ZAMBIA: Salesian Missions Provides Funding for Clean Water Project and Food Production at Agriculture School
Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, recently provided funding for Salesian missionaries work in Lufubu, Zambia. The funding helped support a clean water project and food production that impacted local Salesian programs. In the poor remote community of Lufubu, Salesian missionaries provides a youth center that serves 200 local children aged four to 20 and a church parish. In addition, missionaries operate an agricultural boarding school for 53 students, aged 18 to 30.
The government of Zambia asked Salesian missionaries to start the agricultural school in Lufubu with the goal of establishing an alternative to fishing, because the local community was over-fishing the lakes and needed a new source of food security that would combat hunger while preserving the environment. The school includes a working farm where the students gain hands-on experience with animal husbandry and the cultivation of vegetables and maize on a personal plot of land designated for each student. The farm includes 400 hectres of land, five of which are currently cleared. There is a river near to the farm that provides a reliable source of water year-round.
While the Salesian campus, which includes the agricultural school, farm and youth center, does have a bore hole that provides fresh water, it was limited. A stream about 200 meters away brings in fresh, clean water for washing, watering and even drinking, but unfortunately much of the water did reach the Salesian storage tank because of the many leaks. Salesian Missions provided the funding for Salesian missionaries in Lufubu to replace the 200 meters of PVC piping to deliver the fresh water from the stream to the storage tank effectively.
“Having access to clean water is essential and brings a sense of dignity to the youth 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 access 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.”
Salesian Missions also provided funding to help support food production at the farm. Brother Robert Malusa, a Salesian priest in Lufubu, noted that eggs were a desired commodity of the agriculture school, but besides these few local chickens, the only other way for people to get eggs is to go and buy them in the neighboring city 50km away. People in the local community simply cannot afford to travel to make this purchase. The new funding to purchase chickens with both provide the eggs needed in the community and give Saleisan teachers an effective way to teach this kind of farming in the agricultural school.
Funding was also utilized to buy goats for the farm. Salesian missionaries wanted the goats to experiment with different kinds of cheese to vary the Lufubu diet of strict corn and fish as well as the occasional goat meat and chicken. Both projects help to increase the productivity of the Salesian campus and helped to make it more sustainable.
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.
UNICEF – Zambia