WELL4AFRICA NEWS AND ANNUAL REPORT 2021

WELL4AFRICA NEWS AND ANNUAL REPORT 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, peace and good to all of you!

We feel the need to thank You with Francis of Assisi for “sister water”, simple and useful for life like nothing else on our planet. (Aqua fons vitae, 3)

As you all know, the social initiative “Well4Africa” was born in 2018 as a concrete fruit of the 3rdEuropean OFS-YouFra Congress, following which the CIOFS Presidency decided that “Well4Africa” was to become a permanent project of the whole Secular Franciscan Order, entrusting its management to the National Council of Lithuania. The aim of “Well4Africa” social initiative is to install wells in African areas where the Franciscan Family is present in order to bring sister water to thirsty people and provide the local population with clean and fresh water, which would allow women and children to avoid walking long distances to bring this important and essential resource from sources which, in a large number of cases, are poor, scarce and contaminated. All year round “Well4Africa” is ready to accept applications from English, French and Portuguese speaking countries in Africa. Project application criteria and guidelines are available here.

So far, social initiative of the OFS has fully implemented 9 water projects and 2 more are under way. “Well4Africa” has already completed Namane and St. Lawrence water projects in Malawi, Kihani water project in Uganda, Sibi and Kongo water projects in Ghana, Shisong and Afua water projects in Cameroon, St. Peter’s well and Mutemwa water project in Zimbabwe. At the moment, “Well4Africa” has Kanafa water project in Ethiopia under way and is starting the initial phase of the third water project in Cameroon, in Mbohtong village.

Thanks to joint effort of the Franciscan Family and all benefactors, the current financial situation of the “Well4Africa” is as follows:

  • Total amount collected from the beginning until 31 December 2021: EUR 164,560.80;
  • Total amount spent for the projects: EUR 132,268.58;
  • Amount left for upcoming projects: EUR 32,292.22.We hereby provide the final report on “Well4Africa” water projects implemented in 2021.
Kongo water project in Ghana

Kongo is a village community in the Nabdam district in the northeast region of Ghana with around 150 households and a Spiritual Renewal Centre (SRC) run by Capuchin friars. SRC is comprised of the Immaculate Conception Church, a retreat centre and aMarian Grotto, making it a popular pilgrimage site. Twice a year, during major celebrations (Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and Feast of the Assumption), it attracts up to 5,000 pilgrims.

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“Well4Africa” water project involved drilling a borehole (over 40 metres deep), installing an electric pump, two large water tanks and a pipe system. The pump room, water storage and water collection centre were built, so that safe drinking water could be conveniently accessible to both the local community and thousands of pilgrims. On 10 January 2021, the community of Kongo celebrated the blessing of the borehole.

The project was mainly intended for the pilgrims who come to the Spiritual Renewal Centre at Kongo. Before that, there were two water boreholes with hand pumps in the area. However, during summer season, water supply was not sufficient for the whole community. People had to walk two or more kilometres to fetch water.

page2image6305184 The problem was even more acute during pilgrimage days: apart from long lines waiting for water, it was often not enough of it to meet the daily needs of pilgrims. Now pilgrims have free access to the water facility, which makes the environment cleaner and allows the pilgrims to attend the pilgrimage programme without having to walk long distances to get water. The borehole serves fifty families living near the Spiritual Renewal Centre to meet their daily water needs. The Capuchin Friars of Kongo are in charge of the maintenance of this borehole.
The works were implemented by Global Tech Boreholes Ltd from November 2020 to January 2021. The amount donated to the project was EUR 5,095. A video about two water projects implemented in Ghana is available here.

Mutemwa water project in Zimbabwe

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Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre is situated in Mashonaland, in the eastern province of Zimbabwe. The Centre is supported by the John Bradburne Memorial Society (JBMS), founded in memory of the OFS brother from the United Kingdom. The beatification cause of John Bradburne, who lived in Mutemwa for the last 10 years of his life taking care of leprosy patients and was killed in 1979 during Zimbabwe independence war, is open and under way. Since the JBMS, as a registered charity, is based on our common Franciscan charism, “Well4Africa” decided to fund the water project in the Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre and to ensure stable supply of clean water to the community.

The Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre is home to dozens of patients with a variety of illnesses ranging from leprosy to mental and physical disabilities. Sadly, leprosy is on the increase in Zimbabwe again, although it is a totally curable disease if detected early. Each patient has his/her own living quarters and is cared for individually at the Centre. The homes surrounding the Centre belong to the families of the patients. The settlement has a managerial group of Franciscans with trained carers and nurses on site. JBMS supports the Centre on a monthly basis by covering the costs of wages, medicines, food, etc.

The situation in Zimbabwe is dire and people are suffering greatly all over the country. Water is a high priority right now with all the droughts they have been having in that part of Africa. Zimbabwe faces hotter summers and increasing water shortages every year.

Mutemwa water project was delayed due to Covid lockdown regulations and rainy season which was not a right time to drill the borehole in order to get to a real water table. The drilling began on 22 July 2021. At 70 metres a low yield was found and a capacity testing was recommended. This test was carried out on 30 July, and afterwards it was recommended to deepen the borehole to 106 metres. The deepening was done on 3 September and water yield was much better this time. The installation of the borehole and construction of the fencing were completed in October-November. On 13 December Eremenciana Chinyama OFS, the newly elected CIOFS Presidency Councilor, and fr. Tawanda Chirigo OFM, national spiritual assistant, visited Mutemwa for a final evaluation of the project.

The whole length of 106 metres of Mutemwa borehole is double-cased in order to prevent collapse. It is equipped with a pressure tank to enable pumping into the reservoir tank. A digital pump is programmed so that it pumps in the exact amount of water that has been pumped out. It ensures that the reservoir tank is always filled to capacity. The borehole is enclosed by a mesh fence and there is a guard post with a guard patrolling daily. The drilling company provided one-year service warranty and free training for those who will do the maintenance after the warranty expires.page3image6482080

This constant and sustainable source of fresh water is a vital lifeline to the entire community of Mutemwa. The borehole project benefits 34 patients, 17 destitute people, 4 Franciscan friars and a staff compliment of 24 employees and all their families. Against a background of perennial water shortages, the borehole will add value to the garden project which was almost obsolete due to lack of water. The patients and homeless people are guaranteed nutritious meals due to the water. Workers who had long been burdened with the task of finding water to feed and care for the patients now can focus on ensuring quality service to those in their care. Having a reliable source of water from

the borehole is invaluable in a country like Zimbabwe where water can be scarce, especially in the hot weather. We can hope that the fruit of this project would please our brother John Bradburne who loved Mutemwa so dearly and our father St. Francis of Assisi who lovingly cared of lepers.’

The works were implemented by Skylake Borehole Drilling and Mutoko Tile Centre from July to November 2021. The amount donated to the project was EUR 14,008. A video about Mutemwa water project is available here.

Afua water project in Cameroon

Afua is a village in the North-West region of Cameroon. The village belongs to the Fuli-Kom parish which is part of the Bamenda Diocese. There is a local OFS fraternity of St. Clare and several YouFra members in Afua. The population of 25,000 people consists of Christians and Muslims.

Afua is a typical farming community cultivating crops mainly for consumption. The majority of local people are farmers and cattle owners, who make a living by selling their farm produce. Some of the villagers work in the nearby tea plantation and receive a monthly income of EUR 16. People of Afua used to collect water for drinking and cooking from the main river Mugoilum which is polluted by a ranch upstream. What made this river peculiar is that the villagers drank downstream, while cattle of this ranch drank upstream. Worst of all is that dead horses are disposed of in the same river.

page3image6482496Afua has 4 main quarters: Mbieh, Centre, Nkfum and Achiantoh. Mbieh quarter has developed a water project with the aim to collect water which comes from the rocks and to supply it to the other three quarters. The villagers have constructed a small catchment (4×4 m) with a constant flow of water which could only supply water to the distance of up to half a kilometre. “Well4Africa” water project involved the construction of a bigger catchment (9×7 m) which would allow supplying water to all 4 quarters of the village. Main pipe stands were built in different locations separated by at least 3 km (St. Francis of Assisi Church, Catholic School, the central junction of the main road and the centres of all 4 quarters) where all villagers are able to fetch water now.

Over 25,000 people benefit from Afua water project. Using water in their farms for agricultural products will improve their standard of living. But the most important factor is that the villagers will not suffer from water-related diseases anymore, since now they are provided with fresh clean drinking water. All users of the water supply will be asked for a monthly contribution which may be replaced by working in community land or cultivating and selling crops in order to raise funds for the maintenance of the water project.

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 Teenagers have been trained to work with water supply in order to fix small connection problems after installation. OFS National Council and Capuchin Custody of Cameroon are in charge of the maintenance of this project.

The works were implemented by Woin Awoh Building and Supply Enterprise from October to December 2021. The amount donated to the project was EUR 12,450. A video about Afua water project is available here.

Fundraising campaigns and communication

Kanafa St. Francis parish, located in the southwest part of Sodo town, is the first “Well4Africa” water project in Ethiopia. The main goal of Kanafa water project is to provide access to safe potable water for daily consumption (drinking, cooking, hand and body washing, laundry) and improve sanitation and health for 1,000 people (200 households), particularly for children under five, who are extremely vulnerable to diseases (diarrhoea, typhoid, intestinal parasites, etc.) due to inadequate water supply, lack of sanitation and poor hygiene. Kanafa water project includes the drilling of a 60-metre deep well and the construction of a hand pump. Since in comparison with other African countries the prices in Ethiopia are very high, the total budget of Kanafa water project exceeds ordinary prices of other “Well4Africa” boreholes. The amount required for implementation of the whole project is EUR 19,098.63. “Well4Africa” is looking for 1,000 donors who are ready to donate EUR 19 to ensure safe potable water supply for one person in Kanafa or 200 donors who are prepared to donate EUR 95 to ensure safe potable water supply for one household in this small Ethiopian village. For possible ways of donation, please refer to https://well4africa.eu/index.php/donate 

We would like to express our deep gratitude to the National JPIC Team of the OFS in Canada. Their fundraising campaign was intended for a particular Mutemwa water project at the Leprosy Care Centre in Zimbabwe and has raised CAD 20,740. In January 2021, “Well4Africa” received the donation of EUR 12,822.67 which was almost the whole amount needed for Mutemwa water project. May the Lord bless our brothers and sisters in Canada for their incredible generosity!

We are very thankful to all OFS national fraternities who regularly transfer their donations. Since the awareness of the social initiative “Well4Africa” is growing among the Franciscan Family members in Africa and we receive more and more applications every year, your constant promotion and help is invaluable.

All news and reports of the social initiative are available on well4africa.eu website which is available in 8 languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Hungarian and Lithuanian. We kindly ask you, if possible, to place the “Well4Africa” logo on the homepages of your national fraternities with a link to the official website of the social initiative. Your support to this initiative of the Secular Franciscan Order can also be expressed by following, liking and sharing our social media: Instagram profile @well4africa.eu and Facebook page Well4Africa.

We are so grateful to all our brothers and sisters who constantly serve by providing us multilingual translations, particularly to Nadia Rudolf von Rohr OFS from Switzerland for coordination of this process. Our special thanks go to Tadas Ringys OFS from Lithuania for creation and administration of the “Well4Africa” website. May the Lord bless you all for your tireless work!

We wish to express our appreciation to the OFS national fraternities which have assigned their “Well4Africa” contact persons by country. Like every year, we kindly ask the National Councils to revise the contact list and confirm the details (indicated person and email) representing your national fraternity by email well4africa@gmail.com until 31 January 2022. New contact persons for other countries are very welcome to join our team!

Please be informed that all three former CIOFS Presidency councilors (Attilio Galimberti OFS, Jennifer Harrington OFS and Michel Janian OFS) will continue working on the “Well4Africa” coordination team after finishing their service in the Presidency. Although the newly elected Presidency Councilors for African areas do not belong to the “Well4Africa” coordination team, both of them will always be involved with regard to water projects of OFS national fraternities in their areas. And finally, we would like to add that the task of “Well4Africa” is not only to ensure a safe potable water supply for our brothers and sisters, but also to enable OFS members in African countries to take responsibility and commit themselves during all the phases of the project, from application to implementation and maintenance.

Dear brothers and sisters, we would like to conclude with the words of His Holiness Pope Francis said on 15 November 2021 in his address to the participants of the OFS General Chapter: Do not forget the poor, who are the flesh of Christ… And just as the “fraternities of penitents” of yesteryear distinguished themselves by founding hospitals, dispensaries, soup kitchens and other works of genuine social charity, so today the Spirit sends you to exercise the same charity with the creativity required by the new forms of poverty.

Fraternally,

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Virginija Mickute OFS National minister and international councilor of the OFS Lithuania Main coordinator of the social initiative “Well4Africa”

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Attilio Galimberti OFS “Well4Africa” coordinator of the technical implementation of the projects

Lithuania, 31 December, 2021

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