ZAMBIA: New Water Project Provides Clean Fresh Water for School, Youth Center and Parish
(MissionNewsire) Salesian missionaries at their community in Kazembe, a town in the Luapula Province of Zambia, just completed a water project providing fresh, clean water to the youth and families attending their the St. John Bosco parish, oratory and school. Since 1982, Salesian missionaries have been providing a carpentry training school and daily youth center for youth in the region.
Despite Luapula province having vast rivers and lakes, residents face challenges accessing clean water. Salesian missionaries completed a water project that included drilling a new water well at the parish, which will provide clean, fresh water to the surrounding communities. Prior to the new well many youth could not participate in parish activities because they needed to spend the majority of their time in search of clean waters. The community was facing a health crisis because many were getting sick due to water borne diseases. It was also not uncommon that residents were also attacked by crocodiles when they went to the river for water.
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. For those who have no access to clean water, water-related disease is common with more than 840,000 people dying each year from water-related diseases. Women and children often bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the majority of households and globally, spend 140 million hours a day collecting water. Children in these communities are forced to walk for hours to collect drinking water—water that often proves contaminated and seriously sickens those who consume it. Many others are unable to attend school regularly because they must spend time searching for distant wells.
“Having access to clean water is essential for life and brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities also ensures that teachers and 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 keeping them away from important study time.”
The water project included digging a borehole 50 meters deep followed by the installation of a water pump. After that the tank and tank stand was completed. Salesian missionaries utilized 12 male students at the Salesian school to assist with digging and laying the water pipes around the church grounds. Students were able to apply some of the skills they learned in the classroom and gained hands-on experience. This allowed for four separate running water stations around the church grounds that provide water to the community. Now that the community has access to fresh water, students are able to fully participate in their educational programs and the other recreational programs provided at the youth center. There has also been a decrease in water borne illnesses within the community.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken its toll on Zambia’s children. More than 20,000 households in the country are headed by children whose parents have died because of HIV/AIDS. Many of these young children are desperate for adult support.
UN Water – World Water Day 2016
UNICEF – Zambia