Caritas Cape Verde Reaching Out to Persons in “vulnerable situations” amid Drought

Caritas Caboverdiana,NINA project for the elderly. Credit: Caritas Caboverdiana

The Catholic Church in Cape Verde, through her charity arm, Caritas Caboverdiana, is reaching out to persons “in more vulnerable situations” amid drought and the effects of COVID-19, an official has told ACI Africa in an interview.

In the Thursday, March 31 interview, the Coordinator of Caritas Cape Verde said the ongoing assistance is being implemented through “solidarity programs and projects”.

“Caritas has embarked with the implementation of solidarity programs and projects for families experiencing difficulties,” Marina Almeida said, adding that the initiatives have been occasioned by “acute food insecurity caused by cyclical droughts in recent years” as well as COVID-19 effects.

Ms. Almeida traced the help to the solidarity of the people of God in the archipelago and island country in the central Atlantic Ocean. She said, “We launched a nationwide campaign due to COVID-19 lockdowns.”

“We started by sensitizing the community itself to share what it had with those who were in more vulnerable situations,” she further said, and added, “Of late Caritas Caboverdiana has introduced various programs and projects to help those affected by severe drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.”


The response to the nationwide campaign “was unbelievable; many people made donations towards food parcels that were then donated to families in need through the Parishes across Cape Verde,” the Coordinator of the Catholic entity that was established in 1976 told ACI Africa March 31.

The response from communities has led to the creation of “Dia do Quilo” (Day of the Kilo), a day dedicated to help families in need with food parcels in all Dioceses, Ms. Almeida said.

Credit: Caritas Caboverdiana

“Besides the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been experiencing severe drought for the past four years, so all of this has a more severe impact on livelihoods”, she added.

Cape Verde has been facing its worst drought since 1977, the United Nations (UN) Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported.

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has included Cape Verde among the countries needing foreign food assistance, the OCHA report indicates.

In the March 31 interview with ACI Africa, Ms. Almeida said that at the request of the Cape Verdean government, Caritas is identifying families “in vulnerable situations” through surveys convened at Parish level.

“We are working with the government to identify families that are in vulnerable situations, especially those that have children outside kindergartens or day care centers. And the elderly too, who with their family have also experienced difficulties”, said Ms. Almeida.

“We have also introduced the ‘Nina’ project. ‘Nina’ means miracles and is a project for the care of the elderly in our communities”, she further said about the initiative that was started in partnership with Cape Verde’s Ministry of Family and Social Inclusion.

In partnership with the government ministry, Ms. Almeida said, “We started the Nina project in Praia City, and have managed to feed up to 100 elderlies with daily meals. Our plan is to spread the project throughout Cape Verde.”
Thank you


“I think it is a beautiful project in its conception, because it is for people with reduced mobility and this presence with them is very important. And I think it is also a way to testify our gratitude to those who came before us, who gave us what we have today”, the Cape Verdean Caritas official told ACI Africa.

She acknowledged with appreciation the partnership the Catholic entity she coordinates has with the government of Cape Verde, adding that the collaboration has also involved other sectors, including education, health, and agriculture sectors. 

Credit: Caritas Caboverdiana

“We are in a process of adaptation and, as we usually say, acting in complementarity with the government. We don't do what the government is doing, but we act in complementarity, especially with regards to food security”, Ms. Almeida said.

She highlighted initiatives toward families, fostering independence through “empowerment”. She said, “We also encourage autonomy, because being dependent on other people's work sometimes also generates insecurity. So, all our work over the years has been in this aspect of empowerment.”

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The Coordinator of Caritas Cape Verde explained the empowerment initiatives, saying, “We are building our own resilience. We have a severe drought. We are managing and creating conditions for survival. We work with agricultural projects in the field of agroecology, as an example of the solidarity economy.”

“These are small things that we are going to do precisely to create this resilience, because drought is a reality for Cape Verde,” she said, and added, “We have always had drought and we will continue to have drought. So, we must have a different dynamic.”

“Caritas has walked alongside the poor, years before the independence under Caritas Portugal. To date, Caritas remains Cape Verde’s main charity organization, and we have offices in every island”, Ms. Almeida told ACI Africa March 31.

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.