Scottish climate fund shows the way forward

By |31 May 2012|

The announcement today of the Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund has been welcomed by international development and environmental organisations in Scotland. The fund was launched by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, alongside former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, a member of the global Caritas Internationalis network of Catholic development agencies, is among the groups welcoming the news. The new fund to help people living in some of the world's poorest countries affected by the changing climate, such as more frequent and severe droughts and floods, has cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament. The Climate Justice Fund will be a good example to bring to the Rio+20 summit in June of how the rich world can face up to its historic responsibility for climate change and its substantial negative impact on many of the world’s poorest people. Philippa Bonella, Head of Communications and Education at SCIAF, said, [...]

Future without Hunger – Congress on Global Hunger

By |15 May 2012|

Caritas is hosting a congress on Global Hunger and Sustainable Food Security - 1st and 2nd of June 2012 in Vienna Live stream from the Future without Hunger Conference. Cardinal Rodriguez about to speak. | Read the key note speech by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga (pdf) 925 million people worldwide are starving. Every 12 seconds, a child dies of hunger. Hunger is not a natural event; it has social, economic and political causes. It is a global tragedy, more so because it is avoidable. Through this congress, Caritas is uniting people to start fighting together against hunger. The event will gather public authorities and decision-makers, academics, journalists and civil society representatives from the whole world. It will discuss all the challenges to food security today, such as the chronic causes of global hunger, global agricultural trade, armed conflicts, the effectiveness of development aid, food price speculation, land grabbing and agro-fuel policies, climate change, food waste, sustainable lifestyles [...]

Hunger threatens families in Burkina Faso

By |26 April 2012|

The price of fifteen kilograms of millet has doubled in just a few months. "That much millet would feed my family for two days. Imagine what I have to pay each week to provide three meals for my children and grandchildren,” said Merega.

Caritas advocacy experts plan for global campaign

By |20 April 2012|

As Abraham Lincoln put it, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” With that in mind, delegates of 20 Caritas members from around the world joined staff from Caritas regional offices and the Caritas Internationalis Secretariat in Rome this week to prepare for a year+ joint anti-poverty advocacy campaign in 2013. Over three days, participants talked about what needs to be in place to make the camapign a success so that it has a real impact on the lives of the poor. Hopes are the campaign will be a cornerstone in Caritas Internationalis members four year strategic plan, approved during their General Assembly in May. “The meeting was a good place to exchange ideas,” said Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy and Advocacy. “People brought their passion and their regional and national perspectives. It was a stimulating taste of the […]

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.

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.

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

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 [...]
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    In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

By |23 December 2011|

Food security, especially that of children, is a major problem in Haiti. Caritas has put in place various initiatives in the province of Les Cayes in southern Haiti to deal with this issue. With the help of CRS, the local Caritas has set up more than 200 mothers groups. What's a mothers group? "As the name suggests, it's a group of mothers from a particular district with whom local Caritas workers develop activities in order to improve families' food security and living conditions," explains Jean Harry Dominique, the CRS agricultural projects coordinator for the region. To get a better idea, we joined him on a field trip to Roche-à-Bateau. Mutual financial assistance "I'd like to set up a small business selling rice, flour an sugar. The last time I made a decent profit. I've asked for 1,000 gourdes (US$25) to buy products." Ariette Tessono is speaking. She belongs to a mothers group [...]

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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