Handwashing Saves Lives

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. 

Celebrated annually on October 15 since 2008, Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.

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

Source:  http://globalhandwashing.org/global-handwashing-day/about-ghd/

The 2016 Global Handwashing Day theme was “Make Handwashing a Habit!” 

In South Sudan, Global Hand-Washing Day was celebrated at Muktah Primary School, near WFSS’s Operations Center in Wau. T-shirts and caps designed by UNICEF in partnership with the government were distributed.

The celebration was opened with words of prayers from the Bible and Quran, presented by Christian and Muslim students.

Many NGOs and government institutions participated, including: WFSS, Red Cross, IOM, UNICEF, WHO, OXFAM GB, Meltaster International. Several government ministers and
other distinguished guesses were also invited.

Other invited guesses included students and teachers from 10 different schools who presented drama and songs related to promotion of hygiene in South Sudan. The main event of the celebration 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 Sanitation Manager David Majok attended the event and reported that “It was fantastic for WFSS to be part of this event!”

 

Bringing Water to Remote South Sudanese Villages

 Villagers in bookanyara village receive hygiene education from wfss.

Villagers in bookanyara village receive hygiene education from wfss.

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) continues to deliver on its mission to transform lives in South Sudan by bringing access to fresh water and hygiene education. 

Our team was able to drill 23 new wells in the 2015-16 season, and is hard at work planning for the upcoming 2016-17 season with goals of drilling up to 40 new wells, rehabilitating 20 older wells, and bringing hygiene education to all villages in which we drill.

There are many ways to support our work, through giving online on our website, and also supporting online projects like the WFSS well through GlobalGiving.org

Check out our latest progress report on GlobalGiving!

 

World Water Day: The Impact of Clean Water

 

Go #Blue4Water on Tuesday, March 22!

Are you ready for World Water Day? World Water Day is celebrated every year on March 22 and has been recognized internationally since 1993. The United Nations dedicated this day to raise awareness about global water-related issues and to spread conversation and activism about how we as a global community can meet water-related needs. 

World Water Day’s significance is reflected in the fact that 650 million people in the world do not have access to safe water-- roughly one in ten of the world’s population. Water stress affects nutrition, public health, environmental services, housing and urban growth, and national security.

Every day is World Water Day at WFSS as we drill clean-water wells and provide access to hygiene education in South Sudan. WFSS has now drilled 275 borehole wells in South Sudan since 2005, and has provided hygiene education in every village that gets a well since 2014.

Each year the UN sets a particular theme for World Water Day. This year’s theme is Water and Jobs. WFSS helps create jobs by teaching South Sudanese and other Africans the skills to drill wells and work in operations. WFSS also helps girls reach their future career goals. When girls have nearby access to water they no longer have to walk up to eight hours a day for water, and can possibly go to school and obtain an education. Education can be the pathway for girls to a new future, and possible careers as doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

World Water Day is an important opportunity to pause and think about how to help others who do not have clean water. Join WFSS as we go #Blue4Water. Follow us on social media and let us know why water is important to you!

WFSS will celebrate World Water Day in Rochester, NY on Tuesday, March 22nd at Downtown United Presbyterian Church at 10:30 A.M. with a special event and announcement.

Information and RSVP at wfss.eventbrite.com. We look forward to seeing you there!

WFSS Hygiene Team Expands Impact of Clean Water

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) started its Hygiene Education program in January 2014. This program was developed to help villagers who receive a WFSS well get the most out of having access to clean water.

The WFSS Hygiene Education Team teaches villagers about bacteria and disease and describes how bad hygiene practices, including open defecation and not washing hands with clean water, spreads diseases such as diarrhea. Diarrhea is responsible for four percent of the world’s deaths and causes about 801,000 annual deaths of children under the age of five, or 2,200 deaths each day. WFSS, through our hygiene education program, plays a vital role in teaching good hygiene practices. With access to clean water, villagers can utilize hand-washing to prevent the spread of diarrheal diseases.

 

The WFSS Hygiene Education program uses the Participatory Hygiene Transformation Method (PHAST). PHAST empowers villagers to come together to identify poor hygiene practices and create practical solutions to correct them. The WFSS Hygiene Education Team does not take on full leadership, but rather facilitates discussion regarding hygiene problems and their solutions. PHAST implements seven steps to achieve this: problem identification, problem analysis, planning for solutions, selecting options, planning for new facilities and behavior change, planning for monitoring and evaluation, and participatory evaluation. By using different methods of hygiene education/practice evaluation while following these steps (such as community stories, community mapping, pile sorting, and constructing F-diagrams of diarrheal transmission routes), WFSS enables those using our clean-water wells to improve and sustain the quality of their lives. In each village where we drill a well, our hygiene program teaches eight people (four men and four women) the best hygiene practices and trains them to then teach their fellow villagers, thus extending the impact of clean water even further.

To learn more about how you can help WFSS improve health in South Sudanese villages, please visit our Take Action page.

WFSS & Sustainability Goals- Working Toward a Better Future

This is another post in our continuing series of Water Wednesday blog posts by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

WFSS kids.jpg

Water is a universal need that is also a scarce resource. Unfortunately, this need increases with every day and the world needs to find a way to make water accessible to everyone who needs it. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Swedish International Water Institute (SIWI), told a panel discussion on water and the landscape approach, “There is an increasing demand and competition for water resources, so we need to be more efficient in the way we allocate water.”  

This is where the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals come in. Although Goal 6, Ensure access to water and sanitation for all, and the other Sustainable Development Goals have been met with a great amount of positivity, there are some who are not as sure of the impact that these goals will have on the world.

One such person is David Kuria, author of Sustainable Development Goals: Another Wasteful Venture for Kenya? Kuria, in his article, is wary of placing focus on global change. He suggests that “instead of prescribing a broad set of 17 goals for the world, we should instead be guided by a country’s own development priorities.” In his opinion, each country should make its own priorities because making generalizations about what needs to be fixed in the world may leave out some of the needs of different countries.

While this is a valid concern and countries should make sure that they are meeting the needs of their people, the Sustainable Development Goals are a much-needed stepping stone towards ending issues such as poverty, hunger, and lack of access to clean water. These goals, and other organizations that have the same objectives, encourage all who have the capability to change people’s lives. For the goals to be reached, all need to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and the people of the world. 

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) is committed to transforming lives by providing access to fresh water and hygiene education, and has been on the ground in South Sudan since 2005. Bringing access and education to those in need in remote villages, we are making a difference and helping people take a step towards a better future. 

As of August, 2015, WFSS has drilled 259 wells. Hygiene education has been a part of our work since 2014, and plans are underway to begin researching sanitation solutions in the areas in which we drill. The new season is set to begin in January, 2016. Goals include visiting 40 new villages to install wells and provide hygiene education, and launching a new pilot project which plans to rehabilitate the cement platforms of 20 older wells. 

Walking for Water or Walking to School— Water's Impact on Education

Here is another post in our continuing series of Water Wednesday blog posts by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

The water crisis in South Sudan plays a large role in the lack of education available for school-aged children. South Sudanese who do not have access to clean water—about 68%—have to leave their villages and move for six months out of the year in order to find water. Thus, schools are not able to be sustained, so they are not built. In addition, many children’s parents succumb to diseases such as HIV/AIDS. This leaves these children as orphans and therefore responsible for finding work. They now have to provide for themselves and their siblings instead of seeking the opportunity to obtain an education. In Sudan and South Sudan combined, there are about 2 million orphaned children.     

The lack of access to clean water, however, especially affects girls. Girls are responsible for finding water for their families for up to eight hours per day. Thus, these girls cannot even attend school if there is a school in their village. If these girls are orphans, they also cannot find ways to provide for themselves because they are so busy trying to find water. If girls do attend school, they often have to drop out once they reach puberty if their schools do not have clean-water access. This is because they do not have use of proper toilets to take care of hygiene issues. Only 33% of South Sudanese girls attend school, and a mere 16% of girls ages 15 and older are literate.

This is a problem that Water for South Sudan (WFSS) works to remedy. One of WFSS’ missions is to raise money to drill clean-water wells in South Sudan so that more children can have the opportunity to go to school. If children and young people have clean water and can go to school, their opportunities for advancement are significantly increased. Thus, they can sustain a livelihood.

If you would like to learn more about Water for South Sudan and what they do, please visit WFSS website page detailing The Need in South Sudan.  or donate now here

Preventing Water Contamination

Water contamination is a universal issue that affects millions of people worldwide. In the US the issue was thrust into the spotlight over the controversy surrounding hydraulic fracking. The pumping of chemicals such as benzene near, or in some cases directly above, the ground water supply did not sit well with some Americans. In addition, a variety of viral videos and public accounts, most notably 2010’s Gasland, shed light on what effects these chemicals could have on the water supply. Videos showing tap water that burst into flames upon contact with a lighter showed the consequences of some of America’s pursuit of natural resources.

However, the USA is not the only country affected by water contamination. In fact, many countries throughout the world face problems that are perhaps more severe than those caused by hydraulic fracking. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery are all caused by water pollution. Sadly, South Sudan is not immune to such disease. In fact, much more of South Sudan’s population is at risk for water contamination than is the United States’. IRIN News reports that South Sudan has a water contamination problem that is two-fold. Not only is some of its drinking water contaminated, but the methods used to transport the water are often unsafe. Tankers that have been exposed to deadly diarrheal diseases are often reused and carry infected water into largely populated areas. In fact, CCN recently reported an outbreak of cholera in a crowded military barrack that result in around 200 deaths of armed personnel within South Sudan. Additional reports showed contamination of water wells in Unity State by nearby oil fields. Clearly, this is a problem that has large implications and a number of disastrous outcomes for a country that is already affected in a number of ways.

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) is committed to drilling new wells and providing greater access to a clean water supply. WFSS takes great care in the installation of wells to avoid contamination of the water source. In 2015 WFSS surveyed a large statistical sampling of wells which showed all to be in good operating order. WFSS also found that some of the cement platforms are in need of repair. They will launch a pilot platform rehabilitation team in 2016 to begin to address this issue, and to also continue to preserve the good quality of the water source for wells.

 In addition, as the number of clean drinking wells increases, communities will have more access to fresh water, and this in turn will limit the need for transport vehicles that can become contaminated. Joining with WFSS we can make a difference and stop the spread of harmful diseases.

Providing Clean Water for Agriculture Improves Lives in South Sudan

 Watering a garden in wau, with water from a wfss well.

Watering a garden in wau, with water from a wfss well.

Here is another post in our continuing series of Water Wednesday blog posts by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

South Sudan currently faces a water crisis. Across the world, 70 percent of our water supply is used for agriculture and irrigation. However, the South Sudanese do not have enough access to clean water to create sustainable farming for themselves. Even though access to clean water in this country is rare, 80 percent of the poor South Sudanese—which make up about half of the country’s population—rely on agriculture to make a living. Out of the water supply South Sudan has, 97 percent of it is used towards this agriculture. As such, agriculture is a lynchpin on which South Sudan’s population and economy relies.

However, since access to clean water is limited, the South Sudanese not only face limitations in how many crops they can produce, they also face dire nutritional consequences. Thirty-six percent of South Sudanese are classified as food insecure, which means that they do not have sufficient access to nutritious and cost-effective food. In addition, 47 percent of the population is classified as malnourished. In order to help South Sudan thrive, then, there is a fundamental need for clean water so that people can grow crops. This would not only increase the general health of the South Sudanese; it would also lead to a more prosperous economy for this developing country.

This is one of the many needs that Water for South Sudan (WFSS) tries to meet. WFSS raises money to sponsor the drilling of clean water wells in South Sudan. When these wells are built, the South Sudanese have access to clean water to improve health, and also to make a living through agriculture. This not only improves their economy, but also increases their nutritional intake and life spans, as well.

If you would like to find out more about South Sudan’s needs and what you can do to help, please visit the WFSS website to learn about the need for water in South Sudan. To donate to WFSS, please visit the WFSS donation page

Concern for Water Crises Around the World

 Hand dug well in maiwut, south sudan

Hand dug well in maiwut, south sudan

This is the third in our series of Water Wednesday blog posts by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

The water crisis that Water for South Sudan deals with is truly a universal problem. A couple of days ago I had one of the most interesting conversations so far in my college career. A couple of my friends and I were talking about potential grad schools and future plans after graduation. One of my friends brought up Stanford and how she hoped to go there next fall. Without missing a beat another friend of mine responded, “Yeah if it hasn’t burned down by then.” What he was crudely referring to was the drought crisis that California faces and has faced for some time. It was an interesting statement to hear because the drought has entered the public conscience in the US in a big way. Speaking personally, most of the people whom I talk to know about the drought in California even if their knowledge is just superfluous.

For me, this fact speaks volumes about the media and its ability to reach every citizen, even a group of college kids in New York who are far removed from the situation in California. The situation in California is a terrible one, and many Americans may have family members who are affected by it. In fact, Californiadrought.org reports that at the start of calendar year 2015 as many as 60% of residents were without water in some areas. This is truly a crisis that American citizens are right to be conscience of. However, the way that the media frames the crisis is very interesting to me as an observer. Major news networks such as CNN often use rhetoric such as “it is a fundamental duty to supply people in need with water.” Once again, this is a fascinating statement that I personally hope could apply to more than just the California water crisis.  

Yet, (and I do not mean to belittle it) the crisis in California is nowhere near as widespread or as endemic as the water crisis facing South Sudan. In fact, many areas within South Sudan’s 78 counties do not even have access to clean water at all. Worse still, the water that is available can sometimes contain harmful contaminants that carry a host of diseases. The Huffington Post reports that “Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year worldwide, and is of the second leading cause of death for children under age five.” In South Sudan alone, deaths in rural areas are estimated in the thousands. Sadder still is that fact that the majority of these deaths are preventable given adequate resources.

 By contrast, California has many resources at its disposal. In fact, as experts point out, California has the wealth and resources to combat their crisis and can also draw on support from the greater US. South Sudan does not have this luxury. Worse still, a large number of counties in South Sudan experience outbreaks of cholera and cannot get access to clean water.  This is a situation that seems unacceptable in the 21st century, and clearly South Sudan needs an advocate the likes of which California has. There are no Hollywood celebrities living in South Sudan; there is very little coverage of their 25 year water crisis in the mainstream US media. This is precisely why we, at a grassroots level, should be involved in fixing that situation. Overall, we in the US must not only be concerned by the plight of our neighbors in the West, but also by the more long term and ongoing plight of South Sudan. 

Providing Access to Clean Water in South Sudan

This is the second in our series of Water Wednesday blogs, written by students at the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

Water from pump.jpg

South Sudan is the world’s newest country, gaining independence from greater Sudan on July 9, 2011. However, this fledgling country faces many challenges, including battling epidemic diseases. Unfortunately, due to lack of clean water and thereby proper sanitation, there have been several cholera outbreaks in South Sudan. As of July 31, 2015, there were 1,396 cholera cases reported in Juba and Bor Counties in the state of Central Equatoria. In Juba County alone, 1,280 cases of cholera, including 41 deaths, occurred. In Bor County, there were 116 cholera cases including one death. South Sudan has 10 states and at least 78 counties. The above results are reported from two counties and one state alone. Therefore, this cholera outbreak is urgent and action is needed to try to prevent it from happening again.

These cholera outbreaks could have been prevented had South Sudan had adequate access to clean water, which would have improved the overall hygiene of the South Sudanese. Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae infecting the intestine. People become infected with cholera by consuming food or water that is polluted with feces or vomit of someone harboring the infection. This leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting, which expels significant amounts of fluid from the body.

Water for South Sudan (WFSS) operates in the WASH sector, which stands for water, sanitation, and hygiene. WASH aims to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030. By drilling clean water wells, WFSS helps more South Sudanese have access to clean drinking water and necessary hygiene, which can help prevent cholera outbreaks. WFSS’s role in bringing clean water to South Sudan is critical in increasing overall health and reducing deaths in the South Sudanese population.

However, only 55 percent of South Sudanese have access to clean drinking water, and about 30-60 liters of water per cholera patient per day is needed for his/her cleaning, bathing, clothes’ washing, and drinking. Ninety-seven percent of water in South Sudan is currently used for agriculture, which significantly limits the South Sudanese’s ability to obtain sufficient hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases like cholera.

As a result, organizations like Water for South Sudan need your support. If you would like to learn more about how to donate, please visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/waterforsouthsudan.

 

Water Wednesdays Blog Series

We are pleased to present blog entries from students as part of our Water Wednesdays series.  These students are working with WFSS as part of the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

WASH and UN Sustainable Goals

Sustainable Development Goals_E_Final sizes

On September 25th, 2015, world leaders from over 150 countries met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. They discussed a set of goals to promote the well-being of the international community over the next 15 years. These 17 goals are called the Sustainable Development Goals and according to the UN website, they hope to achieve three things by 2030: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

These 17 goals cover a wide range of topics, such as hunger, gender equality, and economic growth. Goal 6 relates perfectly to the water crisis in South Sudan and the work that Water for South Sudan does to drill wells and increase access to clean, safe water. This goal strives to ensure access to water and sanitation for all through a list of more specific target goals.

The water situation throughout the world has certainly improved over the years; 2.6 billion people have gained access to drinking water since 1990, with the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source increasing from 76 percent to 91 percent. However, the UN estimates that 663 million people in the world are still without that access. Sanitation is a similar problem, and as a result of polluted water and a lack of basic sanitation services, preventable diseases are taking innocent lives every day.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 endeavors to provide solutions for these problems. One of these targets, which the UN hopes to achieve by 2030, is “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.” Other targets include increased water quality by reducing pollution, the protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems, and sanitation and hygiene for all, especially due to the needs of women and girls.

For more information on Goal 6 and the other Sustainable Development Goals, visit http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/