A word from Water is Basic board member, Evan Shaver on his recent trip to South Sudan.
We started investing in the people of South Sudan through Water is Basic at the very beginning, but it wasn't until this November that I was able to travel to South Sudan to see the impact of the work first hand.
I've been following South Sudan, and Water is Basic's work as a donor and now as a board member and feel pretty knowledgeable. The truth is, much of what we saw on the ground exceeded my expectations, then other days, it felt incredibly bleaker. For every smile from a child in a bustling marketplace, there was another child very ill from a very curable disease.
I will never forget our chance encounter with 50 women and children who had just walked out of the bush. Their 17-mile trip sprint was to get away from the few remaining rebels unwilling to surrender to peace.
I come back to the US with a few reminders for myself:
We do not choose our starting point in life. No one in South Sudan deserves the journey they were born into, nor do I. Yet in spite of the truly terrible history my new friends have endured, the South Sudanese somehow find hope to survive each day, when I know I would have given up a long time ago if their journey were mine.
It will take decades for South Sudan to be a modernized country. It's easy to be overwhelmed by how much needs to get done. Essential amenities like roads, education, telecom networks, and a stable government are uncommon and can make life difficult. Some solutions will need to come from within South Sudan, but they're so far behind on the development curve that they will need outside support to kickstart the effort.
Despite all of these seemingly insurmountable needs, water is still the most basic need. I've now seen firsthand how much the people of South Sudan rely on Water is Basic to be their trusted source for clean water, and I saw that this model has been successful in countless ways.
I hope you'll consider supporting us in our year-end 2018 campaign and make a recurring monthly commitment in 2019 as our family does. If you're like me and your charitable contributions are often based on "head" choices like the most effective use of money to make an impact, I can't think of a better organization. It's why we started giving in 2006. And if you're more of a "heart" person, then consider me one of your newest members after my recent experience in South Sudan. It's what will keep us giving.
Water is Basic board member
Evan is an executive at PepsiCo and lives with his wife, Courtney, and three daughters in Coppell, Texas.
PS: The short 60-second video below is something I pulled together to show you what you'll be contributing to.