Caritas is a Latin word which means charity in English. Caritas Department therefore is the development and humanitarian arm of our Archdiocese. In Kenya, Caritas was established in 1973 as the Development and Social Services Department of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (now known as KCCB). Its main challenges remain rampant poverty, frequent disaster occurrences and climate change effects, lack of critical resources (water and food shortage), increasing inequalities and HIV/AIDS Pandemic.
Caritas in general runs the following programs:
- Humanitarian Program: The program establishes and maintains an efficient and coordinated system for managing natural or man-made disasters. Caritas Kenya has been actively involved in monitoring of the drought situation in the country. There are 13 arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties in alarm drought phase with the situation rapidly deteriorating in several counties.
- Livelihoods Program: Develops poverty reduction strategies to empower Kenyans towards self-sustenance in all areas. The program deals with food security, microfinance and environmental conservation as key areas of intervention. It also oversees the implementation of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, in order to promote sanitation and hygiene practices that will ensure the optimal development and use of water and water facilities.
- Gender and Development Programme: The programme promotes empowerment in men and women and facilitates equal participation and opportunity especially among the poor and vulnerable men and women in Kenya.
- Capacity Building’ Programme: The programme seeks to promote efficiency and effectiveness of Caritas Kenya as it carries out her mandate while working with her partners both at the international and diocesan level.
- Research, Communications and Advocacy Programme: the programme is engaging on SDGs advocacy, mainstreaming and implementation. In addtion, Caritas Kenya is active in the ongoing global dialogues/forums on Climate Change in partnership with CIMOs, the Government, Development organization’s and UN agencies
Caritas Kenya works with other members of the Caritas confederation, government ministries and also with other national and international non-governmental organizations within and outside the country.
Through this Department, our Archdiocese has managed to offer humanitarian programs. We are actively engaged in monitoring the perennial flooding in most of the places as well as the humanitarian needs caused by border conflicts or political unrest.
Apart from humanitarian programs, this Department has also been vibrant in the provision of livelihood programs in which we ensure food security by providing drought resistant crops to identified needy communities. Its implementation of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs has helped so many people especially women and children who had to previously walk long distances in search of water.
In our structure, we have somebody in charge of Caritas in each Small Christian Community. When the various Caritas Representatives from the Small Christian Communities come together they have a leadership structure at the Parish, at the Deanery and at the Diocesan level. In this leadership structure, we have the following leadership positions:
- Vice Chairperson
- Organizing Secretary
In the Archdiocese, we have a Diocesan Caritas Coordinator currently Mr. Zachary Onditi who coordinates the activities of this department. The department organizes Caritas Day annually in support of their programs.