Last time I answered the basic question of why Every Village has chosen radio as one of our ministry focuses in South Sudan. I shared that 84% of the population is considered illiterate and so radio remains one of the only means by which such a nation can be reached.
Today I want to dig into our second area of ministry, which is water. There are so many incredible organizations fighting to bring clean water to every corner of the globe. This is such an important fight and we stand behind every other group in the same sector, and we say, "Thank you! Keep going."
But because groups like charity:water and Living Water International have done such a good job getting the word out about the global water crisis, I have people ask me why Every Village doesn't just focus on radio and let the bigger guys focus on water.
The reason… in our three regions of operation, there aren't other organizations actively operating in the water sector. So if we didn't address the issue in our small pocket of the world, nobody would be. Our friends in South Sudan would continue to walk for hours only to consume disease-filled water.
And so we have committed ourselves to partnering with the South Sudanese to build sustainable water systems in order to meet the most basic physical need and provide a platform for deeper ministry. Truly, being a part of providing community-based water solutions has an immediate spiritual impact on top of the obvious physical impact.
Communities that receive a new water source are able to directly see God's kind provision for them, and it begins a relationship with those community members in which we can speak of the eternal Living Water by which we never have to thirst again.
But let me be clear about both the opportunities and challenges in providing sustainable water systems. This type of work can never be solely focused on drilling new water wells. For every new well will break and without a maintenance and repair plan in place, it will leave a community dry yet again.
We are working in areas with no viable water system so we will continue to fund the drilling of new water points, but we also will walk with communities to train them to maintain and repair their own wells. But even with proper training, South Sudan still lacks a functioning supply chain for spare parts. And so Every Village sees an opportunity before us to work with local business leaders to develop a basic spare parts supply chain so that when a well does break, a community knows where they can go to buy the parts needed to get the well back up and running.
There is no easy answer when looking at the water crisis in South Sudan. It will take a huge investment in time and resources, but that is what we have committed ourselves to in our Next Chapter.
Next time I will look at our third area of ministry, which is training.