"I was Thirsty-And you gave me water."
In South Sudan and Niger, millions of women and children trek up to eight hours a day to collect water from marshes, ditches or hand-dug trenches where water is often contaminated. Parasites and bacteria cause severe sickness, and even death, especially in young children. The people often have no choice what to drink. However tainted, water is crucial for survival.
Our dream is to build 10 wells that will provide after and save lives in this needy area of the world. We believe that this significant project could help provide health and stability to a number of villages. Given that children and adults die from water-born diseases, this is a project that will literally save lives.
How is this Project Different?
Many organizations go for a brief stay in areas of drought, dig a well, and leave. A researcher from the University of Nebraska, traveled extensively and discovered that within a few years, the majority of such wells are broken and no longer in use. The people end up demoralized, having been promised a false future. This "brief stay" approach neglects two crucial dimensions of need.
First of all, it does not empower the people of the area to learn to dig and repair their own wells. Second, it does not educate the local people about the importance of public health or change long-held cultural practices regarding water.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a totally different approach. When the PCUSA sends someone to dig a well in such areas, they make a long-term commitment-usually 10 years. In short, the approach of the PCUSA is to change the local culture in its understanding of water and sanitation. We do this with over a century of partnership in this region. We honor local customs, traditions, language and leadership.
If you or your congregation would like to participate in a pledge over the next 3 years, let the Presbyter know of your support. Donate through your church's monthly mission or directly to the Presbytery address.