Message from Episcopal Chairman

Message from Episcopal Chairman

Caritas is at the heart of the Church, according to Pope Francis. Caritas indeed is one of the three planks on which the Church’s mission stands. The Church’s mission is an integrated mission to evangelize, to nurture and to show love. This is expressed  succinctly in Deus Caritas Est when Pope Benedict XVI said “The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25).

This stand was reiterated in the Motu Proprio on Caritas which Benedict XVI issued in November 2012. The work of charity is therefor not an after thought or one that is relegated to only one struggling society. It is the joy and the burden  f the entire faithful.

Charity is also not a restricted activity of individuals; groups, communities, nations could do charity. ‘The church is also called as a whole to the exercise of the diakonia of charity, whether in the small communities of particular churches or on the level of the universal Church’ (Cf Motu Proprio).

 

Charity cannot be a haphazard activity. Pope Benedict XVI insisted it must be something organized. Although there is  the natural instinct to love and care, charity cannot depend exclusively on instinct or impulse but through a rational process of organization. This is why it is extremely important to coordinate. Coordination begins at the local community/parish level to the diocesan, provincial and subsequently the national office, with has this overall mandate on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

Ever since its establishment, Caritas Nigeria has been doing its best to coordinate activities in the relief and development sector on behalf of the CBCN. This is a no mean task especially considering the autonomous nature of the diocesan institutions. However, the Church is a communion and by nature collaborative. Caritas Nigera would continue to do its best to work along and with the institution it coordinates in spite of perceived challenges.

As a Board, we shall continue to support the mandate and the strategies of Caritas Nigeria so that it becomes not only a world-class organization but a dependable support to those that are most in need.

 

Our prayer and work therefor is to see Caritas Nigeria fulfill its mission, which is to promote the dignity of all, through participatory measures in line with Church’s tradition of practical love and teaching. I urge every stakeholder not only to read this annual report of 2014 but to buy into the vision and mission of Caritas Nigeria and sacrifice towards its strategic objectives.

This was a Forward message by Most. Rev. Lucius Ugorji to the 2014 Annual Report of Caritas Nigeria/JDPC.

livelihoods alt

Food for All Campaign

The One Human Family, Food for All campaign by the confederation of Caritas around the world is part of the global efforts of Caritas Internationalis to end hunger in the world through the provision of humanitarian and development interventions around the world. The goal of the campaign is to uphold human dignity by ending hunger by 2025 on all continents.

The campaign was launched on the 10th of December 2013, with a global wave of prayer by Caritas in various countries and at the Caritas Internationalis Headquarters in Rome by the Holy Father Pope Francis.

In Nigeria, Caritas joined the global wave of prayer and had a press launch where the Executive Secretary Fr. Evaristus Bassey remarked that “right from time, the Catholic Church has been involved in the provision of services and one of the cardinal works of mercy is to feed the hungry. The Church is very passionate about the theme of this campaign which is emphasizing that every individual has the right to food”.  He further emphasized that the Church will continue to engage and advise government on the need to address corruption and eradicate poverty in Nigeria. He also stated that whatever the Church can do even in terms of provision of services it will continue to do so.

 

The One Human Family, Food for All campaign is still ongoing with various activities lined up for Caritas Nigeria in the course of 2014.

Health and HIV

All around the world, the Catholic Church is one of the biggest health providers. In Nigeria, the Catholic Church has 1384 Health facilities mostly spread across underserved and hard-to-reach communities in the 36 states of Nigeria, providing varying levels of healthcare delivery services and humanitarian assistance to the poor, vulnerable and excluded persons regardless of race or religion.

 

Sustainable HIV/AIDS care and Treatment Action In Nigeria (SUSTAIN) Program

Caritas Nigeria is currently implementing the five years comprehensive HIV care, prevention and treatment grant titled Sustainable HIV Care and Treatment Action in Nigeria (SUSTAIN) funded by the United States Government through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Caritas Nigeria is one of the five CDC Nigeria’s Lead Implementing Partners with the mandate to coordinate HIV care and treatment interventions in faith based health facilities. The goal of the program is “Morbidity and mortality due to HIV infection is reduced in Nigeria.”

 

The SUSTAIN Project works through faith based health facilities to target people living and affected by HIV and AIDS in underserved and hard to reach communities in 12 states in Nigeria. The goal of the project is to saturate all faith based health facilities with required HIV care and treatment services in communities where there are needs. SUSTAIN provides value-based prevention education, treatment, care and support to people living with or affected by HIV in Nigeria. In line with the national plan to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT), SUSTAIN has a strong focus on preventing new infections in women of childbearing age, creating demand for uptake of antenatal care, and providing access to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services for pregnant mothers.

The SUSTAIN Project presently supports about 100,000 people living and affected with HIV and AIDS with necessary services across 120 sites comprising of comprehensive care and treatment healthcare facilities, stand-alone PMTCT facilities and community based organizations. Caritas Nigeria currently works in 12 states of Nigeria, namely; Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Nassarawa, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

 

Caritas Nigeria’s priority on the SUSTAIN Project is in line with the priority of the Government of Nigeria and CDC Nigeria to scale up HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment services in Nigeria.  Caritas Nigeria’s focus is to strengthen the health systems in faith based healthcare facilities and the capacity of coordinating faith based health departments and organizations to support the national agenda while we continue to expand services to underserved communities and improve the quality of services.  It advocates with governments, international organizations and drug companies for universal access to cost-effective and suitable medicines.

 

Caritas Nigeria is focused on improving the quality of services across all service delivery points by providing regular technical assistance, onsite and offsite training and mentoring, strengthen our strategic information program and promoting operational research activities.

The followings are some notable accomplishments of Caritas Nigeria’s work on the SUSTAIN program:

HIV Care, Treatment and Prevention

• 77,083 adults and children provided with care

• 46,656 adults and children with HIV infection are receiving antiretroviral therapy (current).

• 110,180 pregnant women were tested for HIV.

• 7,190 HIV positive pregnant women received ARVs to prevent transmission of HIV to their children.

• 406,091 individuals received counselling and testing services for HIV.

• 7,892 Orphans and Vulnerable Children received support services.

• 4,817 individuals (in-school and out-of-school youths) reached with HIV prevention interventions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message from the ES/CEO

Recently I overheard a fellow cleric asking someone for the address of a certain public agency. I couldn’t hold myself from jumping in and giving him the directions. I wanted to also use the occasion and teach a lesson.

So I interjected and said: “Why do we waste time asking people things we could ask Google?
Just Google it”. We all laughed about it. But we all knew that a new era was at hand, the era of a click. Just a click away and we could get whatever information we require from the cyber-world, although there is a flip side: information deluge. Notwithstanding, no agency could truly be in business in these cyber-times without making an effort to sign-post itself to visitors, passers-by and seekers.

 

Caritas Nigeria has the mission of advancing the dignity of all through participatory measures in line with Catholic Social Teaching, and a vision of fullness of life to all. In a world that is full of inequalities, this mission and vision has become even more urgent to actualize. Pope Francis has said that the Church is called to “mediate a dialogue between the well off and the urban remnants or half citizens or non- citizens.” (Evageli Gaudi no,74). Caritas Nigeria, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, is established to engage in this dialogue, a dialogue of action for the poor. Springing from one human family with God as our heavenly Father and Maker, all human beings are brothers and sisters. Therefore the world’s 7 billion siblings have to have a care for each other. Thank God world leaders are rising to the occasion with the Post 2015 sustainable development agenda with the declaration to end poverty by 2030, and to do all things possible to enhance People, Planet and Prosperity. Caritas Nigeria, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, is set to be a leader in this campaign in our part of the world through its programs and outreaches.

 

Pope Francis has said in Laudato Si, the encyclical on ecology, that everything is connected. “When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities…it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.”(Laudato Si, 117).

 

Caritas Nigeria joins in promoting an integral ecology in which the realization that we are all part of nature and of one origin, would help us care for others and our world. Caritas Nigeria invites everyone to a positive connectivity, where everyone cares for the prosperity of others and our world. A simple gesture towards supporting the mission of Caritas Nigeria could lead to a reduction of the number of those who live in the fringes.

 

This is a time for those who live in the North to reach directly to those in the South and have greater value for their money. This is a time in which those who live in the South should know that no one is too helpless to help, and so even the feeble can give strength with a smile.  The needs are enormous, and only a world united in action could answer to those needs. Jesus the Christ became poor in order to enrich others. Mahatma Ghandhi had said there was enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.

 

Caritas Nigeria therefore invites everyone to a new solidarity. As Pope Francis has said, solidarity is not a mere feeling or wish to identify with others, but a conscious decision ‘to restore to the poor what belongs to them’ (Francis, 2013 no 189). A new mindset of the ‘universal destination’ of the resources of the earth should be part of our life; in other words our sense of entitlement to our property gets diluted with the poverty around us. Could anyone truly regard him/herself as rich when there is so much poverty around? We are not helpless. We can do something, we can support Caritas Nigeria.

 

Thank you for visiting our website. May God bless you as you support the poor that you may never meet but whose prayers shall forever be with you!

 

2015 Workers’ Day Address

Dear All,

 

Today we celebrate Workers’ Day, and for us in the church, we celebrate as well the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So may I use this opportunity and thank you all for your contributions towards the development of Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) and to wish you a happy workers’ day.

In Laborem Exercens Blessed John Paul ll said that in work, the human being expresses his/her dignity; in other words, the absence of work or the capacity to work robs one of something of his/her dignity as a human being; and we are not only talking about paid employment but an ability to apply intelligence and effort to bring about something positive. Work is always positive.

I want to thank all of you who have been conscientious in your work. Where I was trained, and how I was brought up, the environment was always free and conducive to personal initiative. Everyone was always treated as mature and responsible. This is the culture we have tried to establish at CCFN, where every staff does his/her best even if no one is standing by with a cane. I sincerely have no capacity to be a ‘headmaster’. In a country where the unemployment rate is put at 23.9%, it becomes a terrible sign of ingratitude for anyone to treat his/her job with levity.

We therefore encourage staff to examine their work attitude and confirm with their consciences whether they are giving their best to Caritas Nigeria(CCFN), and whether they are meeting with expectations. The recent audit has revealed that many staff take for granted simple procedures such as returning time-sheets on which salaries should be based ! Let me assure everyone that we shall fully implement all audit findings and encourage laid down systems to function optimally.

We shall look into any root causes where there is job disaffection and dis-satisfaction and see where the organisation is liable and make correcions, for instance conflicting job schedules or ill-defined job schedules.

Let me assure you however of our resolve to do our best to fulfil the mandate the Bishops gave to us. The Bishops entrusted us with the duty of establishing a professional organisation. Everyone recruited into CCFN was based on a belief that the person would add value. If anyone has become a liability rather than an asset please find a way to make yourself resourceful and justify the earnings you receive.

To this end we will plan sessions for supervisors to enable them be of greater use to their supervisees. A supervisor should be able to provide psycho-social support to struggling staff and wear the cap of a mentor even though mentorship request usually originates from a mentee. In otherwords an enriching relationship should be firmed up, where the supervisor gives adequate support to the supervisee. While supervisors should not become ‘Lords’, we expect that the interest of the organisation will drive performance management and appraisal of supervisees.

I implore you all to join hands with me to make the Bishops’ mandate sustainable.

Recently we had challenges with taxes. We have done our best to reduce the burden. For instance the percentage of stewardship has gone down, including welfare and we have turned 13th month to gratuity. Even then the tax burden is high, except for those who have done life insurance. As everything works together for the good of those who believe, the tax issue has given impetus to majority of staff to go into life cover. Even though our best intentions are sometimes misconstrued, I encourage everyone to make use of the opportunity, for it is by saving for the future that people prepare for the future.

Once more I wish everyone a happy workers’ day and pray that God bless the works of our hands. Amen.

Fr. Evaristus Bassey

ES

Pharmacy gets facelift in NKST hospital Zaki Ibiam

NKST hospital Zaki Biam in Benue state, a major partner received a face-lift from the SUSTAIN health systems strengthening initiative rolled to some key partner facilties in the state.

 

After the intervention, various beneficiaries had a lot to say:

From a staff:

We can now happily say we have a Pharmacy unit and dispensary in this hospital. Staff can relax and have time to interact with the patients. Kudos to CCFN —- Dr Batholomew Ndulue Medical Officer/Project Coordinator NKST Hospital Zaki Biam.

From a patient who wish her name and status not disclosed.

 

Ah ah, dey don change the place wey we de collect drugs. Oh, this place is fine ooo. Hmmmmmm, we can seat down now and answer to pick drugs. Chaii, God bless CCFN and their supporters. We are happy now. This place is fine well well.We can now happily say we have a Pharmacy unit and dispensary in this hospital. Staff can relax and have time to interact with the patients. Kudos to CCFN —- Dr Batholomew Ndulue Medical Officer/Project Coordinator NKST Hospital Zaki Biam.

Caritas Nigeria: what do I need to know?

In every country the Catholic Church has an NGO called Caritas

Caritas Nigeria full name is Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria(CCFN), owned and established by Nigerian Bishops in 2010, as a national charity of the Bishops Conference
Caritas Nigeria is a national agency that can support diocesan groups such as St. Vincent de Paul, JDPCs, Catholic health facilities, other Catholic organisations, to better do their work etc

Support can be through trainings and through grants or donations
Caritas Nigeria helps Dioceses respond to emergency situations
Caritas Nigeria supports about 17,000 orphans and vulnerable children
Caritas Nigeria supported dioceses where the flood hit the most e.g Onitsha JDPC, Owerri JDPC, Calabar JDPC, Idah JDPC, Lokoja JDPC, Makurdi JDPC, Otukpo KDPC
Caritas Nigeria Sustain program provides care and treatment to over 40,000 people living with HIV/AIDS

Caritas Nigeria in partnerships with other church organisations supported 294,000 households that could not feed themselves for six months, until the harvest season, in parts of the North
More on What You Need to Know
The Catholic church cares for more than 500,000 poor and needy persons every week through St. Vincent de Paul, Knights of St. Mulumba, Knights of St. John, Legion of Mary, irrespective of their religious affiliation
Every diocese in Nigeria has an arm that fights poverty, ignorance and disease, and it is called JDPC/Caritas
You have been contributing towards helping the poor, prisoners, setting the oppressed free through JDPC/Caritas with your Lenten contribution. 20% comes to Caritas Nigeria.
Sometimes there is an emergency and for immediate relief dioceses turn to the national body for help . Caritas Nigeria is set up to meet this challenge for Diocesan groups.
What Can I Do ?
You have been doing. But do you know that you can do more now that you know you can . No matter how terrible your condition is, there are others who may be in worse situations . Therefore no one is too poor or too helpless to do something. Support this national charity of the Bishops, and the poor you will never meet will witness for you on the last day: I was hungry and you gave me to eat… (Matt. 25:31-40). Be your brother’s/sister’s keeper.
How Can I Support Others ?
Prayer: Pray for a spirit of charity; giving because of God, not giving because you know the person or want to show off or please people or because you are embarassed. Pray also for peace in the world. In Populorum Progressio Pope Paul Vl said the new name for peace is development. Development also means justice. Nigeria is a far cry from justice. 112 million Nigerians live below poverty.17.5 million children in Nigeria are orphans or vulnerable children. Millions of children do not go to school. Many children under 5 suffer malnutrition and 50% of deaths among them is caused by malnutrition. In the midst of this, Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nations of the world. Pray for change. Be an agent of change.
Volunteer: You could become a volunteer fund raiser for Caritas Nigeria. The needs always outweigh the resources. You do have friends. Tell them the Bishops have set up a foundation that supports groups that work for the underprivileged and those in emergency situations, and that their support is needed. You could have a ring of friends who give you donations for Caritas Nigeria no matter how small, and you pay this into Caritas Nigeria accounts.
Monthly/Annual Contribution: You could arrange with your bank that every month an amount is deducted automatically from your salary and paid into CCFN accounts. It could be N500 or more or less. You don’t need to be rich to be a philanthropist. Or as a small business owner, you could pay something everyday as you make your deposit into your account.
10% of Profit Before Tax: If you are a business owner, Schedule 5 of Company and Income Tax Act(CITA) allows you to use 10% of your profit before tax as donation to NGOs. Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) tax identification number is 10487997-001. Donate to CCFN from your profit before tax.
Wills and Bequests: As is done in other parts of the world, you can will a property to Caritas Nigeria.
Special Thanksgiving: When God has done a very special thing in your life, you could make a donation to Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) to mark the occasion.
Tithes: You could also pay your tithes to Caritas Nigeria through its bank accounts.
Items: You could donate food items, toilet items, towels, blankets etc
WARNING
The Bishops have warned that Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) should not depend on funds from overseas, which are dwindling by the way. Bishops want Caritas Nigeria to be owned and supported by ordinary Nigerians. So YOU are a benefactor of Caritas Nigeria(CCFN). Please do something.

Responsibilities of the PM

The Good Governance Programme Manager is responsible for coordinating the good governance interventions of CCFN.

 

His Primary Responsibilities include:
Acting as National Assembly Legislative Liaison Officer.
Coordinating  the Think Tank Committee on good governance.
Coordinating the activities of the Diocesan Partners who are engaged in good governance.

Other  engagements.

As the National Assembly Legislative Liaison Officer, he has the duty to:
Monitor legislative activities (Bills and Committee works) in the National Assembly with a view to identifying windows for the Church’s intervention
Promote appropriate legislative advocacy that would foster pro poor legislation in the National Assembly.
Initiate strategies for fostering electoral reform, justice sector reform and facilitating pro people agenda of government.
Contribute in the development of a frame-work where the Catholic Church can be part of the process of building a Nigerian State with equal sense of belonging in line with the Catholic Social Teaching.
As the Coordinator of the Thiink Tank Committeee on Good Governance, he:
Intervenes through policy advocacy on issues of governance
Periodically engages policy maker through Catholic Secretariat for a for the promotion of good governance
Develops advocacy papers and briefs that reflect the position of the church on topical issues
Makes contributions to public hearings and Bills before the National Assembly.
While Coordianting the activities of the Diocesan Partners engaged in good goverrnance:
Help partners develop projects proposals for submission to donors
Conduct capacity building for partners of project implementation and advocacy engagements
Conduct monitoring visits to project sites
Review project progress performance
His Other engagemsnts include:
Conduct of civic education training on election observation and citizen participation in governance
Presentation of  papers on legal issue and rights of citizens
Participation in CCFN strategic planning sessions

 

Good Governance Week

As part of efforts to promote responsive and accountable leadership in the country, the Good Governance Week was successfully carried out in Kogi State in  2015.

 

The 3-day exercise which was marked on different locations in the state (Idah, 15-19 December; Ankpa, 29-31 December) featured interesting topics that made a huge impact among participatants. Some of the lectures delivered included:

 

Electoral Fraud: A challenge to Good Governance in Nigeria, facilitated by Dr. S.P. Idakwoji;

Leadership and Women participation in politics facilitated Dr. Stephen Makoji;
Corruption and Challenges of Good Governance in Kogi State: The way forward, facilitated by Dr. Baba Danjuma; and
Guidance to 2015 General Elections, delivered by Dr. Lawrence Achimugwu.
At the end of the exercise, 200 Copies of the thick wall portrait were distributed to the participants (100 for Idah and 100 for Ankpa)
A total of 295 participants benefited from workshop with 145 present at Idah while 150 Participants were present in Ankpa.

 

Electoral Transformation in Kogi State

The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) in Idah and Lokoja diocese, via  suppport from the Good Governance Program has made a huge impact in entrenching sound, credible and peaceful elections in Kog State

 

.Activities

In November 2014, ahead of the 2015 General Elections, a JDPC team of Idah and Lokoja dioceses with 3 influential citizens carried out advocacy visits to INEC, the Police, Civil Defence and the political parties. The focus was citizens sensitization and participation towards the 2015 General Elections and 2016 Gubernatorial Elections.

 

On the 9th of December, 2014, the INEC Local Government Area Coordinator was  interviewed and the focus was on citizens’ particiation in the electoral process. Following this, the interview document titled ‘Citizens’ Participation’ was produced and copies distributed to over 200 persons during the Good Governance week.

To increase sensitization  efforts, the Nexus Newsletter (bearing  articles on citizens’ participation in the electoral process) was published and 1,000 copies widely distributed. In the same vein, civic education sessions (through special address to Catholic faithfuls after mass) were conducted in 20 selected parishes in the state.

Outcome and impact

JDPC was invited to participate in all INEC and Police briefings on the build up to the 2015 general elections in the state
JDPC is now one of INEC’s strong partners  and receives invitations to participate in most INEC activities.
Several calls for peaceful elections in the state were made by prominent leaders in the state including:
(i) The Bishops of Idah and Lokoja Dioceses;
(ii) The Attah of Igala and Onu Ibaji;
(iii) The Imam of the Lokoja Okene, Kabbah and Idah central mosques.
These further strengthened voter awareness and interest in the electoral process.
In response to the various calls, the government of Kogi State set up a community peace initiative involving the law enforcement agencies and the communities to work towards peaceful election in 2015.
The overall results have been very impressive: the 2015 general election in Kogi State was very peaceful; the Number of invalid votes in the Polling Units under Lokoja LGA reduced remarkably to 2481 as compared to over 5000 in the 2011 general elections.

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