Civil society uniting to build a different world

By |7 February 2011|

By Clémence Richard from Secours Catholique-Caritas France  Dakar, 2 pm: Under the burning sun, Sfax Place in the city centre is filling with crowds of marchers. African women dressed in colourful outfits dance to the rhythm of a tune that goes: “Solidarity with the women from all over the world”. Further down, Amnesty International shows a banner denouncing forced expulsion of people. “One human family, zero poverty”, members of Caritas Internationalis shout. The 2011 the Word Social Forum began on 6 February with a march through the streets of the host city Dakar in the West African country of Senegal. Until 11 February, almost 70,000 people from all over the world will share their experiences and think about how to create a better world. There are around 100 Caritas representatives from many countries. To the rhythm of the drums and slogans, they are heading towards the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar [...]

Caritas at the World Social Forum

By |7 February 2011|

Around one hundred delegates from different Caritas organisations are taking part in the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, from 6 to 11 February. Almost 70,000 people from all over the world will gather in Dakar to share their experiences and think about how to create a better world. Since its creation in 2001 in Porto Alegre, the World Social Forum has provided civil society movements from all over the world with an open space for debate, the exchange of experiences and the development of propositions. It has been created as a social alternative to the World Economic Forum that takes places every year in Davos, Switzerland. Caritas fights for the rights of the poorest, climate justice and migrants’ rights through advocacy actions targeted at international organisations, its participation at events and conferences like the World Social Forum and the World Economic Forum and through the organisation of its own conferences. At the [...]

Worldwide solidarity at the World Social Forum

By |7 February 2011|

An African proverb that would best sum up the global movement that is the World Social Forum would be: “Many small people in many small places will do many small things to change the world”. An estimated 70,000 participants from across the world attended the 11th WSF at the University Campus Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. Participants included people from the business sector, trade unions and government, however the largest demographic was composed of non-governmental actors and civil society organizations. In the weeks leading up to the forum, several caravans drove across Africa in an attempt to raise awareness about this social justice movement. The caravans joined thousands of activists who walked the streets of Dakar during the official opening march with the message ‘another world is possible’. While the forum is loosely governed, an impressive number of platforms for dialogue were created throughout the campus. From 6 to 11 February, hundreds [...]

What Cancun meant

By |24 January 2011|

By Christine Campeau, Climate and Food Security Advisor, Caritas Internationalis  The sixteenth conference of parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded on 10 December 2010 with Patricia Espinoza, Mexico’s foreign minister welcoming the Cancun Agreements. The conference has sparked renewed hope in the overall UNFCCC process and, thanks to the dedication of the Mexican Presidency, restored credibility in its transparent working methods. It also showed the willingness of governments to work together under the UNFCCC framework - a place where the voices and concerns of the poorer countries carry equal weight to the richer ones. After two weeks of intensive negotiations by almost two hundred countries, the major achievement of COP16 was the creation of a Green Climate Fund. This fund will receive and distribute up to $100 billion a year by 2020, becoming a major channel for the financial assistance that will help nations cope with negative effects [...]

Soaring food costs hitting poor from Algeria to India

By |19 January 2011|

Millions of people around the world are struggling to cope with rising food prices say Caritas staff. “The price rises in India usually affect the poorest people, but they are now so steep that the middle class is hit hard as well,” said Sunil Simon, in charge of natural resource management at Caritas India. The FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) food price index has surpassed the level it reached during the major food riots of 2008. After a year of steady increases, the index reached 214,7 points in December, compared to 206 points in November. What worries Caritas experts is that the index exceeded the level it had attained in 2008, a year of severe food crises and food riots in many developing countries. As one out of six people in the world already suffer from hunger, rising food prices make it even more difficult for poor people to buy [...]
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    The “A million stars” initiative in Switzerland – a sea of candles for solidarity

The “A million stars” initiative in Switzerland – a sea of candles for solidarity

By |30 November 2010|

On 18 December, squares, bridges and buildings in 200 towns and villages will be illuminated by thousands of candles. The event, called "A million stars", is organised by Caritas Switzerland as a sign of social cohesion and solidarity with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Good news on climate justice from Cancun

By |24 November 2010|

The Cancun summit has not delivered climate justice for poor countries, but it has produced a way forward for a future deal to safeguard the lives of the poor and future generations. The pressure will continue on governments to produce a legally binding deal in Durban South Africa next December. Climate justice will mean deep and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions led by developing countries and secure public finance for poor countries to adapt to climate change and develop sustainably all under a legally binding agreement. Government agreed in Cancun to curb climate change and provide funding for poor countries. Read about the progress made in Cancun and follow reaction from Caritas members on the blog.  Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, President of Caritas Mexico speaking on behalf of the faith based organizations called for climate justice and for courageous, equitable and binding agreements at Cancun. It seems that his call was not in vain. Read about [...]
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    Middle East Synod: Foster quality and transparency in charity work

Middle East Synod: Foster quality and transparency in charity work

By |22 November 2010|

Interview with Naguib Khouzam, General Supervisor of Caritas Egypt’s SETI Centre and Professor of Educational Psychology at Ain Shams University. Mr. Khouzam, you are the General Supervisor of the Caritas Egypt’s SETI Center for disabled people. This centre trains special needs teachers, supports disabled people and their families and runs research in this field. What insight from your experience did you want to share at the Synod?  Mr. Khouzam: The topic of this Synod is “Communion and Witness”. In my speech, I decided to focus on one point, witnessing through social work in Catholic schools and organisations like Caritas. In my opinion, there are four essential factors to make this work effective. The first one is a certain spirit of work, based on love of others and Caritas’s vision to help the poorest. The second factor is quality. In order to ensure quality services, indicators should be set up and checked through rigorous [...]
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    Caritas Rwanda marks half a century of overcoming conflict and poverty

Caritas Rwanda marks half a century of overcoming conflict and poverty

By |22 November 2010|

Caritas Rwanda has been celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010. At the end of 12 months of special events, an important celebration will be held in a stadium in the capital Kigali with thousands of local Caritas staff, representatives from Caritas members from Africa and other parts of the world as well as Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

Zero Poverty in Europe Campaign

By |28 October 2010|

Caritas is calling for an end to poverty in Europe with the launch of its Zero Poverty Campaign. “Poverty is a scandal. What else can it be when just over 40 years after man first walked on the moon, there are still humans unable to provide for their most basic needs, like food, shelter, warmth,” said Caritas Europa President Fr Erny Gillen. Zero Poverty campaign coincides with the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion at the European Parliament in Brussels. Caritas has launched a new paper “Poverty Among Us” that outlines steps to a poverty free Europe. The paper calls for the strengthening of the labour market, the welfare state, and the family. “If the fight against poverty and social exclusion is to be sustained, more emphasis must be placed on what policies can do to prevent the spiral of poverty from taking place, particularly in the early stages of [...]

World Food Day: One in six people go hungry

By |14 October 2010|

“We urgently need to concentrate on rehabilitation and prevention to stop more crises in the next years”, said Raymond Younoussi Yoro, Secretary General of Caritas Niger. Niger was hit by a major food crisis this year that affected around 60% of the population. It’s one of the many countries around the world where starvation is endemic. One in six people will go hungry on World Food Day 16 October and on every other day too. Caritas says urgent action is needed for the 925 million people still suffering from hunger. The first Millennium Development Goal is to cut by half the number of hungry people by 2015. The international community has committed to achieving these goals, but it seems less likely that they will be met. The MDG on poverty, if it is achieved, can only be a first target. Caritas has a vision of zero poverty. No one should be denied the right to food [...]

Caritas Mexico gets ready for climate summit

By |13 October 2010|

With Climate talks scheduled for December in Cancun, Caritas Mexico is keeping busy in their planning to raise awareness. Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, the President of Caritas Mexicana was part of the Caritas Internationalis delegation last year at the climate talks in Copenhagen and is eager to mobilize civil society organisations and the Church in Mexico. Caritas Mexico is organising a Holy Mass for Sunday 05 December and assembling the Caritas family together for a few days of capacity building on the thematic issues covered in the negotiations. Caritas has applied jointly with the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance for a side event entitled ‘Faith based organisations advocate for climate justice’. If approved, the focus of this discussion will be around how communities address climate change, poverty and sustainable development, offering ethical contributions to international negotiations through awareness raising, social mobilization and advocacy. Caritas, the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance [...]

Money will talk at Cancun climate summit

By |13 October 2010|

By Christine Campeau, Caritas Internationalis  Financing climate adaptation in developing countries is a must. It will determine the success of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico in 29 November to 10 December 2010. There is widespread pessimism over the lack of significant progress in reaching a climate change accord since the Copenhagen meeting last December. In an attempt to move things forward, Switzerland and Mexico co-hosted a meeting last month in Geneva to shed light on the status of the billions of climate-aid dollars pledged in Copenhagen. Details of this meeting centred on how to raise the pledged US$100 billion in annual long-term financing for 2020. While some view meetings such as this one as progress in the right direction, several critics complain that this is still the tip of the iceberg. Promised climate change aid has no scientific or economic [...]

Middle East Synod a symbol of peace

By |22 September 2010|

The first Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops will take place in Rome from 10 to 24 October. Caritas hopes the Synod can build bridges between faiths in a region wracked by conflict. Caritas will be represented at this event by representatives from the Middle East, sharing their practical experience in this fragile region. Read more on the Synod and Caritas: Interview with Joseph Farah, President of Caritas MONA: Middle East: a testing ground for the spirit of reconciliation Interview with Naguib Khouzam, General Supervisor of Caritas Egypt’s SETI Centre and Professor of Educational Psychology at Ain Shams University: Foster quality and transparency in charity work Caritas press release: Synod for Middle East can bring communities together Lesley-Anne Knight speech to Caritas MONA Regional Forum July 2010:  (Middle East and North Africa) Implications for Caritas of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod [...]

Facts about land justice in Brazil

By |8 September 2010|

The Caritas Brazilian Bazaar project is also supporting the campaign with urns at each of its businesses – artisans and small, family-based farmers among others.

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