Caritas SA Maps Out its Future Plans
By Sheila Pires – In a relatively short time, the social development arm of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Caritas SA, has achieved in the areas of agriculture, palliative care for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis patients, feeding the hungry through feeding schemes, and helping children access education.
However, one of the main challenges is funding. Operating in a frail economy with high levels of unemployment, Caritas SA is struggling to fund its day-to-day duties such as transport and workers’ remuneration.
Following a three-day conference of Caritas representatives and coordinators at the Lumko Institute in Benoni, Gauteng, six strategic orientations are now being implemented:
- Building and structuring Caritas SA as the national Caritas.
- Enhancing resource mobilisation.
- Building effective communication and advocacy mechanisms.
- Networking to better coordinate all social action.
- Promoting integral human development.
- Saving peoples’ lives and assets through effective disaster response and risk management.
The three-day conference saw the participation of Caritas SA president Cardinal Wilfrid Napier; Aloysius John, secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, the Rome-based umbrella body of 165 national Catholic relief and development agencies across the world; and Moira Monacelli, head of Caritas Internationalis’ institutional development and capacity strengthening department.
Cardinal Napier presented the constitution for Caritas SA, which was approved by the SACBC at its August plenary session.
He highlighted the regional Caritas KwaZulu-Natal, which is unique to South Africa, whose purpose is to be a vital link coordinating all Caritas projects in the province’s various dioceses.
The cardinal also spoke of the Caritas Emergency Relief Programme response to Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Mr John and Ms Monacelli of Caritas Internationalis encouraged Caritas SA to define its identity, organisation and how it will work with society in the SACBC region.
Fr Peter-John Pearson of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office gave a presentation on how Caritas SA can liaise with the government.