Caritas Zambia was established in 2001 to animate the work of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Catholic Commission for Development with the mandate to foster and uphold human dignity through promotion of integral human development. The agency aims to improve outcomes for all of Zambian society, specifically targeting the poor and marginalised, through its core programme areas: organisational development, gender equality, HIV/AIDS prevention, sustainable agricultural, emergency response and preparedness, and governance and human rights.
During disasters resulting from natural hazards like droughts and floods, Caritas Zambia provides support to the affected households through relief and rehabilitation programmes, dispensing the basic necessities such as food, shelter, medicine and hygiene sanitation. Their work also aims to increase the capacity of communities in disaster preparedness and response through training in disaster risk reduction and the creation of community awareness to recognise early warnings.
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Advocacy and lobbying work at the national level to raise awareness of the importance of using gains from the country’s natural resources for social development is a core part of Caritas Zambia’s work. The agency lobbies policymakers to ensure that mining for Zambia’s copper is conducted in a responsible and environmentally sustainable way, and that all Zambians stand to benefit from the use of their country’s natural resources.
Caritas Zambia’s agriculture and alternative livelihood programmes focuses on capacity building for crop dependent communities in small livestock production but also initiatives to empower community members to effectively engage in other economic activities besides farming. Additional activities also include production of cash crops, training initiatives for farmers and harvesting and sale of forest products.
Caritas Zambia provides technical support to the dioceses to address gender inequalities and the consequences HIV/AIDS. The agency has developed HIV/AIDS work place policies and action plans to improve the social well being of women and female-headed households.
Based in Lusaka, Caritas Zambia works from the National Office there and in the 10 Caritas Diocesan and parishes spread throughout the country. To carry out their mission the agency employs 100 staff and 50 volunteers.
Caritas Zambia is indebted to the global Caritas network who have supported the agency’s work for a very long period of time, even in the face of world financial challenges that have been experienced in the recent past.
Their current partners include: Caritas Norway, Caritas England and Wales-CAFOD, Caritas Netherlands-CORDAID, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Canada-Development and Peace, Caritas Australia, Caritas Sweden, Caritas Ireland-Trócaire and Caritas Internationalis.