Dong Manyiel

April 11, 2014

From reactive to proactive, Dong Manyiel is facing challenges head-on to protect their water well

April 11, 2014

The reality of development work is that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions or easy formulas that we can apply from village to village.

Each village we meet has a different story with different challenges, obstacles and dynamics that we need to work through collaboratively with them.

Dong Manyiel, for instance, was a village that had to charter a unique and challenging path on their way to becoming the proactive village they are today. While their new water well immediately addressed their need for clean drinking water, Dong Manyiel faced a series of hardships that made the maintenance and protection of their water well a more difficult task.

We organize water committees at each of our drilling sites, ensuring that village members are active in the care and protection of their wells.

Unfortunately, because of the recent outbreak of conflict throughout South Sudan, the men of Dong Manyiel had fled the village to protect the women (men are targeted during fighting). Without the men around, visiting cattle herders passing through had damaged the fence built around the water well bit by bit, using pieces of wood or other materials as they needed.

Without the men, the women and children were tasked with mobilizing the entire community to guard their well and reconstruct their fence, which is a key piece in protecting the well from livestock and human interference.

We had a direct conversation with them about our concerns and were relieved and happy to see their reactive attitude shift into proactive plans almost immediately.  One woman suggested each community member bring a pole, working to build a new fence’s construction as a group. Once their fence had been rebuilt, the community was back on their feet soon enough, even building small agricultural initiatives near the well.

Even in the midst of hardship, the women of Dong Manyiel proved to be truly inspirational. They are committed to finding solutions for their community, focusing on the protection of their water well even without the men’s help.

With the water committee fragmented, the path to reconstruction wouldn’t be an easy task.