Monday
Mar032014

WFSS Expands Services with New Hygiene Team

WFSS hygiene education involves villagers in identifying problems and solutions.According to UNICEF, poor access to water and sanitation facilities and unsafe hygiene practices are the main causes of diarrhea, one of the biggest child killers in the world. Addressing the problems in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), are crucial to helping children attain optimal health. WASH is regarded as a central component of the millennium development agenda. Progress in this area is closely related to that of child mortality, primary education, and poverty eradication. 

WFSS has been providing access to clean water since we began drilling in 2005.  This year we were able to expand into hygiene with the establishment of our new hygiene team.  Our team members, Matthew and Sara, are local South Sudanese who have received hygiene training.  They started traveling with our drilling crew in January to help bring hygiene education to villages which are receiving new wells.

The WFSS hygiene team  is working with villagers to: identify good and bad hygiene practices; learn how diarrheal diseases spread and how to block that spread; identify health problems; choose improved hygiene methods; identify the tasks of men and women in the community; and, identify what might go wrong and plan for change.

 “It is important for us to be able to help people with safe hygiene practices,” says Salva Dut, Director for East African Operations. “We are glad we can provide this important education for people who need it, especially children.”

Salva and our African team are already looking for ways to expand and improve our hygiene education program for next year, helping to transform even more lives.

Monday
Mar032014

World Water Day is Saturday, March 22

Each year the UN declares March 22 as World Water Day to raise awareness of the global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) crisis faced by billions of people in the poorest parts of the world. Organizations around the world host events to help accelerate progress.

Global celebrations for World Water Day 2014 will address the nexus of water and energy, and will be coordinated by the United Nations University and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization on behalf of UN-Water. You can learn more about World Water Day, including educational materials, here.

This year, to take advantage of the Congressional schedule, advocates on US water policy will gather in Washington DC on Thursday, March 13 (instead of March 22), to make their case. To find out how you can help, even from home, click here.

Monday
Mar032014

Could your contacts help WFSS secure grant funding?

Water for South Sudan has been fortunate to receive gifts and grants from many generous benefactors. This support has enabled us to drill 200 borehole wells (to date) over the past 10 years. We have expanded our operations to drill 40 wells each season (November to May.) This season we have added a hygiene component.

As WFSS expands the volume and scope of its work we need  increased funding to support that growth. To that end, we are putting more effort into securing grants. We have hired a part-time grant writer, Cindy DeCarolis, to help us with this endeavor. You may be able to help as well.

Do you sit on a foundation Board, or know people who work at foundations or sit on their boards? Do you, or others you know, have family foundations? Having an inside contact can make a world of difference in securing grants.

WFSS is seeking grants for:

  • The cost to build one well in South Sudan ($15,000)
  • Operating support
  • Capital projects
  • Expand sanitation and hygiene program
  • Staff development

Some of the foundations where we could use help getting our foot in the door are:

  • The Oak Foundation; Geneva, Switzerland
  • Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund; New York, New York
  • The Coca-Cola Foundation; Atlanta, Georgia
  • Abbott Fund; Abbott Park, Illinois

Please e-mail Cindy at cindy.decarolis@waterforsouthsudan.org if you can help. As always, thank you for all that you do for Water for South Sudan. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Monday
Mar032014

Fresh Water Wells for Villages in AGI Catalog

WFSS is grateful to once again have the opportunity to be featured in the Alternative Gifts International (AGI) Gifts Inspiring Change Catalog. Our project, Fresh Water Wells, offers AGI shoppers an opportunity to help drill a well in South Sudan. The gift of clean water is lifesaving and transforms families and communities in South Sudan.  

Alternative Gifts International is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes. The global mission of AGI is to send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world -- gifts that build a partnership with oppressed people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth's endangered environment -- to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community. AGI offers donors the option to designate charitable gifts through carefully selected agencies in the name of their relatives, friends and associates. You can learn more about Alternative Gifts International here.

Tuesday
Nov122013

Water for South Sudan, Inc. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Salva Dut at his boyhood home, commonly known as a tukol.

Water for South Sudan celebrated its first decade this fall, marking 10 years since Salva Dut founded the organization that has now drilled 177 wells, transforming the lives of over 400,000 people.

No one ever dreamed that Salva’s idea to bring clean water to his father’s village would ever go this far. The seeds for the organization were born in Southern Sudan and nurtured in the United States, mirroring Salva’s journey.  His journey was an arduous one that moved from the struggles of war to brand new beginnings in the United States, and finally to the evolution of a successful and life-affirming non-profit organization.

In 1985, 11-year-old Salva Dut’s world changed when civil war came to his village. He spent years hiding from militia and walking across what was then Southern Sudan; he spent even more time in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Salva was one of the lucky ones, chosen to be resettled in the US.

In 1996, Salva was settled in Rochester, NY, USA, where he met his new host family, Chris and Louise Moore and their four children. Nancy Frank, one of Salva’s first supporters and subsequent “adopted mom,” was also very much a part of his new family. In 2002, after 17 years away from his village and parents, Salva learned through United Nations networks that his father was still alive. He travelled back to Southern Sudan and found his father in a UN hospital. Though his father had survived the war, he was gravely ill from a water-borne disease. This affected Salva deeply and ultimately led to his dream of providing clean safe water in Southern Sudan.

Back in Rochester, Salva’s newfound friends and community became the fertile ground to sow the seeds for his dream. From brainstorming walks around the block, to discussions in living rooms and around kitchen tables, Salva explored the possibility of drilling a well for his father’s village, and perhaps some neighboring villages as well. He and his early supporters raised funds and became the founding board members. Those early board members, including John Bevier, the late Scott Arrington, and Jim Blake, helped with the crucial first steps of forming the legal organization, Water for Sudan, Inc.  Critical first fundraising efforts were initiated from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Downtown United Presbyterian Church (DUPC) in Rochester, where Salva worked. 

In October of 2003, Water for Sudan (later to become Water for South Sudan) was founded as a nonprofit organization in Rochester. Seeking inclusion and diversity, Salva and the founding board members brought in more help and support from the community. “We need women,” Salva told Nancy Curme when he invited her to join. Curme and fellow board member Carol Snook approached area schools for fundraising and many churches joined the effort as well.

Drilling began in 2005 when the nascent Water for Sudan drilled ten wells. Ten more wells followed the following year. The late John Turner, the organization’s first COO, pushed to buy drilling equipment in 2006. John and fellow board member Glenn Balch introduced Salva to Rotary International, and Rotary clubs across the country, particularly in Southern California, helped fundraise for a drilling rig. 

In 2008, board members Nancy Frank, Nancy Reinert, and Angelique Stevens traveled to Southern Sudan along with AP Reporter Ben Dobbin and filmmaker Jeff Mead to observe the drilling of a well firsthand. The result of that trip was the movie, Just Add Water. Subsequently, in 2010, award-winning author Linda Sue Park wrote A Long Walk to Water, which has been read by thousands of students across the country and around the world, many of whom are motivated to fundraise after reading Salva’s story.  Individuals and groups, including schools, faith groups, civic organizations and foundations, from all 50 US States and 9 foreign countries have provided the support needed for WFSS.  In 2011, South Sudan became the world’s newest country, and the organization changed its name to Water for South Sudan.

It’s obvious that since 2005, many, many people have contributed to the development of Salva’s initial dream and to the ultimate success of Water for South Sudan. Board President Chris Moore notes that, “In the beginning, our goal was to work for a few years in the immediate area of Salva’s home village. None of us thought it would continue this far.”

Children, whose survivability was questionable before clean water was available in their villages, have a fighting chance now­—not just at life, but also at a future full of possibilities.

“The future of WFSS is very bright,” says Salva.  “I give thanks to all who supported me so that we can help the people of South Sudan.”