Economic Development

Poverty and the lack of work options and resources make Economic Development a vital ministry for some Maryknoll Sisters.

In Zimbabwe, one Maryknoll Sister with a degree in agriculture helps orphans of parents with AIDS grow some vegetables, raise some rabbits, maintain a spiritual focus for themselves, and learn to care for others. They engage in sustainable agriculture and develop self-reliance. Another member in community development works with street vendors in Namibia. Organic agriculture is taught in Panama as well as a medicinal plants project that gives farmers a chance to grow and sell.

These plants can be dried, processed and sold by the people themselves, using no intermediaries. Basic bookkeeping is taught and a small savings and loans project for family farms, encouraged. Another Maryknoll Sister with degrees in agriculture and agronomy works with Aymara farmers in the highlands of Peru and has been a member of the Institute for Rural Education.

In Africa, a Maryknoll Sister initiated a cottage industry where young women, orphans of parents with AIDS, learn to be self-reliant, making sweaters, school uniforms, vestments, cards, necklaces, and other goods. They learn how to apply for small loans to set up small businesses to support their families.

Did You Know?

  • Poor nations with an abundance of natural resources, especially one scarce resource, are often economically worse off than other poor nations (FEW Resources).
  • More than one billion people worldwide survive on less than $1.25 a day.
  • 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa does not have electricity. If these 600 million people did have electricity, more businesses would thrive, more clinics could store and cool vaccines, and more students could study beyond the light of day (USAID).