A well, a clinic, water filters--all in one year
In 2009, we began to support several small projects in South Sudan, a semi-autonomous region that signed a peace agreement with the Khartoum-based government in 2005. Our contact there is William Kolong Pioth, a Sudanese Canadian from Vancouver with a strong commitment to help his people both in Canada and South Sudan. William is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, made famous in numerous films, documentaries and a best-selling book called What Is the What. The book is based on the experiences of another Lost Boy, William's friend Valentino Achak Deng. Achak is using proceeds from the book to build a secondary school in his home village of Marial Bai, also William's home.
During the year, we supported projects to install a well and build a clinic in Marial Bai. By the end of 2009, a doctor and other staff had been hired and we had sent medical kits filled with drugs and supplies. Early in 2010 the clinic will begin operation.
Another project is the manufacture and distribution of biosand water filters. These low-cost filters are easy to build and maintain, and are intended to be used in homes to provide villagers with safe drinking and cooking water.
In May we sent three trainees to a facility in Kampala, Uganda to learn how to build and install the filters. We also purchased two steel molds and various tools for our own production centre in South Sudan. In September we sponsored two training workshops in Aweil, the capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. Conducted by experts from Canada and Zambia, a workshop on building biosand filters was attended by 17 participants. The second workshop, attended by 46 participants, focused on hygiene and sanitation. The filter project is set to begin production early in 2010.
During the year, William spent eight months working on these projects. Dennis visited in February and again in August.