WORLD FOOD DAY: Salesian Missions highlights programs that ensure healthy nutrition
Building wells and providing fresh, clean water also priority
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins the international community and organizations around the globe in honoring World Food Day. Celebrated each year on Oct. 16, the day was established to bring attention to the plight of the world’s hungry and undernourished while providing an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the complex solutions for ending hunger.
This year’s theme is “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind” and focuses on the critical role that water plays in food production. The theme challenges all to produce more food and other essential agricultural commodities with less water, while ensuring water is distributed equally, our aquatic food systems are preserved, and nobody is left behind.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) noted, “Today, 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed countries. Many are smallholder farmers who already struggle to meet their daily needs, particularly women, Indigenous Peoples, migrants and refugees. Competition for this priceless resource is increasing as water scarcity becomes an ever-increasing cause of conflict. Further, around 600 million people who depend, at least partially, on aquatic food systems for a living are suffering the effects of pollution, ecosystem degradation, unsustainable practices and climate change.”
The recent State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report indicated that in 2022 between 691 million and 783 million people were hungry, 122 million more than in 2019 before the pandemic. Globally 2.4 billion people did not have regular access to food. Of those, an estimated 900 million faced severe food insecurity.
“Salesians know how important water is for food production and sustainability, which is why they have made building wells and providing fresh, clean water a priority,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “In addition to water projects, Salesians also provide nutritional support for its schools and centers.”
This World Food Day, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight water projects and feeding programs to ensure youth and their families have the nutrition they need to survive and thrive.
Residents in the village of Nafa Nkwanta, Ghana, have access to clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The project, part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” provided a new water source benefiting 36 people who are actively involved in rearing livestock and other farming activities. Indirectly there are 320 people in the village who benefit as well.
The borehole was drilled by the main road which allows farmers to have access to potable water on their way to their farms. Leticia Gyan, a community resident, said, “It has been our dream and we have been praying about it. It is really difficult to find drinking water here when the stream dries. Sometimes we have to go to Senase, a community 7 kilometers (approximately 4.3 miles) away, to get some water for drinking. So, we have to ration it otherwise. When we finish it, we have to walk through hills and valleys to reach Senase in order to get water again. I think now we can also bathe. I am very happy. We are all happy.”
Youth at Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, have better nutrition thanks to donations of rice-meals from Rise Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization growing a global movement to end hunger. The rice-meal donations, distributed in the second half of 2022, are made possible by an ongoing partnership with Salesian Missions.
Don Bosco Lakay faced challenges when armed gangs paralyzed the country’s capital. As a result, there have been issues with sanitation and cholera from dirty water, as well as rising prices of food and other commodities.
Because of this, Don Bosco Lakay was unable to open its school for four months at the end of 2022. There is concern about the lasting impact this will have on youth who already missed schooling due to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, Salesians provided extracurricular activities for youth in their care.
The rice-meals help provide for the shortfalls caused by the political turmoil and rising prices in the country.
Salesian missionaries were able to provide support for 20 families in the Ivato district of Madagascar thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.
With the funding, Salesians purchased rice, pulses, sugar and more to meet the daily food needs of the families, along with soap and candles. Salesians also taught the families about the importance of taking care of their bodies and health, with a focus on personal hygiene and nutrition. In addition, Salesians provided psychological support to help families overcome the difficulties they encounter in their daily lives.
One Salesian missionary said, “This project is helping people in need by providing them with basic necessities, hygiene supplies and medicines to improve their lives. We are convinced that these activities have helped to improve their health and general well-being. We hope that this project can be continued in the future to help more people in need.”
Don Bosco Agriculture Training Center, located in Lufubu, Zambia, has access to clean water thanks to donor funding from the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The 2023 water project brought clean water for more than 90 students and teaching staff and will be used on four hectares of land for farming.
Lufubu experiences a harsh dry season from April until the end of October, when the first rainfall cools down the land. The new water resource will give students and students enough water during this time, while also allowing cattle and fields to thrive.
The project provided the funding for the construction of a water stand with capacity for eight large tanks to store 10,600 gallons of water, a solar pump, solar panels, pipes, connectors, garden taps and labor costs. Funding was also used to purchase seeds and gardening tools. The water and seeds are enabling second-year students to start cultivating small fields as part of their training.
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)