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KENYA: Water Project at Salesian Bosco Boys Ensures Clean Safe Water for Students and Faculty

(MissionNewswire) Despite the steady growth of Kenya’s economy, more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line on less than one US dollar a day, according to UNICEF. Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, is home to 3 million residents, most of whom endure lives of extreme poverty in the city’s slums. Families and children living in these urban slums and in areas of the country most affected by HIV/AIDS are the most vulnerable and do not have access to health care, nutrition, sanitation or education.

Few youth residing in Nairobi’s slums attend the later stages of school as compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families. UNICEF noted that while Kenya has free and compulsory education, youth in poverty still cannot afford to attend school resulting in close to 90 percent of children from poor households failing to complete their basic education.

Residents in Kenya also face water and sanitation shortages with 17.5 million people lacking safe water and 31.7 million lacking access to sanitation services, according to Water.org. There is only a small percentage of the country’s land that is optimal for agriculture and the year-round climate is predominantly arid. Kenya’s water shortage results in a large population of women and children spending up to one-third of their day transporting water in the hot sun from the nearest fresh water source. In addition to exposure to the elements and risk of attack by predators, women and children are also the most susceptible to water-borne diseases.

Salesian missionaries across Kenya are dedicated to ensuring that access to safe water is a priority in Salesian-run programs and schools and in the communities in which they operate.

To address the need for clean, safe water, a water borehole project is underway at the Salesian-run Bosco Boys community in Nairobi, Kenya. The project has been made possible thanks to the generosity of donors and entails removing all the pipes and the electric pump in an existing 250 meter borehole, cleaning the pipes, replacing rotten ones and removing a massive amount of mud. The restoration project will ensure proper function of a well on the property while providing clean, safe water for students and faculty at Bosco Boys.

“From safe drinking water and healthy sanitation to agriculture, water is essential for life,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian Missions has made building wells and other projects that supply fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”

The Bosco Boys program serves former street children of Nairobi, providing education for more than 600 boys and girls in primary and secondary schools and universities. In addition, the program offers two nursery schools in the slums of Kariua and Kuwinda for young children as well as technical skills training for older youth.

Students in the program who complete their primary education are assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in sister institutions. The secondary education is most often provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School, Embu, but can also be at another school close to a student’s home where they can be easily monitored.

In addition to the education provided, youth in the program are given professional counseling to help them overcome any difficulties they may face in their lives. The program also gives youth the tools to develop a positive healthy outlook on life and the education and training necessary to find stable employment.


UNICEF – Poverty in Kenya

Water.org – Kenya