, 10 March, 2020 / 1:38 AM
In order to address the various crises facing Senegal as part of the “effects of climate change,” the Catholic Church in the West African nation, through its humanitarian arm Caritas Senegal, has launched the Senegal Emergency Fund (SEF) that seeks to help vulnerable persons in crisis situations.
“There are many reasons for this campaign, including low rainfall, delayed rains, frequent rain breaks and flooding. These are all effects of climate change that we have to face,” the president of Caritas Senegal, Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye told journalists at a press briefing to launch the campaign, Saturday, March 7.
“From one region to another, harvests are below what many families need to feed themselves decently. This situation points to a difficult farming season. We know that these persistent shocks are felt mostly by the most vulnerable households,” Archbishop Ndiaye of Senegal’s Archdiocese of Dakar lamented.
“It is to face these recurring emergency situations that, under the auspices of the Bishops of Senegal, a Senegal Emergency Fund has been set up, the coordination of which has been entrusted to our Caritas,” the Senegalese Prelate said.
The Fundraising campaign is expected to run from March 7-22, 2020.
The Church leader appealed to all stakeholders to support the campaign saying, “In the name of the Bishops, we wish to mobilize all the Catholic faithful of our dioceses, all Church structures combined, as well as the men and women of good will in our country to support this campaign.”
“We are in a favorable period, the time of Lent,” Archbishop Ndiaye said and added, “During this time, we are asked to give alms, to be attentive to the needs of others.”
“As bishops of Senegal, of different dioceses, we are attentive to the precarious situation that our people are experiencing. We want to create a spirit of solidarity internally. Not just waiting for help from elsewhere, but being able ourselves to mobilize funds to share with those in need,” the Senegalese Prelate further said.
He emphasized that funds gathered will provide “the necessary means for our interventions without always waiting for help from outside, which has very often been the case.”
Speaking on how Caritas works and its aid deployment process, the Secretary General of Caritas Senegal, Fr Alphonse Seck said, “When a crisis takes hold somewhere in Senegal and calls for action, the National Emergency Commission of Caritas Senegal assesses the seriousness of the situation and requests the agreement of the Archbishop of Dakar and the President Bishop of Caritas Senegal for an intervention using the resources of the emergency fund.”
According to Fr. Seck, “The Senegalese authorities, aware of the deep humanitarian situation, have drawn up a response plan, with the help of organizations such as Caritas Senegal, to assist some 359,644 people in a food crisis situation as quickly as possible. But some of our compatriots are already in a vulnerable situation, while others will be in the coming months.”
In order to raise more resources for this cause, Caritas Senegal has planned to expand and develop other strategies.
For instance, in the coming weeks, companies and foundations, organizations, and personalities will be approached directly to contribute or be invited to be part of a fundraising gala.
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