September 18, 2012

New Caritas communications system to help serve poor

By |18 September 2012|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has launched a new internal web platform called ‘Caritas Baobab’ where Caritas members worldwide can connect and work together. Linking together staff in more than 160 countries, Caritas Baobab will streamline Caritas’ communication system and its ability to respond quickly to natural disasters and other emergencies, coordinate advocacy, provide training and share resources. “Caritas Baobab will provide state-of-the-art technology to help us serve the poor,” says Cardinal Rodriguez. “The more efficiently we can respond to emergencies, the more suffering we can prevent. The more people we can mobilize around one issue, the more chance we have of bringing about real change. In the modern world, fast, accurate information is key to our work. Caritas Baobab is about creating a platform so the right people talk to each other, come up with ideas and work together on delivering them.” The Caritas Baobab system, or ‘Baobab’ for [...]

August 23, 2012

  • Villagers fetch water from a water point constructed through a Caritas cash for work program.

Credits: Caritas Ethiopia
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    Ethiopia drought relief work ‘still critical,’ says Caritas

Ethiopia drought relief work ‘still critical,’ says Caritas

By |23 August 2012|

Caritas is launching a new appeal to continue its lifesaving work in drought-stricken areas of Ethiopia. Its programmes will help farmers and herders produce more food, and will also improve water systems and infrastructure in remote areas. “The drought was at its worst in 2011, and its effects are still being felt in some parts of the country,” says Shiferaw Mamo, Social Development Programme Coordinator of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia). “We can’t let up our efforts now.” The belg (small) rains expected in the first half of 2012 were poor, resulting in ongoing food problems in many farming areas. The government of Ethiopia recently indicated that approximately 3.76 million people require food assistance from August to December 2012. Caritas’ new programme, which is targeting more than 60,000 families, will give sheep, goats, cattle, bee colonies and chickens to families who lost livestock during the drought. To conserve the limited water [...]

In flooded Philippines, Caritas mobilizes emergency aid

By |13 August 2012|

As the Philippines struggles to cope with massive flooding, assessment teams from NASSA (Caritas Philippines) and Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas members from the USA) have visited the worst-affected areas. They spoke with flood victims now living in elementary schools, churches and gymnasiums that are being used as evacuation centres. “The majority of the families in the evacuation centres have houses that are submerged right now,” says Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Director of NASSA. “They expect to stay at the centres for weeks or even months while their houses homes are still under water.” The centres are housing over 150,000 people. Most centres are overcrowded and lack adequate latrines and bathing facilities. Drinking water is also difficult to obtain. “There are long queue times for water supply,” says Father Gariguez. “There are rations of drinking water in some areas, but it is still insufficient, and sometimes people don’t have enough containers [...]

Syrian refugees: Caritas responds to growing crisis

By |10 August 2012|

As violence in Syria escalates, Caritas is caring for thousands of refugees who have spilled into neighbouring countries. Caritas has been helping Syrian refugees since the crisis started in 2011. Now, Caritas is scaling up its efforts in order to serve the increasing number of families who have fled their homes. In Jordan, Caritas is providing food, medical care, and items like blankets and diapers to refugees in Mafraq, Zarqa, Madaba, and beyond. In Lebanon, Caritas has a free mobile clinic that visits Syrian refugee patients, primarily in the Bekaa Valley. Social workers from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre are distributing food and emergency supplies in the refugees’ makeshift tent camps, as well as to refugees living in apartments or old buildings in the Bekaa, in Beirut, and in other places. In some cases, Iraqi refugees who lived in Syria for years are now fleeing back to Iraq, where Caritas Iraq is [...]

July 24, 2012

  • Children need to eat nutritious food not only while taking ARVs, but also before starting treatment.

Credits: Hough/Caritas
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    Eliminating New HIV Infections in Children: Report Assesses Catholic Organizations’ Engagement with Global Plan

Eliminating New HIV Infections in Children: Report Assesses Catholic Organizations’ Engagement with Global Plan

By |24 July 2012|

Washington, DC—A report assessing the engagement of Catholic organizations in The Global Plan towards Elimination of New HIV Infections in Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive will be released to media at a press conference on Wednesday, July 25, at 3:00 pm. The study will also be presented that evening at 6:00 pm in the Faith Zone of the Global Village at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. The report, based on a survey by the Catholic HIV/AIDS Network (CHAN), documents the involvement of Catholic Church-related organizations with National AIDS Programs and their awareness and involvement in the Global Plan. “The Global Plan seeks involvement from religious organizations to encourage early testing and treatment for pregnant women living with HIV and their children,” said Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis. “The study findings indicate challenges that must be confronted by governments and churches alike in [...]

June 12, 2012

G20 must tackle hunger by fighting its roots causes

By |12 June 2012|

The Caritas-CIDSE G20 Network of Catholic agencies says making sure all people have access to appropriate food must be the priority for the leaders of G20 economies as they meet 18-19 June in Mexico. There are 925 million people in the world without enough to eat. About 300 children die from malnutrition every hour while one in four children is stunted, and in developing countries that figure rises to one in three. Yet we produce more than enough food globally to feed everyone. The Caritas-CIDSE G20 Network says reducing inequality and promoting sustainable development must be at the heart of the G20s plans to address food insecurity in the short, medium and long term. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “Hunger is not inevitable. It must be tackled by fighting its structural causes, primarily by promoting sustainable agricultural development of poor countries.” CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles said, “The Mexican G20 has [...]

May 28, 2012

Peacebuilding conference in Rome

By |28 May 2012|

Catholic leaders from some of the world’s worst conflict zones will gather in Rome on May 29 and 30 to discuss ways to make peace. Participants representing Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other hotspots will attend “New Challenges for Catholic Peacebuilding” to share methods that defuse violence and reconcile warring groups. “In South Sudan, the Philippines, and Congo, in the Middle East and Central America, the Catholic Church is a powerful force for justice and reconciliation,” says Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who is leading the meeting. “But this impressive and courageous peacebuilding often remains unknown, underanalyzed and unappreciated.” “We all hear about the bombs," says Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “But much of our reconciliation efforts are related to longstanding internal situations of oppression and injustice.” Anticipating the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem [...]

Caritas congress seeks a future free from hunger

By |28 May 2012|

Caritas is hosting an International Congress on World Hunger and Food Security 1 to 2 June 2012 in Vienna, Austria to find global solutions to why 925 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. “Every 12 seconds a child dies of hunger. Hunger is not inevitable; the causes are social, economic and political,” said President of Caritas Internationalis Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the keynote speakers. Delegates from around the world will discuss the structural causes of hunger, how aid agencies can intervene effectively and the fundamental right to food. The congress underscores that the fight against hunger is at the heart of the work of Caritas confederation in service to the poor and must also be a priority for governments. Food security will be important issues at the upcoming Rio +20 meeting and for the post Millennium Goals agenda. Caritas wants to unite the international community around the fight for the eradication of [...]
  • Credits: Caritas Internationalis
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    Pope Benedict encourages work of Caritas for those most in need

Pope Benedict encourages work of Caritas for those most in need

By |16 May 2012|

Pope Benedict XVI greeted delegates from Caritas Internationalis during his weekly General Audience, encouraging their work for the poor. Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga received updated Statutes and Rules and a General Decree from the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on behalf of Pope Benedict on 2 May. The revised Statutes and Rules provide a legal basis reflecting the new standing of Caritas as a ‘public canonical juridical personality’ bestowed by Blessed John Paul II in 2004. The new status formally recognises that Caritas carries out its charitable activities in the name of the Catholic Church and strengthens its working relationship with the Holy See. Cardinal Rodriguez attended the General Audience along with members of the Caritas Internationalis governance bodies, the Representative Council and the Executive Board. “Your presence here today expresses your communion with the Successor of Peter and your readiness to welcome the new juridical framework of your organisation,” [...]

Caritas Internationalis welcomes new papal decrees

By |3 May 2012|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga received approved updated Statutes and Rules and a General Decree from the Cardinal Secretary of State on 2 May 2012 on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. This was the culmination of a process that started in 2004 when Pope John Paul II gave Caritas Internationalis a ‘public juridical’ personality, making it an entity of the Holy See. This outcome was expected and Caritas Internationalis welcomes this important time in its history. The mission of Caritas is confirmed as part of the institutional church, embodying both its role as a confederation of 164 members and an entity of the Holy See. Caritas Internationalis new governing bodies, the Representative Council and Executive Board, will meet 15-17 May in Rome as planned. (Under the new Statutes and Rules, the Representative Council replaces the Executive Committee and the Bureau becomes the Executive Board.) The new Statutes and Rules of Caritas Internationalis [...]
  • Pope Benedict approves new legal structure for Caritas Internationalis
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    Pope Benedict approves new legal structure for Caritas Internationalis

Pope Benedict approves new legal structure for Caritas Internationalis

By |2 May 2012|

Pope Benedict XVI has given his seal of approval via the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to new Statutes and Rules  governing Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for 164 national Catholic aid and development agencies. Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga received the new Statutes and Rules and a General Decree during a morning meeting at the Vatican 2 May 2012 with Holy See officials. “This is a day of joy and hope for Caritas Internationalis,” said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. “Our new Statutes and Rules will modernise our work in delivering humanitarian assistance and development in service to the poor. They will provide us with the framework to carry out our work as part of the mission of the Church.” The revision of the Statutes and Rules began in 2007. They have been updated to reflect Venerable Pope John Paul II granting Canonical Legal Status to Caritas Internationalis in 2004. Caritas Internationalis [...]

April 24, 2012

Sudan and South Sudan must step back from war

By |24 April 2012|

Caritas Internationalis fears that a full scale war is imminent between Sudan and South Sudan with dire humanitarian consequences for both unless there is pull back from further military action. South Sudan became independent from Sudan last July following a popular vote. It was the culmination of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of war. However, areas of contention including border demarcation, the status of disputed areas in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile and oil rights still have not been resolved. The Caritas confederation of over 160 Catholic aid agencies fears that recent clashes over these issues have now brought the two countries to the brink. Caritas is also concerned over the use of extreme rhetoric by officials and that it is inciting an environment of fear. Attacks in Sudan on Christians such as the ransacking of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum on Saturday are deeply troubling. Over 500,000 South [...]

Caritas closes local office in conflict hit northern Mali

By |2 April 2012|

Caritas Mali says its local office in Gao in northern Mali was destroyed along with the local church after Tuareg rebels seized the city at the weekend. Despite the conflict in the north and a coup last month, Caritas Mali says its operations providing desperately needed food aid to the rest of the country continue. The Tuareg rebels have seized three regional capitals in as many days. The main rebel group is the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). They are operating alongside the Islamist group Ansar Edine, who have links to Al Qaeda’s north African branch. Fr Jean-Jacques, director of Caritas Gao said, “Caritas staff fled Gao on Saturday. We learned from our guard today that the centre and the church compound have been destroyed. “We have received calls from the small Catholic community left in Gao. They are now in hiding, fearing for their lives.” Fr Jean-Jacques says there are [...]

March 30, 2012

  • In San, Ségou Region, Mali, Caritas launches Food-for-Work programme. Recipients perform work against remuneration in the form of food. Groups particularly vulnerable populations - for example pregnant women and small children - receive food at a heavily discounted price.

Credits: Caritas Switzerland
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    Caritas launched appeal for Senegal as part of West Africa food crisis response

Caritas launched appeal for Senegal as part of West Africa food crisis response

By |30 March 2012|

Caritas has launched an emergency appeal for Senegal, the latest in the confederation’s response to the food crisis unfolding across West Africa’s Sahel belt. Over 12 million people are at risk of food shortages across the region, with Caritas humanitarian programmes launched in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Caritas Senegal is appealing for €950,000 to reinforce food safety net measures and run feeding programmes for rural communities. More than 125,000 people will benefit from the Caritas Senegal programme, which includes the distribution of food, supplemental feeding for new mothers and children from Church dispensaries. Caritas Senegal President Fr Ambroise Tine said, “The situation is grave. “We are still waiting for the government to respond to the needs of those people threatened by the food crisis. The upcoming second round of presidential elections is delaying the necessary action. “We will see the crisis get worse in the months to come, unless steps are taken. We [...]
  • The 2011 harvest was disastrous for Mintou and her family in Dosso region, Niger. Her four sons have left the village to find work, so they can send money home. But, with seven months until the next harvest, Mintou has run out of food to feed her five grandchildren.

Credits: Nick Harrop/CAFOD
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    Caritas launches appeal to help 400,000 people as food crisis hits Niger

Caritas launches appeal to help 400,000 people as food crisis hits Niger

By |23 March 2012|

A third of the population of Niger is threatened by hunger as the food crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region grows. Caritas is launching its third appeal for the region, following similar interventions in Mali and Burkina Faso. Caritas is concerned because the population have not recovered from acute food shortages in 2010, leaving them even more vulnerable this time. “Niger and the Sahel face an alarming food emergency that is getting worse day-by-day,” said Raymond Yoro, the executive secretary of CADEV-Caritas Niger. “The people are still suffering from the 2010 crisis. They do not have the resources to face yet another bad harvest. We need immediate assistance if we are to survive the months ahead,” he said. Families in Niger are already turning to survival strategies such as rationing food still available. At least 16 million people in Niger are threatened with food shortages. Half of the populations of urban centres cannot get enough [...]

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