NIGERIA: Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” brings clean water access to 10 communities
Clean water access will help improve the health and hygiene of people in these communities as well as curb the outbreak of disease.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Sept. 10, 2019) Ten communities in Nigeria have clean water access thanks to donor funding through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The borehole projects have been completed in Ibadan, Akure, Ijebu Ode, Ondo, Onitsha, Abuja, Koko and three poor communities in the state of Benue. All of the communities are home to Salesian programs that provide education and help to meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families.
The project has consisted of a survey within each community, drilling of borewells and construction of areas for water tanks. A finished well in each community consists of water tanks, plumbing and electrical work.
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 has no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty.
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. 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.
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.
“Water is essential for life, and it’s critical that Salesian programs around the globe have access to safe, clean water for the health and safety of those we serve,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities brings a sense of dignity to children and ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water. This reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping them away from important study time.”
According to UNICEF, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the ninth most populous country in the world. With an estimated population of 150 million, one in every five Africans is a Nigerian. The country has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By UN estimates, Nigeria will be one of the countries responsible for most of the world’s total population increase by 2050.
While Nigeria has the second strongest economy in Africa, it also has extreme rates of poverty with 100 million people living on less than $1 a day. About 64 percent of households in Nigeria consider themselves to be poor while 32 percent of households say their economic situation had worsened over a period of one year, according to UNICEF. Poverty still remains one of the most critical challenges facing the country and population growth rates have meant a steady increase in the number of people living in conditions of poverty.
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