“We are not operating as an NGO”: New Caritas Africa President on Identity of Caritas

Mons. Pierre Cibambo, the new president of Caritas Africa. Credit: Caritas Africa.

Caritas is an entity under the auspices of the Catholic Church hierarchy, and as such operates with the goal to witness the person of Jesus Christ, distinct from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), the new President of Caritas Africa has said.

Speaking during the three-day Caritas Africa Regional Commission meeting that ended on September 22, Mons. Pierre Cibambo who was elected President of Caritas Africa in May underscored the need for professionalism in the undertakings of Caritas as the development and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Church. 

“Caritas is Church; Caritas acts on behalf of the Church, as part of the Church, under the guidance of the Church and under the guidance of the Bishops, who are the fathers of charity, because they preside over charity in their respective and particular churches,” Mons. Cibambo is quoted as saying in a September 23 report following the meeting that was held in Abuja, Nigeria.

He emphasized, “This has to be understood very well, and it is also part of my mission to ensure that this is understood very well, that we are not operating as an NGO, we are operating as a Church.”

The new Caritas Africa President who was officially installed during the Abuja three-day meeting went on to call for competence and professionalism among Caritas personnel, who he said are to be witnesses of the Gospel. He said, “Caritas workers need to be professional, competent, and ready to serve with the formation of the heart as witnesses of Christ.”


The mandate of Caritas is “to serve, to accompany, to defend and be the voice of the voiceless,” the native of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who has served with Caritas Internationalis for 22 years said. 

In the September 23 report, Mons. Cibambo highlighted the Church’s evangelizing mission which he said is hinged on the spreading of the Gospel, the celebration of divine mysteries, and the work of charity, adding that Caritas focuses on the latter.

He also explained his mission for the Catholic Church entity that has 46 national Caritas members across the Sub-Saharan region including the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic.

His primary mission, he said, is “to ensure that Caritas representatives in Africa are making every effort to support the advancement of holistic human development in their particular nations.”

The new Caritas Africa President promised to play his role of supervising “the operations of the regional secretariat which is there to coordinate the work of national members in the field of humanitarian response, integral human development and advocacy.”

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.