Thursday 22 March is World Water Day.
Water is essential for our survival; a simple fact that we all learn at school. We all know that water is a must to keep our bodies running, to water our crops, to grow our food, to flush our toilets and a thousand other uses.
Water is vital to every aspect of our lives, but in a time of crisis, be that conflict, extreme poverty or natural disaster, a clean water supply is one of the first resources to be affected.
In South Sudan, this is a very big problem. The country has been devastated by a brutal five-year civil war which has left over four million people without a home. People are forced to flee without warning or time to plan, and must often move to places without clean water or sanitation. This, along with extreme poverty and lack of infrastructure has left half of the population in South Sudan without access to clean drinking water. Half of the population.
For Jackline, who lives in the Gumbo region of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, this has had a devastating result. Her firstborn child died from diarrhoea, a common illness linked to unclean water. Unclean water can also cause diseases such as typhoid and cholera, which are all easy to treat, but without a proper water supply and quick treatment, these diseases can kill.
This is a huge problem for many countries gripped by war and drought. But, there are always people fighting back and working tirelessly to bring clean water to their communities.
Jackline and her community in Gumbo is one example of a resilient and dedicated group of people working to make a clean water supply accessible for everyone. A water plant in Gumbo, funded by Oxfam GB, has brought clean water to 24,000 people. The water plant which is powered by solar energy cleans the dirty water from the nearby river, and turns it into clean, pure, drinking water. The plant is run and managed by the community, rather than being owned by the government or private companies.
Projects like this bring hope to communities ravished by conflict, drought and poverty. As Jackline said;
“We have suffered enough already. We will not suffer anymore because we will have water.”
Watch the video below to see the people behind this inspiring story:
Follow this link to find out more about Oxfam’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) work and projects, or if you are a parent or teacher, and would like to teach your children or pupils about the importance of clean water, why not take a look at some of our engaging educational resources: