Preparing for 2013-14 Drilling Season

WFSS drills during the dry season in South Sudan, which is usually December until the rains come, sometime in May.   So what do they do the rest of the year?   Prepare for more drilling!

This year, our South Sudan team (Salva, Ater, John and Benson) traveled to WFSS headquarters in Rochester, NY for intensive meetings with our US operations team.  They debriefed on the drilling season, and worked on processes for all facets of WFSS drilling, from equipment maintenance and repair to a storage system for spare parts at the WFSS compound in Wau.  Communication between the US and Africa is not always easy.  Internet connections are not consistent in South Sudan; cell phone service can be spotty.   All agree that face-to-face communication is the best. 

In addition, team members met with WFSS board members and some donors.  Team members also were able to get physicals and needed medical care at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center in Rochester.   As WFSS is not able to provide medical insurance for members living in Africa, it is crucial that team members get care here, to be able to go back to Africa and live and work in the environment there.  Extreme heat is one challenge they face, constant exposure to malaria is another.  Thankfully, team members were helped and went back to Africa in good physical shape.

The harsh conditions of South Sudan are a continual challenge for WFSS crews and equipment.  Team members on both sides of the ocean have been working to repair compressors and be sure all vehicles are in good working order.

This fall, WFSS team members traveled from South Sudan to Uganda, where they picked up all drilling supplies for the coming season—enough pipes, pumps and spare parts for 40 new wells.  In addition, WFSS-Rochester is preparing a shipping container to send additional parts and supplies to South Sudan.

“We are always looking for ways to improve operations,” says volunteer COO and Board member Don Fairman.  “Each year we are able to improve efficiencies.  We can always work better and smarter.”

Crew members have arrived back at the WFSS compound in Wau.  From there, they will finish final equipment repairs and be ready to do assessments of villages that will receive wells this year.   Then they will head out to the remote areas that WFSS serves.  And, very soon, more clean water will be flowing in South Sudan.


WFSS Teams with Alternative Gifts International

Water for South Sudan is pleased to announce that we are being featured again in the Alternative Gifts International (AGI) Catalog.  AGI is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes.  AGI is running a one year campaign for WFSS to provide clean water to the people of South Sudan.  Please support our “Fresh Water Wells” Project by clicking here

The gifts offered in the "Gifts Inspiring Change" catalog are unique.  They are gifts of peace and justice, gifts that are sustainable and that build security. These alternative gifts multiply and grow, sometimes exponentially, and offer hope and new life to people facing grave crises and need. They challenge the trivia of our modern culture. These are authentic gifts that people really use and cherish. They always fit and are never thrown away.  You can learn more about Alternative Gifts International here.


Support the 2013 Water for the World Act!

Water for South Sudan supports the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (H.R. 2901).  We urge you to join us in supporting the bill which will improve the well-being, education, economic opportunity, safety and dignity of 2.5 billion people in the world who live without a basic latrine every day. By improving USAID’s focus on the poorest of the poor and the countries and communities suffering most from water-related diseases, like under-nutrition and pneumonia, Water for the World will save many lives. Most importantly, it will use current funding for water, sanitation and hygiene better.

Help WFSS and all organizations working to bring clean water to people in need. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121 and say you want to support efforts already underway to solve the global water, sanitation, and hygiene crisis.  Tell them you are a supporter of Water for South Sudan and urge them to act on this issue.

The Water for the World Act aims to modify the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (passed in 2005) and improve the efficiency with which the U.S. gives foreign aid for global safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). This is especially important when potential budget cuts could affect these programs.





2013 Drilling Season Most Successful Yet!

Villagers in Aguor, in Gogrial East County, Warrap State, celebrate the completion of their new well.

Water for South Sudan completed the 2013 drilling season in May with 40 new wells, our most successful drilling season to date.  With the addition of these wells, we have now drilled 177 wells since 2005, serving an estimated 400,000 South Sudanese.

At the WFSS Annual Meeting in Rochester in June, Board President Christopher Moore thanked the entire South Sudan team for their incredible work in accomplishing the goal they had set out in December.

Drilling manager Ater Thiep said that he wasn't sure they would be able to meet that goal.  "We started late," he said, "heading out to begin drilling on January 17.  It was challenging and we faced many difficulties."

Difficulties included drilling most of the season without the use of compressors, which were awaiting repair.  This necessitated a change in where the team drilled, as the compressors are needed to drill through rocky soil.   The team found villages in which to drill, but because of this they were not able to drill in the villages which had been promised wells.

Even with full use of compressors the drilling environment in South Sudan is always challenging, with temperatures reaching as high as 120º F.  Assistant drilling manager Benson Deng noted the high success rate of this year’s drilling, and told about the happiness of villagers who received a well.

Deng related the story of a villager who brought four goats to the WFSS team, in thanksgiving for their well.  When the team declined this generous offer the villager told them it was the least he could do, because the previous year he lost 25 goats to hyenas, when his goats had to travel long distances to get to water.

The gifts of water are many.  WFSS thanks all of its supporters for enabling this transforming work.


Salva Dut Speaks at Global Conference in Boston in June

WFSS Founder Salva Dut with Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Founder, Village Health Works and Benson Deng, WFSS Assistant Field Operations Supervisor, 2013When WFSS Founder Salva Dut was invited to the Wheelock College international conference exploring global issues, challenges and opportunities, he knew that this was a can’t-miss opportunity to have WFSS be visible to another globally-focused audience.

From June 19th-22nd, the world visited this small but powerful college on the outskirts of Boston, MA. Wheelock was the perfect setting for such a collection of intellectuals, politicians, policy makers, advocates and activists.  The institute of higher education, attended by roughly 750 students annually, is a small school with a proud 125 year history of global impact.  It may be small in numbers but the college has a big voice in a big city and that voice speaks for human rights and change. 

Dut was one of four speakers on a panel entitled, “A Dwindling, Precious Resource:  Access to Clean Water and its Human Rights and Health Implications.” With over 600 attendees from dozens of different nations, and eight keynote speakers whose collective resumes would fill a city phone book, you couldn’t take in the conference all in one day.

On Saturday afternoon, after four days of insightful, thoughtful and provocative dialogue, hundreds of weary but inspired participants from around the world said goodbye to their newly made connections and friends. They left with hope and intent for the opportunity for future collaboration to share ideas and work together on the global issues of education, health, and human rights facing children, youth and families. 

Water for South Sudan gained valuable visibility on a world stage, set the foundation for future conversations and partnerships, and left feeling optimistic but realistic in a world that faces so many serious problems and issues.  WFSS is also motivated more than ever to stand with so many other individuals and institutions to work on these issues together.