Photo taken by LCED in September 2019 after intervention
Marakonye Primary School is situated 3 miles from Yei Center, on Yei road, in Yei County, Central Equatoria State of South Sudan. With the current total population of 120 pupils, Marokonye P/S just like any other schools and public facilities was severely destroyed by the 2016 political conflict, worsened by the recent 2018 conflict originated between the government and opposition forces. The school buildings, including water and sanitation facilities, were heavily destroyed and abandoned as tens of thousands of people were forced to flee the area is search for safety in the neighbouring counties, states and even across borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The signing of the Revitalised Peace Agreement (October 2018) that is bearing ‘fruits of hope’ -and its full implementation that has been of utmost significance for the country through the creation of a more stable political environment- allowed the displaced populations to return back to their homes, as well as improved delivery of humanitarian assistance to these most vulnerable populations. Therefore, it is therefore now the role of humanitarian partners to work with returning population, including their hosts, and support them rebuild their lives through appropriate yet sustainable recovery approaches.
Lacha Community and Economic Development (LCED) a South Sudan National NGO is mandated to save and preserve life, to promote dignity and enhance resilience of vulnerable people, and it envisions a situation where all individuals irrespective or gender, religion, tribe and political affiliation have a good quality of life and high living standards, coexist peacefully and enjoy their fundamental human rights. Through South Sudan Humanitarian Fund Allocation (2018 to 2019), LCED is happy to share its milestone in impacting on lives of pupils and the community at large of Marakonye Primary School.
When Marakonye Primary School was reopened at the beginning of the year, to give chance to children who had to walk long distances in search for available education, little did the community had a solution to the appalling water and sanitation conditions of this school and the neighbouring community as a whole. Unsafe and dirty water from a bushy surrounded borehole is what was left in Marakonye community. This was not only posing a health hazard, but also raised security and protection concerns of children and women through use of unclean water and accessing an unprotected water point.
Guided by the Accountability to Affected Population (AAP) principle of community engagement and participation (for ownership and sustainability), LCED acted very fast to save these lives and through a community consultative meeting (attended by women, men, local leaders and children), Marakonye P/S was selected to benefit from the planned intervention of the repairing of non-functional communal boreholes.
LCED Staff during assessment of boreholes at Marakonye P/S in July 2019 Tools delivered to PTA/WMC at Marakonye P/S in July 2019
The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Marakonye P/S accepted the responsibility of managing the borehole as a Water Management Committee, and was trained as such by the LCED staff, in order to to ensure the longevity of the communal borehole and its proper use.
LCED provided materials and tools to the PTA/WMC, to be used for borehole rehabilitation, including cylinder assembly, riser pipes, connecting rods, head assembly, water tanks, spare parts and toolkits. The PTA/WMC members mobilized the community to clear the bush and clean around the water source, and agreed on how to communally manage the borehole to ensure it serves the community in the long term, while they will also continue monitoring the state of the borehole and making minor repairs.
Marakonye P/S once again breathed life of clean water in a safe environment as testified by the Headmaster of the school Alex Wani Daniel, ‘We are grateful that our students especially can access clean drinking water. We can now teach them about the importance of hand washing before and after using a latrine with confidence!’
LCED hopes that this borehole will enable over 500 individuals within Yei County to access clean water in a safer and secure environment, while reducing health risks associated with water borne diseases. Moreover, it has reduced congestion on other boreholes that was not only time consuming in terms of waiting hours, but also a probable cause of conflict at water points between women/youth or returnee/displaced populations and their host.
Great thanks goes to UN OCHA for financing this project through the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, allowing LCED to save lives and restore dignity; to the local authorities for their facilitation and community mobilization; the WASH Clusters for endearing technical guidance, approvals and support, humanitarian partners for information and resource sharing; and lastly the community we serve for believing in and working closely with us to rebuild our communities in South Sudan.