The earth gives up its water with the help of an IAS drilling team in Darfur, Sudan.
Any way I looked at it, we were stuck.
Our trucks were packed with pipes and casing materials for the new wells we were going to drill on the other side of the mountains. We had the supplies, we had the crew, and we had a plan. But the jagged mountaintop road was entirely washed out from the latest storm, a precursor to Sudan’s formidable rainy season. If we couldn’t start drilling soon, these villages might not have access to clean water for another whole season. Now it would likely be weeks until the boulders and rocks could be cleared from the road and our supply trucks could pass.
Just as I was ready to throw up my hands in total frustration, Rany had an idea: we could hire several camel herders to pack all the supplies over the ridge, which was a two-day walk to our work site.
So that’s just what we did. We were able to start our project nearly on schedule, and we even supported some local herdsmen in the process. What looked like a completely impossible situation to me ended up having a simple, elegant, hump-backed solution.
I could tell a lot of stories from my time overseeing clean water projects for IAS in Darfur, Sudan. But this story exemplifies a very specific reason why I was drawn to IAS in the first place and why I continue to engage with its mission now.
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:”
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NIV)
IAS places a strong emphasis on local partnerships and empowerment. The entire team I worked with in Sudan — from hydrologist to hand pump engineer — was comprised of Sudanese nationals. If, on that remote mountaintop road, we had not had the input of Rany, who lived in a nearby village and had local knowledge and relationships, we might not have been able to bring clean water to those villages that season.
Clean water brings life and health to these children in Darfur.
Organizations and researchers are finally beginning to realize that partnering with local communities is essential to creating effective development programs. IAS is innovative among international relief and development organizations because they have embraced this concept for over twenty-five years. IAS understands that the best people to address clean water, microfinance, and healthcare in any community are the people within it.
The key to creating change that is truly helpful, sustainable, and multiplying lies in resourcing and supporting local people to impact their own communities. On behalf of innovating, passionate people like Rany who are making a difference in the lives of their families and neighbors, thank you for your generous support and partnership.
Vice President, IAS America