March 28, 2012

West Africa’s food crisis at a glance

By |28 March 2012|

What is the humanitarian situation in West Africa’s Sahel region? More than 12 million people will face acute food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa unless early and effective action is taken now to prevent the crisis. People in Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad are already suffering from a lack of food with the ‘lean’ season still to come. In the worst affected areas, people have already started to ration food to one meal a day, sell off cattle or leave their farms for urban centres. We must not wait until there are images of starving children on our TV screens. By acting now we can ensure the food crisis does not deteriorate. What has led to a food crisis in West Africa? Poor rains and drought last year and pest infestation means this year’s harvest will not produce enough food. A spike in regional food prices has left people [...]

Helping Niger prepare for food crisis

By |27 March 2012|

The crisis is threatening the Sahel region of Africa—the band of land below the Sahara desert, extending from Senegal to Chad. In a normal year, the Sahel receives on average as little as 78 to 236 inches of rain. Last year’s rains were poor and the harvests bad or non-existent.

Niger: the worst food crisis we can remember

By |15 March 2012|

In a normal year, the harvest in November would produce enough food for the people in the village to last all year. But the harvest last year was disastrous, and people in Mintou’s village have already run out of food.

February 27, 2012

A future for Congo’s women

By |27 February 2012|

"Karibu, welcome," said Adèle. She and a dozen other women are hard at work in a field beside the Goma to Rutshuru Road in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Adèle is an agronomist and also heads three associations supported by a Caritas project to rehabilitate women war victims. "We've planted peanut seeds and we're in the process of taking out the weeds so they don't overrun the place," she said. "When Caritas launched the project, 60 women were involved. We were given peanut, bean and pea seeds. After the first harvests we bought some maize seeds. Look at what they’ve turned into. We have two hectares of fine maize that we'll soon be able to harvest." Marie-José is one of the women who have benefited. “When I joined the association, I wasn't in very good shape,” she said. “My husband had been killed and all our property had been [...]

Averting crisis in West Africa’s Sahel

By |14 February 2012|

Zaki can’t afford to feed his family this year. He’s a young teacher in Burkina Faso. It’s one of a string of West African countries where food is getting scarce. The price of corn has increased so much Zaki can’t afford to buy it. His family must rely on their reserves of rice, but supplies dwindle each day.

January 20, 2012

Radio interview: Kenya food crisis

By |20 January 2012|

While Caritas and other aid agencies have helped millions of East Africans through the worst of the region’s food crisis, more remains to be done. Susan Hodges of Vatican Radio interviews Caritas’ Laura Sheahen about her visit to Caritas projects in Kenya--and about the ongoing impact of the 2011 drought. Listen to the interview

December 23, 2011

Quenching the rice fields’ thirst in Haiti

By |23 December 2011|

Fednor, a farmer, is preparing what will soon be the main source of food for his family – a rice field. In Joque, in the province of Les Cayes, rice growing is the most common agricultural activity. The rice fields extend along each side of the road and provide a living for the majority of households in the area. There's no machinery here; everything is done by hand. Fednor is up to his knees in mud. Equipped with an old spade, he's digging the rice field and hopes to see a crop growing soon that will enable him to feed his family and earn a little money. He's surrounded by other busy members of the community. Men and women are all working together on building a project that will change their lives. A break is arranged to meet the community and get an idea of what they're doing. "Without water there's no [...]

Photo gallery: fighting hunger in East Africa

By |15 December 2011|

“Mothers said their children were too weak to walk to the clinic,” says a nurse who treated malnourished people in northern Kenya during the worst of 2011’s drought. Throughout East Africa, poor rains led to hunger on a massive scale. By late 2011, your gifts had turned things around. Caritas immediately distributed emergency food, but also set up long-term projects that help villagers capture water and raise food even in drought times. Explore this gallery of photos from Kenya to see how you helped. Photos by Laura Sheahen/Caritas
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    Spiritual and ethical dimensions in dealing with climate change

Spiritual and ethical dimensions in dealing with climate change

By |12 December 2011|

Today, on contemplating our skies and lands, we should heighten our sensitivity to discover the signs that impel our cooperation as religious communities. Rather than stifling us, may our discussions foster the emergence of a common pool of creative responses, committed actions and fraternal solidarity to deal with climate change.

Durban talks: Climate justice and food security

By |12 December 2011|

By Martina Liebsch, Director of Poverty and Advocacy at Caritas Internationalis Representatives from different faiths gathered at a ‘Climate Justice and Food Security: Moral, ethical and spiritual imperatives’ side event 7 December at the Durban climate change talks. The event was sponsored by Caritas Internationalis and World Council of Churches. The panel was chaired by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban and included Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim representatives. Reverend Mardi Tendal, of the United Church of Canada, said we should work towards transforming cultures of consumption to cultures of responsibility. She said there is a moral imperative for action and solidarity in reducing the adverse effects of climate change. Rabbi Hillel Avidan from Durban said God maintains the creation, but gives us the responsibility to care for it. We have failed to do so and we have recognised it. “Change does not happen through treaties and conventions, but by bringing in compassion and [...]
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    Cardinal Rodriguez: “Durban climate talks risk moral apartheid”

Cardinal Rodriguez: “Durban climate talks risk moral apartheid”

By |4 December 2011|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says failure at climate talks in Durban is a "moral apartheid" that cannot be allowed to happen.

Caritas lobbies G77 bloc at Durban climate talks

By |2 December 2011|

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga brought the concerns of Caritas members to one of the most important negotiating groups at the Durban climate talks: the 132 nation G77 and China bloc of developing countries.

Durban climate talks: African voices urge climate justice

By |2 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson African faith leaders sent a strong message to delegates at the UN climate change conference in Durban, urging political leaders to take the decisions necessary for the survival of humanity. “We demand that our political leaders honour previous commitments, and quickly move towards more humane, environmentally responsible policies and practises,” said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM of Durban on behalf of the KwaZulu Natal Interfaith Community at a press conference at the climate summit. Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in the South African city from 28 November to 9 December for major talks under the UNFCCC on a deal to cut greenhouse gas pollution and provide funding for poor countries to adapt to the consequences of climate change. “There is strong evidence that such steps will not be taken at COP-17,” said Cardinal Napier, urging religious and spiritual communities globally to do what political leaders have failed to do. “We [...]

Durban climate talks: What’s God got to do with it?

By |1 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson Q. What’s God got to do with it? A. Everything “At the centre of creation is human beings,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalis at an event during the Durban climate talks. “Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanized human beings. Religious groups have a duty to humanize them again.” Cardinal Rodriguez was part of a panel on ‘What’s God got to do with it’ during Climate Communications Day, a side event at the UNFCCC. Other panelists included Lic. Elias Crisostomo Abramides (World Council of Churches); Bishop Geoff Davies (Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute) and Rabbi Hillel Avidan. Lic. Abramides said if we destroy plants and animals, we destroy ourselves. Bishop Davies said all faith groups were united in saying to the politicians that this is not just an economic world but a beautiful world worth saving. He said science and [...]

Advocacy in action at Durban climate talks

By |1 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson An insurance policy covering loss and damage to your property if there is hurricane or flood isn’t an option if you are poor. But one of the smaller issues discussed at Durban is how to provide communities with just such coverage through a ‘loss and damages’ fund. Dr Anwara Shelly from Caritas Bangladesh is taking part in the UN conference in Durban wearing two hats, both as Caritas and on the official Government of Bangladesh delegation. On the details of negotiations in the conference centre, Caritas experience in the field can have a real impact. At a session on the loss and damage fund, Dr Shelly raised her hand to urge that fund not be targeted at the national level, but at the local or district level where it can be most effective. “My 24 years of experience with Caritas Bangladesh has shown me that in a disaster, [...]

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