Caritas Zimbabwe and its involvement in Communities

Children in Gokwe

Caritas Zimbabwe is the official Catholic agency for humanitarian and development work in Zimbabwe. It is officially registered as a Private Voluntary Organization in terms of subsection (5) of section 9 of the Private Voluntary Organization Act (17:05) in the Republic of Zimbabwe. The organisation was established in 1972 as a development initiative and also responding to the emergency situation that prevailed in the country at the time that a liberation war was being fought. Since then, it has continued to provide a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of women, men and children in times of hardship and contributes to the development of social justice in times of peace. The organisation belongs to an international confederation called Caritas Internationalis (CI) (, a network of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories. Caritas is one of the largest international humanitarian networks, working with people regardless of their religion, race, gender or ethnicity.

Caritas Zimbabwe’s approach is based on Catholic Social Teaching, which focuses on the dignity of the human person. We believe that the weak and oppressed are not objects of pity, but agents of change leading the struggle to eradicate dehumanising poverty, unacceptable living and working conditions, and unjust social, political, economic and cultural structures.

What makes Caritas Zimbabwe unique is its on-going presence in communities, before, during and after crisis situations. Important, too, is that being part of civil society and incorporating the perspective of the poor, we can continuously adapt our strategies to an ever changing environment. Caritas Zimbabwe fights poverty, exclusion, intolerance and discrimination. More importantly, it empowers people to participate fully in all matters affecting their lives, and advocates with and/or on their behalf at national and international forums.

For Caritas Zimbabwe partnership is critical. We value local autonomy in ensuring effective teamwork for the good of all. In this regard, Caritas Zimbabwe interventions are implemented through a network of 8 Diocesan Caritas Offices. These are Caritas Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Gokwe, Gweru, Harare, Hwange, Masvingo and Mutare and coordinated by a National Office based in Harare. By pooling expertise and resources, we are able to identify issues at the grassroots, analyse them at district, provincial, national, regional and international levels, and then take action locally, regionally and globally.drought mitigation pictures 957 (1)

 Sustainable Livelihoods & Food Security Program seeks to increase food security and family disposable income, which will enable families to improve their welfare through enlarging productive opportunities and increasing access to resources for communities and strengthening their technical and managerial capacity.Water & Sanitationseeks to ensure that families live in secure, safe and healthy habitats (improving living conditions, access to clean water, training on hygiene practices etc.), by promoting and strengthening the organizational, technical and resource capacity of families and communities to focus upon their habitat needs.

 In conducting humanitarian work, we maximiseon the coping strategies and reducing future vulnerabilities of those affected by disasters and other emergencies, Caritas Zimbabwe acknowledges the various vulnerabilities, needs and capabilities of affected groups. Specific factors such as gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS status, affect vulnerability and shape people’s ability to cope and survive during times of stress. In all Caritas Zimbabwe’s humanitarian interventions, these key vulnerability factors are mainstreamed.

 Evidence-based Advocacy is one of the key pillars of Caritas Zimbabwe’s work in fighting social injustices, gender inequality, exclusion and poverty. We value conducting surveillances on food security, carrying out research on developmental matters that can inform policies for purposes of advocacy with and/or on behalf of the affected communities.  Migration and Human Trafficking Program reaches out to migrants whether refugees, internally displaced populations or returnees and victims of human trafficking with the aim of facilitating dignified repatriation, re-integration and restoration (3Rs) of their livelihoods.Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues are prioritised by Caritas Zimbabwe and ensure that issues such as gender, HIV/AIDS, social protection and advocacy are mainstreamed through existing interventions using rights-based approaches to development.

The organisation works in partnership with other Caritas agencies to implement emergency and development programmes; such as Caritas England and Wales-CAFOD, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Ireland-Trócaire, Caritas Australia and Misereor. Beside, Caritas Zimbabwe works in partnership with various government ministries, UN agencies, INGOs and community based organisations. drought mitigation pictures 1081.jpgCaritas Zimbabwe is informed by its fundamental values of transparency; accountability; service; solidarity; respect of human dignity and subsidiarity.

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