Caritas Swaziland was founded in 1977 to empower communities and reduce the chronic poverty under which 70% of the population lives. Due to drought and disease, one in four people struggle to feed themselves. Since its inception, the organization has helped 500,000 people in a country with very high unemployment and the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world.
Caritas Swaziland’s social welfare programs and services provide assistance to over 23,000 beneficiaries per year.
Caritas Swaziland participates in the Caritas Internationalis “HAART” campaign, a campaign for highly active antiretroviral treatment that was launched by Caritas in 2009 to ensure that children infected with HIV have access to medication.
Trainings include capacity building to ensure that institutions are in place to support development work, and monitoring and evaluation to improve projects. Loans and grants have helped the creation of small businesses. More immediate assistance includes food and clothing.
Caritas Swaziland’s greatest challenge is to address the social inequalities that contribute to poverty and to curb HIV infection.
The Caritas Swaziland headquarters in Manzini has 27 staff and 225 volunteers to carry out its activities. The headquarters works closely with the diocesan Caritas office and 17 parish Caritas.
As a member of Caritas Africa and Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Swaziland receives support from the global Caritas network, such as Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Italy and Caritas England and Wales-CAFOD.