World Food Day: Salesian Missions highlight programs that invest in food security, rural development
By Stacy Jones MissionNewswire
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other 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. It is also a chance for the international community to show their commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 2, to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.
This year’s theme “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development” aims to bring attention to how migration and levels of hunger intersect. FAO notes that more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II due to increased conflict and political instability. Many migrants arrive in developing countries, creating tensions where resources are already scarce, but the majority, about 763 million, move within their own countries rather than abroad.
FAO reports that a large share of migrants come from rural areas where more than 75 percent of the world’s poor and food insecure depend on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods. Creating conditions that allow rural people, especially youth, to stay at home when they feel it is safe to do so, and to have more resilient livelihoods, FAO notes is a crucial component of any plan to tackle the migration challenge. Through education and training and increased business opportunities, youth will have better opportunities to remain and contribute back to their home communities.
Salesian Missions’ programs are dedicated to facilitating agricultural and technical education and providing feeding programs in more than 130 countries around the globe. Operating primary schools, technical training centers, agricultural schools, youth centers, orphanages and programs for street children, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines of the battle against hunger.
Salesian missionaries also work around the globe with migrants and refugees who seek a better life and hope for the future. Missionaries are assisting close to 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons whose lives have been affected by war, persecution, famine and natural disasters such as floods, droughts and earthquakes. Salesian programs provide refugees and migrants much needed education and technical skills training, workforce development, healthcare and nutrition.
This World Food Day, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight programs that invest in food security and rural development
Youth in Ghana have been positively affected by the Salesian-led Stop Human Trafficking campaign that was launched in October 2015 by Salesian missionaries in Italy. The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of youth migration. With a focus on youth leaving countries in Africa in search of a better life in Europe, the campaign aims to prevent young migrants from becoming victims of crime and exploitation. The campaign is part of an initiative promoted by the Salesian-run International Voluntary Service for Development and the Don Bosco Mission Association in Turin, Italy.
Ghana’s rural Brong Ahafo region is one of the areas most affected by youth migration. Through the Stop Trafficking program, Salesian missionaries are putting a program in place to offer youth the opportunity to remain in the region and earn a living through sustainable agricultural projects. Salesian missionaries are working with local people to help launch the project.
Since 1987, the Salesian-run Tijuana Project has been providing services to migrants and poor youth living on the border between Mexico and the United States. The goal of the project is to create an extensive educational network in areas where poor youth are at risk of social exclusion. The project took shape through Salesian oratories and educational centers where children grow up learning to share faith, culture and sports within their communities. Currently, the Tijuana Project is serving more than 9,000 people in six Salesian oratories, a parish and a public dining hall which serves food to close to a thousand homeless and migrant people every day. The entire project is facilitated by six Salesian missionaries with the help of volunteers, local collaborators and benefactors in both Mexico and the United States.
For more than 30 years, Salesian missionaries have operated the San José Agricultural School in Barinas, Venezuela. The Salesiana de Barinas Center, as it is known in the area, began as an agricultural school in Naguanagua, in the state of Carabobo in 1934, and moved to the western plains of Barinas in 1984. The center itself has a long history among Venezuelan camps with hundreds of students who have graduated from its agricultural studies program.
The center offers its students an opportunity to combine theory with practice. The young students learn through a hands-on approach and learning in a classroom. They are able to take their classroom skills and put them directly to work on the farm fields that are a part of the center. Students are taught theoretical and practical courses in greenhouses, growing vegetables, cereal crops, gardening, animal husbandry and veterinary sciences, breeding, and about milk, cheese and dairy products.
The mission of the school is to provide young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving towards efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. Salesian missionaries hope the agriculture degree program will entice more local youth to choose agriculture as their long-term livelihood.
Salesian Missions recently provided funding for Salesian missionaries work in Lufubu, Zambia to help 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.
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 Salesian 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.