“I am excited that my children no longer suffer from water-borne diseases. But getting the water with many people around and trying to observe social distance due to COVID-19 is a challenge. Everyone should comply for us to be safe but it’s always not the case’’, says 24-year old Abuk Yuah Ng’or.
Abuk lives in Molbog and like many young women from remote areas in South Sudan, has faced many challenges fetching untreated water from the River Nile for the past five years. The Surface Water Treatment (SWAT) facility in Molbog broke down in 2015 during the conflict and was rehabilitated this year serving 2,343 people.
“Before, my three children would often get sick from water-borne diseases because of the unclean water from the river. This always makes my life as a mother more difficult,” she says, adding, “When the water facility was restored by World Vision, my family are using safe and clean water.” Abuk gets her daily supply of clean water from one of the nine water points rehabilitated by World Vision through the support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) aimed at sustaining a safe water supply for an estimated 42,598 people in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.
“I am grateful to World Vision for this project that has helped change the lives of people in Molbog village. We have suffered for so long. Now it is our responsibility, especially the women in this community to manage and protect the water point and the SWAT system,” she shares. Arop Chan, Molbog’s village chief says, “The use of clean water is the most effective way to eradicate water-borne diseases. World Vision has helped establish this system and improved our way of life unlike in the past five years when we just depended on the river.”
The use of clean water is the most effective way to eradicate water-borne diseases. World Vision has helped establish this system and improved our way of life unlike in the past five years when we just depended on the river.
Abuk appeals for the extension of water pipelines and the construction of more water points to other populated areas of Molbog to help reduce walking distance and the spread of COVID-19. The community is responsible to take good care and maintain the water facility. A committee of seven people composed of three women and four men was organized to manage its operations and ensure that the people will have clean water at all times.
With the rising cases COVID-19 cases in the country, World Vision has installed in 18 handwashing facilities, distributed bars of soap and supplied 860 bags of chemical reagents like aluminum sulfate for water treatment in Malakal, Melut and Renk counties. In addition, new gender-friendly latrines were built in 10 schools and house-to-house campaigns are ongoing to ensure people are aware of the pandemic and what they need to do as prevention.
“The provision of clean water helps promotes good health and support from communities through exercising good hygiene practices such as handwashing, proper hygiene and social distance is crucial to stop the spread of the pandemic. World Vision’s commitment is to help educate communities to adopt these good practices for their own protection and safety”, says Amos Musembi, World Vision’s team leader in Renk County.
Story and photos by Abuoy Durdsan, WASH Officer