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Salesians Facilitate “year-round” Access to Clean Water in Zambia’s Mansa Diocese

Credit: Salesian missions

The people of God in Chimese village in Zambia’s Mansa Diocese have year-round access to clean water thanks to members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) who have drilled a borehole in the region.

Besides the borehole whose drilling was funded by the U.S development arm of the SDB, Salesian Missions, the missionaries have also erected a 22-foot-high water tank stand, installed a solar pump, and set up a water reticulation network. 

The newly established clean water project is part of the Salesian Clean Water Initiative

“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,” SDB officials say in a Tuesday, January 11 report

The SDB officials say the borehole, which has been drilled at St. James Chimese Parish of Mansa Diocese will also be used by the people of God from 15 other surrounding villages. 

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“More than 500 people come to the parish on Sundays and can use the water facilities,” the SDB missionaries say in the January 11 report. 

They add, “There are also more than 200 children who attend St. James Pre-School, most of whom are orphaned or children of single mothers.”

In Chimese and the surrounding villages, women and children are responsible for fetching water for their families, the SDB missionaries say, and note that the new water facility will help ease their burden. 

Highlighting the case of Musonda Chishala, an orphaned child who had to walk almost half a mile daily and sometimes miss school to fetch water, the Salesians say he "now draws water from St. James Parish and is able to use the rest of his free time for studies and recreation." 

"Along with Chishala, children at the pre-school can now use the toilets and drink water during the morning break rather than using pit latrines and drinking water from shallow wells and buckets. Hygiene has improved at the pre-school as a result," SDB officials say. 

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In the report, the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, emphasizes the importance of clean water access. 

"Improving water access ensures that students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools and keep them away from important study time,” says Fr. Baek. 

He adds that “having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs.” 

Through the Clean Water Initiative, Salesians have also facilitated the access to clean water to at least 215 people in Amanfoso village in Ghana’s Catholic Diocese of Sunyani. 

In a January 10 report, SDB officials say they have constructed a borehole and submersible water pump in the central part of Amanfoso.  

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“The borehole was created in a central part of the community to benefit most people,” SDB officials say, adding that prior to its construction, the people in Amanfoso depended on water from streams, “which have all forms of human and animal waste water.”   

In the report, a resident of Amanfoso expresses her appreciation to the Salesians for the new water facility saying, "You have given us a great gift. It is a huge grace for us in these times." 

Apart from Ghana and Zambia, SDB members have completed similar Clean Water Initiative projects in other African nations including Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Kenya and Togo.