(MissionNewswire) Five Salesian facilities in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, will have improved irrigation systems thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors though the organization’s “Clean Water Initiative.” Salesian missionaries are working in the area to increase farming education and the potential of youth and families to improve farming practices.
The funding will provide new irrigations systems for a greenhouse and boarding house kitchen gardens. It will also fund a new transportable watering system to be used at the Salesian farming training center and replace an irrigation system at the Salesian agricultural vocational school.
“Improvements in irrigation at the Salesian facilities will provide clean water and give students and residents improved nutrition as well as increased agricultural production for greater income generation and self-sufficiency,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We are grateful to our donors who continue to ensure that Salesian programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and around the globe have access to clean water.”
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. One in four primary schools have no drinking water service with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. In addition, UN-Water notes that more than 700 children under 5 years of age die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions has made building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work. The project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is just one of many that have been completed, with more in process.
Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a very poor nation. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. Because of ongoing strife and violence within the country, more than 8.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, a figure that’s expected to increase. More than 4.1 million Congolese are now displaced with 620,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. More than 7.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.
Salesian missionaries have been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than 100 years ensuring that the most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Salesian primary and secondary schools and programs lay the foundation for early learning while Salesian trade, vocational and agricultural programs offer many youth the opportunity for a stable and productive future.
UNICEF – DR Congo