Vanessa Kaunda, 11, found renewed hope in Christ through the gift of clean water.

Quench Thirst This Lent in the Heart of Africa

Just as our souls need Christ, our bodies need water to survive. Tragically, the water many families rely on in sub-Saharan Africa is filled with bacteria and animal waste. Women and girls walk five hours or more every day to collect this contaminated water. They pray for a miracle. They pray for a friend like you.

This Lent, join Catholics across the U.S. to bless 49,000 people in Zambia and Malawi with a lifetime supply of clean, safe water. Your gift will empower local Catholic leaders to drill and repair 109 hand-pump wells — and that’s just the beginning.

Saint Augustine of Hippo preached, “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.” This Lent, embrace this powerful opportunity to link arms with our brothers and sisters in Africa and share an Alleluia song that comes from the gift of Christ’s living water.

The Need for Clean Water

When it comes to Africa’s water crisis, women and girls are among the hardest hit. They are typically responsible for time-consuming water collection, putting them at risk of attacks on these long journeys while also endangering their ability to succeed in school. This is the case in Zambia and Malawi, where local Catholic ministries located in four dioceses are eager to drill wells and transform lives forever.

  • 43% in Zambia’s rural villages do not have access to improved water sources (CIA World Factbook).
  • Diarrhea and waterborne illnesses are a leading cause of death among children under age 5 in Zambia and Malawi (CDC).
  • In Malawi, 1 in 3 existing water points don’t work, often due to lack of community training on repairs (UNICEF).

Meet Our Partners

The Diocese of Chipata, Zambia

Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu leads his diocese’s Caritas ministry in eastern Zambia. When he visits remote villages, he drinks the same water as the people — even if it comes from a hand-dug pit. Poor farmers in this diocese are often exploited, and some walk to Mass barefoot because they can’t even afford shoes.

The Diocese of Kabwe, Zambia

Sister Prisca Matenga is superior general of the Daughters of the Redeemer, a Catholic order established in 1955. The sisters work in four dioceses in Zambia, including the Diocese of Kabwe, where they established the Our Lady of Peace Outstation Mission to serve the poor.

The Diocese of Karonga, Malawi

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka leads the local Caritas ministry in his northern Malawi diocese. He grew up in an extremely remote area of Malawi in what is now part of a national park and is dedicated to sharing Christ’s love in even the most difficult-to-reach villages.

The Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi

Irish-born Bishop John Alphonsus Ryan leads the local Caritas ministry in north-central Malawi. He first arrived in Malawi in 1978 shortly after being ordained a priest of St. Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions. He previously served as a chaplain and math professor at Mzuzu University.

Clean Water Is Just the Beginning

Safe, abundant water lays a foundation for a better life — with the power to open hearts to Christ. Your support will go beyond water, offering poverty-fighting outreaches tailored to local needs in Zambia and Malawi that will give families the best opportunity to become self-sufficient.

Water

Drill 104 hand-pump wells and repair 5 more, bringing clean, safe water to 49,000 people across 4 dioceses, including students at a primary school.

Food

Ship more than 2.1 million protein-rich Vitafood meals and support nutrition programs for 500 families in Zambia’s Diocese of Kabwe and Malawi’s Diocese of Karonga.

Health

Build an operating room at a rural hospital in Zambia’s Diocese of Kabwe, expand mobile medical clinics for 500 people in Malawi’s Diocese of Karonga, and support medical staff salaries.

Education

Provide 40 scholarships for secondary students and install a solar electric system at a primary school in Zambia’s Diocese of Kabwe.

Agriculture

Provide seeds and training for 300 farmers in Zambia’s Diocese of Kabwe and Malawi’s Diocese of Karonga to improve crop yields.

Microenterprise

Launch village savings and lending associations for 50 families in Zambia’s Diocese of Kabwe and offer small-business training for 100 farming families in Malawi’s Diocese of Karonga.

Spiritual Outreach

Build a rural church, train catechists and expand evangelization in Malawi’s Diocese of Karonga. Reach 481 people in Zambia and Malawi with spiritual training and Bibles.

Free Activity Guide

Want to help your family grow in faith this Lent? Download our free 2024 Lent Activity Guide, filled with weekly prayers, stories and kid-friendly activities.

A Source of Christ’s Hope

When Happy Mhango’s husband died unexpectedly in 2020, she suddenly had to find a way to provide for her four children. At the same time, she was suffering from debilitating neck and shoulder pain caused by carrying heavy buckets of water from a distant river. Catholic neighbors gave Happy’s family the love and support they needed. In 2021, Happy received her First Communion, and in 2022, her faith was confirmed when her local diocese built a hand-pump well just minutes from her home.

Today, Happy’s family is healthy and thriving — and you can share similar blessings with other families in need!

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.