NIGERIA: Salesian missionaries engaging in prevention efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in centers and institutions across Nigeria have been responding with aid and prevention measures for those impacted by the pandemic and to help stop the spread of the virus. Because missionaries live in the communities they work, they are perfectly positioned to assess the challenges locals are facing and ensure aid reaches those most in need.
With assistance from Salesian Missions in Madrid, Spain, five communities in northern Nigeria are being provided clean water access for drinking water and hand-washing. During outreach programs to help teach local populations about coronavirus and prevention measures, Salesians discovered that many of these villages didn’t have access to clean water, making important hygiene practices for preventing the virus impossible. This project is ensuring clean water access to these villages.
Salesians missionaries living and working in the Lagos State, in collaboration with Salesian International Volunteering for Development (VIS) and the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus sisters, are providing an awareness program and instruction on how to use face masks at a hospital for mothers and children run by the sisters.
Also in Lagos, Don Bosco Center Ondo is preparing to reopen the technical and vocational center, along with the youth center. The center is distributing free face masks and training youth on the new procedures for accessing the campus and recreational facilities. Don Bosco Mondo in Germany helped support this initiative.
“Salesian missionaries are seeing needs in their communities and are working to address them, helping to ensure that local residents have what they need for the prevention of the virus,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians aim to serve the whole person by making sure that basic needs like health and nutrition are met in addition to other social service needs.”
According to UNICEF, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the ninth most populous country in the world. By United Nations estimates, Nigeria will be one of the countries responsible for most of the world’s total population increase by 2050. While Nigeria has the second strongest economy in Africa, it also has extreme rates of poverty with 100 million people living on less than $1 a day.
About 64 percent of households in Nigeria consider themselves to be poor while 32 percent of households say their economic situation had worsened over a period of one year, according to UNICEF. Poverty still remains one of the most critical challenges facing the country and population growth rates have meant a steady increase in the number of people living in conditions of poverty.
Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Center Ondo
Salesian Missions – Nigeria
UNICEF – Nigeria