Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: March 22, 2024

WORLD WATER DAY: Salesian Missions highlights clean water projects

2024 World Water Day theme is ‘Water for Peace’.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 22, 2024) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in celebrating World Water Day. Led by U.N.-Water, the organization that coordinates the United Nations’ work on water and sanitation, the day has been honored on March 22 every year since 1993.

The day focuses attention on the importance of safe, clean water while advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. While serving as a reminder of the global population who suffers from water-related issues, the day also provides calls to action to prepare for the management of water in the future.

Each year, U.N.-Water sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme, “Water for Peace,” focuses on fostering harmony, generating prosperity and building resilience to shared challenges. U.N.-Water has noted, “We must act upon the realization that water is not only a resource to be used and competed over — it is a human right, intrinsic to every aspect of life.”

According to U.N.-Water, 2.2 billion people still live without safely managed drinking water, including 115 million people who drink surface water. In addition, roughly half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year.

“With the billions of people in need of fresh, clean water for drinking, cooking and other daily uses, Salesian Missions has made clean water projects a priority,” said Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “The Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’ makes building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”

In honor of World Water Day, Salesian Missions is highlighting completed water projects that have impacted youth and entire communities.


Students with the Water Quality Group of the Environmental and Sanitary Engineering program at Dom Bosco College, located in Porto Alegre, Brazil, shared their knowledge with third-year high school students from Alberto Torres State School. The high school students were able to participate in experiments and analysis of water quality facilitated by the college students.

A Salesian said, “This was an opportunity for young people to experience in practice what they learned in the classroom, in addition to awakening their interest in the area of environmental and

sanitary engineering. College students also had the chance to share their knowledge and experiences and highlight how environmental and sanitary engineering contributes to preserving water quality.”

Through this visit, high school students were able to understand the importance of caring for the environment and the conscious use of water resources. The Salesian added, “We hope that this partnership can be extended and bring more and more benefits to both groups and to the environment as a whole.”


Students from the Salesian Educational Center in Talca, Chile, presented the “Analysis of Water Quality in Nearby Rivers or Bodies of Water” project at a recent exhibition for educational environmental innovation associated with service learning. The presentations of the Salesian students and other local high school students took place at the Enrique Maldonado Sepúlveda Higher Institute of Commerce. The event was organized by the Innovation Network for the Professional Technical Educational Transformation.

A Salesian explained, “The students, advised by their teacher Nicolás Ulloa Ravello, carried out exhaustive research on the quality of water in rivers and bodies of water near Talca, Colbún and San Clemente. This involved taking samples from various water sources, including rivers, springs, canals, groundwater, rain and bodies of stagnant water. They grew microorganisms from these samples and analyzed the nutrient levels, focusing mainly on nitrogen and phosphate levels. The findings are presented in a research paper, offering a complete view of water quality in the region.”

The exhibition not only showcased the students’ work but served to strengthen service learning experiences. This method of education combines learning processes and community service in which students help address real needs in the environment.

The Salesian added, “The students are looking for funding to continue the water analysis project to achieve improvement in the areas where the project was carried out. They aim to continue the study and focus their efforts on environmental care.”


Villages in Vietnam have clean water access thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The projects provided water purification systems and water tanks for the Hoa An Parish in Bac Giang, the Khop village and Thanh Binh Parish in Kon Tum, and the Tac Van Oratory in Tac Van.

The Hoa An Parish has a supply of fresh water for more than 1,000 people. The new water system will also ensure clean water for the 100 children at the Salesian oratory and 20 boarders from the boarding school. Around the parish, there are many poor households with workers staying in rental houses. Ngo Thi Man, a factory worker, is benefiting from this project. With the

money she saves on water, she can spend her salary on other basic needs and help support her family back home.

In Kon Tum, more than 1,147 people are benefiting from the water supply in the Khop village where there are poor families working as farmers. Mr. Rhađê, a farmer employed part-time to protect the forest, draws potable water for his family instead of having to get it from streams which are unsafe. He is supplying fresh water to his family and the crops while saving money that he once spent on water containers. There are also 2,700 people benefiting in the Thanh Binh Parish.

At the Tac Van Oratory, there are 500 people in the local parish and 80 boys at the oratory who are benefiting from this new water supply. Around the community there are many poor families who make their living by fishing. Tran Van Ngoc, a fisherman, has an unstable income and is able to draw water for free instead of purchasing water canisters to provide clean water for his family.


More than 300 residents of the Kamakuti village in Kabwe, Zambia, have clean, fresh water thanks to Salesian Missions. The project provided funding for a new borewell, water tank and pump in the village, which hosts one of the Salesian St. Mary’s Parish village chapels.

St. Mary’s Parish has four village chapels where priests meet people on a weekly basis for catechesis, prayers and sacraments. During the weekdays, the Salesian community utilizes these chapels for daily meetings and fellowship. Local women also use the chapels as meeting places and children’s preschools.

The villages lack basic services including water, proper sanitation and transportation. There is also a lack of education facilities for children, and people travel long distances to access a health center.

This is the first time this community has clean fresh water. Women and children will no longer have to travel a distance to bring back water to the village. Mr. Kasongo, a long-time village resident, could not believe that running water was now available. Another woman shouted, “Our children will live!” Children are often given the only water available from unsafe shallow wells, which can cause health complications that impede their growth.

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