Paul Jeffrey

Safe Water Helps Communities Blossom in South Sudan

"The work we're doing is development work, so everything that we're doing is looking at the long term." —Jim McGill, Presbyterian Mission Co-Worker, South Sudan

In South Sudan, water is life.

Clean, safe water is needed in homes for consumption, personal hygiene and to provide safe sanitation. Clean water in schools keeps kids healthy and ensures they continue to have access to education and the opportunities it provides. It’s also essential for hospitals, to make sure patients are not further sickened by water pathogens encountered while receiving care for other health problems.

For all these reasons and more, Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) is working to provide long-term solutions for water quality and quantity. Together with local partners, PRDA champions projects that go beyond emergency relief to create a sustainable, lasting impact on communities. Much of the current development work is made possible through the help of SMART Centres — programs focused on sustainable, market-based, affordable, repairable technologies. In these models, low-cost, high-quality water and sanitation systems are made available to community members, allowing them to buy in and gain control over their own water supply.

Currently, PRDA is working to train local entrepreneurs on how to produce low-cost water and sanitation options that people can buy and implement. By building up local supply, projects are self-sustaining: everything is produced locally, removing barriers to maintenance and repairs, and making more water available to more people in need.

By training local laborers in manual drilling, they are able to drill wells for people in their community, and provide training on the application of pumps, allowing people to make and maintain their own pumps with local supplies. PRDA even helps establish supply chains of materials like filter elements that are not locally produced. The result? Stronger, healthier communities that are invested in their own safe water efforts.