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Monday, March 22, 2021

World Water Day: Water for South Sudan, Changing communities one well at a time


Over a year ago, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19
a pandemic. Today, on World Water Day, we are honored to share a first-hand
account of what innovation and adaptation look like during a pandemic,
and a subsequent economic crisis, from Water for South Sudan (WFSS),
a Charity Navigator 4-Star rated nonprofit.

Water for South Sudan’s (WFSS) local, sustainable work is changing lives, one well at a time. Every day, we see firsthand how access to essential clean water, hygiene, and sanitation impacts entire communities. But we never dreamed that the need would be made even more critical in the face of a global pandemic. 

Last March the COVID-19 virus reached South Sudan. Amidst so much uncertainty as to how it was spreading, our teams were forced to end their well-drilling operations early. We had to pivot and re-focus, quickly transitioning to delivering emergency hygiene awareness and COVID prevention education to the people we serve. 

Sanitation, hygiene, and adequate access to clean water are critical for preventing and containing diseases. Hand hygiene saves lives. According to the World Health Organization, handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Yet two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water.

Our local teams went out into rural communities, including remote health clinics to share vital health information – and helped turn it into lifesaving action. 

While delivering supplies to 25 health clinics, we found 10 that did not have access to clean water. We repaired six broken wells, and drilled four new wells, bringing lifesaving water to healthcare providers and their patients. 

We’re proud to be a part of World Water Day’s awareness campaign, Valuing Water (March 22) because we see the critical difference access to clean water makes to people’s lives, every day and never more so than in 2020. 

Our work in the WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) sector supports UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all. It’s a goal shared by our founder, former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, Salva Dut

Salva’s mission to bring clean water to his fellow South Sudanese was inspired by his own father’s life-threatening disease, brought on by contaminated water (you can read more about his story in Linda Sue Park’s best-selling book, A Long Walk to Water.) Salva’s work continues to this day, and inspires us, and our global community of supporters who power our work. 


Written by Lynn Malooly, Executive Director of Water for South Sudan, Inc. Water for South Sudan, powered by supporters around the world, serves hundreds of thousands of people every day with sustainable access to clean, safe water. Support their mission by visiting www.waterforsouthsudan.org

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