The Catholic Development Office (CaDO) was founded in 2001 and is the development wing of the Catholic Church in The Gambia. The agency’s mandate is to coordinate all economic, socio-pastoral and relief activities to attain a more humane and just society. Main areas of intervention include primary health care, HIV/AIDS care and support, water and sanitation, fisheries, emergency response, peace building and income generating activities. The aim of their activities is to maximise community capacity building through implementation, support, coordination and administration of various parish based projects to benefit communities, especially the marginalised and economic poor, women and children.
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Catholic Development Office implements programmes in partnership with Caritas partners, local organisations, and international NGOs to help poor and marginalised people lead full and productive lives. Among their programmes includes HIV/AIDS community prevention and awareness campaigns, which coupled with home-based care, have dramatically reduced the prevalence of HIV infection and improved the lives of those who are living with the disease.
The agency’s malaria prevention and treatment activities reduce malaria-related morbidity and mortality. In 2012, the agency distributed long lasting insecticide-treated bed nets through health clinics, antenatal clinics to 2000 of the country’s most vulnerable people.
In the health sector, CaDO helps the St. Lazarus Clinic in Fullabantang with running costs and securing ambulances and medicines. The agency also aids the government supply affordable 24-hour healthcare services in the surrounding 35 villages and in 2012 provided basic health services to 1000 mothers.
CaDO’s agricultural development programmes helps upland rice production for rural farmers and capacity building programmes that includes a portable water supply to 32 rural communities and vocational training such as embroidery, crochet, typing and computing to help people find reliable employment.
Catholic Development Office main office in The Gambia employs 6 staff and 1 volunteer to carry out its activities. CaDO project officers are based in 1 Caritas diocese to work in close collaboration with the parish priests and village committees.
Catholic Development Office is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Africa and receives support from the global Caritas confederation, such as a partnership with Catholic Relief Services USA.