Caritas Africa Urges Member Organizations to Integrate “voluntary service” in Operations

Logo of the International Volunteer Day (IVD) set to be marked on December 5.
Credit: United Nations (UN)

On the occasion of the International Volunteer Day (IVD) marked Saturday, December 5, the leadership of Caritas Africa is urging those at the helm of its member organizations to integrate voluntary service in their respective operations.

“Caritas Africa encourages all its 46 Member Organizations and by extension all Diocesan and Parish Caritas Organizations to integrate voluntary service in programming. Because together we can, through volunteering,” officials of Caritas Africa say in a Tuesday, December 1 statement shared with ACI Africa.

They acknowledge the “significant contributions” that volunteers have made in the global humanitarian, development and peace sectors and note that “our young people in our parishes and communities are looking for opportunities to serve.”

Making reference to volunteers, the officials say, “We really need their support as we continue to address, through Church structures; armed conflicts, climate related disasters, health threats, threats to democracy, poverty, unemployment and underemployment.”

In the one-page statement, Caritas Africa President, Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye is quoted as attesting that in his tenure at the helm of the humanitarian entity, he has had the opportunity to witness the contributions by Caritas volunteers at the Parish, Diocese, National, Regional and Global level.

“Important to note that the year 2020 presented to us unique challenges following the outbreak of COVID-19, but you still continued to serve and to show your love through sacrifice,” the Archbishop of Ghana’s Kumasi Archdiocese further says in reference to Caritas volunteers across Africa.

On IVD, “we celebrate all our volunteers,” the 60-year-old Ghanaian Archbishop who has been at the helm of Caritas Africa since May 2015 says.

The Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Kumasi Archdiocese encourages Caritas volunteers to keep contributing to the mission of the Church entity adding, “whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you are doing it for Christ our King.”

“Our colleagues in Jordan aptly put it, ‘Caritas is not a job, it is a mission…’ of love, hope, peace, solidarity, justice and a display of our Christian faith through service,” Caritas Africa Regional Executive Secretary, Albert Mashika has been quoted as saying in the December 1 statement.

To the entity’s volunteers, Mr. Mashika says, “Thank you for committing yourselves to serve the most excluded through the social pastoral ministry of the Church in Africa.”

“The mission of Caritas in Africa is inspired by the combination of volunteering with our Christian faith and the Catholic Social Teaching,” the entity’s officials say and add, “As we serve people who need help from us, we get to listen to their stories of suffering and in the same fashion we are encouraged by their stories of resilience.”

The principle of participation is about recognizing that we all have a role to play in our communities, Caritas Africa officials add in the December 1 statement.

As the world prepares to mark the day on December 5, officials of the Togo and Kenya-based entity invite all to reflect on the day’s theme, “Together we can through volunteering.”

Instituted by the United Nations in 1985, IVD offers an opportunity for people to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts, and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national and international levels.

With 46 National Caritas Organizations and presence in at least 508 Dioceses  in Sub-Saharan Africa, Caritas Africa officials facilitate the realization of initiatives around human development, peace building and economic justice. Practically, they respond to some of the world's largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies.

Some of the emergencies include those occasioned by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and food crises in the Sahel in the West and the Horn of Africa in the East.


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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]