Caritas is a humanitarian relief organisation with a Catholic ethos. The organisation was founded in 1947. Internationally Caritas works with longterm development and humanitarian relief. In Denmark Caritas helps the socially marginalised.
WITH AN EYE FOR THE POOREST
Caritas has specialised in sustainable agricultural development in Africa, South East Asia and South America, where the poorest farmers are aided out of poverty. By combining advocacy at the national level with organising and offering technical support to small farmers at the local level we give to poor people the will, the ability, and the possibility of permanently breaking out of poverty by their own efforts.
THE SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS:
• Improve farmers’ living conditions through promoting sustainable production and food supply security.
• Strengthen the farming populations’ democratic competences and popular organisation with a view to assisting them in their handling of the role as legitimate advocates of their own interests and rights.
• Strengthen our partner organisations’ competences and institutional capacity with a view to assisting them in their handling of the role as developers of the target groups’ competences and legitimate advocates of the target groups’ economic and political interests.
FOCUS ON REFUGEES
Caritas’ longer term relief projects are focussed on the victims of the armed conflict in Burma, the Iraq war, and the internal conflict in the Sudan. Caritas works with a number of refugee camps in Tchad and in Thailand and provides assistance through health centres in Jordan. In Burma our activities aim at helping the internally displaced and the villages which accommodate them temporarily. Urgent relief assistance is offered as support in solidarity to partners in disaster areas, where we already work with development, or channelled through CI.
RESPONSIBLE RELIEF WORK
Caritas’ relief efforts are different from traditional relief work in several ways:
• Our assistance goes through local partners who are already in the area. This ensures prompt access to information on crisis situations, efficient assistance to victims in isolated areas and close collaboration with the local population. Caritas works in 200 countries and territories and this makes Caritas able to start a relief action just few hours after a catastrophe has hit an area.
• The Caritas assistance is long term and focuses on the time after a catastrophe has hit. This means that, through local partners, Caritas stay in the affected areas until the country is back on its feet again.
• Caritas helps victims, both of the disasters that the media report from, and victims of the disasters where people suffer without being noticed.
This is the advantage of being a global network – we are present before, during, and after a disaster strikes. That is responsible relief work!
WE ARE WORKING ON TWO FRONTS
It is an important strategic priority for Caritas to create better synergy and closer coherence between advocacy North and South. This enables Caritas to launch a coordinated offensive on two fronts, as advocates in the political debate on development in Denmark and in the countries we work in. Without considerable changes in other policy areas in the North our development assistance will not be very effective in itself!
Development of the poor communities in the South is not only assisted through aid programmes but also through a targeted adaptation of other policies in the North and in the programme countries, which has a direct or indirect impact on the living conditions of the poor (agriculture, environment, climate, research, security, trade etc.)
Through information and advocacy Caritas wants to influence the political agenda and create a greater understanding of the problems the developing countries are facing and suggest specific courses of action. That is Caritas’ mission of advocacy.
COLLABORATION AND FUNDING
Caritas’ relief and development work is planned and implemented in close collaboration with popular and church related organisations. Assistance is provided with no regard to political or religious affiliation, race or ethnical group. Our work is financed through contributions from private donors, enterprises and foundations, through general fund-raising and through funds from the Danish Foreign Ministry.
Caritas is a member of the global network Caritas Internationalis. Through this network Caritas assists millions of people all over the world – both in the hot spots of the world and in regions where a longterm development effort is vital.
THE CHURCH CONNECTION
Caritas is rooted in the Roman Catholic Church in Denmark. Caritas is an independent legal entity with its own articles of association. Only in Church related matters is Caritas subject to the Catholic Church meaning that Caritas is governed by a set of values that creates the framework of its development and relief work.