Salesian Missions Facilitating Sanitation Infrastructure at a Catholic School in Tanzania

A tap providing portable water in the Diocese of Shinyanga, Tanzania.

The U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions is funding the construction of sanitation facilities at Don Bosco Didia Secondary school in Tanzania’s Shinyanga Diocese through the "Clean Water Initiative.”

The facilities, which comprise bathrooms, toilets, sinks and clean water supply will benefit 1,218 boys and girls who study at the school and who “have faced significant challenges in their learning environment due to not having access to a safe and clean supply of water.”

The school is located in Northern Tanzania, an area with no perennial rivers or streams, with most watercourses flowing for only a few days per year.  

During the wet season, the inhabitants of the region have accessed water from the pools of rainwater for their personal use and their livestock. They dig shallow pits in the river beds during the dry season.

“The school lacked sanitation and hand-washing facilities. With the poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, and intense levels of person-to-person contact, there was a high-risk environment for the outbreak of diseases for children and staff,” the leadership of Salesian Missions has reported.


In the report published Thursday, May 28 by Mission Newswire, the official news service of the Salesian Missions, the leadership adds, “Children are at risk of helminth infections, long-term exposure to chemical contaminants in water like lead and arsenic, diarrheal diseases, and malaria infections, all of which may force schoolchildren to be absent from school."

The new sanitation facilities and clean water supply will “minimize water-related risks and infections for both students and staff and bring psychological relief to all,” the leadership of the US-based development agency notes, adding that the infrastructure will enable students to focus on their studies in an environment that is safer and more conducive to education.

“From safe drinking water and healthy sanitation to agriculture, water is essential for life,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek has been quoted as saying, adding, “This water project in Tanzania, and others around the globe, ensure Salesian centers have the water they need so staff and students can work and learn in a healthy environment.”

Besides Tanzania, Salesian Missions has successfully completed similar Clean Water Initiative projects in other African countries including Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Madagascar, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia.