Notes from South Sudan: World Water Day in Juba

 Glenn, Lynn, and Anne with university students in Juba, South Sudan.

Glenn, Lynn, and Anne with university students in Juba, South Sudan.


The following is a first in a series of blog posts, entitled "Notes from South Sudan", by Lynn Malooly (left), Executive Director of Water for South Sudan. She and several other WFSS team members traveled to South Sudan in March 2018. Look for more stories from her in the coming months.

I have had the honor of working at Water for South Sudan for the past eight years. In that time, I handled hundreds of photos from our work and always loved seeing photos of wells, and those who use them. I saw photos of people, village and landscapes, and our team drilling and repairing wells. But all that I saw was two-dimensional.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I have seen hundreds of pictures of our work in South Sudan and have been so moved by the dramatic images. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing South Sudan in person is nothing short of life-changing.

When I traveled to South Sudan this past March our work, and people, became fully three-dimensional for me. I was able to experience the sights, sounds, smells and sun-soaked heat of South Sudan. Our mission came alive for me.

 Munuki Rotary Club

Munuki Rotary Club

Our trip began with a three-hour drive from Rochester to Toronto before our 12 ½ hour flight to Addis Ababa. Our traveling crew included WFSS Board President Glenn M. Balch, Jr., Board member Anne Turner, and Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok. Once in Addis Ababa we had time for an Ethiopian coffee in the airport before another short flight to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. We walked off the plane and were met a short distance away by WFSS Founder Salva Dut. We were interviewed by a local TV station and we shared our excitement about being in South Sudan. We talked about our work and outline for our visit, including plans to see a well being drilled.

In Juba, we attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Munuki, held in an open air hut, and heard about their work – offering scholarships, assisting with Hepatitis B vaccinations, and planting trees. They are also looking at a borehole project near Juba. Glenn, a life-long Rotarian and past District Governor, shared his enthusiasm and support for their projects.

Lynn w Juba students - WWD.JPG

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I have seen hundreds of pictures of our work in South Sudan and have been so moved by the dramatic images. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing South Sudan in person is nothing short of life-changing.

We had the happy occasion to celebrate World Water Day in Juba on March 22. Our day started at the Tulip Inn in Juba, where we met local university students, all sporting their new WFSS t-shirts. They told us of their studies, including computer science and agriculture studies, and future plans. Their dedication and enthusiasm inspired us and was very encouraging for the future of South Sudan.

The celebration for World Water Day, and National Nile Day, took place at the Nyakuron Cultural Center. Local government officials and ministers spoke on the importance of water, and several elementary school students also spoke. The students asked a few water-themed riddles, including: “I come from the family of water, but if I go back to water I die.  Who am I?” This one completely stumped the audience (see answer below).

Glenn and I were invited to say a few words on our work and thanked everyone for their attention to the issue of access to clean water. We were invited to be in many photos to mark the day.

The Juba portion of our trip was eye-opening and energizing. We would soon leave the comforts of our hotel and travel deeper into the country, to meet our team and see the work we do.


Answer to riddle: Ice!

Water is Sacred and Holy in South Sudan

The following essay was written by WFSS Compound Manager Abraham Majur.


Since time in memorial, South Sudanese beliefs, norms, and values have considered water to be sacred. A "water point" as referred to in this narrative includes: pools, rivers, hand pumps/boreholes, hand dug wells, swamp, and lakes, among others.

Holiness of Water Points and Water

The South Sudanese Dinka traditionalists believe that God resides around water points, and that water is “god.” Water has a spirit that can curse people if evil things are done at Water Points. In earlier days, Dinka elders advised young people to avoid going to rivers, swamps, pools, hand pumps/hand dug wells at late hours of the night and early mornings. Elders told that late at night, the spirits and ghosts gather along river and in swamps at those hours.

This perception has protected water points for a long time in South Sudan, even during the two wars of Sudan.

When Dinkas are making their traditional sacrifices to their “gods” the Spearmasters or Sectional/Clan elders first give water to animals to be sacrificed. The notion is that the animal will urinate and there would be enough blood. They consider this as a sign of acceptance of their sacrifice by their “gods” and ancestors. During sacrifices amongst Dinkas when animal meat is consumed, clan elders would spray young people and clan members with water, which they believe it has blessing for their “gods” and ancestors.According to the Dinka tradition, you cannot kill anything while drinking at a water point, be it wild or domestic animals/birds. Even at points of conflict, a defected enemy would not be denied access to a water point or killed while drinking. Killing enemies while they’re drinking water is believed to attract a curse on the doer and his family in present and future. 

Traditions and Stories About Water Points

There are a good number of tribes and sections of Dinka clans who sacrifice for sacred Water Points, usually to rivers and other specific Water Points in their respective localities. For example, in Yirol East, currently part of Eastern Lakes State, a section called Dhiem of Ador offers sacrifices to Lake Shambe and Ajiek sacrifices to River Payii. There are many others but those are a few examples.

 From left to right: Abraham (author), and Associate Country Directors  AJ  and  A ter

From left to right: Abraham (author), and Associate Country Directors AJ and Ater

Water for South Sudan's Wells

WFSS has drilled over 300 wells, and none of the wells have been reported vandalized or destroyed by any parties (government or rebel forces).

We are assured of the protection of the wells by users and local authorities in those respective areas.

In this regard our donors and supporters should know that their efforts, talents, resources, and time are not at waste but in service of local communities in South Sudan who have been disadvantaged by two wars of Sudan for years and current conflict.

Why We IGC: South Cumberland Elementary School

Eighth graders at South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee kicked off the 2017 school year reading A Long Walk to Water.

While many of the students had never heard of the country of South Sudan, each one quickly was drawn into the doubling narratives of Nya and Salva. The book’s ending made them hungry for more, which led to the school joining hands with WFSS and participating in the Iron Giraffe challenge.

Over the last three months, South Cumberland has had an ongoing race between seven teachers in our school to see which one could earn the most money and, in result, get duct-taped to the wall.

The students enjoyed dumping their money into their favorite teacher’s jar and hearing weekly updates as the competition has been sometimes tight between a few of them.

However, the Vice Principal of South Cumberland, Mrs. Mackzum, raised over $400 alone, making her the lucky winner.

 Mrs. Mackzum was duct-taped to the wall as the result of a fundraising incentive for students.

Mrs. Mackzum was duct-taped to the wall as the result of a fundraising incentive for students.

On the last day of school before Winter Break, the students gathered to watch the celebration of duct-taping and remembering the greater purpose of the fundraiser: to bring fresh, clean water to those in great need.

South Cumberland has raised $1,280 to be used by the Water for South Sudan organization during the 2018 drilling season. Thank you to all the students and staff for your creative and excellent fundraising efforts!

WFSS Seeks Operations Support Coordinator - Rochester, NY

Operations Support Coordinator Job Opening

WFSS seeks an Operations Support Coordinator at its Rochester, NY office. The Coordinator will report to the Executive Director and also work with South Sudan country leadership, and Rochester-based Director of Operations in planning and managing South Sudan programs which include: well drilling and rehabilitation, hygiene education and sanitation program. Position is 25-35 hours a week.

Join Our Team!.png

Operations Support Coordinator responsibilities include:

  • Procurement activities which may include: purchasing inventory, managing international supply chain and implementing software inventory management process
  • Work with Operations Committee in developing, documenting and maintaining operational procedures
  • Work with Operations Committee in developing preventative maintenance programs/ schedules for drilling equipment and vehicles
  • Work with South Sudan leadership and Operations Director in preparing annual operations budget
  • Support database development as needed
  • Conduct research projects as needed


Candidates must have supply chain and/or engineering/technology experience, and passion for the mission of Water for South Sudan. Two-year degree is desired, or two to five years applicable experience.

In addition, candidates must have demonstrated:

  • Technical problem solving skills
  • Database and Excel experience
  • Excellent computer knowledge and skills
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Willing to work in close team environment
  • Cross-cultural experience a plus

Application deadline: January 12, 2018. 

WFSS Celebrates World Toilet Day in Wau

 wau residents participate in activities marking world toilet day.

wau residents participate in activities marking world toilet day.

64% of people in the world live without toilets.

In 2013, the United Nation’s Assembly declared November 19th as World Toilet Day to bring awareness to the importance of having a toilet. Today 4.5 billion people live without sanitation facilities in their households – more people in the world have cell phones than toilets.

Sanitation is a public health issue. According to the charity Wherever the Need, poor sanitation kills more people than HIV and AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Poor sanitation leads to diarrhea. In 2015 there were 508,9541 known deaths across the globe from diarrhea of children under five. South Sudan ranks number 34 worldwide in deaths of children under five from diarrhea, with 3,243 in 2015. Sanitation is the single most cost-effective public health intervention to reduce child mortality2.

Sanitation also contributes to social injustice and poverty. When schools do not have sanitation facilities children, especially girls, often stay out of school-- either from illness, or in the case of girls, menstruation. There is a 15 percent increase in girls’ attendance rate once a toilet is introduced in a school.3 Women can’t work when they are forced to walk for water. Farmers and wage earners are less productive when they are not healthy due to poor sanitation. The World Health Organization states that there is $9 in economic benefit for every $1 spent on sanitation.

 teaching children about sanitation practices in wau.

teaching children about sanitation practices in wau.

 teaching children can help lead to greater behavior change in developing countries.

teaching children can help lead to greater behavior change in developing countries.

WFSS joined the world in celebrating World Toilet Day on November 19th. WFSS Compound Manager Abraham Majur Laam participated in a live radio talk show sponsored by WFSS. The panel also included the Directorate of Public Utilities and a representative from OXFAM GB. The show was interactive with listeners asking questions and sharing concerns about sanitation. Topics ranged from the construction of pit latrines to washing hands after toilet use to sustainability of facilities.

Other WFSS staff members helped to educate internally displaced persons at the Hai Masna camp in Wau. In addition to WFSS, there were delegates from Christians for Action, Relief, and Development; OXFAM GB; South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission; Directorate of Public Utilities; and Norwegian Refugee Council. Educational dramas were used to demonstrate how to build a pit latrine using locally available materials and how to use a latrine. Songs carrying messages about hygiene and sanitation were sung and soaps were distributed.

To date, WFSS has drilled 304 wells in remote villages in South Sudan. Since 2014, WFSS has provided hygiene training to 1,584 people in 198 villages, who then train the rest of their communities in best hygiene practices, impacting over 100,000 people to date. WFSS is currently exploring an opportunity to build latrines in a school in South Sudan. 



2.       World Bank 2006

3.       Wherever the Need

WFSS Seeks Lead Mechanic in South Sudan

Water for South Sudan is seeking a full time lead mechanic for our Operations Center in Wau. The lead mechanic will be responsible for general mechanical work, repairing and maintaining cars, trucks, drilling rigs, compressors, and generators.

Expectations/Requirements for Lead Mechanic

Join Our Team!.png

1.      Applicant must be a South Sudanese citizen with at least two years’ experience as a mechanic with an International or National NGO, and must present a letter of recommendation from a former employer.

2.      Applicant must be fluent in English and able to communicate with US personnel in English, including technical description of problems, parts, and tools, and without needing the assistance of additional South Sudan management/staff.

3.      Applicant must have a basic understanding of diesel engines, i.e., must understand the components and operation of the intake, compression, and exhaust cycles, and have awareness of engine problem indicators, such as sounds, exhaust smoke, stalling, fluids leakage, etc.

4.      Applicant should be familiar with diesel fuel injection systems and the importance of keeping fuel clean and free of water and any contact with sources of dirt and moisture.

5.      Applicant should be familiar with general maintenance requirements and procedures, such as chassis and drive train lubrication, and oils and air filtration.

6.      Applicant must have knowledge and experience in routine vehicle maintenance requirements and procedures, such as brake systems, steering mechanisms inspection, wheel and axle bearings, and proper clutch operation and adjustment.

7.      It is helpful that applicant understands basic electrical controls and wiring, including difference between AC and DC power as WFSS relies on generators to support operations.

8.      Knowledge of the selection and use of proper tools for tasks, and proper safety procedures, such as redundant support (i.e., blocking) in addition to hydraulic or mechanical jacking devices

9.      Knowledge of how to install and replace seals, and understanding of how their configuration (shape) determines proper orientation and installation, is valuable.

10.  Ability to weld is a desired and helpful capability for our operations, but not a requirement.

11.  Applicant will be responsible for keeping vehicle and equipment maintenance, repair, and service records.

12.  Applicant is expected to read manuals and follow written directions.

Accountability: Lead mechanic reports to the Country Director and Associate Country Director

Qualifications:   South Sudanese citizen, fluent in English and appropriate mechanical experience

Training:              Training could be available, to be determined by WFSS Leadership Council.

Evaluation:         An annual performance evaluation is prepared by Leadership Council.


Position starts with a three month probation period. After probationary period, applicant will be entitled to a review of compensation and performance.

Vacation:  Eligible for 4 weeks per year, after one year of full-time employment.

PIT:   All employees are responsible for paying Personal Income Tax, to be withheld from payroll.

Social Insurance:  WFSS will contribute 17% of salary, and employee will contribute 8% of salary, to be withheld from pay and placed in the employee’s social insurance fund held by the organization.


Send resume, letter of application highlighting mechanical experience, and letter of reference from former employer to: 

WFSS Country Director Ater Akol Thiep:
WFSS Associate Country Director: Ajang Agok:

Deadline:  February 28, 2018


Salva Dut on Connections with Evan Dawson on WXXI Rochester, NY

Salva & Lynn on plane June 2016.1.jpg

Water for South Sudan Founder and Senior Advisor Salva Dut, and Executive Director Lynn Malooly, were both featured as guests on Connections with Evan Dawson, on WXXI, Rochester, NY's NPR station. The show aired on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. You can listen to a recording of the live show here.

Salva was invited by Evan to share his story of walking out of Sudan as an 11 year old boy when war broke out in Southern Sudan in 1985. Salva recounts his story as a young boy forced to walk hundreds of miles, and then his subsequent experiences in two different refugee camps. Salva came to the United States after 10 years of living in refugee camps and walking. He was moved to Rochester, NY in 1996.

Here's a sampling of some of the questions in the interview:

Evan: Did you ever think you would talk to family again? Did you have anyone you were close to that you thought you would have contact with?
Salva: First, there were people that I knew when I was in the first camp in Kenya, before they moved us to another camp in Ethiopia. At that time, most people that I knew were grown up people and they went back to fight in Sudan. I left with people I didn't know. The boys I left with were acquaintances, and they became my family.
Evan: So here in Rochester, what did you find?
Salva: When I came to Rochester, it was in February. In refugee camps, we didn't really understand what snow meant--we thought it was just something foggy. . . . So when I saw the powdery stuff coming from the sky, I sat at the window for an hour and just watching this thing falling from the sky. . . . It was really a challenge to see this different climate completely. ... I will never get used to it.
Evan: Once you got into the rhythm of life and you felt more comfortable here, what was it like to see Americans complain about things like this store doesn't have milk today, or I have to drive 5 miles to this store to get this brand?
Salva: It feels really funny--I couldn't believe that you would have such thinking to ignore the rest and look for other things so far away. When I went to Wegmans, I would just want to get whatever I could get. What happened was that my sponsor said, "Salva, don't get that, it's junk food" and I said, "what are you talking about? What do you mean by junk food? I need it," and I grabbed it because I did not understand what the difference was."

Listen to the full interview.


"Our Hands, Our Future": Global Handwashing Day Celebration in South Sudan

Global Handwashing Day was celebrated on October 15th. The celebration is meant to raise awareness to how vital good handwashing habits are for all people, and bring more understanding to practices of handwashing around the world.

Global Handwashing Day is designed to:

  • Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap
  • Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world
  • Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap

This year's theme was "Our Hands, Our Future."

Water for South Sudan was pleased to participate in the celebration in Wau, where our South Sudan Operations Center is based. WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar attended and shared photos of the celebration.

Many NGOs and government institutions participated in the event, including: WFSS, Red Cross, IOM, UNICEF, WHO, OXFAM GB, and Malteser International. Several government ministers and other distinguished guests were also invited.

Other invited guests included students and teachers from a variety of different schools who presented drama and songs related to promotion of hygiene in South Sudan. The main event of the celebration was a hand-washing demonstration.

Representatives from NGOs WASH Cluster and Government delivered speeches, and gifts of soap were given to all the participating schools.

WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar also shared WFSS hygiene success stories, noting that villagers are happy to receive the training, and improve the life and health of their villages. He said that they sometimes use drama and acting to share hygiene messages, which helps the people remember concepts. 

Mathew notes that the lessons they teach to communities are very specific. “The first topic is the practical part, that they understand the meaning of hygiene. We gather and show tools like a clean cup, a clean saucepan, soap to clean hands, nail cutter to cut finger nails when they’re dirty, and a toothbrush to brush teeth.”

He notes that for the practical part of cutting finger nails, they need to show that “before you cut you have to show the dirt underneath the finger nails. They see the long finger nails fall down and some of them laugh because they see how dirty and that they were in a very bad place. Our country is independent but this was the first time they are hearing these things, and they say thank you for what you did.”

WFSS has been providing hygiene education and training to the villages we serve since 2014.  WFSS works with villagers to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement, then works to train the trainers (four men and four women in each village) who can then train others.

WFSS now has two hygiene education teams, one traveling with our drilling team, and one with our new well rehab team. We have now provided hygiene training in 158 villages, with plans for to conduct training in 90 more villages in 2018.


Water Works! Celebration Brunch in Rochester, NY

Water for South Sudan hosted Water Works! - a celebration brunch with WFSS Founder Salva Dut on October 8 in Rochester, NY.

Supporters from the Rochester area and beyond came together to celebrate our successes, hear updates from Salva and joined us in honoring long-time WFSS supporters.

Salva presented the Founder's Award to long-time WFSS Board members Glenn M. Balch, Jr., Nancy Curme, Jack McKelvey and Carol Snook. 

Salva presented the Long Walk Award to the Turner Family to honor their long-time and continued involvement and generosity towards WFSS. John Turner was WFSS's first Chief Operating Officer, a position he held until his death in 2011. John and Carol, and their four children, have been enthusiastic and generous supporters of WFSS. Anne Turner, Jennifer Turner Deuel and Charlie Turner attended the brunch to receive their awards. Josh Turner was also honored. Anne currently serves as a Board member, and Charlie surprised all in attendance when he presented a check for $6,000 from Pittsford, NY Rotary Club.

Gross income for the brunch was $55,272.00. Expenses were $10,993.34 for a net income of $44,278.66. Thank you to all who helped make Water Works! a resounding success.

Special thank you to our sponsors!

Sponsor Slide from Andrew.10.8.17.jpg

Why We IGC: An Interview with Lindsey Fried of Piedmont, OK

The Middle School of Piedmont in Piedmont, Oklahoma, has now taken the Iron Giraffe Challenge four years in a row.

Four years ago, Water for South Sudan (WFSS) launched the Iron Giraffe Challenge (IGC), and since then, students all over the world have taken the challenge to raise money for WFSS to help fund a new drilling rig for the organization. The IGC culminates in a prize drawing in April that will reveal which school has won either a visit with Salva or one of the Skype call prizes. Salva has visited three different schools in the last three years: the American School of Dubai, Daniel Bagley Elementary in Seattle, WA, and Millbrook High School in New York.

We wanted to share this perspective on the IGC from a teacher who has taken the challenge every year since 2014 with her students and community. I interviewed Lindsey Fried of the Middle School of Piedmont in Piedmont, Oklahoma to see why she and her students have returned to the IGC every year, including this year.

WFSS: How did you first hear about the Iron Giraffe Challenge?

Lindsey: This is my 3rd year teaching at Piedmont Middle School. I had never specifically heard about the Iron Giraffe Challenge till I came to Piedmont. I knew water wells were needed in Africa, but I had no idea there was an organization in place to help drill wells and provide access to cleaner water. I have a friend, Lindsey Andrews, that writes children's books about the living conditions and water issues in Ethiopia. Her first book titled, I Walk For Water, is a book with vivid illustrations about what a child goes through to find clean water on a daily basis in Ethiopia. This book opened my eyes with how much water is taken for granted by many people when several places in this world do not even have access to water. When reading through the links on the Water for South Sudan website, I was shocked when I read the price of a new drilling rig, or "iron giraffe," and I realized how necessary it is to participate in the challenge with my students. Seeing the picture of the current iron giraffe helped me put together why the name of the challenge is called the “Iron Giraffe Challenge”.

"When reading through the links on the Water for South Sudan website, I was shocked when I read the price of a new drilling rig, or "Iron Giraffe," and I realized how necessary it is to participate in the challenge with my students."

WFSS: What motivated you to sign up every year after the first year?

Lindsey: I am a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, and part of our curriculum is reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This book is the main reason Piedmont became motivated to help with the cause. After Piedmont’s first year of signing up and contributing to the Iron Giraffe Challenge, it has been so inspiring and challenging to continue contributing each year thereafter. Our students become passionate when they realize there are places that lack one of the biggest necessities in life, water. In class discussions, students realize how much they take water for granted on a daily basis, and they become empathetic with other children who do not have water as a luxury. The staff, the students, and the community of Piedmont come together to reach our yearly goal to donate to the IGC. Piedmont is a great town where families, churches, businesses, and the schools work together to make something happen.  

WFSS: How have students reacted to the Iron Giraffe Challenge? 

Lindsey: Students are typically a little shocked when they see the videos on the Water for South Sudan website, because seeing primary examples of the water that the people are forced to drink for lack of options is very eye opening. They find it fascinating to read both Nya’s and Salva’s story, and they love the ending of the book. Students also realize how much they take water and their education for granted when they read the story of Nya having to walk the majority of her day to gather little water or none at all.

"Students also realize how much they take water and their education for granted when they read the story of Nya having to walk the majority of her day to gather little water or none at all."

WFSS: Has there been a student or group of students that really took fundraising into their own hands?

Lindsey: One group of students took a cross-curricular project that was assigned to the next level. One particular student in that group took all of his data and research from each class and put it into a presentation with a voice-over. He walked his audience through his findings of daily water usage for Nya’s people and compared that information with his personal water usage. He calculated the distance Nya walked daily to determine how long it took her to travel that distance. His ten minute presentation was so outstanding, that it was shown to several teachers, the principal, and the superintendent.  

WFSS: Can you share some of your fundraising ideas with us? What was your favorite fundraiser?

A favorite fundraiser we have done at Piedmont to reach our goal is having a walk-a-thon at the school. We have a time set where students walk nonstop around the gym. We also purchase gallon jugs of water to provide students with the opportunity to experience what it feels like carrying water on their heads like Nya does in A Long Walk to Water. At last year’s fundraiser, some students chose to take their shoes off while walking to get a feel of what Nya’s feet feel like when going to gather water. Some students would limp on one foot while carrying a jug of water to represent the thorns that would poke into Nya’s heels. Other fundraisers have included selling bottled waters and flavored water packets.

WFSS: What has been the most inspiring part of fundraising with your students?

Lindsey: The most inspiring part of fundraising with the students is seeing their determination to reach our set goal. I will share our donations page link through Google Classroom, and students will tell me that they have shared the link with their church or their parents have shared it with others. Students will encourage other students to take part by creating public service announcements with slogans that say, “Don’t Wait; Just Donate” or “Don’t Delay and Give Today.” Seeing students become leaders is a very inspiring part of the fundraising as well. I can teach, educate, and inform students about ways to help, but it is the student's motivation and determination that pushes their classmates to step up and be leaders, too, in order to contribute in making a difference for the people of South Sudan.  

"I can teach, educate, and inform students about ways to help, but it is the student's motivation and determination that pushes their classmates to step up and be leaders, too."

Thank you to the students and community at the Middle School of Piedmont for your hard work and commitment to WFSS! 

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.

New York State Federated Garden Clubs Help Water the Seeds of Change in South Sudan

Water for South Sudan is so grateful to our many supporters, across the US, and around the world, who enable our life-saving work in South Sudan. We are especially thankful to those groups who commit to helping us year after year, and find a special connection to us through their work.

Once special group of super supporters is our friends in the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State (FGCNYS).

The Garden Clubs have raised over $144,000 for WFSS since 2010. They have sponsored seven new wells, and this year they also sponsored the rehabilitation of an older well.

 Lucille Bauer, left, and Lyn Pezold, of NYS Federated Garden Clubs with Salva in NYC.

Lucille Bauer, left, and Lyn Pezold, of NYS Federated Garden Clubs with Salva in NYC.

Salva and WFSS Executive Director Lynn Malooly were able to meet some of our Garden Club members in New York City in March while Salva was in town for World Water Day events.

Lucille Bauer, State Chair for World Gardening, FGCNYS First Vice President was thrilled to meet Salva, and brought along Lyn Pezold, state recording secretary, District Director Graceann Morawek and fellow Castle Manor member Karen Maskuli.

"We're proud to sponsor Water for South Sudan as our World Gardening Project," said Lucille. "It was a pleasure to to meet Salva in New York. We are thrilled that we collected over $25,000 in 2016 for WFSS."

The Garden Clubs have consistently raised over $15,000 a year since 2010, and have been sponsoring wells since 2011. 

"We are so grateful to our gardening club friends for choosing Water for South Sudan for their World Gardening Project," said WFSS Executive Director Lynn Malooly. "Their support, for so many years, has transformed thousands of lives in South Sudan." 

FGCNYS's first well sponsorship came in 2011. This past year they had their highest fundraising totals ever, and donated to WFSS. These funds will sponsor another new well next drilling season. In addition, they were able to sponsor the rehabilitation of an older well this season.

This new pilot project, spurred by our 2015 well evaluation study, led to the creation of our well rehab team in 2017. To date this year the new rehab team has repaired the cement platforms of 26 of our oldest wells.

"Thanks to the support of FGCNYS, this repaired well will continue to produce clean water for years to come," said Malooly.

The Federated Garden Clubs of New York is a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., the largest gardening organization in the world. The Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc., was founded in 1924 and incorporated in 1930 for the purpose of supporting the Garden Clubs of New York State. The FGCNYS presently includes more than 250 garden clubs with 8105 members across the state.