Werkok Youth Development Association (WYDA) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. WYDA’s mission is to help villages in the Southern Sudan develop clean water supplies. WYDA works first with village elders in site planning and identifying youth who will be the caretakers of the wells. WYDA will also promote hygiene and sanitation through youth training and leadership activities.
WYDA was initially conceived by James Mabior, one of a number of the Sudanses young men who have settled in Sioux Falls, South Dakata and then he moved to Vermont, USA. WYDA was first developed as a business class project and has grown to include many supporters including the members of the Sudanese community, Church groups, high school and university students, and community members. James was among the tens of thousands of Sudanese who were forced from their villages and country during the Second Sudanese Civil War. His treks with over 27,000 other young men led him to the refugee camps in Kenya. From there he came to the United States as a refugee. James Mabior is now an American citizen. The formation of WYDA is his way of helping those who are slowly returning to their villages which were destroyed by the war with the government in Northern Sudan.
Activities in South Sudan are designed to provide healthy living conditions beginning with fresh water and sanitation. Drilling wells is of particular importance because the old water systems have been destroyed in the civil war. WYDA is focused on clean water close to village centers because today young people, particularly young girls, travel long distances on foot to find water to bring back to their homes. The water projects not only include drilling wells, but are the foundation of a systems approach to bringing fresh drinking water and sanitation systems to communities in South Sudan. Youth leadership is an integral aspect of WYDA’s strategy to ensure a healthy living environment for all people of South Sudan. Youth are engaged in the water and sanitation systems from the beginning of our work, developing skills and knowledge all along the path to healthy living practices.