How Caritas works in Development
For Caritas, development means taking into account the whole well-being of every person – the economic, social, political, cultural, ecological and spiritual dimensions of their lives. We call this integral human development and we aim to transform people’s lives.
Caritas organisations provide education, training, healthcare and sanitation so that people have the skills and health necessary to flourish. They finance small businesses and agricultural projects. Caritas’ development programmes are carefully thought out so that the resources we have been given to look after for future generations are not put at risk. Achievements are protected through peacebuilding, the creation of just systems and by making people more resilient to hardship.
“The development we speak of cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic it must be well rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man….What counts for us is man – each individual man, each human group and humanity as a whole” -Populorum Progressio
Caritas understands that development is a hard task. Climate change, the neglect and exploitation of our natural world and unequal economic systems are additional burdens. But Caritas believes that the world’s poorest people cannot be left wounded every day by the relentless struggle to just survive. They cannot be left battered by the ill health which poverty brings and by the draining away of hope when there is no education, employment or other opportunity to be had.
This is why Caritas invests in development and campaigns for a fairer world.
In 2000, Governments made a milestone promise by setting the target of halving global poverty by 2015. They created the 8 MDGs to “free all men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.” Much has been achieved. Caritas continues to work hard in the time left to fulfill its part of the MDG pledges. Read more stories about Caritas and the Millennium Development Goals
Surging prices for raw materials from our earth should bring in much needed revenue which poorer countries can invest in development. But all too often citizens do not benefit as much as they should from mining and other extractive industries. The profits end up in the pockets of big foreign companies or in those of well off locals and the rush for more can spark conflict. Caritas members work for economic justice by monitoring government policies and by speaking out against the global structures which trap people in cycles of poverty. They urge the sharing of the gifts of Creation and not unequal exploitation. Read more stories about Caritas and Extractive Industries.
Caritas delegations regularly represent the one million voices of the Caritas confederation at important high-level international meetings. These include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the G8, the World Economic Forum, the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the World Social Forum. Caritas lobbies for fair, ambitious and legally binding protocols, which will benefit the poor and protect our shared world in a sustainable way. Caritas believes that the voices of the poorest and most marginalized people must be part of the process through which we live. Caritas delegates and members take to the streets and host side meetings to spread their vision that a world without hunger and poverty is not a utopia dream. In Geneva and New York, Caritas representatives raise awareness at the United Nations General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and with agencies like the World Health Organization to ensure that the voice of the poor isn’t forgotten or ignored. Read more stories about Caritas and High Level Meetings and Events.