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Introduction to Caritas & Caritas Nepal

Caritas

Caritas is a Latin word which means “love and charity” – the love of a human being towards his fellow human beings. In Christian theology, caritas or love (agapé) means an unlimited, selfless loving-kindness towards all others. It is also the name by which the Roman Catholic Church’s relief, development and social service organizations operating around the world are known.

There are 162 Caritas agencies in existence in over 200 countries and territories around the globe. These national Caritas organizations operate as the social arm of the Catholic Church in the country. Collectively and individually, their mission is to work to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed. The first Caritas organization was started in Freiburg, Germany, in 1897. Collectively, Caritas organizations around the world have formed a international confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organisations, which is known as Caritas Internationalis. It is one of the world's largest humanitarian networks with 162 members working in over 200 countries and territories. Its General Secretariat is located in the Palazzo San Calisto in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The current President of Caritas Internationalis is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and the Secretary General is Lesley-Anne Knight.

Caritas Nepal

Caritas Nepal is a social development/relief organization operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church in Nepal as its social arm. It was established in 1990 and is registered as an NGO. Caritas Nepal is a member of Caritas Internationalism. Caritas Nepal tries to spread the love of caritas by working in solidarity with the poor, downtrodden, marginalized people of Nepal with a mission to empower them to overcome poverty and realize basic human rights and social justice and to provide relief to those suffering from disasters and conflict. The main programme areas of Caritas Nepal currently are: Improving Food Security of Rural Households through Sustainable Agriculture; Building Sustainable Peace; Socio-economic Empowerment; Poverty Alleviation through Cooperatives and Micro Enterprises; Combating Trafficking of Women; Education for Bhutanese Refugee Children; Community Based Disaster Preparedness; Emergency Relief for Disaster Victims, and so on.

Caritas Nepal is governed by an elected executive committee comprising 7 board members and 15 general members. His Excellency, Monsignor Anthony Sharma S.J., the first Catholic Bishop of Nepal, has led Caritas Nepal as President since its establishment. In fact, the creation of Caritas Nepal was the fruit of Msgr Sharma’s labours to raise relief for victims of the severe floods of 1987, when his approach to Caritas India requesting them to branch out relief operations to Nepal resulted instead in the initiation of actions to establish a separate national Caritas agency in Nepal itself, which he saw to a successful conclusion 1990. The Executive Committee oversees activities of Caritas Nepal through the formation of various committees like the Project Selection Committee, Personnel Committee, Emergency Relief Committee, and so on. Long-term policy decisions and short-term choices are made within this framework to steer Caritas Nepal along the different paths it needs to take to fulfil its goals.
The main face of Caritas Nepal is its office, headed by the Executive Director - Fr K B (Silas) Bogati, which translates the decisions and directives made by the Executive Committee into action. The Executive Director is supported by some 50 staff members, 30 of who are employed by the Central Office in Kathmandu and the rest by the regional and sub offices located in Damak, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Bardiya. The staff work in various departments and sections catering to the varied needs of the organization like, Accounts/Finance; Administration; Transport; Communications/IT; Integrated Pest Management, Micro-Credit and Cooperatives Programmes; Peace Programmes; Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programme; Emergency Relief Programme; Women’s’ Programme, Small Projects; and so on. Staff numbers and sections continue to grow steadily with the steady increase in new projects and programmes.

Caritas Nepal carries out its work in the field through partnership with selected local NGOs able to reach out at the grassroots level to the communities in the program areas. It also provides its partner organizations’ staff with the necessary training to build their capacity to efficiently implement the activities. With the many and varied programmes and activities that Caritas Nepal is implementing in the field, Caritas Nepal’s local partnership network now covers the length and breadth of the country reaches out into almost every nook and cranny.

The main sources of funds for Caritas Nepal’s programmes and activities are its international Caritas partners. It is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Asia Partnership for Human Development (APHD) and maintains close partnership with other Caritas/Catholic agencies like Misereor, Missio, Caritas Germany, Secours Catholique (Caritas France), Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA), Caritas Austria, Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Australia and Caritas Japan., etc. It also partners with United Nations agencies like UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, OCHA, etc and occasionally collaborates with INGOs like ADRA, Lutheran World Federation, etc.

Since its humble beginnings nearly two decades ago, Caritas Nepal has come a long way and has developed into a full-fledged development/relief organization covering the whole length and breadth of the country and reaching out in love and charity to people in need in every part of the country with diverse programs and activities that go down all the way to the grassroots level to bring about lasting improvements to the lives of the needy.

Staff from Caritas Nepal and partner NGOs pose for a group photo at the end of a training course.

Including staff from partner NGOs in capacity building training courses is the norm at Caritas Nepal. This helps to improve coordination and efficiency in the delivery of the programmes, which in turn results in maximum benefits to the needy people these programmes are targeted for.

 

The official website of Caritas Nepal

 

© Caritas Nepal 2008