Give the Gift of Clean Water This Mother's Day

Clean water for a happy Mother’s Day.

Clean water for a happy Mother’s Day.

Cards, chocolates and flowers will be given to many women this Sunday for Mother’s Day. For a mother in a developing country however, the preparations are starkly different. Women are hoping to obtain clean water, sanitation and hygiene in order to keep themselves and their children safe, healthy and alive.

These things that people living in developed nations often take for granted, including clean water, would have a positive lasting impact on mothers in underdeveloped countries. The health of women and children, particularly pregnant women and young children, is often directly linked to the access of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. Without clean water and sanitation, women and children are more prone to infections and diseases, and are forced to travel for hours a day to obtain these basic rights, making them more vulnerable to experiencing violence. When these young girls and mothers spend hours every day walking to water sources, there is no time for them to attend school, and without clean water, the hope of education is gone.

Read more about the need for complete WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) programs to ensure maternal health: No Maternal Health Without Clean Water by Katie Millar, MPH, RN, Technical Writer and Publication Coordinator, Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

On May 12th, consider donating in honor of or in memory of a mother in your life. Your donation will help bring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to another mother and child in South Sudan. Following your donation, you will receive a downloadable card in order to show the mother in your life how much they mean to you!

Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene would be our wish to help every mother have a Happy Mother's Day.

To give the gift of clean water, please visit our donate page.


Following South Sudan: Background and Updates

President Salva Kiir (right) and opposition leader Riek Machar (left) shake hands while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni looks on.

President Salva Kiir (right) and opposition leader Riek Machar (left) shake hands while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni looks on.

Following South Sudan’s independence, gained in 2011, the world’s newest country scheduled its first elections to take place in 2015.

Mid 2013, however, then President Salva Kiir dismissed his own vice president, Riek Machar, and the entire cabinet, for the purpose of decreasing the size of government. Machar said this was a step towards dictatorship for Kiir, and vowed to challenge Machar for the Presidency in the 2015 elections.

Following the dismissal of Machar, an associated coup d’état was shut down. A coup d’état, or the overthrow of an existing government, usually an unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator or political group, brought further instability to the region.

Fast forward to 2015, when elections were presumed to happen. In April of that year, the South Sudan parliament voted to amend the transitional constitution. This resulted in an extension of the Presidents and legislatures terms for two more years, meaning the same people were to say in power until 2018.

Additionally, a new vote in 2018 further pushed back South Sudan’s first elections until 2021.

So how does this keep happening?

When the country was formed in 2011, the South Sudanese government adopted the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, as a temporary placeholder for a permanent constitution. It allowed for the centralization of the government, meaning power was to be dispersed among the political system, in this case between the legislative and executive branches.

Because this is considered an interim constitution, the process for amending it is not a difficult process as compared to other constitutionalized countries. This allowed for parliament to extend Kiir’s term past the usual 5-year term, and in turn postpone elections.

On top of that, President Kiir says the decision to push back elections is to allow time for national reconciliation and peace. This process will take years and should not be rushed, according to Kiir. By pushing off elections, there would be time for peace to take shape in South Sudan.

Many people see this as a power grab from President Kiir. With his now extended term, there is question as to if this is truly the end of President Kiir’s position, or if he will only ask for an extension.

With the 2021 elections are on the horizon, there is also a need to replace the Transitional Constitution in order to make South Sudan a more stable state. With new members of government, the stall in progress previously will hopefully come to an end, in order for South Sudan to evolve.

Looking forward, it is necessary for South Sudan to keep working toward peace. The newly signed peace agreements will hopefully encourage amnesty within the country, and will be honored by its leaders. There is hope that this will encourage reconciliation and reprieve in South Sudan.

Sources:

South Sudan president delays 2015 general elections

South Sudan cabinet calls off June election

More Fresh Water Flows with New & Rehabbed Wells

While we have been making our way through snow, cold and winter in many parts of the US, South Sudan is in the midst of their dry season, when the temperatures routinely are above 100 degrees, and WFSS’s busy operating season continues.

Villagers celebrate a newly rehabbed well.

Villagers celebrate a newly rehabbed well.

Our teams have been working hard – new wells have been drilled, older wells have been rehabilitated, and all the villages we have visited have received hygiene education training. We are happy to report on the progress of the 2018-19 season.

 REHAB TEAM FINISHES 51 WELLS

The rehab team travels to our wells drilled in previous years to assess them, and do any repairs needed. They also rehabilitate the platforms and drainage channels around the wells to bring them to a higher design standard. The rehab team got an early start this year, heading into the field in October.

As of March 14, the rehab team had completed 51 rehabs, surpassing their goal of 50. The rehab team will soon head back to our compound in Wau to work with one of our new drilling rigs and transition to become a second drilling team for the remainder of the season.

SEVENTEEN NEW WELLS AND COUNTING

The drilling team started in January, and has been moving more slowly as they are working in a very remote area of Tonj North State. This presents several challenges, including more travel time needed to get to government-approved gravel distribution sites, and there is less access to water needed for drilling. As always, our team is managing the ever-present challenges in South Sudan. They developed an alternative plan to secure a submersible pump which will be used to fill the enormous bladders with the water needed to drill new wells. As of March 14, the team had completed 17 wells, and that number will grow more quickly when the rehab team begins drilling.

 

Thank you to Greece Odyssey students for sponsoring this well!

Thank you to Greece Odyssey students for sponsoring this well!

HYGIENE EDUCATION CONTINUES

The WFSS hygiene education teams deliver training that aims to improve hygiene behaviors. We have two teams which travel with our drilling and rehab teams. Through our “train the trainer” model we help villagers understand how to stay healthy, how to keep clean water clean, and how to improve general hygiene practices in the home. We made improvements to our hygiene curriculum this year, and will continue to review the hygiene program.

Our entire team in South Sudan is working to continuously improve all we do – from our field teams to our operations center. We are already working on goals for next year, with a strategic vision to expand our reach and impact.

As always, we could not do this without the tremendous support of our donors around the world. THANK YOU for your ongoing generosity which helps us water the seeds of change in South Sudan!

Amazing Kids Feature

Our donors contribute in ways large and small to enable our work. We are happy to shine a spotlight this month on Emma B., a 13-year-old student from Florida, for her efforts to support Water for South Sudan (WFSS).

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In 2017, Emma’s mom Kim found A Long Walk to Water at her local bookstore and decided to include it as part of Emma’s homeschooling curriculum. “From the moment she read the book she was inspired,” said Kim. As Emma prepared for entry into a geography fair, she was interested in learning more about South Sudan and access to water. She created a display board, flyers, pamphlets, and an authentic dish to share with fair attendees.

Soon after the fair, Emma would celebrate her birthday. In lieu of presents, she asked for money to support Water for South Sudan. Friends attending her party received favors centered around water: water bottles, H2O stickers, and pamphlets about WFSS. “It is difficult to fully describe all of the efforts Emma has put into educating her peers,” said Christina, a family friend. “My own son became aware of the work your organization does because of Emma’s determination to educate and fundraise.

Emma’s efforts didn’t end in 2017. She started her own Facebook page where she highlights her fundraising efforts, personal writing, and inspirational quotes. She continues to collect aluminum cans that she turns in for money to support WFSS. Emma’s advice to other kids interested in starting their own fundraiser, “Learn as much as you can about South Sudan, start a Facebook page and share the other book about Salva Just Add Water with younger readers. I tell people about WFSS and let them know I am collecting money to support the organization’s projects. I let them decide if they want to donate.”

Emma has several interests. She loves hiking, gardening, cooking, arts and crafts, Legos and visiting museums. She performed the opening number for the Radio City Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, both with Camp Broadway. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, “I’m not exactly sure because I love to do so many things.”

In addition to helping WFSS, Emma supports Shriners Children’s Hospital, Caps of Love, Matthew 25 Ministries and Students Rebuild. She volunteers for the Patel Conservatory, Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tents, UACDC, Shelburne Farms, and Golden Rainbow Ranch and Nature Center.

“With so much hardness in this world, it is a blessing to see my daughter along with others trying to make the world better for the future. She gives me hope for a better tomorrow,” said her mom Kim.

WFSS staff is happy to feature Emma as an Amazing Kid. We are proud to be a part of Emma’s many interests and look forward to working with her for many years to come. We thank Emma, her family and community for helping to impact lives in South Sudan.

Do you know an amazing kid?

Click the button below to complete the nomination form.

Super Supporter of the Month: Alternative Gifts International

Kokpiny Village where Alternative Gifts International’s second well was drilled in 2014.

Kokpiny Village where Alternative Gifts International’s second well was drilled in 2014.

Right: Harriet Prichard, AGI Founder

Right: Harriet Prichard, AGI Founder

The Power of a Conversation:

In 1980, Harriet Prichard started a conversation with the youth group at her church to talk about a new idea for gift giving. The group organized a market selling relief and self-development goods to support people in developing countries. Purchasers received a card to inform recipients of the alternative gift and what the funds were supporting. This project quickly grew and in 1986 Alternative Gifts International (AGI) became a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency. “We want people to know and be inspired by the power of a conversation which was the humble beginning of AGI. You never know where a conversation will lead,” said AGI Executive Director Surinder Moore.

Surinder Moore, AGI Executive Director

Surinder Moore, AGI Executive Director

Each year, AGI selects 27 nonprofit partners and acts as an extension of support to these organizations. WFSS has been partnering with AGI since 2006 receiving over $340,000 from supporters around the world. “There are some causes that people instantly identify with,” said Moore of the partnership with WFSS.  “Realizing there are many places worldwide that still don’t have access to clean water is something many people are alarmed by because it’s something we use every day.”

AGI inspires people to celebrate life’s milestones in alternative ways. Through the Gifts Inspiring Change catalog, pre-paid AGI gift cards, local gift markets and crowdfunding AGI is providing gift givers an opportunity to give gifts that make an impact, rather than material items. Churches, schools and organizations can host a local market utilizing the catalog to raise money for the pre-selected projects. The newest tool offered by AGI is the crowdfunding program which is available through their website.

WFSS is proud to work with the small staff at AGI and feature the organization as this month’s Super Supporter. We are so grateful for our partnership. You can learn more at www.alternativegifts.org.

“In the simple act of gifting, you are changing the world.” ~Surinder Moore

South Sudan Peace Deal Brings New Hope

New peace deal in South Sudan greeted with optimism

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.  Source

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar. Source

Current South Sudan President Salva Kiir met with former rebel leader and Vice President Riek Machar to sign a peace agreement late last year. The rivalry between the two had previously fueled the civil war in South Sudan, making it surprising to see the two smiling and shaking hands in the capital city of Juba.

The new agreement, named the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, follows years of multiple peace agreements that have ultimately failed. The agreement is met with both skepticism and hopefulness. Alongside Kiir and Machar, former detainees and other political party leaders have agreed to sign the document. Together with lasting peace, the agreement aims to implement free and fair elections that are open to all parties, and pave the way for economic integration between the North and South parts of former Sudan.


This comprehensive peace agreement focuses on five areas that will hopefully form a lasting peace agreement. These include a permanent ceasefire, rehabilitation to the oil industry and oil wells, security reform, improvement of infrastructure and the livelihood of citizens, and implementation of outside forces to oversee the ceasefire. Both major political leaders claim to be committed to the cause and respect the documents and what follows.

The first expected hurdle will be the permanent ceasefire. The previous treaty, the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, was violated by both sides within 24 hours. In response, the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement hopes to forge one national army under one national representation. Previously, there had been two armies, making them more likely to clash. In order to have a successful ceasefire, both African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states are asked to deploy the necessary forces to make sure this ceasefire is everlasting.


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Following almost five years of war that displaced nearly a quarter million citizens and killed thousands, there is also hope that this deal will be the lasting peace South Sudan has been looking for. Machar said the agreement will end the suffering all too common in South Sudan, adding that “they will be happy soon.”

With the optimism that this agreement will bring the peace that South Sudan needs, Water for South Sudan will be able to reach out to previously unsafe communities. Furthermore, this pact aims at opening up the doors of Sudan to humanitarian aid in order to improve the lives of its citizens. Water for South Sudan will be able to get supplies needed and personnel to South Sudan in a more efficient manner, and ultimately reach out to more populations that need access to clean, safe water and hygiene education.


Why We IGC: A story of international support from Sweden

Students surpass the IGC goal and show their dedication all the way from Sweden with a student-led community event!

 
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One of our favorite parts of the Iron Giraffe Challenge is that each year thousands of students from around the world take initiative to help others, making it a true global program.

This year, students at the International School of the Gothenburg Region in Sweden took part in the IGC for the first time under guidance of their teacher, Grace. The students planned a community event themselves and exceeded their fundraising goal! We were so inspired by their new support and success that we interviewed Grace to hear about her experiences and her students’ work. Read the full interview here!

WFSS: Why did you first decide to participate in the Iron Giraffe Challenge? How did you learn of it?

Grace: Our 6th Grade English class read “A Long Walk to Water” together and were very inspired by Salva’s story and his perseverance. We wanted to find some way to help and contribute to the organization, Water For South Sudan. We spent some time on the website and realized we could enter into the Iron Giraffe Challenge and thought this was a great goal for us- 1,000 USD. We decided to organize an evening fundraising event for the parents that featured student speeches (like “TED Talks”) on various concepts from Salva’s story such as war, hope, and leadership. The event also featured student-made artwork inspired by the book. The event was a huge success and we even surpassed our fundraising goal!

 
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WFSS: What was your motivation and your students’ motivation for taking the IGC this year?

Grace: As an international school, we strongly value international-mindedness and global citizenship. My motivation was to help the students expand their worldview and try to understand another way of life that may not be as easy as their own. Here in Sweden we sometimes can’t comprehend how it would feel to be without clean water, it is so easily accessible for us. The students’ motivation was to make a difference in the lives of the people of Sudan while showing off the talent and hard work within our classes.

WFSS: How did your participation in the IGC enrich the learning experience for your students? What do you think they got out of it?

Grace: The students learned so much! We learned how important access to clean water is for our health and hygiene, and that it also allows villages further access to education and other important opportunities we take for granted here. We learned about their own privilege, we learned much more about Sudan and the war that happened there. We learned how to organize an event and how to speak on a stage in front of an audience. We learned that they can make a difference and actually save lives just by working together and organizing something. We learned a lot about the value of service and how we have the obligation to help others less fortunate than us.

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

Grace: For me, I am so inspired by the initiative the students took to plan and organize the event. I wanted the project to be completely student-led in order to align with our school goals and values- of course at times I was nervous how the end result would be but they really impressed me with what they put together. I can see the motivation was there and it did not come from a teacher telling them exactly what to do, it came from their own hearts for service and desire to make a difference in the world.

WFSS: What would you say to a teacher considering participating in the IGC? Do you have any advice for them?

Grace: I would definitely recommend participating in the IGC. It is an incredibly valuable experience and it feels like Water for South Sudan is a very trustworthy organization. The contact I had with the representatives was very easy and they answered all my questions straightaway. I was impressed that we were able to organize a video call with Ashley during the event which made it a bit more “real” for us.

I recommend making it as student-led as possible- students become far more engaged with a project when they have some ownership and responsibility to create something. There are infinite fundraising possibilities so don’t structure a plan for them, and say “yes” as much as possible!

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Thank you to Grace and everyone at the International School of the Gothenburg Region for their great support!
There’s just over a month left in the 2019 Iron Giraffe Challenge and you can have a rewarding experience, too.

WFSS Seeks Donor Relations & Data Coordinator in Rochester, NY

Join our team!

WFSS has an immediate opening in our Rochester, NY office for a Donor Relations & Data Coordinator.

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The Donor Relations & Data Coordinator will manage fundraising and donor data, operations data, interface with donors and schools, and assist in public relations and communications.

Duties and areas of responsibility include:

Donor Relations

·     Act as liaison for donors and fundraising efforts

·     Manage donor recognition & sponsorship of wells

Data Management

·     Manage donor database, including data entry

·     Manage water well database & reports

Communications & Public Relations

·     Help manage social media channels; create, identify and post relevant content

·     Assist with communications, public relations writing and manage website updates

·     Assist with events and presentations

For more information, and to apply, please see full job posting here.

Monroe Community College's Holocaust Genocide and Human Rights Project: Long-Time WFSS Collaborator and Super Supporter

Water for South Sudan is pleased to highlight Monroe Community College (MCC): Holocaust Genocide and Human Rights Project (HGHRP), a student-run organization that has supported our mission and services since 2006.

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Established in 1990, the HGHRP is MCC's unique organization for telling the stories of the Holocaust and other genocides while transforming individuals to become advocates for human rights. To learn more about HGHRP please visit www.monroecc.edu/organizations/holocaust/.

Our relationship with HGHRP runs deep to the roots of WFSS’s establishment. When Salva was a student at MCC, he presented an organizational proposal to the college. This idea grew into a now 14-year relationship of support impacting the lives of thousands in South Sudan. Through their many efforts including the annual Walk for Water, the MCC community, members of the HGHRP and other supporters have raised over $72,000.

We sat down with members of the HGHRP team to chat about their support. Jodi Oriel, HGHRP Director, has been a long-time supporter of Salva and Water for South Sudan. Angelique Stevens, HGHRP Advisory Team Member has traveled to South Sudan and serves on the WFSS board of directors. Kim Hatfalvi serves as current President of HGHRP.

WFSS: What has surprised you most about the relationship between HGHRP and WFSS over the years?

JO: The endurance. Things are always changing and there is student turn-over every couple years but the relationship between the two organizations has become institutionalized at the college. Students of HGHRP are learning to think outside themselves and WFSS helps to teach that.

WFSS: What do you wish other people knew about WFSS?

KH: There are always ways to help people. The Walk for Water fundraiser is such a simple way for people to share what we are doing. We are helping provide water: a basic need. It’s empowering to know you can do something.

WFSS: How has your involvement with WFSS changed you?

KH: I helped plan a walk. Working with Salva has had a huge impact on me. Reading Salva’s story helped me better understand what my grandparents may have experienced when they lived in a refugee camp. To know what someone went through and to see they were able to come out of it is inspiring. Being involved in the project has helped me better understand what people experience.

AS: In my work as an English and Philosophy professor, I deal entirely in stories. Salva is the perfect example to help students learn all the stories. My favorite story is of the first well drilled. Once the geyser of water started coming out of the ground people were dancing and singing. One man couldn’t believe what he saw, “All this time people have been dying and we have been sitting on top of the water.” The people in this village just didn’t know. WFSS provides stories like this that so many people can relate to.

JO: Everyone can relate to some part of Salva’s story and the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I have a responsibility to keep telling those stories through the mission of HGHRP. The current world has demanded the stories be told because we continue to repeat history and violate Human Rights today.

Thank you to Jodi, Angelique, Kim and the countless members of the MCC community for continuing to water the seeds of change in South Sudan. Your support will continue to impact lives for years to come.

Amazing Kids

Our donors contribute in ways large and small to enable our work. We are pleased to shine a spotlight on four Amazing Kids for their efforts to support Water for South Sudan and thank their families and communities for helping to impact lives in South Sudan.

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Ezra S., age 13 from New York

Last year, Ezra and his classmates read A Long Walk to Water and received a visit from Salva. Ezra felt connected to the cause especially after reading and hearing about how far people have to walk for water every day. As he prepared for his Bar Mitzvah project, he knew he wanted to raise funds for WFSS and support the people of South Sudan. Since he loves making smoothies he decided to host a smoothie fundraiser. Ezra created a smoothie order form and fundraising page. His mom Jessica helped share his fundraiser on Facebook and they received 40 orders. “One Sunday, we made the smoothies in individual containers and people stopped by to pick up their order,” Ezra said. “I also talked about the fundraiser during my Bar Mitzvah “thank you” speech. I handed out flyers with information about WFSS and the fundraiser. After, my dad sent out an email and mom posted a link on Facebook. Lots of people gave money without ordering.” Ezra’s advice to kids thinking about starting their own fundraiser, “Don’t just ask for money. Sell something that gets you involved in the fundraiser and motivates people to support your cause.”

When he’s not making smoothies, Ezra loves to bake and play sports. He enjoys baseball, basketball and football and he is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

 

Kye H., age 8 from Wisconsin

After his brother Logan read A Long Walk to Water, Kye decided to read the book and was moved to start a fundraiser. “I wrote a letter to Santa and asked for money instead of Christmas gifts.” Kye’s mom Lara added, “He explained in his letter that he wasn’t asking for the money for himself, but to help raise money for wells in South Sudan.” Kye also asked for support from extended family and his parent’s co-workers. Once family friends heard what he was doing, they wanted to help too. His advice to kids that want to fundraise but aren’t sure how to start, “All you have to do is put your mind to it and you can do anything you want.”

Kye loves to read, play Fortnight and go hiking. At the young age of 8 years old, Kye already knows he wants to be a plastic surgeon when he grows up. His reason why, “So I can help people with deformations.”

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Katie C., age 12 from Connecticut

A Long Walk to Water moved students and staff at Katie’s school to participate in the 2018 Iron Giraffe Challenge. Knowing she wanted to start a fundraiser as part of her Bat Mitzvah project, Katie decided to focus her efforts on supporting the people of South Sudan. “In third grade we had to come up with ideas to fundraise at my temple. I made a flyer with a pledge form and came up with Goals 4 Good,” Katie said. “I brought flyers to school, sold bracelets and asked the soccer team and family to support. Sometimes it’s easy to ask, sometimes it’s tough.” Katie’s advice to other kids interested in starting their own fundraiser, “Think of something you already like to do and make it interesting. Start by asking family for donations.” Katie’s goal is to raise enough funds to sponsor a well rehabilitation project.

Katie loves to sing, dance, draw and play the ukulele. She dreams of becoming a gym teacher to share her love of sports.

 

Zach B., age 13 from Louisiana

In 2018, Zach’s school raised funds to support WFSS.. This experience and learning how South Sudanese people trek to water resonated with him. As he began planning his Bar Mitzvah project, he was excited to learn he could continue to bring attention to this project and create his own fundraiser to support the people of South Sudan. “I decided to donate a percentage of all the gifts I received from my Bar Mitzvah. Some family and friends donated directly to WFSS,” Zach said. “I handed out brochures which included information about WFSS and sent emails to family and friends asking for support.” Zach’s advice to other kids interested in starting their own fundraiser, “Reach out to as many people as possible. Create a pamphlet or some other way to raise awareness about WFSS and your fundraiser.” Lainie, Zach’s mom added, “I think it’s amazing how one person can make a difference in the world.”

Zach’s dad Tad shared some fun facts about him: “Zach is a very diverse kid. He plays video games with his friends, lacrosse and the flute. He is also an avid reader so much so that teachers often have to remind him to put his book away. Zach has strong leadership qualities and maintains good grades in school.”

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Do you know an amazing kid?

Click the button below to complete the nomination form.

WFSS Teams Start 2019 Season

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Season Update

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) is pleased to announce that the 2019 season is off to a great start.

The rehab team, formed in 2017, got an early start in October, and as of Jan. 24 had rehabbed 31 older wells.

“We are very pleased with the rehab team,” notes Ater Akol “Lion” Thiep, WFSS Country Director. “The team is able to visit the older wells and assess what is needed. In addition, we are able to gather information on the use of the well over a number of years.”

Many of the older wells experience erosion on the cement platforms around the wells, and the cement drainage channels that lead to animal drinking troughs. WFSS’s improved process and design will keep these wells functional for years to come.

The drilling team started in January and has drilled five new wells as of Jan. 24. They are working in Tonj State in remote areas with limited access to gravel, and local water for drilling.

Separate hygiene education teams travel with both the drilling and rehab teams, delivering an improved curriculum on hygiene.

 

New Drilling Rigs

WFSS completed its capital campaign in 2017, with a major portion of the $1.2 million raised earmarked for a new drilling rig. Thanks to our working with PAT Rigs in Thailand, WFSS was able to purchase two rigs, the first of which arrived at our compound in Wau in January.  The 431T is a trailered rig which will be used as a back-up rig, for training, and as a complement to our larger rigs.

The new “Iron Giraffe” rig –the PAT 501, will become our main drilling rig and replace the current “Iron Giraffe” which we have had since 2008. The rig arrived on February 4. The team enthusiastically greeted the arrival

“The new rigs are a great addition for WFSS,” says Country Director Ajang “AJ” Agok. “The old rig had started breaking down. We now know we will have a reliable rig for many years to come.”

US Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok, Lion and two team members traveled to Thailand in the fall to get hands-on training with the new rig, further cementing our relationship with the drilling rig manufacturer.

“We are very pleased with this purchase and, just as importantly, with the relationship with PAT,” said Prok. “Their support, and knowledge of drilling in the third world in general, and specifically South Sudan, will only help us further improve our procedures and outcomes.”

 

South Sudan News

WFSS keeps a close eye on developments in South Sudan, and our team on the ground serves an important role in keeping all informed. News out of South Sudan has been cautiously optimistic in recent months, with a general sense that the peace agreement signed in September, 2018, is holding. News of note includes reports that South Sudan oil fields are once again producing oil.

News of note:

South Sudan Resumes Oil Production in Former Unity State

South Sudan starts repairs, pumping oil from wells damaged in the civil war: minister

Young athletes come together in peace on National Unity Day in South Sudan

Why We IGC: Conversations with kids

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Kids helping kids around the world!

The Iron Giraffe Challenge exists for energetic students and teachers to go beyond normal classroom learning to make an impact in our world. It’s for students to engage with Water for South Sudan and global water issues through fundraising and spreading awareness after reading A Long Walk to Water. Doing so, students not only help people and communities in South Sudan, they also learn life lessons about being selfless and the positive impact their actions can have.

Normally our Why We IGC blog highlights teachers at schools that have repeatedly participated in or won the IGC. This time we’re going directly to the kids that are impacted by the Iron Giraffe Challenge, including the students doing the fundraising AND the kids in South Sudan impacted by our work.

Here are some of our favorite student quotes and artwork showing the impact of the IGC and how it helps students learn about global citizenship:


Sixth graders at Loveland Intermediate School in Ohio shared the following thoughts on the IGC:

“I liked doing the IGC because I felt like I could contribute to people in South Sudan. The thought of someone who doesn’t have water
makes me unhappy, so I wanted to help. I want to start helping people at a young age so I can be a good person.” -Andrew S.

“What I liked about participating in the IGC is that all of us knew that the money we donated is going to help kids who need water.
I also liked it because I felt like it made everybody in our school closer and made us feel thankful for what we have.” -Connor F.

“This whole challenge has really inspired me to go out into the world and make a difference.” -George T.


“I like to help others too. I participated in the challenge to help children. I felt joyful and thrilled.”

-Felipe, The American School of Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Students at Shady Side Academy in Pennsylvania reflect on their participation:

“It really opens your eyes up to the world around you and the struggles people face and how you can help them.” -Tommy

“I really liked learning about what is happening in other parts of the world related to water and how you can’t just get water out of the tap.” -Jeffrey

“We got to walk and feel like the people in South Sudan feel like when they don’t have water. We got to walk around in other people’s shoes.” -Trey and Shane


Abour at Zogolona Primary School in Wau, South Sudan writes:

“Personally I am very glad because there will be no ‘A Long Walk to Water.’ The well improve any activity in our school. We are appreciating your goodwill. Congratulation! To you all your donation is very fruitful. At least we are still lacking classrooms, bench, kitchen and fence if there is possibility
then you keep up that spirit of helping our school or you guys pass our appeal to other schools in USA.”

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“This is my 5th time reading the book . . . You really have motivated me to do better and stop wasting water.”

-Aryanna, Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication, CT


Students at Gayman Elementary School in Pennsylvania got creative by drawing posters!

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“I liked the IGC because we got to raise money to help people. I got the joy of knowing people have fresh water to drink because of me.”

-Iyona B., Loveland Intermediate School, OH


Join the Iron Giraffe Challenge today! If your school raises $1,000 you’ll be entered into the prize drawing for a chance to win a visit from Salva or one of our video call prizes. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference and change the lives of children. Walk with us to water the seeds of change in South Sudan!

Registration is open until March 15, 2019. Donations accepted for the IGC until April 5, 2019 and the prize drawing is April 9, 2019!