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Why clean water? « International Aid Services America
IAS and water

Drilling wells, transforming lives

Clean water is the fundamental basis upon which communities survive. IAS wells have improved basic health; aiding commerce, education, livelihood, and the general well being of countless Africans.


  • More than 20 years of civil war.  Approximately two million dead, with another four million displaced
  • Seasonal droughts often force Sudanese to relocate, seeking any water source available
  • Unsafe water kills one out of every five children under the age of five
  • Since 1989, IAS has drilled over 5,000 wells in Africa – most of which are in Sudan
  • The largest aquifer of safe, clean water in the continent of Africa lies beneath Sudan

In Sudan, water is life. With water, villagers no longer need to migrate to live.  Clean, safe, potable water is the essence of community development, good health, and life enhancement.   Schools, markets, and clinics spring up around fresh water.  A village well does much more than simply provide clean drinking water.  It also changes the social fabric of village life.  Instead of having to spend hours each day walking to a distant well in search of water, children are now free to attend school.  Clean, local drinking water changes the future for children throughout Africa.

The irony of Sudan’s need for water is that the largest aquifer in the continent of Africa lies beneath Sudan’s geographical borders.  Yet, each day hundreds of thousands of people in Southern Sudan drink unsanitary surface water that they have spent hours walking to obtain.   This water is contaminated with parasites and cholera bacteria.  For their very survival, people are forced to drink from these contaminated water sources and subsequently become infected; resulting in diminished immune systems and falling prey to other opportunistic diseases.  This exposure results in pain, sickness, and often death.  The only real measure to stop this preventable suffering is by providing a fresh, clean water source.

IAS staff drill wells in some of Sudan's most desolate regions, including this well in Darfur.

Historically, Southern Sudanese villages have migrated seasonally to areas in order to collect this polluted water. Due in part to this annual migration, Sudanese communities have not developed sustaining economies or markets, educational or medical facilities, or even local industry.  For generations they have sustained their families by gathering nuts and fruit, planting squash, millet, beans and sorghum while herding their cattle, goats and sheep – all centralized around their ongoing search for water.

Difficulties in bringing water to the people of South Sudan

The effects of decades of civil war upon South Sudan have been far reaching.  Social and educational structures in the nation have been largely wiped out, leaving the literacy level of the population virtually stagnant since the beginning of Sudan’s civil war. By some estimates, as many as 60-70% of school-going children in Southern Sudan are illiterate.  And, as many as 80-95% of local school teachers lack formalized educational training. In Northern Bahr el Ghazal where IAS has local microfinance programs, as well as the Nuba mountains and Upper Nile regions, alarming reports indicate that as many as 80-90% of school teachers are only semi-literate.   Despite these obstacles to education, IAS strives to incorporate instruction on good hygiene and “water literacy” into each community where a new well has been drilled.

Together, North and South Sudan comprise an area which is approximately 40% of the size of the United States.   IAS is drilling wells in some of the most desolate regions of Sudan. IAS teams find themselves working in undeveloped areas the size of Texas, where paved roads are scarce, and any type of passable roads are often non-existent.   Imagine regions where there is little to no electricity, few stores, gas stations, maintenance facilities, or supply depots.  Almost everything used for IAS well-drilling work must be carried into the country from the outside.

In this environment, IAS is hard at work bringing life-sustaining water to those most in need.  With your assistance, IAS is drilling new wells each year that provide clean, safe water for tens of thousands.  Where safe water flows, health, education, and economic development spring up.  Be a part of changing countless lives in Africa.  Join us as we drill wells in Sudan and across Africa – sustaining lives and giving power back to those from whom power has been taken.

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