Caritas Uganda was founded in 1970 and is the overall coordinating body for the socio-economic development of the Uganda Episcopal Conference. The agency’s main functions are in areas of social services, development and advocacy with the main goal of providing emergency relief and rehabilitation, poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS prevention, improving community livelihood, promoting good governance, enhance organisational development and peacebuilding. Central to their work is to foster sustained development solutions by working with and through local partners and the Caritas network to help Ugandans identify and address the root causes of poverty and injustice affecting their lives.
Caritas Uganda’s wide-range of programmes and campaigns addresses the serious economic and social development challenges resulting from a 20 year civil war that left 1.7 million refugees, a devastating AIDS epidemic and high poverty rate as 38 percent live on less than $1.38 a day. Core programmes include humanitarian relief, agriculture, microfinance, water and sanitation, youth empowerment and peacebuilding that benefit 6.5 million beneficiaries every year.
Since its inception, Caritas Uganda has always given a special concern to humanitarian assistance campaigns as Uganda suffers from regular flooding and drought which significantly impacts its agriculturally reliant economy. Their work improves access to water and sanitation, provides seed banks in case of failed crops, and emboldens sustainable agricultural to help farmers undertake agro-forestry.
One million Ugandans are living with HIV/AIDS and another 1 million are orphans as a result of the disease. Though there has been a drop in the prevalence rate from 19 percent in the early 1990s to below 7 percent thanks to the campaign against the virus in the country. Caritas’s education and awareness campaigns, coupled with a partnership with CRS, provides care and treatment through 18 medical facilities to people living with the virus.
Caritas Uganda facilitates long term sustainable solutions for socio-economic development through micro-financing and promotion of agricultural skills to help local communities. Current activities includes the linkage of farmers to financial institutions for soft loans and organising open markets for them to display their agricultural produce and learn technical advice from district agricultural officers and key development partners.
Caritas Uganda’s National Secretariat in Kampala guides and conducts their services through 19 Caritas Diocesan and 472 Caritas Parishes spread throughout the country. To carry out their mission the agency employs 210 staff and 3,776 volunteers.
Key to the success of Caritas Uganda’s work is their collaboration with the global Caritas network; such as Caritas Norway, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Australia, Caritas Denmark, Caritas Japan, Caritas Italy, Caritas Netherlands-CORDAID, Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Africa.
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