Haiti 2009: Back in Class

By |2 December 2009|

Soft spoken and demure, Junor Hesgazons leans intently into his schoolwork, his eyes casting constantly to the chalkboard as the day’s lesson takes shape. His white collared shirt neatly creased despite the humidity of southern Haiti, Hesgazons looks every bit the engineer he hopes one day to be. “I like to study engineering. I like mathematics and physics,” Hesgazons said. “I would like to build roads and bridges as a civil engineer.” But for Hesgazons, that journey thus far has been a hard one. Growing up poor near the city of Les Cayes, Hesgazons has struggled throughout his life to stay in school. For he and his family, as with many across Haiti, the $70 yearly school fees are a major burden. “Before, a family friend helped me [with fees], but he cannot afford to help me anymore,” Hesgazons said. When Hurricane Ike came ashore in September 2008, those difficulties were compounded. Across [...]

Aid and climate justice key to G8 in Italy

By |16 August 2009|

Caritas is urging leaders of G8 countries meeting in the Italian town of L’Aquila to return to promises on aid and revitalize climate change negotiations. Caritas says that increased aid flows from G8 countries in the past has led to an improvement in the lives of people living in developing countries. The economic crisis means more people have been driven into poverty and need support of the world’s rich. But the poor are facing betrayal as G8 donors cut aid spending. Climate change negotiations that will see a new deal in Copenhagen in December need fresh impetuous if the world is to get a desperately needed cuts in emissions and extra support for poor countries to adapt to extreme weather. Caritas is being represented in L’Aquila by CAFOD, one of its members in the UK. Joanne Green, Head of Policy and Pascale Palmer, Communications Officer from CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) can be [...]

Caritas imagines globalisation based on solidarity

By |16 August 2009|

The last months of 2008 saw the global economic system suffer its worst meltdown since the 1930s, one that would push millions into greater poverty. 2008 was also the halfway point to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of anti-poverty targets signed in 2000 by almost every country and aimed at raising millions of people out of poverty in fifteen years. Halfway to 2015, increased aid commitments and historic debt relief have lifted millions out of poverty. But some countries are not headed in the right directions. The number of people going hungry is increasing. Caritas and its supporters called for concrete commitments on reversing cuts in aid from some of the world’s richest countries and improving the way aid is spent. Millions of people don’t want to see billions of people living in poverty. They want to see action from world leaders. Caritas attended a series of high level events to [...]

Fora for change: Caritas at Davos and the WSF

By |24 February 2009|

Caritas representatives will be talking part in both the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland and the World Social Forum (WSF) in Belem, Brazil this January. In a world divided between the “Haves” and “Have-nots”, Caritas believes the global system must be reformed to give all of society the opportunity to succeed. The Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight will be meeting political and business leaders in Davos encouraging them to remember the poor and vulnerable as they seek to tackle the worst economic crisis in 80 years. She hopes to inspire the rich and powerful to aspire not to have more but to be more. While in Belem, Brazil, one hundred and fifty Caritas representatives from 14 countries will attend the World Social Forum (WSF) and show their support for a world based on justice. The WSF is seen as a vital opportunity for social movements, NGOs and civil society networks [...]

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: One world

By |16 October 2008|

Extract from Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez’s speech at the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN in New York, 25 September 2008  “Of course, for the majority of us, we don’t need the Millennium Development Goals to know what poverty is. In Honduras, where I come from, we experience its limitations daily. “We do need the MDGs though to galvanise governments into urgent action by living up to past promises on development. For many of us, the M in MDGs should stand for minimum. We want to see our governments go further, especially on environmental sustainability. “Ten years ago this October, Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America destroying 50 years of progress in Honduras alone. Mitch was then the fourth most intense storm in the Atlantic in recorded history. But the storm to end all storms was more like a beginning. Mitch has already dropped to seventh place in a few [...]

The Millennium Development Goals are a wonderful tool

By |23 September 2008|

The Millennium Development Goals are a wonderful tool. They’re a catalyst for action, a benchmark to measure governments words against their deeds, and a reminder of the suffering of millions of people who live in extreme poverty. Of course, for the majority of us, we don’t need the MDGs to know what poverty is. In Honduras, where I come from,  we experience its limitations daily. We do need the MDGs though to galvanise governments into urgent action by living up to past promises on development. For many of us, the M in MDGs should stand for minimum. We want to see our governments go further, especially on environmental sustainability. This is because climate change is undoing much of the progress made in developing countries. Ten years ago this October, Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America destroying 50 years of progress in Honduras alone. Mitch was at the time the fourth most intense storm in the Atlantic [...]
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    Investing in safe delivery, life-saving training for women in Darfur

Investing in safe delivery, life-saving training for women in Darfur

By |3 September 2008|

“There was no one around in the village to help when my pregnant sister told me, ‘I want to deliver.’ I assisted the delivery and after that I became a birth attendant,” recalls Hawa, a traditional birth attendant now called ‘grandmother’. In the rural areas and camps of Darfur most babies are born at home, with mothers sometimes being assisted by a midwife, and more often by a traditional birth attendant, who may or may not have any prior training. Hawa was forced to flee her original village in West Darfur three years ago due to the conflict in the region. She now lives in a camp for displaced persons in Kubum, South Darfur where she continues to work, assisting three or four mothers each week to deliver their babies. “I am very old, I have helped women to give birth and I am now helping their children to give birth,” explains [...]
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    Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland…

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland…

By |17 August 2008|

Day One at Davos and I am not surprised that many participants are preoccupied by the possibility of recession in the USA – this is after all an economic forum. I am, however, pleasantly surprised to find that issues more relevant to CI, such as poverty reduction and climate change have not entirely slipped off the agenda. The day begins with a series of ‘update’ sessions and I choose to attend one entitled ‘Africa’s Governance Dividend’. Panel members presented an upbeat, optimistic view of Africa’s development and governance progress, which was attributed in part to the ability of African countries to learn from past failures. Contributors from the floor raised some challenging questions including the issue of inequality and the need to move developing countries further up the value chain. Later in the day came the opening ceremony for the Forum, which featured opening remarks by the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, [...]
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    Caritas to stress delivering for the poor at World Economic Forum in Davos

Caritas to stress delivering for the poor at World Economic Forum in Davos

By |17 August 2008|

Vatican City, 17 January - Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight will call for a renewed commitment to tackling poverty from the world’s most powerful political and economic leaders as she attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. The Secretary General of the Caritas Confederation’s 162 national Catholic charities says that reviving momentum behind the Millennium Development Goals will be her main objective at the Davos meeting, which begins Wednesday, 23 January. The Millennium Development Goals are a series of anti-poverty targets that UN member states agreed to meet by 2015. Caritas says the targets will be mostly missed, partly due to broken promises on funding by some of the world’s richest nations. The annual WEF brings together business leaders, politicians and heads of state, with artists, academics, religious leaders, and other civil society representatives. It will be the first time a Caritas Internationalis Secretary General has attended the WEF. The [...]

Solidarity is key – Cardinal Rodríguez

By |17 August 2008|

“This is one of the most gratifying experiences, looking at the amount of good that can be done through solidarity among peoples.” Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga has said that solidarity with the poor is vital to the work of Caritas as he marks the first anniversary of his election as president of the network of 162 national charities. “This is a long road that has been made by doing good around the world. And this is one of the most gratifying experiences, looking at the amount of good that can be done through solidarity among peoples,” said the Cardinal. Cardinal Maradiaga saw the importance of solidarity on the ground when he visited Peru following a massive earthquake last year. “I was really amazed when I arrived at the warehouse of Caritas and I saw the amount of young men and women who were devoting their time just to help – this was really, [...]

MDG Call to action

By |17 August 2008|

One year ago British Prime Minister Gordon Brown travelled to UN headquarters in New York to meet with Secretary-general Ban ki-Moon to urgently challenge Member States and the UN to pursue the Millennium Development Goals with much greater urgency. He offered a compelling "Call to Action" to confront the looming lethargy and inaction. Sanctioned by UN leadership this initiative was incorporated into the ongoing MDG Campaign with its timeline to 2015. When the 63rd Annual General Assembly unfolds at UN next month, Member States will also address the Call to Action on September 25, 2008. In 2000 Member States (189 countries) signed the Millennium Declaration they wrote together at the United Nations. Concern for expanded and integrated development led world leaders to make a bold commitment to work for the eradication of poverty. The declaration was the springboard for the Millennium Development Goals, eight highly focused targets to be implemented and achieved [...]

African Church calls for better aid

By |17 August 2008|

Church leaders in Africa say development aid to the poorest must not just be measured in quantity but also in the extent it transforms the lives of the poor. In a ecumenical statement released ahead of a key aid effectiveness summit in Accra, Ghana, 2 – 4 September, the AACC (All Africa Conference of Churches) and SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conference in Africa and Madagascar) say the levels of poverty in Africa are unacceptable. With a 600 million membership, Church leaders are urging for change in the way aid money is spent. They want to see a greater decision making role on how aid is delivered given to the local communities it is supposed to help. The African Churches and Caritas will be at the negotiating table in Accra. They will attempt to influence the aid donor and recipient government officials and international organizations. The African Church is a major provider of health, [...]

Make aid work at Accra summit

By |17 August 2008|

About 29,000 children under the age of five die every day, that’s 21 each minute, mainly from preventable causes. Caritas has joined African Churches and international faith based organisations to say that we can do something about this by using aid as a hand up rather than a hand out. The power to do that partly lies with over 800 representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors, developing country governments, and civil society organisations who will be attending a key meeting on how aid is spent in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 September. Delegates arriving in Accra need look no further than their doorstep to see how aid can change lives if used wisely. Ghana is successfully implementing a national school feeding programme using locally produced foods. The Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness is being headed by René Grotenhuis, Director of Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) and includes Caritas [...]

Millennium Development Goals Reloaded

By |17 August 2008|

A hundred and eighty nine governments signed up to the Millennium Declaration in the Year 2000 as their promise to tackle unjustifiable poverty in developing countries. It’s a promise Caritas will not let them dodge. The declaration was the springboard for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight highly focused targets to be implemented and achieved by 2015. In September, Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga brought to world leaders a message from the poor that needs to be listened to urgently or the MDGs will be missed. The Cardinal was among a select group of civil society representatives at the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in New York on 25 September 2008. Read his speech here. Halfway to 2015, increased aid commitments and historic debt relief have provided schools meals in Ghana, free primary school education in Tanzania, and free basic health care in Zambia. Aid works. We know this. [...]

Monterrey to Doha: Poverty in the spotlight

By |17 August 2008|

Government ministers and aid officials are meeting in Doha, Qatar 29 November – 2 December to discuss progress on poverty eradication since the Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Monterrey, Mexico 18-22 March 2002. Read: - Caritas Internationalis statement on Doha - Doha development summit must address failures - Caritas blog from Caritas Internationalis Representative Michel Roy in Doha. - Doha summit ends without urgency or commitment Here’s our top ten snapshot of the last six years. Winners The Commitments: Rich countries meeting at the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005 promised $50 billion in overseas aid which will make a real difference Schools in: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and many other countries have abolished fees for primary schools resulting in dramatic increases in enrolment during the space of a few years thanks to debt relief. Flight plan: Innovative ideas have worked such as a low tax on flights in France which raised 200 million Euros for medicine for the [...]

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