Notes from South Sudan: Coming Home to Wau

 Board president glenn M. Balch, jr., lynn malooly, salva dut and board member anne turner

Board president glenn M. Balch, jr., lynn malooly, salva dut and board member anne turner

The following is the second 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.

After a few days in the capital city of Juba we flew to Wau, the second largest city in South Sudan, and our travels took us deeper into the country.  With a population of about 150,000, Wau was unlike any city I had ever seen. Many residents live in simple mud and grass huts. The main roads are dirt and as we drove we navigated around pot holes, cows, goats, and people. People walk everywhere, and a lucky few get around by bicycle. Our local team met us at the airport and faces came alive as I met, in person for the first time, some of our local managers. We were also met with the heat. Salva reminded us over and over to wear our hats and stay hydrated. He told us that we needed to sweat—it was our bodies’ way to keep cool, and stave off heatstroke. And so we sweated… all the time.  Water bottles became our constant companions.

 WFSS cooks Alic and Becky in their soon to be old kitchen.

WFSS cooks Alic and Becky in their soon to be old kitchen.

We came home to the WFSS compound in Wau, the heart of our work in South Sudan and were delighted to meet more of our team. The compound was a busy scene, filled with vehicles, equipment and team members, including the compound dog, Blessing. We sat down to the first of many home-cooked meals, all served outside.

We were impressed with the hard work of the entire WFSS team, but especially our cooks. The women toil every day, making breakfast, lunch and dinner for all of our team members. A small shack serves as their kitchen where they prepare meals, which they then cook outside over charcoal and wood fires on the ground. When we expressed our admiration, Salva told us that when there is a job opening, often 100 women will line up outside our compound. WFSS is a very desirable job opportunity, especially for women. Those of us who have the luxury of cooking in the US urged our team to move the construction of a simple new kitchen to a high priority item.

While there, US Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok assisted the team as they brought our first drilling rig back online. This small rig can now be used as back-up, for local drilling, and as a training rig for team members ready to learn and grow. We witnessed the administrative work of our team, working in small offices, with just ceiling fans to move the hot air around. We also experienced the internet in South Sudan—a miracle that it’s there, and certainly not the lightning speed we were used to back home.

We spent four days in the compound, including numerous meetings under the shade of trees in the 100+ degree heat, reviewing operations and job descriptions, and planning for the future.

 WFSS compound at sunset

WFSS compound at sunset

 country directors aj and lion with operations support coordinator gary prok

country directors aj and lion with operations support coordinator gary prok

Next up, we would travel into the field, to witness the work of WFSS.

WFSS Seeks Development & Communications Coordinator in Rochester, NY

Join our team and help us water the seeds of change in South Sudan!

WFSS Office Sun.JPG

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) delivers direct, transformative and sustainable quality-of-life service to the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water and improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need. The US 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was founded in Rochester, NY in 2003 by former “Lost Boy” of Sudan Salva Dut.

Our US office in Penfield, NY manages the administration and fundraising for the organization and works closely with our Operations Team in South Sudan. The Development & Communications Coordinator will assist WFSS with its development, communications and marketing efforts.

Duties and Responsibilities:

·     Assist Executive Director in creating and executing WFSS development strategy in alignment with strategic plan

·     Develop and track grant proposals and reports

·     Generate database reports and lists

·     Manage WFSS social media

·     Maintain WFSS website

·     Oversee written production of written materials including annual appeal, annual report and newsletters

Experience/Personal Qualifications:

·   Three to five years fundraising and/or communications experience

·   Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience required

·   Excellent written and oral communication and editing skills

·   Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with web/social media content

·   Proficiency with MS Office Suite

·   Working knowledge of donor database systems; GiftWorks experience a plus.

·   Ability to manage multiple projects, prioritize work and meet deadlines

·   Strong organizational skills and attention to detail

·   Must be self-motivated, able to work independently and as part of a team

·   Commitment to WFSS mission


Please send cover letter and resume to Lynn Malooly, Executive Director, at

WFSS Seeks Coordinator/Representative in Juba

Join Our Team!.png

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) is a nonprofit organization with corporate offices in the USA, and an Operations Center in Wau Town. WFSS drills water wells and provides hygiene education, mostly in the Bahr el Ghazal Region. We were founded in 2003 and have now drilled over 340 wells since 2005.

We are seeking a liaison to help coordinate business and manage the organization’s relationships in Juba.

The Juba Coordinator/Representative will provide a presence and support WFSS in Juba, handling business primarily including customs and government relations, grant writing, collaboration opportunities, NGO and WASH-related meetings and facilitate shipments through Juba.

Successful candidates must have a  Bachelor’s degree, 3-5 years’ experience in NGO work and/or marketing and public relations, or equivalent experience. Must have proven communications experience and interpersonal skills. Must be self-starter, and have demonstrated ability to solve problems. Must have demonstrated leadership and organizational skills and ability to manage and prioritize multiple tasks. Must be fluent in English and local languages.

Send your electronic cover letter, academic documents and CV to our Executive Director Lynn Malooly at and Operations Center Manager Abraham Majur Laam at For hand delivery, contact our Liaison Officer in Juba, Simon Mading, 0929246268. For Applicants in Wau, deliver your application in a sealed envelope to Water for South Sudan, office at Eastern Bank, Wau Office, Wau State.

For more information please see full job posting here.

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