Caritas in Southern Africa Urge Multi-agency “close collaboration” to Foster “resilience”

Participants at the training session on community-based disaster risk reduction management organized by Caritas Africa from September 25 to 30, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Officials of Caritas entities in Conferences under the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) are advocating for multi-agency “close collaboration” to facilitate the fostering of resilience among community members at the grassroots.

In their September 30 statement following a Training of Trainers (ToT) on facilitating Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in Gaborone, Botswana, officials of the Caritas entities say there are increasing disasters in IMBISA “negating the progressive gains of resilience slowly realized by local communities and, following interventions by state and non-state actors.”

They underscore the “need for close collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and national governments to enhance the continent-wide agenda at the grassroots level to resilience building.”

Some of the entities they have in mind for the envisaged collaboration include the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme (RVAA).”

Officials of Caritas Angola, Caritas Botswana, Diocesan Caritas of Cape Town, South Africa, Caritas Eswatini, Caritas Lesotho, Caritas Mozambique, Caritas Namibia, Caritas Sao Tome & Principe, Caritas Zimbabwe, Caritas Africa and IMBISA General Secretariat say they also recognize the “importance of accompanying local communities to develop preparedness measures and build community resilience in collaboration with government and Civil Society networks.” 


In their statement, the Caritas entities commit to “Roll out CMDRR trainings to other zones and in-country to reach as many dioceses as possible”. They also express their commitment to facilitating “capacity sharing with local communities to actively identify, analyze, monitor and evaluate risk and manage it.”

The Caritas officials say they will also “promote policy advocacy that is people-centered”, adding that they will “leverage indigenous knowledge systems in CMDRR.”

They call upon officials of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Regional Economic communities to increase the recognition of faith-based organizations in DRR by enhancing their participation in national and regional thematic groups. 

The officials of Caritas in IMBISA further call on governments to "enhance DRR coordination mechanism and practices between state, and non-state actors including the private sector at national and subnational levels."

They also urge regional Conferences of Catholic Bishops in Africa to "promote institutionalization of CMDRR at the national, diocesan and parish levels."

More in Africa

Caritas officials say Catholic Bishops’ Conferences also need to support the implementation of action plans developed from the CMDRR training. 

IMBISA will facilitate the implantation of the action plans through Secretaries General of National, they say in the September 30 statement.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.