Charities Operating in South Sudan
South Sudan is a country in dire need of assistance. Having seceded from Sudan over a decade ago, the fledgling nation’s history has been fraught with conflict between its government and armed opposition groups. The fighting stopped in 2018 when South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and the leader of the main opposition force agreed on a peace deal. The opposition leader became the vice president and he and Kiir have been working toward unity and a new constitution.

However, the South Sudanese people are still in trouble. More than 60% of the population is facing food insecurity, the country is chronically underdeveloped and extensive flooding devastates many areas. Here are five charities operating in South Sudan.

5 Charities Operating in South Sudan

  1. Sudan Relief Fund: The Sudan Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious organization founded in 1998 and is dedicated to bringing food, safe drinking water, clothing, shelter and medical attention to the people of South Sudan. The organization seeks to aid in the development of infrastructure necessary for South Sudan’s growth and stability. Some of its accomplishments include the Catholic University of South Sudan, which the organization helped build and continues to fund, and the “Mother of Mercy” hospital which is a full-scale hospital with 400 beds. Moreover, the organization also provided more than $5 million in support to South Sudan in 2021. Many of the South Sudan Relief Fund’s operations and aid efforts take place right in South Sudan, ensuring that most of the donations go right to where people need them.
  2. International Rescue Committee (IRC): The IRC is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. The organization operates in more than 40 crisis-affected countries and has assisted in some of the worst humanitarian crises like Afghanistan and currently Ukraine. South Sudan is one of the countries the IRC aids and the country is under a “crisis watch,” according to the IRC website. On October 17, 2021, the IRC issued a statement about its emergency response to assist the South Sudanese people affected by conflict, disease and flooding.
  3. Helping Hands for South Sudan: Helping Hands for South Sudan is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity based in Palo Alto, CA. Its founder, Gabriel Akim Nyok, is a Sudanese refugee and was one of the “Lost Boys and Girls of South Sudan,” the nickname for the 20,000+ children who fled from southern Sudan during the civil war. He came to the United States in 2006 and has since taken multiple trips to South Sudan and Uganda to meet with locals, school officials and refugees. His goal is to help facilitate educational needs in the country and previously sponsored the education of South Sudanese children. Nyok has direct involvement in the charity’s operations as its chairman. About 99% of donations go directly to children and a donation of $500 can sponsor a child’s education for a whole year.
  4. Water for South Sudan: Founded in 2008, Water for South Sudan is a charity that helps provide people with clean and safe water through sustainable means. Its founder, Salva Dut, was also a “Lost Boy,” like Gabriel Nyok. The charity takes a collaborative approach by leveraging its existing resources and using them to work alongside communities in need to build or repair water wells. Its projects also include building latrines and commencing hygiene education programs to improve water practices. According to 2021’s report, the charity received more than $1.9 million in contributions and drilled 48 new wells, rebuilt 48 wells and successfully taught 99 hygienic training practices.
  5. Hope Ofiriha: Hope Ofiriha is an NGO registered in Norway and with the South Sudanese government. It has a 501(c)(3) status in the U.S. Its mission is to assist women and children in overcoming social injustice, disease, poverty and illiteracy in Magwi County, one of the poorest and most remote places in the world. According to Hope Ofiriha’s website, its small-scale grassroots projects aim to act as a “hand-up,” not as handouts. The categories of its projects are education, health care, agriculture, child sponsorship, microcredit and the environment. The NGO was originally founded in 1996 as a group that provided agricultural workshops to widows to give them the skills necessary to become self-reliant. Although the organization has grown tremendously since then, its sentiment of helping women (and now children) become self-sufficient has remained the same.

Concluding Thoughts

These five charities operating in South Sudan are making a substantial difference in the country because of their direct approaches and willingness to garner input from the South Sudanese people.

– Matthew Wikfors
Photo: Flickr

The Republic of South Sudan is located in East-Central Africa. South Sudan’s current population is 13 million, and more than 50% of the population lacks proper access to clean water resources. Constant conflict and a civil war, which began in 2013, led to the current water crisis in South Sudan. During the war, the nation’s water systems were deserted and demolished. The 2011 East African drought and the country’s low rainfall further exacerbated the water crisis in South Sudan. As only 2% of the country’s water is used domestically, the South Sudanese peoples’ access to clean water is scarce. Furthermore, South Sudan’s water resources are trans-boundary waters shared with other African countries. The Nile River Basin is South Sudan’s primary water source, but it is shared with ten other countries. This shared ownership intensifies the water crisis in South Sudan.

Without access to clean water, South Sudanese families often drink dirty water to survive. This increases their risk of receiving waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea or parasites. Since 1990, diarrhea has been a leading cause of death for children in impoverished countries, accounting for one in nine child deaths worldwide. The disease kills more than 2,000 children every day, a toll greater than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Currently, in South Sudan, 77% of children under the age of five die from diarrhea. In addition, the country is home to 24% of the world’s lingering Guinea worm cases, a parasitic infection. Numerous water-focused charities are combating the current water crisis in South Sudan by facilitating clean water improvements.

Water is Basic

Water is Basic was founded in 2006 by Sudanese religious leaders who wanted to solve the water crisis in Sudan. The organization is a borehole drilling operation that manufactured its first water well in the Republic of the Sudan in 2008. Since then, Water is Basic has assembled more than 500 wells and improved over 300 more. In 2012, Water is Basic became a U.S. 501(c)(3) organization, earning nonprofit status under the federal law of the United States. This status allows the agency to be exempt from some federal income taxes; consequently, it was able to focus its profits specifically on water projects. To date, Water is Basic’s solutions have provided clean water to 1.5 million people in South Sudan, nearly 10% of the country’s total population.

Additionally, Water is Basic shares its expertise in developing clean water solutions with organizations in other African countries. In 2017, Water is Basic provided 30,000 people with clean water in Kibumba, Democratic Republic of Congo. Overall, Water is Basic has employed more than 100 local South Sudanese citizens who strive to bring to life the organization’s mission: that every person in South Sudan will finally have access to clean water.

Water for South Sudan

Salva Dut established Water for South Sudan in Rochester, New York, in 2003. Dut was born in southwestern Sudan to the Dinka tribe. The Sudanese civil war separated Salva from his family when he was only 11 years old. Seeking refuge by foot, Dut joined the thousands of boys known as the “Lost Boys” on their journey to Ethiopia. After living in refugee camps for more than 10 years, Dut moved to the United States and decided to aid South Sudan by giving clean water to those in need.

The organization’s mission is to end the water crisis in South Sudan by providing access to clean water and improving sanitation practices in impoverished South Sudanese communities. As of April 1, 2020, Water for South Sudan has drilled 452 new drills since 2003. The U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit has also restored 162 wells and taught 422 hygiene lessons. The hygiene lessons include information on washing hands properly, covering water containers to keep the water clean, food safety practices and how to dispose of waste. Water for South Sudan has uplifted entire South Sudanese villages. The nonprofit has transformed their lives and health by installing wells, thus helping the people gain access to clean water.

Wells for Sudan

In 2013, The Water Project, a charity concentrated at ending the water crisis across sub-Saharan Africa, partnered with Neverthirst, a sponsor group for water charities in 2013. Together, the organizations drilled wells as part of their combined project Wells for Sudan. The collaboration has installed more than 400 wells in remote villages across South Sudan.

As Wells for Sudan establish water wells to help end the water crisis in South Sudan, the collaborating organizations include holistic approaches to its water projects. Its water projects consist of on-site evaluation, pump repair training and the formation of water committees to manage the wells’ maintenance. Neverthirst has also pledged regular inspections of the wells to ensure proper usage.

With the help of these highlighted organizations, the water crisis in South Sudan is declining. Now, more than 729,100 South Sudanese citizens have improved drinking water resources. Nevertheless, Water is Basic, Water for South Sudan and Wells for Sudan all vow to continue their efforts until every citizen in South Sudan has access to clean water resources and improved sanitation.

– Kacie Frederick
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About the Sudan Genocide
The grave human rights abuses and mass slaughter in Darfur, West Sudan between 2003-2008 was the first genocide of the 21st century. The Sudanese government and the Janjaweed (government-funded and armed Arab militias) targeted civilians, burned villages and committed many more atrocities. Below are 10 facts about the Sudan genocide.

10 Facts About the Sudan Genocide

  1. The long term causes of the Sudan genocide stem from the two prolonged civil wars between the North, that promoted Arabisation and a Middle-Eastern culture, and the South, that preferred an African identity and culture. The First Sudanese Civil War began in 1955 and ended in 1972 with a peace treaty. Eventually, unsettled issues reignited into the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983 and lasted until 2005, however. Both civil wars occurred due to the southern Sudanese rebels’ demands for regional autonomy and the northern Sudanese government’s refusal to grant it.
  2. The direct cause of the genocide during the Second Sudanese Civil War revolves around allegations that the government armed and funded the Janjaweed against non-Arabs. This supposedly led to the southern rebel groups, the Sudan Liberian Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, attacking a Sudanese Air Force base in Darfur in 2003. The government countered with widespread violent campaigns targeting non-Arabs and southern Sudanese civilians, which turned into genocidal campaigns.
  3. The United Nations estimated that the attacks killed at least 300,000 people and led to the displacement of 2.6 million people. Of that number, 200,000 fled and found refuge in Chad, which neighbors Sudan to the west. Most of the internally displaced people (IDP) settled in the Darfur region, which counts 66 camps. According to a UN report, the lack of law enforcement and judicial institutions in these areas generated human rights violations and abuses, including sexual violence and criminal acts of vulnerable IDPs.
  4. The government and militia conducted “ethnic cleansing” campaigns, committing massive atrocities. They targeted women and girls, deliberately using rape and sexual violence to terrorize the population, perpetuate its displacement and increase their exposure to HIV/AIDS. The government and militia conducted ‘scorched-earth campaigns’ where they burned hundreds of villages and destroyed infrastructures such as water sources and crops, resulting in the dramatic famine. These acts are all war crimes that still prevent IDPs from returning to their homes.
  5. In 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened investigations regarding the alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan, which produced several cases that are still under investigation due to the lack of cooperation from the Sudanese government. The ICC dealt with the genocide in Darfur, the first genocide it worked on and the first time the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) referred to the ICC.
  6. A military coup in April 2019 overthrew the former President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, allowing the country to secure justice and address the wrongs committed between 2003-2008. Indeed, the prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, urges the UN Security Council to extend the UNAMID’s peacekeeping mission to 12 months and the new government of Sudan to transfer Omar Al Bashir and two other war criminals to the ICC.
  7. Omar Al Bashir was the first sitting President that the ICC wanted (it issued the first arrest warrant in March 2009 and the second in July 2010) and the first example of the ICC incriminating a person for the crime of genocide. However, the ICC still cannot move forward with the trial until Omar Al Bashir receives arrest and becomes present at the ICC (in The Hague).
  8. The UNSC created and sent the peacekeeping force UNAMID (composed of the United Nations and the African Union) to Darfur in 2007, which operates to this day. The mission deployed almost 4,000 military personnel to protect civilians threatened by violence, especially in displacement areas and on the border with Chad. In addition, UNAMID facilitated humanitarian assistance by protecting and helping in the transportation of aid to isolated areas and providing security for humanitarian workers. The UN decided to extend the mandate of the UNAMID until October 31, 2019.
  9. Although the fighting stopped, there is still a crisis in Sudan; the UN estimates that 5.7 million people in Sudan require humanitarian support and can barely meet their basic food needs. There are many NGOs actively working to provide aid, such as Water for South Sudan, that works to ensure access to clean water to rural and remote areas, and the Red Cross, that provides medical care across the country due to its collapsed public health care system. Despite these efforts, there is still an unmet funding requirement of 46 percent in humanitarian aid as of 2018.
  10. In September 2019, a new government established with a power-sharing agreement between the military, civilian representatives and protest groups. According to Human Rights Watch, Sudan’s new government should ensure justice and accountability for past abuses. Moreover, the constitutional charter (signed in Aug. 2019) entails major legal and institutional reforms, focused on holding the perpetrators accountable for the crimes committed under al-Bashir’s rule, as well as eliminating government repression and ongoing gender discrimination.

These are just 10 facts about the Sudan Genocide which are essential to understanding the current events happening in Sudan. Despite the peak of violence in Sudan in 2019 which killed hundreds of protestors, the country finally has a new government and it seems willing to right the wrongs committed during the genocide. The new prime minister Abdullah Adam Hamdok expressed in front of the UN in September 2019: “The ‘great revolution’ of Sudan has succeeded and the Government and people and will now rebuild and restore the values of human coexistence and social cohesion in the country as they try and turn the page on three decades of abhorrent oppression, discrimination and warfare.”

– Andrea Duleux
Photo: Flickr

water for south sudan
Spearheaded by founder and former “lost boy” Salva Dut, Water for South Sudan Inc. is dedicated to providing the people of South Sudan with “access to clean, safe water and to improving hygiene practices in areas of great need.”

After the Sudanese civil war in 1985, millions of people were displaced. Salva Dut was able to lead 1500 “lost boys” to Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya. He was able to move to the U.S. in 1996, and founded Water for South Sudan Inc. in 2003 in an attempt to help those still living in Sudan.

While Salva holds dual citizenship between the U.S. and South Sudan, he spends most of his time in South Sudan supervising drilling expeditions. He also travels throughout the U.S. in order to fundraise for this non-profit organization.

Becoming a country in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s newest country—and it’s also one of the poorest. In an effort to help this developing nation, as of May 2014, 217 borehole wells have been successfully drilled by Water for South Sudan Inc. These wells are responsible for providing thousands of people with clean water in South Sudan. The drilling teams work west and east of the White Nile River in villages in the two surrounding areas. (The White Nile River is a river that bisects Sudan.)

Water for South Sudan operates on the basic principle that “the ethical and moral way to create lasting change is to respect and empower people’s capacity to transform their own lives.”

The effects of the wells are enormous. Having greater access to water means that children can go to school instead of searching for water, women are not forced to spend days journeying long distances to bring back water for their families, and that businesses have a greater chance of being successful.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: Water for South Sudan, Social Work and Society International Online Journal, Global Giving
Photo: Global Giving