Caritas Namibia was founded in 1987 and plays a vital role in a country where a third of the population lives on less than US$1 per day. Half of Namibia’s people rely on subsistence agriculture for their survival and HIV continues to hamper attempts to grow enough food in some areas, as well as droughts and floods also affecting food supplies. Caritas Namibia responds to these issues with a range of services that include education, capacity building and humanitarian relief following emergency crisis.
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In 1998, Caritas Namibia helped set up Catholic AIDS Action through the Namibian Catholic Bishops Conference to combat the pressing HIV/AIDS epidemic. The national programme helps people living with HIV through home-based family care and counseling, education for young people, HIV prevention, care and support for orphans and vulnerable children and voluntary counseling and testing. Its success was highlighted when the government adopted the programme as a model for its own HIV/AIDS initiatives.
Caritas Namibia capacity-building initiatives includes building schools and hospitals, establishing soup kitchens to increase access to food, providing home-based care for families and campaigns to promote peacebuilding.
The aim of Caritas Namibia is for all Church initiatives to become locally owned, managed and financed. To achieve this, the agency provides skills training, with loans to help set up small-scale enterprises and obtain seeds and agricultural equipment.
Caritas Namibia main office in Windhoek is led by a National Coordinator and 60 volunteers. Complementing the National Office are 3 diocesan Caritas organisations and 40 parishes in Namibia.
Caritas Namibia is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Africa.