In developed countries, we take water for granted. We have cold water, hot water, mineral water – even flavoured water! But what would you do if you turned your tap on and muddy water gushed out? In countries like South Sudan, access to clean water is an ongoing, daily battle. As water charity Drop4Drop writes:
‘The constant conflict within South Sudan has left the country’s water systems neglected or destroyed. The poor rains combined with the after-effects of the 2011 East African drought, and the decreasing value of South Sudan’s currency contrasted with the rising price of living (an increase of 30%), has depleted the countries’ [sic] clean water supply, and made it difficult, and expensive, for the population to access clean and safe water.’
Improving access to clean drinking water can contribute to solving many problems in rural areas. Reducing the time girls and women spend in fetching water several miles away can mean that girls spend more time in school and women have time to establish a thriving business for sustainable livelihood.
Neyan Dut, Amer Tong and Margaret Alier from Lologo are a group of women who were displaced from North Bor during the 2016 crisis and moved to Juba. They faced various challenges in Juba in accessing clean water so they came together and dug a four-metre water hole which now provides enough to drink and to irrigate the small kitchen garden they have started to use to provide food for their children. Trumpeter Community Health has begun to teach this group about sanitation and specifically water treatment:
‘We have benefited from Trumpeter Community Health on how to treat the water using chlorine, water guard or boiling water. We have also learnt how to make use of the water by growing vegetables. The river is one hour walk away from us hence very difficult to fetch water.’ – Neyan Dut
This group of incredible women have demonstrated amazing ingenuity and resolve to keep going and provide for their families in impossible circumstances. However, access to clean water continues to be a constant struggle for them and thousands more who live in similar conditions as a result of drought, conflict and inflation. The Trumpeters are working to address this because daily, convenient access to drinking water does not just address dehydration but leads to life-changing economic and educational benefits.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
– 1 John 3:17-18