On World Water Day, Salesian Development Entity Reviews Clean Water Initiatives in Africa

The Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” project in Zambia provided a new borehole, 22-foot-high tank stand, solar pump and water reticulation network within the parish premises. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the occasion of World Water Day marked March 22, the leadership of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), has reviewed its clean water initiatives around the globe, including Africa.

In a Tuesday, March 22 report, the leadership of the New York-based agency highlights water projects in Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia, through the “Clean Water Initiative.” 

“Many places around the globe lack safe clean water for drinking, cooking and other needs,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, has been quoted as saying in the report.

Fr. Baek adds, “In response to this ongoing water crisis, Salesian Missions has continued its ‘Clean Water Initiative’ – which makes building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”

In the West African nation of Ghana, Salesian Missions has facilitated access to clean for close to “5,000 people in villages across the Bono region of Ghana.”


“The seven projects, part of the Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’, provided new boreholes, hand pumps, and in a few of the projects, water tanks to the villages,” Salesian leadership says.

The leadership of Salesian Missions add, “Water remains one of the main challenges in the Bono region. Access to the nearest available water sources is several miles from these villages.”

“The residents, mostly farmers, depend on stream water for all their needs and have to share it with grazing animals,” Salesian Missions officials say in the March 22 report on the annual event of World Water Day.

They say that the “health and social implications of utilizing this water are having devastating effects on the community. Residents have waited for a long time for a better and cleaner water source for drinking, cooking, and other activities, and they are appreciative of the support and assistance.”

“It has been our dream and we have been praying about it. It is really difficult to find drinking water here when the stream dries,” a community resident in the village of Nafa Nkwanta, Leticia Gyan, has been quoted as saying.

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Ms. Gyan continues in reference to access to water challenges, “Sometimes we have to go to Senase, a community 7 km away, to get some water for drinking. So, we have to ration it otherwise. When we finish it, we have to walk through hills and valleys to reach Senase in order to get water again.”

“I think now we can also bathe. I am very happy. We are all happy,” she adds.

In the Southern African nation of Zambia, the March 22 report indicates, “St. James Parish in Chimese, a village in Zambia, has clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.”

“The project, part of the Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’, provided a new borehole, 22-foot-high tank stand, solar pump and water reticulation network within the parish premises,” SDB officials say.

In Chimese, a large village of approximately 6,500 people, the Salesian Missions report indicates that “most families own a shallow well that dries up each October to January. The new water project drilled a hole deep enough to provide water year-round.”


“St. James Parish is made up of people in Chimese and 15 other surrounding villages who will utilize water from the new water pump. More than 500 people come to the parish on Sundays and can use the water facilities,” they add.

In the West African nation of Nigeria, officials of the Salesian entity say, “People living in four poor communities in the Kebbi State of Nigeria have access to clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.” 

“The project, part of the Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’, provided borewells in the communities of Koko, Tarsha Dan Isah, Tunga Noma and Tunga Dikko,” Salesian officials say in the March 22 report.

Prior to this project, Salesian leadership says, “People in these communities had to use dirty pond water and depend on unhygienic stream water and rainwater.”

They add that “women and children were responsible for searching for water far from their homes, which put them at risk of violence.”

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“The new water sources have brought back life to thousands of poor women, girls, boys and men in the four rural villages. Now, people have access to safe water and can obtain the recommended daily water consumption of the United Nations,” Fr. Anthony Ekezie, who oversaw the project, has been quoted as saying.

Fr. Ekezie adds, “Apart from having clean water to drink, the people have enough to adhere to the regular washing of hands to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.”

U.N.-Water estimates that worldwide more than 2 billion people are living without access to safe water, and that one in four primary schools has no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. 

In addition, U.N.-Water has reported that more than 700 children under age 5 die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.