Caritas Cape Verde, which was established in 1976, operates in a country in which food security is threatened by drought and scarcity of arable land. Since 1999 Caritas has engaged in programmes to empower poor families and communities, in order to create favourable conditions that enable people to adapt to conditions of climate vulnerability. Examples include the programme to empower poor communities on the islands of Santiago and Santo Antão, and the João Varela agro-ecological project.
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In 2008 Cape Verde graduated from being a least developed country to being a country of average development. The country had a few problems in adapting to this situation as it entails a reduction in the availability of external funding for development. The problems that Caritas Cape Verde faces today include rising crime rates and an increase in the number of migrants from the West African coast.
Food and nutritional security: development of agro-ecology and small vegetable gardens, increase of household incomes (microcredit, income-generating activities, solidarity economy).
Access to potable water: support for the construction of tanks and reservoirs for collecting rain water and storage of self-transported water.
Integration of children in situations of risk: (Mindelo street children project) leisure activities, holiday camps; handicrafts and recycling.
Promotion of civic rights and social commitment: campaign against the use of drugs and alcohol, prevention of delinquency, creation of a local development association.
Protection of the environment: introduction of agro-ecology, tree planting and introduction of new drought-resistant species.
Internal and external sharing: sharing among parish Caritas and between solidarity economy groups, sharing of experiences and working methods with the Caritas network: Brazil, Senegal, Caritas France – Champagne Ardennes region.
Caritas Cape Verde participates on various government-level committees (Committee to Combat Drugs, Global Fund, etc). At international level Caritas Cape Verde works in collaboration with Secours Catholique in France, Caritas Luxembourg and the Jean Paul II Foundation for the Sahel.