16 May 2011
The CI communications strategy is to provide members with the materials they need to promote Caritas at a national level while at the same time increasing the international profile of the confederation.
Caritas communications officers at a climate justice rally in Copenhagen in 2009.
Caritas has improved its global visibility since the 2007 General Assembly which called upon the General Secretariat to“promote Caritas as a brand and increase the profile of our global agenda.” The last four years have seen an increase in the quality and quantity of communications materials published, in the interest generated from key audiences, and in the reuse of materials across the confederation.
The principal focus has been on online communications with the following internet-based platforms.
The site features CI’s work on emergencies, HIV and AIDS, climate change, economic justice, migration and peacebuilding. It is updated regularly as Caritas responds to humanitarian crises around the world, with full coverage of our relief operations. The website makes it easier for people to support our work through an online donation facility. Other resources include press releases, downloadable printed publications, video and sound clips, photo gallery and news items from Member Organisations. All stories on Caritas.org are translated into English, French and Spanish.
The website is now receiving over 250,000 unique visitors a year, half of whom return regularly. This is an increase of 100,000 since 2007. The Caritas blog has grown in popularity with 60,000 views in the past year. Traffic is at its highest immediately after an emergency. In the week after the Haiti earthquake, 16,000 unique visitors visited the Caritas site.
Stories and pictures published on Caritas.org and the blog have been reproduced on Caritas member sites. After the Haiti earthquake for example, CI communications materials were used on almost every Caritas website. The communications department has achieved notable media coverage for CI, especially on its emergencies responses.
Iamcaritas.org, the social networking site for Caritas staff, now has more than 650 members with active groups on communications, migration, and climate change. Branding used on iamcaritas.org has been taken up by Caritas members, including Brazil and Sri Lanka.
The communications team has also produced a variety of printed publications, including annual reports; “Climate Justice: Seeking a Global Ethic”; a “We Are Caritas”brochure; Haiti reports one month, six months and one year after the earthquake; papers and posters; flyers for a campaign on domestic migrant workers’ rights; communications materials for the migration conference in Saly, Senegal; the “HAART for Children”publication and supporting materials; “Caritas – a Sign of God’s Love for Humanity” and“Caritas: Love Received and Love Given”, theological reflections with accompanying posters; Caritas women prayer cards; MDG prayer cards and posters; and supporting materials for the General Assembly such as reports, posters and frameworks.
The Communications department helped produce four films on HIV and AIDS, on Haiti, on conflict in Colombia and on the 60th anniversary of Caritas Internationalis.
A newsletter for web users is sent out from the General Secretariat each month.
CI communications officers have been despatched to the sites of many of the major humanitarian crises of the past four years, including Haiti, Indonesia, the Holy Land, Pakistan, Colombia, Chile, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Sudan, Uganda, Italy and Mexico.