. After the first month the rehab team will focus on its work of repairing the well platforms and drainage channels of some of WFSS's older wells, to ensure their continued use and sustainability.

 the long drainage channel from the wfss well directs run-off from the well to a drinking pool for animals, far removed from the well head.

the long drainage channel from the wfss well directs run-off from the well to a drinking pool for animals, far removed from the well head.

The WFSS Hygiene Education teams travel with the drilling and rehab teams, providing hygiene education in every village we serve. Plans for 2017-18 include drilling up to 40 new wells, repairing up to 50 older wells, and providing hygiene education training in up to 90 villages.

As WFSS enters its 15th year we look to grow and develop our operations as we continue to serve the people of South Sudan. We thank our donors across the US and around the world who enable our work.

WFSS Planning for 2017-18 Season, Driven by Local Leadership

 WFSS managers and team members at start of 2016-17 season.

WFSS managers and team members at start of 2016-17 season.

The Water for South Sudan teams in South Sudan are busy planning for the upcoming 2017-18 season, set to start in November. We are pleased to be working with our local leadership team, led by Country Director Ater Akol Thiep and Associate Country Director Ajang Agok, who also chair our Leadership Council in South Sudan, comprised of our team managers. WFSS Founder Salva Dut also serves as Senior Advisor to both the Leadership Council, as well as our Board and staff in the US.

Plans this year include drilling up to 40 new wells, rehabilitating 40-50 older wells, providing hygiene education in every village we visit, and working on a pilot sanitation project to build latrines for a school.

Our operations center in South Sudan is in Wau, the second largest city in South Sudan. Our teams are safe there, and report to our staff and board in Rochester, NY on a daily basis.

To read more about upcoming plans for 2017-18, please visit our news page here.

WFSS Completes 2017 Season-- 304 Wells Drilled Since 2005

 WFSS DRILLING TEAM COMPLETES THE FIRST WELL OF THE 2017 SEASON IN Lith Angui VILLAGE IN WAU STATE.

WFSS DRILLING TEAM COMPLETES THE FIRST WELL OF THE 2017 SEASON IN Lith Angui VILLAGE IN WAU STATE.

The WFSS team completed another successful season, overcoming numerous challenges, as is the norm when operating in South Sudan, the newest country in the world.

The team reached the amazing milestone of drilling the 300th well for the nonprofit. The final tally at the end of the season was a total of 304 wells drilled since 2005.

Our new rehabilitation team was launched this year, in response to our 2015 well evaluation survey which found a number of the oldest wells had erosion and breakages in the cement platforms and drainage channels around the well. The team set a goal to repair 20 of the oldest wells. Their work went so well, and progressed much more quickly than anticipated, and they were able to rehab 31 of the oldest wells.

Both teams used new procedures in drilling new wells and repairing older ones: using a stronger mixture of cement, regrading the platform around the well to encourage run-off away from the well, and constructing longer drainage channels away from the well.

As soon as the team finished the season, they brought the teams and equipment back to our compound in Wau and began the assessment process on the season, and reviewed all mechanical needs.

Read more about the 2017 season here.

WFSS Teams Carry on in Mission to Bring Access to Fresh Water

The WFSS Drilling Team, Rehab Team, and their two accompanying Hygiene Education Teams, are continuing their work for the 2017 season, bringing access to clean water in South Sudan. All WFSS teams are safe and able to do their work, and report that people are going about their daily business in the areas around our Operations Center in Wau.

As of April 24, WFSS has now drilled 18 new wells, for a new total of 300 wells drilled since 2005! Our pilot Rehab Team has repaired 26 of our oldest wells and replaced cracked and broken concrete platforms with a new and improved composition and design, leading to even greater sustainability.

Our Hygiene Education program has also continued, with two dedicated team now traveling with our drilling and rehab teams.

We are in frequent contact with our South Sudan team members, who in turn stay apprised of all developments in South Sudan through contact with government and security officials, and NGO and other non-profit organizations.

Water for South Sudan continues to advocate for peace and development through our work. Our United Peace and Development Project (UPDP) with Aqua-Africa continues, with plans for two additional wells to be drilled this season, to add to the 12 wells drilled previously.

Work Continues in South Sudan- 6 New Wells & 6 Rehabbed Wells

 WFSS drilling team with first well of 2017.

WFSS drilling team with first well of 2017.

The WFSS teams are continuing their work in South Sudan, bringing access to clean water and hygiene education to those in need.

As of February 28, the WFSS Drilling Team had completed five new wells, and was finishing the sixth. This year the drilling team is focusing on drilling wells in school areas.

The WFSS Rehab Team, a new pilot program this year, has completed the rehabilitation of five of our oldest wells. Our 2015 well evaluation project showed us that some of the oldest wells needed to have the cement platforms surrounding the wells repaired. The new rehab team has set out to repair these wells to our newer design specifications. WFSS is now using a stronger cement mixture for all well platforms, and has also lengthened the channel leading from the pumps down to the drinking pools for animals.

This year we have two hygiene education teams in the field, traveling with both drilling and rehab teams, where they work with villagers to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement.

Although the news out of South Sudan continues to show the struggles of the new nation, with famine declared in two counties in Unity State, WFSS has been able to continue our operations. We are in regular contact with our teams who report that they are safe, and able to travel and continue regular operations.

Thank you to all of our supporters around the world who enable our work. 

We will continue to update you on the progress of this season. Please check back here for regular updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sign up for the WFSS email news here.

 

2017 Season Begins in South Sudan

 WFSS managers and team members at the WFSS compound in Wau, ready to start the season.

WFSS managers and team members at the WFSS compound in Wau, ready to start the season.

The months of planning and preparation are finally behind us and the 2017 season has officially begun. The drilling team has drilled the first well of the season and our new well rehab team has repaired one of our oldest wells. Our two hygiene education teams are working alongside them both, helping to improve hygiene practices.

The drilling team plans to drill up to 40 new wells. They have begun in Waubaai County, in the new Wau State and will also drill in Kuac North County, in the new Gogrial State, to deliver on their promise to the county commissioner and village chiefs last season, when we did not have enough time to drill wells there. This year's drilling will focus on schools and new county and payam headquarters.

Our new rehab team will work on repairing some of our oldest wells, drilled as far back as 2005, in Alabek County, in the new Tonj State.

 WFSS drilling team members, and WFSS cooks- who keep all of our operations going.

WFSS drilling team members, and WFSS cooks- who keep all of our operations going.

Hygiene Education Continues & Expands

As we have done since 2014, the WFSS Hygiene Education Team will travel alongside the drilling team. New this year is a second hygiene education team, to travel with the rehab team. In every village our hygiene teams train eight people (four men and four women). Our hygiene educators work as facilitators, and invite community participation to help groups identify issues of importance, and problems to work on; identify possible solutions; select appropriate options; develop an implementation plan; and, evaluate the outcome of the plan. Three main areas of education often focus on hand-washing, keeping clean water clean, and safe disposal of stools.

Since 2014 the WFSS Hygiene Team has brought hygiene education training to over 100 villages, training over 800 villagers who are then equipped to train others in their villages, which then continues to expand the impact of clean water.

New WFSS Leadership Council

The ever-challenging climate in which we operate, including a lack of basic infrastructure, and logistics challenges, require creative thinking and dedication, which are supplied by our team in South Sudan, and our Operations support in the US.

New this year is our Leadership Council in South Sudan, led by Country Director Ater Akol Thiep and Assistant Country Director AJ Agok. We created the council, made up of our six managers in South Sudan, to help oversee operations on the ground.

Operations are still overseen by US Director of Operations Don Fairman, but we are moving towards even greater local control in South Sudan. Our team in South Sudan knows the people, language, customs, and land in which they operate, and often know best how to address the many issues that arise.

As WFSS continues our work in bringing access to clean water and hygiene education, we are also researching ways to bring access to sanitation (toilets and latrines) to those we serve. In 2017, we will continue gathering information on how we might best expand into this area, possibly collaborating with others.

In other good news, we have already been able to purchase two trucks and a crew vehicle with funds raised from our Watering the Seeds of Change capital campaign. Next up is the process to begin ordering our new drilling rig.

Thanks to our supporters across the US, and around the world, WFSS is able to continue our work, transforming lives in South Sudan. We look forward to bringing access to clean water and hygiene education to even more people this year. WFSS has now drilled 283 wells since 2005, and we look forward to reaching our next milestone of 300 wells.

WFSS Ready for 2017 Season

The WFSS Senior Management Team is on their way back from their annual purchasing trip in Kampala, Uganda. The team purchased needed drilling supplies and met with Senior Advisor Salva Dut to finalize plans for drilling, well rehabilitation and hygiene education.

The WFSS team is in regular contact with government officials and security contacts to assess the safety and security of areas in which we work and travel. WFSS plans to drill up to 40 new wells, rehabilitate up to 20 older wells, provide hygiene education in every village in which we drill, and continue to research a pilot school sanitation project.

WFSS continues to advocate for the people we serve, and urges a peaceful resolution to conflict in the country.

Our work is enabled by supporters in all 50 states and 33 other countries, including individuals, schools, faith-based organizations and civic groups.

WFSS Team Preparing for 2016-17 Season

The Water for South Sudan team is busy preparing for the upcoming season, our 13th!!

Our Leadership Council, led by Country Director Ater Akol Thiep ("Lion"), and Ajang Agok (AJ), have been working with our US based Director of Operations to secure all the supplies needed for drilling, rehabilitation and hygiene education. We anticipate starting the season in late December or early January.

The drilling team, led this year by AJ, plans to drill up to 40 new wells. Plans include up to five additional wells for our United Peace and Development Project (UPDP) with Aqua-Africa. This joint project has already drilled 12 new wells in different tribal areas.  We are also working with Aqua-Africa to develop an additional component of peace and reconciliation talks for the villages in which we drill. Some of these wells could be in repatriation areas, where people of different tribal backgrounds are returning home, after having fled for safety. The installation of a well can serve as a starting point for conversations to help air grievances and resolve disputes, leading to greater peace and stability.

Lion will lead our well rehabilitation team as they work on repairing and strengthening the cement platforms of up to 20 new wells, in response to the findings of our 2015 well evaluation survey. The improved well design is now being implemented on all new wells too.

Mathew Akuar, WFSS Hygiene Team Manager, is preparing for two hygiene teams this year-- one to travel with the drilling team, and one to travel with the rehab team. Hygiene education is a vital piece of our work, and ensures that clean water stays clean, and that the impact of fresh water goes as far as possible.

In addition, WFSS is in the early stages of researching a pilot sanitation project, to provide latrines in a school. Sanitation is a vital piece of WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) work, and helps improve lives in so many ways.

WFSS thanks all of our supporters for enabling our work as we water the seeds of change in South Sudan. Please check back here for updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for email updates

Updates from South Sudan

The WFSS staff and Board of Directors in Rochester, New York, is in daily contact with our South Sudan team. Our team has been busy planning for the 2016-17 season, and have been regularly reporting to us that they are safe in Wau, and that areas around them are calm.

The Leadership Team in Wau, along with WFSS Founder Salva Dut, continually monitor the situation in their immediate area, and in South Sudan in general, and all agree that we should continue our programs in South Sudan. They have assured us that they have proper security measures in place. 

WFSS is grateful to our supporters across the US, and around the world, for enabling our work. We look forward to continuing our mission to transform lives in South Sudan. Please check back here for further updates. You may also sign up for our email newsletter here, and also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for other news, photos and updates.

 

WFSS Team is Safe in Wau

WFSS continues to monitor the news out of South Sudan, and is in daily contact with our team at our Operations Center in Wau. The team is safe and has not been in any danger.  We are deeply concerned about the events in South Sudan and urge all leaders to work for peace in South Sudan.

As we do each summer, we are currently planning for the upcoming 2016-17 season, which will include drilling new wells, providing hygiene education and rehabbing the cement platforms on some of our older wells. We are also researching a pilot sanitation project which we are planning to launch in the next year.

We will continue to post updates on the website, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

22 New Wells in 2016

WFSS is pleased to report that 22 new wells were drilled in 2016. Our team in South Sudan worked with US Operations to redesign and improve the platforms around the wells. Working on the design, plus supplier delays led us to a later start this year, but the team pushed on at the end of April, and into May to complete 20 new wells.

In addition, our partnership with Omaha-based Aqua-Africa continued with 2 additional wells being drilled for the United Peace and Development Project. These wells were drilled in Central Equatoria State, expanding the reach of both WFSS and the UPDP.

As 2016 Season Winds Down, WFSS Sees Improved Sustainability

The 2016 season is winding down as it appears that the rainy season is on the way. 16 villages received wells and hygiene education. 20 wells repaired.

 Another well sponsored by our friends at the NYS Garden Clubs.

Another well sponsored by our friends at the NYS Garden Clubs.

Our team has drilled 16 wells so far and is currently working on finishing and sealing the wells. WFSS took the time this season to work on the design and sustainability of our wells and we are pleased to report that our new design is being implemented in all new wells.

The new well design grew out of the 2015 well evaluation survey, which revealed signs of erosion on the cement platforms. Our team spent the fall and early winter refining the design. That planning time, along with some supplier delays, led to a later start to our season. While the team waited to begin drilling they used that time to repair 20 local wells drilled by other organizations, helping to maintain access to clean water for those in need.

 “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 hygiene team helps villagers improve hygiene practices.

Wfss hygiene team helps villagers improve hygiene practices.

The WFSS Hygiene Team traveled alongside the drilling team and provided hygiene education and training to every village which received a well. The hygiene team is also involved in our sustainability efforts, and will work to help educate villagers on the importance of maintaining the well and constructing fencing to protect it. Future WFSS evaluations will include how well villages continue their hygiene training and practices.

While we didn’t reach our usual number of wells drilled this season, the information we’ve learned, along with our improved well design, will have a significant impact on future wells, and wells which we’ll rehabilitate. As we continue to learn and improve, we’ll be sharing our knowledge with other water drilling operations as well as the South Sudanese Ministry which oversees water access and management.

 new well installed in 2016

new well installed in 2016

As one drilling season ends, planning for the next one begins. WFSS will continue improving the technical sustainability of wells which also is key to protecting the aquifer which supplies them.  Our hygiene team will continue its work and we will look to develop a pilot sanitation project.

As we look ahead, our well redesign and retrofitting is in place.  We have unwavering attention on developing our South Sudanese team’s skills and talent. We’re seeking to expand our collaborations with other NGOs.  And the numbers of people who contribute time, money and skills to our now 12 year old organization continues to grow and amaze.

With all this momentum, our mission of partnering with the people of South Sudan to empower and transform their lives is stronger than ever. Thank you from Salva and our South Sudan and US leadership and staff for helping make that possible.

Drilling Continues

The WFSS Drilling Team is continuing with this season's plan  to drill wells in two steps as we finalize new design plans and materials for the well platforms. Our drilling team has been working hard on the first step, drilling boreholes and inserting and capping pipes. Our well platform team will then seal and finish the wells and well platforms.

As of March 9, 2016, the drilling team has completed 14 boreholes this season and is working on #15. The WFSS Hygiene Team has traveled with them, providing hygiene training in every village in which we have drilled. Both teams will head back to our compound in Wau when they finish borehole #15. This was our pre-determined mark to stop drilling until supplies arrive for our platform finishing team. Once all supplies are in hand our two teams, drilling and platform, will work on sealing and finishing the 15 wells. If time and conditions allow, they will then continue to drill and finish additional wells until the rainy season begins. 

WFSS is working to increase the efficiency and sustainability of our wells, in response to information found in our 2015 well evaluation survey. We are pleased to report that our wells are all working and producing clean water, and we look forward to even higher quality as we work to help transform lives in South Sudan.

In other news, look for a special announcement from Salva and WFSS on World Water Day, Tuesday March 22!

 

 

2016 Drilling Has Begun!

As of March 1, the WFSS Drilling Team has drilled 11 new boreholes, and also repaired 7 wells near the WFSS compound in Wau. Our Hygiene Team has also completed hygiene training in each village in which we have drilled.

Our teams have been working hard to review and improve our drilling processes, paying special attention to our process of sealing the wells, and installing the cement platforms around the wells, in response to findings from our 2015 well evaluation survey.

Read more about WFSS plans for 2016, including improved processes and greater sustainability, here.

WFSS Plans Ambitious Agenda for 2015-16

 WFSS Field Operations Manager Ajang "AJ" Agok with supply truck in Kampala.

WFSS Field Operations Manager Ajang "AJ" Agok with supply truck in Kampala.

Water for South Sudan will start its 11th drilling season in the next month, with its most ambitious agenda to date. Plans include drilling up to 40 new wells and conducting hygiene training in each village in which we drill. This year we will also launch a pilot well rehabilitation team which plans to repair up to 20 cement platforms on previously drilled wells.

WFSS has been drilling wells since 2005 and has now drilled 259 wells in South Sudan. We now have two Field Operations Managers, Ater Akol "Lion" Thiep and Ajang Abraham "AJ" Agok. Both are former "Lost Boys" of Sudan who were resettled in the US as refugees, but have chosen to go back to South Sudan to help their young country develop.

Lion and AJ will start the drilling season together, working to implement a slightly revised well platform design, which is the result of our findings from our 2015 well evaluation survey in which we were able to visit 80 of our wells. The survey showed us that all 80 wells visited are functioning, and even wells that had experienced breakdowns were able to be repaired within a few days. This is a testament to the sustainable way in which WFSS drills wells, and then trains villagers to maintain and repair them.  

Additional findings from the well survey showed that a number of the cement platforms around the wells were showing signs of wear and erosion. Our US Operations team, led by Don Fairman, volunteer Director of Operations and WFSS Board member, decided to revise the platform design for greater strength and durability. 

"Water for South Sudan is committed to bringing access to fresh water in the most economical and sustainable way," says Fairman. "This is the perfect time for us to use what we have learned to improve our process and procedures."

Fairman and fellow Board member and Operations Committee member John De Seyn are also extremely aware of the responsibility to keep WFSS wells functioning and well-sealed. The WFSS drilling team takes care to ensure that the water source for the wells, a deep and refillable underground aquifer, remains uncontaminated by our process.

Once the drilling team has mastered the process for the new platform design, we will launch a pilot well platform rehabilitation team, which will start working on some of the most eroded platforms. The team's goal for the season is to rehabilitate up to 20 older wells.

WFSS remains committed to transforming lives in South Sudan. We look forward to the upcoming season in which we will continue providing access to fresh water. We are pleased to continue our hygiene education program which trains villagers in improved hygiene practices. These trainers can then train others, thus extending the impact of clean water.

WFSS thanks all of our supporters, from every state in the US, and 29 other countries.  Together we are helping a fragile young country begin to take its first steps.