From 23 to 27 April 2018 representatives of 11 Caritas from Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (invited as an observer and to share its experience in this area), Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Zambia – gathered in Nairobi for the launch of two regional programs: the Caritas Africa Mobilisation Enhancement support Project on Advocacy for the promotion of Right to Food (PARCAP) and the Resilience Enhancement and Capacity Building Project (RECS).
The Most Rev. Zacchaeus OKOTH, Archbishop of Kisumu, was invited to deliver the key note address to the participants on “The role of the Church regarding Food security in Africa”.
The two programs aim to strengthen the advocacy capacities of the Caritas with a common goal: to contribute through advocacy to the realisation of the right to food for the most vulnerable and to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal No.2 on the elimination of hunger, food security and sustainable agriculture. The first project was funded by the Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat under the Regional Development Fund while the second project was supported by Caritas South Korea (Caritas Korea).
These programs started in 2017 and a number of activities preceded this joint event: exchanges with the Caritas concerned to share the documents on these two projects, identification of the focal points, launch of a survey to establish the baseline situation for each of the 10 Caritas in terms of engagement in advocacy for food security, participation of a Caritas Ethiopia delegate at the Caritas Asia Regional Workshop on Justice and Resilience in Climate Crisis in December 2017 in Bangkok (Thailand), development of Terms of Reference for the joint workshop, identification of stakeholders and development of training modules.
The discussions were lively and participants showed a great interest in the topics covered – among others, the social teaching of the Church on the right to food, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the role of Caritas in the Church and its advocacy mission for the poor, strategic planning of advocacy actions. These theoretical contributions have been enriched by the perspectives of participants from different countries, who have shared their experiences and exposed transferable practices to sister Caritas.
A representative of the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture spoke at the workshop to present Kenya’s experience in sustainable agriculture and food security, mentioning the role of Agriculture in the 2063 agenda of the African Union and how Kenya contributes to it.
In addition, the workshop also included a field visit to the Kiambu Dairy Project site in Kaibere Village (Kiambu County, Thika) managed by Caritas Nairobi. This project allows farming families to increase their income through the practice of smart and organic farming, dairy production and reuse of waste for the production of organic gas. Participants were able to observe these projects and interact with families in the light of the previously presented notions. They found that the three dimensions (economic, social and environmental) of sustainable development were indeed combined in the integrated approach of this project.
Based on these observations and the reflections on the problems of food insecurity faced by African countries, the participating Caritas developed action plans for advocacy at the national level, as well as strategic orientations at the regional level. Changes in legislation (including support for small-scale farming), implementation of social policies, training of small farmers on access to productive resources and public awareness can be found in several of these plans. This advocacy exercise will also target the Church through sensitization to increase its mobilisation on these urgent issues.
The workshop benefited from the technical and methodological support of Mr. Samuel Zan AKOLOGO, National Director of Caritas Ghana, Mrs. Adriana OPROMOLLA, International Advocacy Officer, Food Security and Climate Change within the General Secretariat of CI, Mr. Diego Martínez SCHÜTT, Policy Analyst on SDGs at CAFOD and Stellamaris MULAEH, Fastenopfer Consultant; under the supervision of Caritas Africa Regional Coordinator Albert MASHIKA.
The implementation of the action plans developed during the PARCAP and RECS workshop will begin on June 1st and will run until the end of 2019. The Caritas Internationalis General Assembly, in May 2019, will be an opportunity to present to the World Confederation the preliminary results of these two programs.
The participating Caritas left Nairobi excited about the meeting, having started concrete actions towards the construction of a common strategy and, above all, having established stronger cooperation among themselves.
Nairobi, 27th of April 2018.
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