Chrsitopher Mweembe National Coordinator for Caritas Zimbabwe

Chrsitopher Mweembe
National Coordinator for Caritas Zimbabwe

 Caritas Zimbabwe as a Catholic agency

Caritas Zimbabwe is a member of Caritas Internationalis (CI), a worldwide federation of the Catholic Church relief and development organisations. Caritas Zimbabwe is an active member of CI at the zone level (Inter Regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa- IMBISA) whose membership comprises countries in the southern Africa region .

Caritas Zimbabwe was established in 1972 as a development initiative and also responds to the emergency situation that prevailed in the country at the time that a liberation war was being fought.

The purpose for which Caritas Zimbabwe shall exist in Zimbabwe is to carry out community developmental and humanitarian work involving the deprived children, their families and communities in order to improve their economic and social conditions. Catholic Church’s social teachings are the basic foundation of the organization.

The objectives and policy guidelines of Caritas Zimbabwe are described in the Operations Guidelines, Strategic Plans and other relevant Caritas Zimbabwe documents.

Today, Caritas Zimbabwe operates with staff stationed countrywide. 100% of staff in the dioceses is recruited locally. Volunteers from local communities help implement Caritas Zimbabwe’s projects in the dioceses. Caritas Zimbabwe is currently working in 8 Program dioceses with a total country caseload of over 245,000 beneficiaries. The Dioceses are namely, Harare, Mutare, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Hwange and Gokwe.

Program Themes/ Focus areas
The program themes define the scope of Caritas Zimbabwe’s work implemented in dioceses and these are: Emergency Relief Program seeks to restore human dignity with love by responding to needs of victims of various calamities regardless of creed, race, gender, ethnicity or other social grouping. Includes refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), orphans & vulnerable children (OVCs).


Vision

A Zimbabwe in which the dignity of the human being is paramount and in which exclusion, discrimination, violence and dehumanizing poverty is no more.

Mission

Caritas Zimbabwe strives to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of deprived and vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe through promoting, supporting and sustaining the development of the whole human being as part of the evangelism mission of the church.

a) Principles

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, points out in his first encyclical – Deus Caritas Est. – God is Love – is the one where those involved in works of charity need:

• To have a personal encounter with Christ which gives rise within them the desire to respond by reaching out in love for their neighbour;
• To have a heart that sees where love is needed and act accordingly;
• To have the freedom that love offers to enable others to live out their calling in an atmosphere of respect for difference.

There is an inseparable relationship between love for God and love for one’s neighbour. The real test of our living this love is to discover the other in all other people, so that within the community of believers there can be no room for poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life

Who is Caritas Zimbabwe?

        • Catholic agency that does not discriminate on who we work with
        • Committed to delivering aid and development in a highly efficient manner
        • Member of Caritas Internationalis, one of the largest development agencies in the world
        • Focused on sustainability by always working with local partners
        • We recognise the structural nature of poverty and the need to challenge these structures

Caritas means compassion
Caritas Zimbabwe is the Catholic agency for international aid and development. The Latin word Caritas means love and compassion. Qualities that are central to our work.

Administration costs are kept low
We help people to help themselves, regardless of race, political beliefs, gender or religion. Caritas Zimbabwe works hard to make sure that as much aid as possible actually reaches those who need it. The administration/aid ratio of Caritas Zimbabwe is one of the best in the world. We keep our administration and fundraising costs at or below 10% of our income. 92% of all money raised by Caritas Zimbabwe during an emergency appeal is actually sent to that country.

International network
Caritas Zimbabwe belongs to an international network called Caritas Internationalis. Caritas Internationalis is one of the largest aid and development agencies in the world comprising a network of 162 Catholic relief aid, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories.

Reflecting the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas Zimbabwe works with the local people of a particular country in all of its programs. We work in the field through our local partners. The partnership approach is central to our philosophy that international partners are best placed to identify their own community’s needs and problems. Working through local partners is central to ensuring sustainability as the local communities design and manage their own development programs in a manner, which is culturally appropriate and owned by the community. Caritas Zimbabwe does not need to spend money on building a new organisation every time a need arises because donations are more efficiently directed through these local partners.

Caritas Zimbabwe works with our international partners in addressing the causes of their poverty and bringing about long-term change. We support programs for human development and self-reliance. These include improving health, overcoming illiteracy, reducing environmental damage, conserving cultural identity and providing training for better agricultural practices.

Project Compassion
Caritas Zimbabwe invites guests from our partner countries to visit Zimbabwe each Lent to speak to us about Caritas development programs in their country. Project Compassion is the main way Caritas Zimbabwe raises money. Every Catholic school, every Catholic parish and all Zimbabwens are invited to be part of the Project Compassion campaign each Lent.

Creating change
Caritas Zimbabwe has education and advocacy programs within Zimbabwe, working to help Zimbabwens become aware of the causes of injustice and poverty and encouraging people to take action. We take up these issues in recognition of the structural impediments to people breaking free from the cycle of poverty.


Our Mission
Caritas Zimbabwe works towards the creation of a world that God desires to be just and compassionate. Caritas works for the freedom of those who are oppressed by injustice, bringing ‘sight’ to both those who are powerless and powerful and proclaiming to the poor the good news of their human dignity. This work is undertaken principally through the life-giving activities of aid and development.

As God created humanity to be in right relationship, so Caritas Zimbabwe will seek to work through right relationships or partnerships to bring freedom to the world’s poorest communities today. Caritas Zimbabwe works within Zimbabwe by inviting people into a just and compassionate partnership with people who are poor. In all of this, Caritas Zimbabwe, as the Catholic Church’s agency for aid and development, gives expression to the Gospel imperative to pursue justice and to help those suffering from poverty and disadvantage.

Our Vision
“Jesus stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 16-19, 21)


The international aid and development work of Caritas Zimbabwe is reflective of the life of Jesus Christ, and shaped by the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching principles:

Preferential Option for the Poor
Caritas Zimbabwe will work with communities who experience poverty, injustice, hunger and oppression regardless of their religious, political or cultural beliefs.

Human Dignity
Caritas Zimbabwe will work with communities in ways that respect, enhance and build their human dignity, empowering them to be authentic agents of change in their own lives, families, communities and societies.

Solidarity
Caritas Zimbabwe will work with international, Zimbabwen Indigenous and all other partners in a spirit of mutual respect, transparency and integrity so that walls of hatred and prejudice, division and oppression will be transformed, so that a better future is built for the world’s poorest people, and where the common good of all people is promoted.

Subsidiarity
Caritas Zimbabwe will work within the structures of the Catholic community and of the local community, both internationally and within Zimbabwe. This will enable swift and culturally appropriate responses to need. Caritas Zimbabwe’s decision-making processes will engage those affected by decisions and policies and reflect transparency and accountability.

Stewardship of the Earth’s Resources
Caritas Zimbabwe will work for the integrity of creation in ways which assist the world’s poorest communities to have access to a greater share of resources, encouraging sustainability and equity, and respect for the environment.


Vital Worldwide Networks

Caritas Zimbabwe is a member of Caritas Internationalis – one of the largest humanitiarian relief, development and social services networks in the world.
Caritas Zimbabwe works with other Caritas agencies to implement emergency and development programmes. The Caritas network is made up of 162 Catholic charities working in 200 countries and territories around the world

Caritas Zimbabwe is the Catholic agency for international aid and development in Zimbabwe.

Caritas Zimbabwe belongs to an international confederation called Caritas Internationalis, a network of 162 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 provides a beacon of hope for tens of millions of women, men and children in times of hardship and contributes to the development of social justice in times of peace. Caritas’ mandate includes integral development, emergency relief, advocacy, peace building, respect for human rights and support for proper stewardship of the planet’s environment and resources. Click here to watch an online movie on the work of the confederation. (5Mb WMV)

The Caritas approach is based on Catholic Social Teaching, which focuses on the dignity of the human person. Caritas believes 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 unique is its ongoing 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, Caritas can continuously adapt its strategies to an ever changing environment.
Caritas fights poverty, exclusion, intolerance and discrimination. More importantly, it empowers people to participate fully in all matters affecting their lives, and it advocates on their behalf at national and international forums.

Caritas promotes partnership: local autonomy is paramount in ensuring effective teamwork for the good of all. By pooling expertise and resources, Caritas is able to identify issues at the grassroots, analyse them at national and international levels, and then take action locally, regionally and globally.
To find out more about the international Caritas network visit www.caritas.org


Caritas Zimbabwe Programming Strategic Directions

The Caritas Zimbabwe’s approach is based on the Social Teachings of the Church, which focuses on the dignity of the human person. Caritas Zimbabwe’s work with and on behalf of the poor manifests God’s love for all creation.

Caritas Zimbabwe believes that the weak and oppressed are not objects of pity, but agents of change leading the struggle to eradicate dehumanizing poverty, unacceptable living conditions ,and unjust social, economic and cultural structures .

What makes Caritas Zimbabwe unique is its wide count rywide network upto grass roots communities, ongoing presence in communities, before, during and after crisis situation It empowers people to participate more fully in all matters affecting their lives, and advocates on their behalf at national and international forums. Caritas Zimbabwe promotes partnerships. By pooling expertise and resources, Caritas Zimbabwe is able to identify issues at the grassroots level, analyse them at national and international levels and take action locally, regionally and globally.

In and for itself Caritas Zimbabwe is an appreciable sign in the world of a state of faith; Christ’s charity which exhorts the church to exercise God’s love. Caritas – without words – evangelizes.

Caritas fights poverty, exclusion, intolerance and discrimination. More importantly, it empowers people to participate more fully in all matters affecting their lives, and advocates on their behalf at national and international forums.

Caritas promotes partnerships: local autonomy is paramount in ensuring effective teamwork for the good of all. By pooling expertise and resources, Caritas is able to identify issues at the grassroots level, analyze them at national and international levels and take action locally, regionally and globally.

In and for itself Caritas is an appreciable sign in the world of a state of faith; Christ’s charity which exhorts the church to exercise God’s love. Caritas – without words – evangelizes.

Caritas’s global identity includes a central organizing thought “Social teachings of the Church are at the heart of everything we do”.

The mission of Caritas is to make God’s love visible in the world. Deus Caritas Est.

We work to build bridges of Hope.

We work with people to bring about positive changes in some of the poorest people in Zimbabwe’s provinces.
Our programmes are carried out with through our eight Diocese so local people are in control of the implementation process and, in turn, their own development.

We’re unlike any other development agency in Zimbabwe. Here’s why:

        • Our Development Work
        • Our programmes aim to:
                • Respond to Emergencies and Disasters
                • Tackle injustice and defend human rights
                • Address the HIV and AIDS crisis
                • Support gender equality
                • Encourage self-reliance via development programs

Contact

Africa Synod House 29/31 Selous Avenue, Harare
Postal Address Box CY 738 Causeway, Harare

Telephone (04) 705368/9
Fax (04) 704001