Water for South Sudan Receives $10,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. The award to Water for South Sudan was made by Newman’s Own Foundation as part of its commitment to the empowerment of individuals.

The grant to WFSS will be used to rehabilitate several of its older wells and to provide hygiene training in villages. In 2015, WFSS conducted an evaluation of 80 of its earliest drilled wells. The wells were all found to be operational and the water was safe. However, there was a consistent issue with broken cement platforms around the wells. In 2016, WFSS’s operations team studied the problem and possible solutions. The cement platform was redesigned and the design was tested and subsequently refined.

 An example of a well before and after the rehab process.

An example of a well before and after the rehab process.

In 2017, WFSS launched its rehabilitation team. The rehab team travels to wells drilled in WFSS’s early years to repair the cement platforms, upgrading them to the new design standard. WFSS did not begin providing hygiene education in villages until 2014. Therefore, each village where a well was drilled prior to 2014 will also receive hygiene training.  WFSS’s hygiene education program follows a “train the trainer” model. Village representatives are trained in best practices and they then go out to train the rest of the villagers.

“Rehabilitation of our older wells and hygiene education program are both crucial to the sustainability of the wells that we drill,” said WFSS Executive Director Lynn Malooly, “we are grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for their recognition of the importance of this work and for their generous grant to help us to get it done.”

More Access to Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene!

The 2018 season is nearing its close as the rainy season has begun in South Sudan. Our drilling, rehab and hygiene teams are still able to drill and repair wells as they make their way back to our Operations Center in Wau.

 Villagers in Wut-Nyap Village in Aweil East celebrate their new well.

Villagers in Wut-Nyap Village in Aweil East celebrate their new well.

As of May 15, 36 new wells have been drilled, and the team is still aiming for their goal of 44 new wells. Our rehab team has been able to repair 21 of our older wells, and is on pace to repair 25.

Both drilling and rehab teams are accompanied by their own hygiene team. So far this season, 57 villages have received hygiene training.

This season we also introduced a pilot sanitation project at Zogolona School in Wau. We look forward to sharing photos and stories from the students and school community, and hearing about the impact of this exciting development. We will also provide hygiene education to the school, which includes training on maintaining the new latrines.

The work never stops at WFSS: even as the season is winding down our Leadership Council in South Sudan is planning for the 2018-19 season by arranging for training, special projects, and maintenance.

 Happy students from zogolona primary school

Happy students from zogolona primary school

 Students at Zogolona Primary School in Wau, site of a new WFSS well and new latrines being constructed.

Students at Zogolona Primary School in Wau, site of a new WFSS well and new latrines being constructed.

Water for South Sudan and Alternative Gifts International Continue Partnership

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Water for South Sudan (WFSS) will once again be featured in Alternative Gifts International’s (AGI) annual catalog. This is the eighth year that WFSS has been featured. To date, this alliance has brought WFSS over $300,000 – enough to drill 20 wells. Twenty wells means 1,553,000 liters of water per day serving 13,000 people in isolated villages.

“We love AGI and our partnership. Many, many people who might never have learned about our work are finding us and donating through AGI. There is a great synergy between the two nonprofit organizations,” said WFSS Director of Development Cindy DeCarolis. 

We are grateful to all of the donors who found their way to us through AGI, and to the staff at AGI for continuing this extraordinary partnership.
 

March News - 25 New Wells Drilled, Sanitation Construction Continues

While snow falls in many parts of the US, the temperatures in South Sudan are well over 100 degrees. Our team continues their work, persevering and conquering challenges as we work to transform lives in South Sudan.

  VILLAGERS IN Lueth-agok VILLAGE IN AWEIL EAST STATE CELEBRATE THEIR NEW WELl sponsored by king philip middle school in connecticut.

 VILLAGERS IN Lueth-agok VILLAGE IN AWEIL EAST STATE CELEBRATE THEIR NEW WELl sponsored by king philip middle school in connecticut.

SOUTH SUDAN UPDATE
Our drilling and rehab teams have been working together to speed up the drilling process for the first part of the season, and have completed 25 wells as of March 14. The drilling team prepares and drills the wells, and is then able to move on to the next village. Meanwhile, the rehab team finishes the newly drilled well by installing the concrete platform. The rehab team will go off on their own in April to work on rehabilitating older wells in need of platform repair.

Our two hygiene teams travel along, one with the drilling team, and one with the rehab team, to deliver hygiene education in every village we visit.

This season, our Country Director, Ater Akol "Lion" Thiep will conduct the 2018 Monitoring and Evaluation of older wells this month, visiting 20 older wells to evaluate and report on their status.

PILOT SANITATION PROJECT
Water for South Sudan has been operating in the WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) sector for many years, focusing on water (new wells) since 2005, and hygiene education since 2014. This season, we have fully entered the WASH sector with our first pilot sanitation project.

 STUDENTS AT ZAGALONA PRIMARY SCHOOL, SITE OF WFSS'S PILOT SANITATION PROJECT, ENJOY FRESH WATER FROM THEIR NEW WELL, THE FIRST DRILLED IN THE 2017-18 SEASON. 

STUDENTS AT ZAGALONA PRIMARY SCHOOL, SITE OF WFSS'S PILOT SANITATION PROJECT, ENJOY FRESH WATER FROM THEIR NEW WELL, THE FIRST DRILLED IN THE 2017-18 SEASON. 

 

The project broke ground in January, at an elementary school near our compound in Wau. Progress continues, managed by WFSS Associate Country Director AJ Agok, in consultation with our US team in Rochester. The school and community celebrated the groundbreaking, and look forward to use of the new latrine this spring.

We look forward to bringing you more news and photos of this project as it continues.

THANK YOU!
Water for South Sudan is now supported by donors in all 50 US states, and 49 other countries, with Finland joining the fold this month. Thank you to all who support our work to strengthen families, communities, and the young nation of South Sudan.

Follow us on social media as we celebrate World Water Day on March 22. Truly, every day is World Water Day at WFSS.

Drilling Season Update

 Breaking ground for a new latrine pilot at the Zagalona Primary School.

Breaking ground for a new latrine pilot at the Zagalona Primary School.

WFSS is pleased to announce the 2017-18 season has begun! Drilling has started and ground has been broken for the pilot sanitation project.

The drilling team is currently in the Aweil area, drilling and installing new wells. As of January 26, 10 new wells have been drilled.

We face challenges in all facets of this work. We've experienced some equipment challenges recently, and our team is hard at work addressing them. The drilling rig had a minor breakdown that was quickly repaired. Our compressors have also broken down. This has not stopped our work, and as the our team works on repairs, they are also exploring renting an additional compressor to complete the installation of new wells.

The WFSS rehab team, launched in 2017, is currently traveling with the drilling team to speed up the process of installing new wells. The rehab team plans to split off in February to begin its goal of rehabbing up to 50 of WFSS’s older wells, and the drilling team will resume total installation of the new wells.

Hygiene education is ongoing, with the WFSS hygiene teams continuing their “train the trainer” model of education in the villages. A hygiene team travels with both the drilling and rehab teams, so that WFSS can reach every village it visits to help improve hygiene practices.

Pilot Latrine Project in Wau

WFSS’s season officially began in December, with the construction of a well at the Zagalona Primary School near the WFSS Operations Center in Wau. This well was the first step in WFSS’s pilot sanitation project to install latrines in a school.  The Zagalona School serves approximately 800 students. Access to fresh water and latrines for students will help to increase health and attendance at the school.

 AJ with the community around Zagalona Primary School.

AJ with the community around Zagalona Primary School.

Ground breaking for the project began on January 3, with many in attendance, including representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure (Public Utility), the Parents and Teachers Association, the village chief, and the steering committee, head teachers and board of directors from the school, along with WFSS Associate Country Director AJ Agok and WFSS Sanitation Manager Rudolf Nyiyuo Kon.

AJ noted that the community members, government officials, and school representatives, including students, were “very happy, joyful, and grateful about the new latrine and well.”

“We received great speeches from various government representatives. The Ministry of Education urged the rest of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to work like Water for South Sudan. She also said that the education system would be highly improved if all the NGOs were operating like Water for South Sudan,” AJ remarked.

The representative from the school’s Parents and Teachers Association said they will remain supportive and collaborate with the school management to sustain the latrines. AJ noted WFSS was very glad to hear parents talk about sustainability.

 The first well of the season at Zagalona Primary School.

The first well of the season at Zagalona Primary School.

The village chief thanked WFSS and said he will never forget what WFSS has done for the school children to keep them healthy with hygiene and sanitation, and will fully support school management on sustainability of the latrines and well. “Thanks to WFSS and the donors who raised the money for Zagalona Primary school. We will sustain it,” said the chief. 

The head teacher was also very thankful and said he couldn’t wait to use the latrine first to set an example for everyone on how to use the latrine.  

“My students will no longer be late for classes since they have drinking water nearby. They will no longer go to the bush and squat there because there is a latrine now. If it wasn’t for Water for South Sudan they would not be able to achieve,” said head teacher Daniel Ajiek Madut.

Iron Giraffe Challenge Update

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The Iron Giraffe Challenge (IGC) is well on its way to meeting the 2018 goal of $150,000 with $90,225 donated. Pledge forms have been received from over 100 schools, and 35 of those schools have already completed the challenge to raise $1,000. Each school completing the challenge will be entered into a drawing to win a visit with Salva at their school, or one of several other great Skype call prizes.

Key dates for IGC 2018 are:

February 15th: Deadline for submitting pledge forms

April 6th: Funds must be received by WFSS (via mail or online)

April 9th: Live drawing of IGC prizes

 Chardon Middle School, in Ohio, has completed their pledge for the Iron Giraffe Challenge.

Chardon Middle School, in Ohio, has completed their pledge for the Iron Giraffe Challenge.

Salva and the entire WFSS team are so grateful to all of the schools and students who raise money for WFSS. We are inspired by the compassion of these children to help children in South Sudan. It’s not too late for your school to join the IGC and help Salva drill more wells. 

For questions about the IGC contact Lucie Parfitt at lucie.parfitt@waterforsouthsudan.org or 585-383-0410.

WFSS Plans for Drilling, Rehab, Hygiene and Sanitation Projects in 2018

WFSS finished the 2016-17 season with a new total of 304 wells drilled since 2005. Planning for the next season began soon after. Starting with a review of the successes and challenges of the past season, our South Sudan Leadership Council, with support from the Rochester-based Operations Committee, began developing their plan for the upcoming season.

The team assessed and repaired vehicles and equipment as needed; they then prepared supply lists for all that is needed to drill new wells, rehabilitate older wells and provide hygiene education. Our Country Director Ater Akol Thiep is currently in Kampala, Uganda, purchasing pumps, pipes, casings and cement, and all the other supplies that we are unable to source in South Sudan. This is just one of the challenges we face, operating in the newest country in the world.

The WFSS team is in the final stages of preparation for the 2018 season, with plans to drill up to 40 new wells, rehabilitate up to 50 older wells, and bring hygiene education training to every village we visit.

Sanitation Project Plans

In addition, our team in South Sudan has been researching effective and sustainable sanitation solutions for South Sudan, with plans to install a pilot latrine project in a school. While the need for clean water often takes center stage, the lack of proper sanitation facilities in South Sudan is also a severe problem.

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals include Goal #6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all. As UN Water reports, the benefits of having access to an improved drinking water source can only be fully realized when there is also access to improved sanitation and adherence to good hygiene practices. Beyond the immediate, obvious advantages of people being hydrated and healthier, access to water, sanitation and hygiene – known collectively as WASH – has profound wider socio-economic impacts, particularly for women and girls.

WFSS is looking to engage in this sector, and is working with local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in South Sudan to understand the problem and implement workable solutions.

Thank you to our friends and supporters across the US and around the world, who enable our work. We could not do it without you, and we are deeply grateful for your support.

Local Leadership Drives our Team in South Sudan

 WFSS Team at the start of the 2017 season

WFSS Team at the start of the 2017 season

Water for South Sudan (WFSS), established in 2003, has been working in South Sudan since 2005.  The safety and security of our team has been our number one priority since the beginning.

 

As of May, 2017 we have now drilled 304 wells, provided hygiene education to over 150,000 trainers, and have rehabilitated and repaired many wells-- our wells, and those drilled by others. This year we will pilot a school sanitation project. Our team is safe, secure, and planning for the future.

 

WFSS Led by Local Staff in South Sudan

Our team has been able to stay safe through our years of operation, and they remain safe today. Our US office is in constant contact with our South Sudan team, and receives daily security updates. Our team has many precautions in place to ensure their safety, as well as appropriate contingency and evacuation plans should they ever be needed.

One reason for our continued success, and ability to stay engaged, is our on-the-ground leadership team, started by our Founder, Salva Dut, and now continued by our Country Directors, Ater Thiep and Ajang Agok. They, along with our management team, support staff and seasonal employees are all South Sudanese. Our in-country team is able to connect with local and national government offices, and also monitor security issues.  They understand the culture, language and lifestyle of the country well and are guardedly hopeful about ongoing peace dialogues in the country.

Team Members and Their Families Safe in Wau

 wfss country director, and former "lost boy," ater akol thiep.

wfss country director, and former "lost boy," ater akol thiep.

Mathew Akuar Akuar, our Hygiene Manager and Assistant Drilling Manager reports that his family is in Wau, the second largest city in South Sudan, and home to our operations center. He notes, "My family feels safe in Wau. There is no fear and business people are running their work normally."

Country Director Ater Akol Thiep agrees. He notes that Wau is currently one of the safest area in South Sudan, given its strategic location, and that the national dialogue initiative between the government and rebels is being held in Wau, and "that is why my brothers, sisters, and cousins are staying here with me."

Thiep further explains, "WFSS donors need to understand that the WFSS team values their lives and equipment very much, and if the security situation is not good, it will be their responsibility to stop work and evacuate our staff and equipment immediately to safety.

"But now we really feel good about the situation in South Sudan in general and Wau area in particular. Now over twenty NGO's (non-governmental organizations) are still operating in Wau and none of them have asked for evaluation because they know that the situation here is normal. But we also know that there are some parts in the country which are not safe, and we will try to avoid those areas until we are sure of the safety."                                                                                 


Water, Sanitation, Hygiene is the First Step in Development

 WFSS Founder Salva Dut

WFSS Founder Salva Dut

We remain hopeful that the young nation of South Sudan can grow and develop. Bringing access to fresh water, hygiene education and sanitation can be a huge first step. Once villages have a stable source of water they can look to next steps, which include establishing local markets, health clinics and schools. Education is vitally important if South Sudan is to grow and develop.

WFSS Founder Salva Dut explains, "The main key for a peaceful South Sudan is to educate the next generation.  Young people understand the meaning of the peace. Providing education helps to keep watering the elements to ensure our future. Keeping young people healthy by providing clean drinking water is the first step."

Hope for the future

Salva explains that he is still hopeful for the future of South Sudan, and, as a dual US-South Sudanese citizen, he reaches into his US history for reasons why.

"The United States went through many wars and Americans were still hopeful and didn't give up. They went through the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam and others, and America today has prosperity. The civil war of South Sudan will stop some day and the people there will be living in peace and happiness."

 

Planning for 2017-18 Season

Our team has spent the summer debriefing on the past season, and planning for the next one. Plans include drilling up to 40 new wells, rehabilitating 40-50 older wells, providing hygiene education training in every village we visit, and constructing a pilot sanitation project in a school. 

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