On World Water Day, Salesian Entity Reviews It’s “Clean Water Initiative” in Africa

Before the clean water project in Namibia, people in the Ruurumwe village survived on unsafe water from holes and small wells. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the occasion of World Water Day marked March 22, officials of Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), have reviewed the entity’s global project dubbed “Clean Water Initiative”, including initiatives undertaken in Africa. 

In a Wednesday, March 22 report, the leadership of the New York-based agency highlights water projects being realized in the African countries of Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

“Billions of people in countries around the globe don’t have clean water for drinking, cooking, sanitation and other needs, and that’s why Salesian Missions has made clean water projects a priority,” the interim Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Timothy Ploch, has been quoted as saying.

Fr. Ploch adds, “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 Southern African nation of Mozambique, Salesian Missions has facilitated access to clean for more than “2,000 people in the Salesian São João Baptista de Moatize Mission, located in Ntsungo.”


“The region, which is home to more than 8,000 people, lacks access to health services and clean water,” the March 22 report indicates. 

Salesian Missions officials say that the Mozambican region “only has one primary school. Among the beneficiaries, 60 percent are women and 40 percent are men. Most of the communities have many children and older youth.”

“With the funding, Salesians were able to drill a borewell, install solar-powered pumps and create a water system with three plastic tanks with a capacity of 5,000 liters each,” Salesian Missions officials say in their report on the annual event of World Water Day.

They say that “water is channeled to the communities and to the primary school. Water fountains were also set up in the communities so that people could access the water.”

In the Southwestern African nation of Namibia, “Residents of the Ruurumwe village, located outside of Rundu have access to clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions,” the report indicates. 

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“The project, part of the Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative,’ provided a new borewell, water tank and pump,” SDB officials say.

They note that “the 550 people living in the village are poor and survive on small-scale farming and government grants.”

“The water supply from a small seasonal river is erratic and too often not enough. During the summer, residents survive on water from holes and small wells, but this water is not safe for human consumption,” Salesian officials say in the March 22 report. 

They say, “The new borewell and 5,000-liter water storage tank will supply fresh, clean water for the entire village and allow people to grow food for the community.”

One of the beneficiaries of the Namibia project, Ethel Hamutenya, has been quoted as saying, “Today I have a small garden that has given me hope in my life.”


She adds, “I have planted some vegetables and my life has changed because of this water. If I work hard, after next year, I will have enough money to go back to school.”

In the Southern African nation of Zambia, the March 22 report indicates that “more than 300 residents of the Kamakuti village in Kabwe, have clean, fresh water” facilitated by the “Clean Water Initiative”.

“The project provided funding for a new borewell, water tank and pump in the village, which hosts one of the Salesian St. Mary’s Parish village chapels,” SDB officials say.

They note that “the villages lack basic services including water, proper sanitation and transportation.”

“There is also a lack of education facilities for children, and people travel long distances to access a health center,” SDB officials say.

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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 pupils and students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. 

U.N.-Water has also reported that more than 700 children under age five 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.