A Tremendous Year for WFSS- 399 Wells Drilled Since 2005!

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) completed the 2018-19 season with 399 wells drilled since 2005. We are on the brink of an impressive milestone, and look forward to drilling our 400th well to start the next season!

WFSS has become about so much more than drilling. While we drilled 50 new wells this past season, we also rehabbed 65 of our older wells, and completed 110 hygiene trainings – helping expand the impact of clean water in every village we visited.

The drilling team completed 42 wells during the regular season, and went on to drill eight additional wells during an extended season in June, using the new drilling rigs that were purchased in January. The rehab team got off to an early start and rehabilitated 60 of our older wells by April and then joined the drilling team to help them reach their goals.

WFSS Country Directors Ajang Agok and Ater Akol Thiep traveled to US headquarters in June. They met with staff and board members to debrief on the season, plan for the 2019-20 season, and work on strategic planning for the future.

Country Director Reflects on Season, Impact of WFSS

Country Director Ajang “AJ” Agok said that the WFSS teams did tremendous work and had a record-breaking year, going over goal on rehab (60 wells, plus 5 additional rehabs in August), and drilling 50 new wells, exceeding the initial goal of 40.

When asked about the impact of our work, AJ noted that WFSS “has had great impact on the people of South Sudan. Most importantly, the people appreciate the consistency of WFSS, when we drill wells, and when we come back to rehab them. Most NGOs never come back. WFSS goes farther than many NGOs, working in remote rural areas. The villagers are so appreciative of WFSS, its team members, and donors. We are all pleased to see WFSS keep going, and grow, to serve more people in South Sudan.”

Photos from 2018-19 Season

 Plans for 2019-20

·       Launch second drilling team, operating in tandem with current team

·       Create additional hygiene team, to travel with new drilling team

·       Assess site for next school latrine project

·       Continuous improvement in all we do!

All of this happens thanks to the generous support of our donors around the world. THANK YOU!

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

Plans for WFSS 2018-19 Season

WFSS looks forward to serving many more people this year, thanks to our supporters around the world. WFSS teams plan to drill 40 new wells, rehabilitate up to 50 older wells, and provide hygiene education in all villages they visit, impacting over 50,000 people in remote villages. Read on for more details on the 2018-19 season.

Villagers in Jur River County show their appreciation to WFSS for repairing their well.

Villagers in Jur River County show their appreciation to WFSS for repairing their well.

Season’s Plans

Our Country Directors usually aim for an early start to give themselves enough time should there be any delays. The rehab team got an extra early start, beginning in early October. As of December 11, they have rehabbed 24 older wells and also provided hygiene education in those villages, serving close to 20,000 people.

We had planned to start drilling in December, but a slowdown at the border has pushed that start to January. One of the many challenges our teams face is crossing the border into South Sudan. WFSS purchases most of our drilling supplies in Kampala, Uganda, and sends them to South Sudan by truck. Customs paperwork is often time-consuming, and this year presented extra challenges. The trucks have cleared the border as of December 12 and are on the way to the WFSS operations center in Wau. After unloading the supplies our team will take a short Christmas holiday break, and then be ready to go in early January.

 

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New Drilling Rigs

Our two new drilling rigs are each on the way, with expected arrivals at our operations center in December and January. The larger 501 PAT rig (pictured at right) is currently on an ocean-going vessel, due to arrive at the port in Mombasa, Kenya, later this month.

 

Maximizing Resources

In order to maximize resources, the rehab team will start 2019 with the drilling team. The drilling team will drill new wells and install all hardware, pipes and pumps, and then move on to the next village. The rehab team will then serve as a platform team to finish the wells, installing concrete platforms and drainage channels. This will speed up the new well process to ensure that we can drill as many wells as possible.

The rehab team will then go back to rehabilitating wells in early spring to finish out their season and reach their goals.

 

Security Reports from South Sudan

We are in constant contact with our team, who continually monitor safety and security. Our team reports that the area around our operations center, and the areas in which we plan to drill and rehabilitate wells, have been stable and safe.

Our team also reports that more IDPs (internally displaced persons) are returning home from refugee camps. As we start our 15th season, WFSS is well aware of safety and security issues. Our team is in full contact with government and security forces in South Sudan and works diligently to maintain the safety of our teams and equipment.

WFSS remains cautiously optimistic that the recent peace deal, signed in September, 2018, will hold and the country will become more stable, and much-needed development can continue.

 

THANK YOU!

Thanks to supporters in all 50 states and 51 other countries, WFSS has now drilled 350 new wells, rehabilitated 83 older wells and provided hygiene education to 252 villages, impacting over 300,000 people. We look forward to continuing to water the seeds of change in South Sudan. Thanks for your support!

 

2018-19 Season Begins for Rehab Team

Children gather around newly rehabilitated well in Jur River County.

Children gather around newly rehabilitated well in Jur River County.

The WFSS team in South Sudan has been preparing for the 2018-19 season since we ended the last season in May. Plans for 2018-19 include drilling 40 new wells, rehabilitating up to 50 older wells, and providing hygiene education in every village where we drill or rehab a well. We will also continue monitoring the pilot latrine project that was installed this year at Zogolona Primary School in Wau.

The rehab team got an early start this year, heading out in early October. As of November 1 they had already rehabbed 13 older wells, and provided hygiene education in all 13 villages. Older wells, while still producing water, often show signs of erosion and wear. The rehab team visits older WFSS wells to bring them up to new design standards. They make any necessary repairs and then rebuild the cement platform and drainage channel around the well, thus ensuring the well will have many more years of use.

In recent conversations with villagers whose wells were rehabbed we have learned more about the impact of our work. Aluel Wol Nuer was originally trained on well maintenance when a well was drilled in the village of Majama in Western Bahr el Ghazal State, and shared with us how much life has improved since the well was drilled in 2013.

Clean water continues to flow from a rehabbed well in Bahr-Sherki in Western Bahr el Ghazal.

Clean water continues to flow from a rehabbed well in Bahr-Sherki in Western Bahr el Ghazal.

“My life was so bad before the WFSS team arrived in the village,” he said. “We used to drink unclean water which led to sickness. Distance was also quite long; sometimes we may get water, or we may not. People may also sleep on an empty stomach, due to lack of water.”

Sunday Emmnauel Kenyi of Sumut village in Warrap State also shared how hard life was.

“We did drink dirty water,” he recalled. “We were getting waterborne diseases when we used water from unprotected sources.”

Both villagers enthusiasitcally noted the positive impact on their lives and villages.

“I can see the changes in many areas,” said Wol Nuer.

Emmanuel Kenyi agreed. “My life has improved,” he said. “WFSS has helped with clean water. Now we can drink clean water which can make a good quality of life. Our animals are also enjoying water together with us since the well has been drilled.”

Villages where WFSS drilled before 2014 did not receive hygiene training when wells were installed, so a hygiene team now travels with the rehab team to help train villagers in improved hygiene practices.

Drilling Team Preparing for End of November Start

The drilling team requires more preparation to begin a new season, as many more supplies are needed for drilling new wells. WFSS Country Director Ater Akol Thiep is currently in Kampala, Uganda, buying pumps, pipes, and other supplies needed for new wells. Those materials will then be loaded on to trucks to be driven north to Wau, South Sudan. The current plan has the drilling team heading into the field by the end of November. The drilling team also has its own hygiene education team which help villages determine hygiene practices in need of improvement and then delivers village-specific training to help expand the impact of clean water.

The season will start with our older rig, the DR-150, as we await shipment of our new PAT drilling rigs, on their way from Thailand.

“We are very excited to have our new rigs delivered,” said Thiep. “A lot of hard work has gone into the research and planning for this. We look forward to our new and improved drilling rigs to help us drill even faster.”

Stay tuned for more news and updates from WFSS as the 2018-19 season continues. Thank you for your support!


Drilling Season Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pilot Latrine Project in Wau

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

AJ with the community around Zagalona Primary School.

AJ with the community around Zagalona Primary School.

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

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

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

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

The first well of the season at Zagalona Primary School.

The first well of the season at Zagalona Primary School.

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

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

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

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

WFSS drilling team with first well of 2017.

WFSS drilling team with first well of 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WFSS Team Preparing for 2016-17 Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drilling Continues

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

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

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

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

 

 

Plans Underway for 2015-16 Season

As the 2014-15 drilling season was winding down, WFSS Director of Operations and Board Member Don Fairman traveled from Rochester, New York to Wau, South Sudan to meet with our drilling team and staff. Don worked with both of our Field Operations Managers, Ater Akol Thiep, and Ajang “AJ” Abraham Agok. They worked to improve procedures and efficiencies in our Wau office. Then, when the drilling team returned to our operations center, Don and the team went over equipment and vehicle needs, looking at maintenance and repair needs, and planning for the next drilling season.

Findings from our well evaluation report show a need to improve the concrete platforms that surround each well. We will launch a new well rehabilitation team this season. Ater and AJ will start the drilling season together, drilling new wells using a new platform design, and an improved method for mixing concrete. Once they have mastered the new process and design, one of the managers will lead our newly formed well rehabilitation team, while the other will continue to lead the drilling team.

the united peace and development project will continue in 2015-16, with plans for at least two more wells.

the united peace and development project will continue in 2015-16, with plans for at least two more wells.

The goal of this new pilot project will be to re-do the concrete platforms of some of our oldest wells and those most in need of repair. 

While significant resources will go to the critically important work of platform rehabilitation, WFSS will make every effort to drill up to 40 new wells this coming season, and continue the work of the Hygiene Education Team. We will continue to educate villagers on maintaining wells and their surrounding areas, sharing improved practices we have developed over our 10 year history.

 

 

In 2015-16 WFSS plans to:

  • Drill up to 40 new wells, using a new concrete platform design

  • Launch a pilot well rehab team to rehabilitate 20 older wells, installing new concrete platforms and fencing

  • Conduct hygiene education with each new well drilled

  • Work with Aqua-Africa on the continuing United Peace & Development Project

  • Improve efficiencies in operations

  • Explore opportunities and collaborations in South Sudan

As more wells are drilled in South Sudan, the total number of people served by each well has begun to decrease. This is an important quality of life issue. Whereas some of the earliest wells might have served over 3,000 people, numbers served by new wells this past season averaged under 1,000 people per well.  As more people have access to fresh water wells, they also have access to more water, and can begin to use water for more uses, including gardening and farming. Our well evaluation survey showed us that gardens, and an additional source of fresh food, were one result of more clean water.

Our US administration team also plans to travel to South Sudan this coming year, to meet with government officials, and non-governmental organizations doing development and humanitarian work in South Sudan. We look forward to continued collaboration in the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) sector, and expanding our impact.