By Pascal Ladu, South Sudan Red Cross

Nyanut Akol lives in Wun-Ajok, around 12 kilometres from Kuajok town in north-western South Sudan. The 28-year-old used to walk for an hour every day to fetch unclean and potentially dangerous water directly from the river.

“I used to walk for more than an hour to fetch water and I would return home exhausted. We never had enough water at home, because the long distances meant we only made the trip once a day,” Nyanut explained.

But now, thanks to a borehole drilled by the South Sudan Red Cross, Nyanut and her neighbours in Wun-Ajok now have clean water. It is one of 40 boreholes that have been handed over to the communities in the Kuajok region, thanks to support from the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Government.

Wun-Ajok’s new clean water source is only a few metres away from Nyanut’s house. It has transformed life for her, and for the other women in her community, as they no longer have to make the long and dangerous journey to the river.

“I am so happy with the Red Cross because we now have clean water next to my door, which means I can now fetch at an appropriate time,” she said. “Sometimes, I ask my children to collect the water when I am engaged in house work.”

As Nyanut was pumping the borehole, a thirsty man arrived and Nyanut gave him water to drink in her jerry can. The man was followed by a herd of cattle. The borehole provides water not only for the residents of the area, but also their animals.

Mitu David, the South Sudan Red Cross’ water, sanitation and hygiene manager, explained that each borehole serves the needs of at least 500 people. That means 20,000 people are covered by the 40 new boreholes drilled in and around Kuajok. Water management committees will be trained to ensure proper use of the water points. “Pump mechanics will be trained and equipped with tools to repair the pumps if they break down,” he added.

The South Sudan Red Cross is being supported by the Canadian Red Cross to run a maternal, new born and child health programme in Kuajok, South Sudan, in which 40 new boreholes were drilled and 30 others are being maintained.