AMECEA Chairman Faults “institutionalized child care apostolate”, Says Not “ideal”

A screenshop of Bishop Charles Kasonde delivering the keynote address at the conference of stakeholders of the Catholic Care for Children International (CCCI) in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday, August 29. Credit: Lumentv Zambia

The care of children in faith-based structured institutions is not the “ideal” way of child upbringing, the Chairman of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has said. 

Bishop Charles Kasonde who was delivering the keynote address at the conference of stakeholders of the Catholic Care for Children International (CCCI)  in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday, August 29 said that the ideal place for raising children is the family. 

“We continue to give the children institutionalized care not because it is ideal, but because of their circumstantial being,” Bishop Kasonde said on the first of the three-day event that is being held at the Kapingila House, Kabulonga in Lusaka.

The Local Ordinary of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese added, “Here we are confronted with the truth that despite the success stories of institutionalized child care apostolate, we recognize that every child deserves to grow in a family environment.”

While the Catholic Church seeks to foster the family institution as the rightful place for the upbringing of children, Bishop Kasonde noted that “some children end up in Catholic institutions that are being run by the Dioceses, and Congregations mostly of the religious women.”


He went on to advocate for the care of children in families with the region of AMECEA, saying, “Let us make our family apostolates a prophetic voice for the best interest of these children in our region.”

Although child care institutions exist for a purpose, “they cannot defeat the purpose of bringing up our children in families,” the 54-year-old Zambian Bishop emphasized during the CCCI event realized by the collaboration of the Association of Religious Sisters in Kenya (AOSK), Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst (GHR)  Foundation, and AMECEA.

“The gathering provides an opportunity to critically analyze the issue at hand and reflect on what necessitated the creation of the child care institutions as we have known them,” he told the conference participants drawn from eight of the nine AMECEA countries, namely, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia 

Stakeholders drawn from Eastern African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and South Sudan are part of the CCCI, which is an initiative of the  International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

On its website, UISG describes CCCI as “a growing global network of Catholic Sisters who are setting aside institutional approaches to caring for children in favor of family- and community-based care.”

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The worldwide network also provides a place of collaboration, where partners share knowledge and support each other as they create and implement effective models of care, UISG further indicates on its website. 

In his August 29 keynote address, Bishop Kasonde urged the institutions providing care to children to operate within the law bearing in mind the rights and dignity of children.

“As we help the children to meet their basic needs, and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential, the situation on the ground obliges us to ensure that our care institutions protect the children’s rights,” the Zambian Catholic Bishop said at the beginning of the convention organized under the theme, “Family strengthening and holistic care and protection of children”.

“We are here to see at AMECEA level our strength and weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding the care for Children in our local context,” he further said. 

Bishop Kasonde added, “What we have listened to so far are signs of the times that there is need to read carefully these signs of the times subject to the findings and statistical data that is documented by the GHR Foundation.”


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