Rainmaker’s First Well to Serve 3,000 People in South Sudan
July 19, 2019, Tonj - At age 15, James Thuch Madhier escaped war and forced recruitment as a child soldier in South Sudan to safety in a Kenyan refugee camp. In 2014, James arrived in Canada in pursuit of education. Surrounded by opportunities and compassion in his new home of Toronto, and longing to improve the lives of those he had left behind, James founded the Rainmaker Enterprise in 2017.
Rainmaker is a growing network of Canadians working towards the organization’s mission of building dignity drop by drop and empowering people to free themselves from hunger and poverty. As Executive Director, James linked the Canadian team with his home community in Thiet County, South Sudan to co-design a solar-powered water system. For the agro-pastoralist population in the region, water scarcity is a central challenge driving hunger, poverty, waterborne disease, gender inequality and protracted conflicts. Solar-powered water pumping provides a promising solution.
One man’s dream for clean water has started to become a reality with the completion of a first step – drilling a well which is now providing safe, accessible water for up to 3,000 people from the surrounding communities in Thiet. “I thank our partners, trusted advisors, executive board, dedicated team, caring volunteers and generous donors who are making this dream a reality. Their deeds will change so many lives,” shares James.
For the first time, a community elder in his 90s is living with safe, accessible water in his community. “I wished for this water source so that elderly women would not have to stand on open wells that risk becoming their graveyards,” he shares. Open hand dug wells are the norm in the area, posing risks to the women responsible for water collection. “Along with this benefit, risks of waterborne disease have also been reduced.”
The project is financially supported by the Humanitarian Grand Challenge, a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with support from Grand Challenges Canada. “The well is a great first step towards Rainmaker’s full project which is transforming the lives of conflict-affected people,” says Chris Houston, Director of Humanitarian Innovation at the Humanitarian Grand Challenge. “We are proud to support this innovative project and its leaders.”
The next step, a solar-powered water pump, hailed as among the most promising solutions to climate change and chronic hunger on the African continent, will soon be installed to distribute water closer to communities and supply farmland with water for drip irrigation. Community members, focusing on women and youth, will be employed on the farm, growing fresh food to supply the community, local market and food relief agencies. Providing productive opportunities for youth is an essential part of building a more peaceful society. Rainmaker is working to bring these critical solutions to the most vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities.
Water from nearby hand dug well
Water from Rainmaker’s newly installed well
Welcomed by Canada, James now works through Rainmaker to expand its global impact and create meaningful opportunities for Canadians to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rainmaker sees SDG6 – the availability and sustainable management of water for all – as a foundational goal, binding the other 16 SDGs together. “We are building a full ecosystem of sustainability and a complete community ownership model for inclusive, peaceful and sustainable development,” explains James.
Join us on this impactful journey. Our next step, the installation of solar-powered water infrastructure will act as the community’s foundation for years to come. To be part of this essential work, join our mailing list below, and share the news! We look forward to sharing exciting updates and opportunities with you in the coming months. Your support is impacting so many lives. Thank you.