Caritas Ecuador consists of 24 jurisdictions that correspond to the national dioceses and parishes, most of which match the political division of the country. Like other Caritas in Latin America, the establishment of Caritas Ecuador was connected with the aid provided by the US government.
In 1961 the Bishops’ Conference of Ecuador founded the “Caritas of Ecuador” federation and set up a large-scale food and clothing donation programme. In 1971 it made inroads into the areas of education and health and in the early 1980s the National Secretariat of Pastoral Social Caritas Ecuador was founded, which in 2010 was legally established as an independent organisation. In recent periods it has gone beyond a welfare approach, making a substantial shift towards integral human development, focused on giving priority to food security, risk management, humanitarian aid and sustainable economic development, with cross-cutting objectives such as the promotion of women and human rights.
In the area of food security, the aim is to boost agricultural production via active participation of women and the revival of trade fairs that directly link producers to consumers. Under its emergency risk management plan, Caritas supports communities affected by reconstruction and economic rehabilitation.
Regarding health, it seeks to improve access to mother and child healthcare in marginalised communities and rural areas. Other local programmes include initiatives to strengthen access to financial services, thus creating self-employment alternatives for people in situations of human mobility; a prison programme that includes free legal aid in defence of the right to due legal process; and boosting handicraft and capacity building projects in order to help people reintegrate into society.
Caritas Ecuador has entered into alliances with various government and international cooperation organisations, universities, private companies Misereor, CELIM, AECID and UN agencies such as UNHCR and FAO. It works in fraternal cooperation with other Caritas members including: Caritas Spain, Caritas Germany, Caritas Italy, Caritas Peru, Caritas Bolivia, Caritas Japan and Caritas Korea.
The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) aims to create a training programme for community leaders and pastoral workers in the Amazon region, who have an extensive track record in protection and may thus respond to the challenges highlighted by the Pope.
“Part of the idiosyncrasy of human nature is that when pain comes people unite,” says Fr. Euclides. “But they quickly forget about that pain and they forget about the affected. Right now we have a lot of donations, enough to feed our people. What worries me is what happens two weeks from now? How will ...
Agencies must think about setting up camps and how to provide the basics: water, sanitation, and child-friendly areas. Once that has been accomplished the task will shift to providing temporary housing and eventually how to get people back into homes.