‘Desire to Support Caritas Ghana’
With high prospects of empowering more Ghanaians to achieve their developmental potentials, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye, Acting Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS), urged Catholics and people of goodwill to learn more about Caritas Ghana and support its work.
As the main vehicle of the Church’s development agenda, he called for full support for the progress of Caritas Ghana, noting that it stands for the total development of the people.
He stated that the service of charity is at the heart of the Church’s nature and mission, and that Caritas Ghana will coordinate the Church’s efforts in the areas of health, education, livelihood support programme and other interventions in a holistic and systematic way.
Fr. Abbey-Quaye, highlighting the Church’s commitment to continue in a sustainable way the integral development of all people, he reiterated the Church’s readiness to bring together societies to setup foundations to cater for the needs of the poor, as well as encourage individuals to do same.
In the spirit of self-reliance, and the eminent drying up of donor funds for projects, the Acting Secretary General called for a paradigm shift and attitudinal change, urging people to embrace positive mind-set that we are capable of doing things for ourselves.
Stating that the service of charity does not mean the Church has do everything, Fr. Abbey-Quaye, reiterated the duty of the Church to lead the way to ensure the sustenance of the charity work.
He noted that the Church through Caritas Ghana would strive to maximise the donor funds they receive; and implement rigorous accountability regime to ensure the judicious use of funds and investments that will sustain the charity works of the Church in the long run.
This ties in with the vision of Caritas Africa to “…I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), which it’s President Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, says he would ensure it is owned and implemented by everybody.
Said the Archbishop: “The mission to achieving this is surely to bring people to know it, talk about it more, form people and also commission people do precisely that… ensuring that we achieve our mission of reaching out in love to our brothers and sisters who are in need”.
The Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante, President of Caritas Ghana, stated that the official launch of the body introduces significant changes in standard and quality of the social services that the Church has rendered to humanity over the years, in areas of health, education, livelihoods, relief and incomes.
For it breathe a new life and vitality for the Church’s charity, the Bishop stated that “the global management standards, code of ethics and code of conduct of staff of the Caritas Confederation would be the benchmarks that guide the operation of Caritas Ghana,” while the principle of Catholic Social Teachings will underpin its actions and relationships.
Caritas Ghana, with the emblem of the holy Cross of hope, has shown its readiness to empower the people of Ghana attain equitable development and help them live in freedom, peace and dignity.
It handles policy engagement and advocacy, livelihoods and social protection and emergency response, with specific areas including public policy advocacy, social research, relief services, education and health delivery service advocacies.
Other areas consists of Livelihood Promotion and Institutional Development and Capacity Strengthening.
As it is with every organisation, Rev. Fr. Abbey-Quaye, agrees there would be challenges in areas of staffing, managing relationships between the national Caritas, the Diocesan and Parish level structures, but added quickly that there are programmes in place to organise workshops and provide support for the Diocesan Caritas offices to work with the Caritas Agenda.
Likewise, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, has explained how Caritas Ghana was introducing the Caritas International (CI) Management Standards as a means of improving the management of the members which will also serve as a capacity building initiative, aimed at sharing knowledge and mutual continuous learning.
The Management Standards which falls under Institutional Development and Capacity Strengthening (IDCS) drive of the Caritas Ghana, will empower and strengthen Diocesan structures to reform and be more innovative to seek funding.
Key innovative interventions
With effort to establish a systematic process to enhance its operations in the country, Caritas Ghana has adopted processes, including an effective engagement of the Government and other major stakeholders to among other things enhance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana.
To do this, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, states that the organisation will tackle two main objectives of increasing citizens’ awareness and participation in the implementation of the SDGs; and to contribute to achieving National level policy coherence and planning for the implementation of the SDGs.
The expected impact according to him, would be measured by increased citizens’ demand on government for implementation of the SDGs, especially around the 2016 General Elections; increased multi-stakeholder engagement on the proposed 40-year National Development Plan with key references to SDGs, targets and indicators in Ghana.
Caritas Ghana thus, proposes three key interventions during the period from June to December, 2016 as its contribution to civic engagement. This consists of preparing a national monitoring report on SDG Implementation status with a detailed terms of reference to be undertaken by qualified research Consultants using participatory action-research approach.
Under the National Policy Engagement, schedule to take effect in September 2016, Caritas Ghana proposes to use the national monitoring report for a national policy engagement, which will involve diverse stakeholders from civil society, faith-based organisations, private sector and public institutions.
Moreover, Caritas Ghana in its proposed participation in Regional and International policy dialogue on follow up and review, intends to use the lessons learned from the initiatives to feed into Regional and International advocacy efforts for the implementation of the SDGs. In line with this, Caritas Ghana Executive Secretary, Mr. Akologo will be leading the Caritas Confederation delegation to participate in the July 10-20th UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF), on follow up and review of the SDGs in New York.
The delegation would together with Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies (CIDSE) hold a side event to share Africa’s experience so for in the implementation of the SDGs.
The Symposium for Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) Secretariat in Accra is expected to be involved to learn from the process and use its outcome for their advocacy at the AU level. Expectation are that outcome of the initiative will also feed into Caritas Africa and Caritas International advocacy efforts by hopefully representing those institutions in any Regional and International policy dialogue meetings on the SDGs.
Caritas Ghana (until now the Department of Human Development), was established in 1971 by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and now has twenty Diocesan Offices and four Directorates: Social Development, Education and Religious Education, Health and Governance, Justice and Peace.
Focused on Integrated and Holistic Human Centred Development, Caritas Ghana undertakes relevant service delivery projects within the country. This includes promoting self-help projects in agricultural development, rural health and micro-credit for small businesses and coordinates relief operations after emergencies, and work on public policy advocacy on behalf of the poor and the promotion of the common good.
By Kwesi Yirenkyi Boateng