Preparing for 2012-13 Drilling Season

After a busy rainy season, Water for South Sudan is set to begin drilling once again later this month.  In the off-season WFSS crew members were busy inspecting and repairing equipment, and planning for future drilling.

Salva, Ater and John were in Kampala last week, getting supplies for the 2012-13 drilling season.  Crew members must procure everything they need before drilling starts. Everything from pipe casings and pumps to food, water and gas must be purchased in Uganda and then brought into South Sudan. Crossing the border requires proper permits and certifications, then the crew will drive on to our new compound in Wau.

The goal for this season is to drill 40 new wells in Gogrial East County.   We estimate that each well serves 1,500 to 3,000 people.  

Wells bring water and water brings life.   Once a village has a well, new possibilites can emerge-- markets spring up, schools and clinics can be built. WFSS has now drilled 137 wells.  The Government of South Sudan estimates that our wells are bringing clean water to 400,000 people.

Thank you for helping us transform lives in South Sudan!


WFSS Earns Highest Level of Transparency on Guidestar


Water for South Sudan has always strived to be completely open and transparent to its donors and the public.  To that end, WFSS posts all financial information on its website and also has made all information available on Guidestar, a charity rating website. WFSS also has earned the right to display the GuideStar Exchange Seal on its nonprofit report pages. This seal indicates that WFSS has updated its nonprofit report to the fullest, thus becoming a GuideStar Exchange member.  Read the GuideStar report on WFSS here.

GuideStar is a leading source of collecting and disseminating nonprofit information, providing access to nearly 98 percent of its users for free.  GuideStar was founded in 1994 and was the first web site to make financial and programmatic data on nonprofits easily available to the public.  "Information is the fuel of smart decision making. And GuideStar plays a central role providing that fuel for the nonprofit community," said Jacob Harold, Guidestar President and CEO.

Bob Ottenhoff, former president and CEO of Guidestar, has noted, “GuideStar has spent more than a decade educating the public about the dangers of judging an organization solely on its financial balance sheet. Our focus has always been on helping donors get a complete picture of a charity.” 




The Prem Rawat Foundation Awards Grant to WFSS

WFSS is pleased to announce that The Prem Rawat Foundation has awarded a grant of $10,000 to WFSS to drill fresh water wells in South Sudan. These funds will be used during the 2012-13 drilling season, set to begin in December.

The Prem Rawat Foundation addresses the fundamental human needs of food, water and peace so that people can live with dignity, peace and prosperity. Inspired by Prem Rawat’s vision that peace is a fundamental need for all people, The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) helps to make his message of peace available to people throughout the world and to support efforts to provide nutritious food, clean water, and eye care to people in need.


“Water for South Sudan is pleased to be partnering with The Prem Rawat Foundation once again,” said Board Chair Christopher Moore. “Through their generous efforts, thousands of people in South Sudan will have access to fresh, clean water.”

David Weinberg, a volunteer grant reviewer for The Prem Rawat Foundation, said that the foundation was drawn to Water for South Sudan because the wells it builds are sustainable.

"The great thing about Water for South Sudan is they build these wells, they train people to maintain the wells, and they retain their own equipment," said Weinberg.  "It's a great return on your investment from a humanitarian standpoint."






New Faces of WFSS in South Sudan

John Mourwel, Benson Deng & COO Don Fairman at WFSS compound.Water for South Sudan has hired two new employees to help manage our drilling operations in South Sudan.

John Mourwel and Benson Deng join Salva Dut and Ater Thiep-- all former "Lost Boys" who became American citizens and have now returned to their homeland to help in its growth and development as a new nation.  

John is working as our compound manager in Wau, keeping track of all of our equipment, and handling communications both with the teams in the field, and with our office in Rochester, New York.

Benson will be training as a new team leader, working under the supervision of Field Manager Ater Thiep.  Salva Dut remains Executive Director for East Africa Operations overseeing all of our work in Africa, including interfacing with local government office and other NGOs operating in South Sudan.

The crews are currently preparing for the 2012-13 drilling season, procuring supplies, repairing vehicles and planning village assessments to see where they will drill in the coming months.  As always, they will face the extreme conditions of South Sudan.  The goal for this drilling season is 40 new wells.



WFSS in 2013 Alternative Gifts International Catalog

Water for South Sudan is grateful to be featured once again in the Alternative Gifts International Catalog (AGI).  AGI is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humaitarian and environmental causes.  AGI is running a one year campaign for WFSS.   Supporters can help provide fresh clean water to the people of South Sudan through AGI's new 2013 catalog.

Please support our "Fresh Water Wells" Project for South Sudan by clicking here.   You can learn more about Alternative Gifts International here.



Caster Family Foundation Awards Two Grants to WFSS

Water for South Sudan is pleased to announce the awarding of two grants, totaling $6000, from The Caster Family Foundation.  The Foundation, based in San Diego, is funded by A1 Self Storage.  

"We are very grateful for the continued support of The Caster Family Foundation," said Christopher Moore, WFSS board chair.  "Thanks to the foundation, and our many donors, we can continue in our mission of delivering fresh, clean drinking water to the people of South Sudan.  Once a village has a well, marketplaces spring up, schools are built and, very often, health clinics are established.  The foundation’s gifts make an enormous difference in the lives of the people of South Sudan."




33 New Wells Drilled in 2011-12 Season

Women pumping water at the WFSS compound well in Wau, South Sudan

Water for South Sudan finished its 2011-12 drilling season with 33 new wells, bringing the total to 137 wells drilled since 2005.  We estimate that our wells are now providing water to over 400,000 South Sudanese. With fresh water, lives are transformed.  Women and girls no longer have to walk miles for water. Schools can be built and markets spring up.  

The equipment is back at our new compound in Wau and is being inspected and repaired.  Our African crew members have gone home, and Salva Dut and Ater Thiep are currently in the US for a bit of vacation time, meetings with WFSS Board members and planning for the upcoming drilling season.  

Thank you to all of our donors who make it possibile for Water for South Sudan to continue its work drilling wells and transforming lives. 


More Wells, More Fresh Water

WFSS crews drilling near Wau, South Sudan in March, 2012

Water for South Sudan continues its 2012 drilling season.  As of mid-April, 25 new wells have been drilled, bringing our new total to 129 wells since 2005. Each well serves from 1,000-3,000 people, bringing new water and new possibilities to a village.  Drilling will continue until the rainy season starts, sometime in the next few weeks.

Thank you to our president and founder, Salva Dut, and drilling manager, Ater Thiep (aka Lion), for their constant dedication and determination to overcome any obstacle and bring fresh clean water to those who need it.


WFSS Team Travels to South Sudan

Don Fairman, Salva Dut, Orin Abrams and Adanan, WFSS crew member, inspect well.

WFSS sent an operations team to South Sudan in late February and early March to witness drilling operations firsthand, and to check on and further document previously drilled wells.  Board members Bob Smith, Don Fairman (Rochester, NY) and Chuck DuVivier and WFSS supporter Orin Abram (Orange County, CA) spent several weeks with our South Sudan operations teams.  This was DuVivier's 10th trip to Africa, and his second to South Sudan.  

"South Sudan is one of the most difficult places in the world to work," said DuVivier. "It's remarkable that Water For South Sudan has been so successful year after year.  This visit allowed me to see the drilling operations, and verify that older WFSS wells are still working.  WFSS provides maintenance training for someone chosen by the villagers to monitor the wells, but we also learned that the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS) has pledged to provide maintenance funding and oversight for all the wells in South Sudan. Each payam (town), district and state now have Government of South Sudan employees, supported by the UNMISS, who have spare parts and are able to make repairs if a well is in need.  I am more confident than ever that these wells will continue to work for many years to come."

The team observed drilling operations and helped oversee construction of the new WFSS compound.  They also documented work-flow processes and made suggestions for improving our operations.  We are always looking for ways to improve upon our mission of transforming lives in South Sudan.

Given the immense challenges of drilling in one of the world's poorest countries, the team came home thoroughly impressed with the hard work and dedication of the drilling teams.

"Through extraodinary, can-do attitude and skill, Salva's been able to organize a well-drilling operation that has completed over 120 [Ed. note: at the time of the visit] wells in South Sudan," noted DuVivier.  "Hard work and ingenuity by WFSS’s workers contributes significantly to this success."


Talk the Walk to Water:  Salva & Linda Sue Park June 15

Linda Sue Park and Salva DutWe are pleased to announce a very special event this summer:  WFSS president and founder Salva Dut and Newbery Award-Winning author Linda Sue Park will headline "Talk the Walk to Water- An Evening with Salva and Linda Sue."  

Linda Sue is the author of A Long Walk to Water, which tells the true story of Salva's journey from South Sudan as one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan, alongside the fictional account of a young girl in South Sudan today.  Linda Sue was awarded the Jane Addams Children's Book Award for the book.

The event is set for Friday, June 15, 7PM at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY 14614.   City parking is available nearby.

Salva will give an update on this drilling season and Linda Sue and Salva will talk about the story behind A Long Walk to Water.  We will also have pictures and video from this drilling season.  A reception and book-signing with Linda Sue will follow. 

We hope our Rochester-area friends can join us for this special evening.  Event is free and open to the public.  Please check here for further details.


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