Notes from South Sudan: Serving Schools

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

zogolona school students give a warm welcome to wfss team

zogolona school students give a warm welcome to wfss team

A highlight in our visit to Wau, also home to the WFSS Operations Center, was our visit to the Zogolona Primary School, serving approximately 800 students in grades one through eight. The WFSS Board approved a sanitation project as part of our 2014-17 “Watering the Seeds of Change” Capital Campaign. After much research, Zogolona was chosen as the recipient of our pilot school latrine project. The initial step required bringing water to the school, and WFSS installed the first well of the 2017-18 season at the school in December. Ground-breaking for the latrine began in January and is expected to be completed at the end of May.

8th grade students hope to be able to continue their studies in high school

8th grade students hope to be able to continue their studies in high school

We enjoyed a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the entire school community, along with visiting dignitaries from the local government. Witnessing the streams of children coming out to meet us was so moving. Knowing that these students now have access to water during their school day warmed out hearts and helped us see the real impact of our work.  

Garang John, the deputy principal shared his thoughts, and enthusiasm for our work. “We can now eat the sweet fruit of water which is life itself.  WFSS has done a great job. Keep up the spirit of what you have done. You will be in the history of Zogolona Primary School.  The community will stand strongly for fundraising to support the latrine for the future.”

 

the Finished latrine building was handed over to the school in june

the Finished latrine building was handed over to the school in june

The state of Zogolona school, like most in South Sudan, is in need of improvement. Small classrooms in the very basic, hand-built buildings are filled to over-flowing, and some classes even meet “under the trees.” Access to a latrine will change the educational experience for every student. Most schools in South Sudan do not have latrines. When students need to relieve themselves they walk up to 30 minutes away to find a private place. The new latrine will eliminate that absence from learning, and especially enable girls to stay in school.

After additional meetings in Wau, we would be heading out into the field, away from civilization, and into the heart of South Sudan to meet the people we serve in the remote villages.

Read previous posts in this series: World Water Day in Juba and Coming Home to Wau.

 

WFSS Completes 2017-18 Season

WFSS is pleased to announce the completion of another successful season!

Well drilled in Lol-Kou village in Aweil State

Well drilled in Lol-Kou village in Aweil State

Thank you to our team in South Sudan, and our donors around the world who support our work. Together, we are transforming lives in South Sudan, and helping to build a more sustainable future.

Our staff in South Sudan continues to grow, accomplishing more and positioning WFSS as a local leader in delivering WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) services. WFSS Country Directors Ater Akol “Lion” Thiep and Ajang “AJ” Agok managed another successful season with 40 new wells drilled; 28 older wells rehabilitated; hygiene education in 68 villages; and, the completion of our first-ever sanitation project.

The DR-150 has been drilling since 2008.

The DR-150 has been drilling since 2008.

This season’s new wells were drilled using our 10 year-old DR-150 rig in Wau, Aweil and Aweil East States. The team accomplished this goal with the help of the rehab team, which functioned as a platform team. After a well was drilled, this freed up the drilling team to travel to the next location and continue drilling.

WFSS is in the process of purchasing its new drilling rig, aka “Iron Giraffe.” Read more here.

 

Marko and Bantino received hygiene training in Majok Kuel village in Aweil State.

Marko and Bantino received hygiene training in Majok Kuel village in Aweil State.

TRANSFORMING LIVES, ONE VILLAGE AT A TIME

Mayiik Bol is a 32-year-old physically challenged man who lives in Yargot County, Aweil East State. He has five children, two of whom are also physically challenged. Mayiik is grateful to WFSS for helping his family and neighbors access safe clean drinking water. “After Water for South Sudan drilled a well, we can access water nearby. Family life has changed for the better as our water needs were resolved by availability of water.”

Deborah Awieu Deng said WFSS helped provide her family with safe clean drinking water. “Before the WFSS team came, life was so bad because we collected water from unprotected sources. This water was prone to causing diarrhea and typhoid. Distance to water sources was so long, sometimes you may fail to get water on time, which could result in sleeping without food and even without taking a bath. Our cattle were suffering with us too, because where we reach water was a two-three hours’ walk on foot. Some cattle got lost on the way back home because hyenas attacked them on the way.”

She thanks Water for South Sudan for coming to their rescue by providing safe clean drinking water. “The life of our livestock now is now more secure, and the WFSS hygiene team has played an important role in preventing water borne diseases.”

HYGIENE EDUCATION IMPROVES LIVES

Two WFSS Hygiene teams, overseen by WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar Akuar, completed hygiene education in 68 villages- training eight people in each village that received a new well or rehabbed well.  The teams share information on how germs are spread, and instruct villagers in how to keep wells and jerry cans clean, helping to maximize the impact of clean water.

Mathiang Deng Mawiir noted how WFSS hygiene training is improving lives. “They helped me in how I should maintain my well, and helped me and my community with good hygiene practices. WFSS gave me sanitation knowledge where my main source of water will only be our new well, and safe disposal of feces. The WFSS hygiene team has played an important role in preventing water borne diseases. I would like to thank WFSS for a job well done.”

WFSS COMPLETES PILOT SANITATION PROJECT

The Zogolona School community welcomed the opening of the new latrine.

The Zogolona School community welcomed the opening of the new latrine.

After careful assessment, the Zogolona Primary School in Wau was chosen as our site. The WFSS drilling team installed the first well of the 2017-18 season at the Zogolona School. Following this, the World Food Programme agreed to provide one meal a day for the 800 students at the school, providing essential nutrition for growing children.

WFSS broke ground on a latrine project in January. The project was managed by WFSS Country Director Ajang Agok, with guidance and oversight by US Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok, and WFSS Board member Sue Coia. The US team received regular updates and photos of the project, assisting as needed as the construction progressed.

Finished latrine building at zogolona school in wau.

Finished latrine building at zogolona school in wau.

The WFSS US Board and staff team visited in March and observed the project in progress, and met with school officials and local government officials, all of whom expressed deep gratitude for the project.  "We are grateful and give thanks to government and WFSS for your hard work," said Deputy Principal Garang John. "We wish you a safe journey back. We can now eat the sweet fruit of water which is life itself.  WFSS has done a great job. Keep up the spirit of what you have done. You will be in the history of Zogolona Primary School.  The community will stand strongly for fundraising to support the latrine for the future."

 

The project was completed in June, and the latrine was officially handed over to the school. WFSS will carefully monitor the school's upkeep and maintenance of the project to ensure they stay in compliance with the memorandum of understanding that the school signed with WFSS agreement. WFSS Country Director Ajang is optimistic about the future success of the latrine project. 

"This community is committed," says AJ. "They are so grateful for this latrine and will make sure it is sustainable into the future. Zogolona will qualify for more latrines if they sustain this one well."

WFSS US TEAM VISITS SOUTH SUDAN            

A US team of staff and board members visited South Sudan this spring to meet with government and NGO representatives, visit our team in Wau, and also traveled to the field to witness well drilling firsthand. Read Executive Director Lynn Malooly’s blog posts here.

 

Board member anne turner, salva dut, executive director lynn malooly, board president glenn m. balch, jr., country director aj agok in juba.

Board member anne turner, salva dut, executive director lynn malooly, board president glenn m. balch, jr., country director aj agok in juba.

 

 

WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

Thank you to our contributors in all 50 US states and 49 other countries for enabling our work! With your help we are watering the seeds of change and transforming lives in South Sudan. We are already planning for the 2018-19 season and ask for your help in strengthening communities in South Sudan. There is so much we can do with your support.  Thank you.

More Access to Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy students from zogolona primary school

Happy students from zogolona primary school

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

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

2017-18 Season Has Begun!

a student at zogolona primary school tests first well of 2017-18 season.

a student at zogolona primary school tests first well of 2017-18 season.

The Water for South Sudan drilled the first well of the 2017-18 season for the Zogalona Primary School near Wau and the WFSS Operations Center.

The WFSS team has been meeting with staff at the Zogalona school to explore the possibility of installing a latrine pilot project. The school is eager to have a small latrine pilot, but first they needed a well.

WFSS Associate Country Director Ajang Agok led the team and is pleased to have the first well completed so early in the season. The team is looking into drilling another well for a school near Wau before they head north to Aweil for the bulk of the 2017-18 season, where they will also focus on schools needing wells.

The WFSS rehab team, formed in 2017, will join the drilling team for the first month of drilling, doing the finishing work of installing the well platforms, allowing the drilling team to go on ahead to the next village well site. After the first month the rehab team will focus on its work of repairing the well platforms and drainage channels of some of WFSS's older wells, to ensure their continued use and sustainability.

the long drainage channel from the wfss well directs run-off from the well to a drinking pool for animals, far removed from the well head.

the long drainage channel from the wfss well directs run-off from the well to a drinking pool for animals, far removed from the well head.

The WFSS Hygiene Education teams travel with the drilling and rehab teams, providing hygiene education in every village we serve. Plans for 2017-18 include drilling up to 40 new wells, repairing up to 50 older wells, and providing hygiene education training in up to 90 villages.

As WFSS enters its 15th year we look to grow and develop our operations as we continue to serve the people of South Sudan. We thank our donors across the US and around the world who enable our work.