, 21 February, 2020 / 5:06 AM
The challenge of natural disasters in the Ecclesiastical territories within Southern Africa and how to deal with them and having financial resources are among the deliberations of the ongoing six-day workshop in Pretoria, South Africa, involving the coordinators of Caritas Southern Africa, with participants having come from Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, as well as Namibia.
The workshop is an opportunity to equip member organizations of Caritas Southern Africa that brings together Bishops’ conferences in the four countries with essential skills in dealing challenges including resource mobilization and dealing with natural catastrophes, the regional Coordinator of Caritas Africa, Albert Mashika said in an interview with South Africa based Radio Veritas.
“Mobilizing resources, dealing with natural disasters and getting Caritas very well enrooted in communities are some of the main challenges Caritas Africa faces presently,” Mr. Mashika has been quoted as telling Radio Veritas in a statement shared with ACI Africa.
Being held under the auspices of the Institutional Development for the Engagement and Sustainability (IDEAS), a project of Caritas Southern Africa, the workshop that will conclude Saturday, February 22 aims at meeting “the needs of the Member Organizations in terms of professional standards and competencies in order to enable them to fully carry out their socio-pastoral mission entrusted by the Church,” the statement compiled by Radio Veritas and shared with ACI Africa reads in part.
The workshop has the global objective of contributing to the strengthening of the capacity of the Southern Africa Caritas Member Organisations with the countries of Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, and Namibia.
“The workshop will also allow participants to strengthen their capacities and get professional recognition in terms of Project Cycle Management, Resource Mobilisation as well as Safeguarding and Protection,” the statement by Radio Veritas about the ongoing training reads.
Caritas Southern Africa is a regional body that is part of Caritas Africa, the latter regrouping 46 national Caritas organizations of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In July 2013, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) decided that Caritas Africa be an integral part of its structures, shifting its previous headquarters in Togo’s capital Lome to the headquarters of SECAM in Accra, Ghana.
“Caritas Africa is at the heart of the Church’s mission in Africa. In serving the poor, it is a sign of God’s love for humanity in Jesus Christ,” the website of the continental body reads.
“Altogether, Caritas organizations in sub-Saharan Africa reach out more than 73 million beneficiaries,” with an overall annual budget of “more than 182 million euros.”
“Over the next four years (2020-2023) Caritas Africa will work on building strong networks of Caritas members, improve professionalism in order to enable Caritas Africa to respond effectively to natural disasters, and engage Caritas Africa integral human development inanities through advocacy to influence public policies to be pro-poor,” Radio Veritas has reported.
Meanwhile, Caritas Africa is one of the seven regions of Caritas Internationalis that exists to end poverty, promote justice, and restore human dignity across the world.
As its mission, Caritas Internationalis “reflects the social mission and core values of the Catholic Church” and believes “in dignity, solidarity and stewardship on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
In a January 13 meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis amended statutes and internal rules for Caritas Internationalis. According to a Vatican statement, the meeting had considered “the need to redefine the purpose and order of Caritas Internationalis.”
On February 17, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis approved changes to the governing statutes and internal rules of Caritas Internationalis
The new statutes had been in effect since May 2019 after a decree from the Vatican Secretariat of State approved changes made by the general assembly of Caritas.
The changes include moving the oversight of Caritas Internationalis, previously part of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
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