2015 Workers’ Day Address

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

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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.

Social Transfer for Emergency Response in States affected by Insurgency and Fulani Herdsmen Conflict in Nigeria

In December 2014, Caritas Nigeria implemented an emergency response project that supported 11,060 Households in some dioceses (states) in Nigeria that were affected by the insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria and the Fulani herdsmen conflict in the middle-belt.

The project provided Supplementary Rations in a one-off distribution which addressed food needs Households. The Project initially targeted 2000 families in all. But in view of the overwhelming population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose food needs ought to be addressed, and in order for the diocesan Caritas offices not to cause any form of disaffection amongst the IDPS, Caritas Nigeria decided to provide Supplementary Rations in a one-off distribution.

 

Similarly, in October, 2014 Caritas Nigeria also distributed food items to families who fled their homes in Gwoza, Borno state in the wake of massive attacks on them perpetrated by the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect, and are now residing in a squatter camp in new Kuchingoro, behind the Games village in Area 1, Abuja.  The food items distributed enabled over 50 Households (approximately 350 individuals) on an average of seven persons per household to address their immediate food needs. These projects were supported by Caritas Internationalis (CI).

 

Integrated Emergency Response (IER)

In late 2012, Caritas Nigeria joined state actors like National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), CRS, and the Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to carry out a joint-assessment of flood-affected areas in Nigeria. Thereafter, Caritas Nigeria partnered with the local diocesan Caritas to distribute food and non-food relief items as well as cash transfers to various communities in five affected states in the wake of the 2012 flooding (Delta, Edo, Anambra, Imo and Cross River States).

In 2013, Caritas Nigeria joined with CAFOD, CRS and Lite Africa to support 6 flood-affected communities namely; Kpakiama, Esanma, Ogbein-ama, Adobu, Bedeseigha and Aven around Bomadi and Patani Local Government Areas in Delta State, through its Integrated Emergency Recovery (IER) program.

 

The IER was a 6-month grant-funded with a focus on addressing immediate needs among more vulnerable groups to reduce the risk of diarrheal disease (through provision of ‘Safe Water’ Kits, Hygiene Promotion and Rehabilitation of damaged boreholes), and to provide support for post-flood survival (through provision of Cash Grants). To complement this, the project supported livelihoods recovery with a focus on agricultural activities.
The goal of the program was “to enable the most vulnerable households affected by the recent flood recover their livelihoods in selected communities in Delta State.” The entire IER program aimed at ensuring that 2,500 households (17,500 vulnerable persons) had adequate access to integrated emergency response, through the provision of unconditional cash transfers, Livelihoods recovery and WASH interventions.

 

One of the beneficiaries of the IER project has this to say; “This is the first time ordinary people like us in this community are actually benefitting from interventions like this. We are grateful to CCFN for reaching out to the poor like us,” – Opuamba Prosper, a member of Bedeseigha community in Delta state.
The program witnessed some behavioural change with regards to improved hygiene practices like hand washing in some of the communities. They also have gone ahead to construct Tippy Tap in some of the schools and homes where Caritas Nigeria conducted sensitization and awareness creation activities.

 

In general, the program was successful within the communities; it met the objectives for which it was implemented. The lives of the beneficiaries were better off with the program; through unconditional cash transfers, which enabled beneficiaries to feed better and meet their basic needs as well as made many to open bank accounts for the first time in their life time; the livelihood component of the program enabled fishermen and farmers to recover their means of livelihood and income generation; and the WASH component led to improved hygiene, sanitation and reduction in the incidence of diseases for 3,500 individuals within the communities.

 

The IER program started from May, 2013 and ended in October, 2013. It was funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), through the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as Prime Recipient.

 

Response to Food Insecurity in the Sahel Region

Caritas Nigeria response to food security in the Sahel Region supported 991 households comprising of 9,798 persons in selected communities in Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa states, financially through unconditional cash transfers to improve their livelihoods, and they also received hygiene and sanitation education.

The goal of the food security project was to “enhance access to food in the Sahel region in Northern Nigeria at the height of the Sahelian food crisis.” The project was targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable households such as households with large numbers of children and households headed by widows and disabled or aged persons.

 

The project strategies included an initial cash transfer pilot (in one community in Sokoto State) was done in 2012 with support from Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Caritas subsequently received independent funding from Caritas Internationalis to implement a one-year cash transfer and food voucher program in seven communities in Zamfara, Katsina and Jigawa States, in collaboration with the local Caritas.

 

Caritas Nigeria worked with the Justice Development and Peace/Caritas (JDPC) Desk Officers, to directly provide support to the target beneficiaries. Caritas Nigeria also collaborated with other Civil Society Organizations like the Federation Of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Jumaat Nasir Islam (JNI) to provide adequate support in the target communities.

 

The project was supported by Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis and ran from May 2012 – July 2013.

 

Building Capacity on Anti-Human Trafficking

In 2013, Caritas Nigeria organized a one day inaugural/capacity building meeting for Organizations and Church Partners working in the areas of Anti-Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration in Nigeria.

The purpose of the meeting was to sensitize participants about the various dangers associated with Anti-human trafficking and Migration and also to awaken their consciousness to constantly engage in activities that discourage this modern day slavery in volatile communities and societies.

 

The session drew 30 participants from Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Committee for the Support of Dignity Of Women (COSUDOW), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Women Organization (CWO), OLA Sisters Ajara and Catholic Youths Organization of Nigeria (CYON), etc.

 

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