Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

CRS Prays for Peace Ahead of Kenya’s Elections

Monday, February 25th, 2013

As the March 4 national elections in Kenya grow nearer, CRS is urging all concerned to pray for peace as millions of Kenyans prepare to head to the polls.

In December 2007, disputed elections triggered wide-spread ethnic violence, killing more than 1,000 people and displacing some 300,000. CRS responded by providing food and supplies to displaced families and by supporting the peace and conciliation efforts of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith based networks.

“Kenya is at critical time in its history with an opportunity to either firmly demonstrate its national identity or regress into destructive tribalism. Never again does Kenya want to re-live the tragic experience of 2007,” said P.M. Jose, CRS’ Kenya Country Representative in Nairobi. “This is a time for Kenyans to assert – and be proud of – their identities as citizens of this great nation, one that believes in itself and in its institutions, while honoring their own ethnic identities.”

With some incidents of violence already reported in the run up to the vote, CRS is continuing support of the Kenyan Church and its other partners in their efforts to promote peace.

Congo Crisis: CRS to Respond with Food and Emergency Items

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Goma, Democratic Repbulic of Congo. We pray for an end to the violence and for a clear path to peace even as we strive to serve those in greatest need during the current crisis.

Committing a minimum of $250,000 in private funding, CRS is preparing to distribute emergency food and other essential items to thousands of people in Goma, a major city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where an intensified rebel movement has caused massive displacement and a worsening humanitarian crisis.

We invite you to go here to help with our response to emergencies like this.

UN agencies estimate that as many as 140,000 people have fled their homes and existing camps in the area as a result of fighting between the rebel group known as M23 and the Congolese army. While relative calm has now returned to Goma, the situation remains fragile as rebels continue to expand their presence in the area. Tens of thousands of people in Goma and its surroundings are without access to electricity and remain in critical need of food, water and safe shelter.

Prayers for the People of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Goma, Democratic Repbulic of Congo. We pray for an end to the violence and for a clear path to peace.

Catholic Relief Services is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence and unfolding humanitarian situation in and around the city of Goma in eastern DRC, where CRS operates a sub-office. In response to the situation, CRS has relocated all international staff and is monitoring the safety of 50 national staff that remain in Goma.

We invite you to go here to help with our response to emergencies like this.

Fighting had been escalating over the last several days between government troops and the rebel group known as M23 as they advanced towards Goma, the provincial capital of more than one million people. Rebel fighters seized the town on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Tens of thousands of Congolese have fled their homes and camps in and around Goma, creating a growing humanitarian emergency. CRS plans to respond to the needs of those displaced by the conflict as soon as the security situation allows.

Meanwhile, CRS’ long-time partner, Caritas Goma, had to suspend its operations in the relief camps around the city and staff are ‘listening to the radio for updates’. “We must wait to see if the M23 rebels make an official statement saying we can begin our work again in a more secure situation,” says Taylor Kakala, Caritas Goma’s Communication officer.

Read the full update from Caritas’ office in Goma

Prayers for Survivors of Deadly Flooding in Nigeria

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with hundreds of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who have lost loved ones and the millions left homeless by flooding across the country.

We invite you to go here to help with emergencies like this. As always, thanks for your support. It encourages us and the people we serve in your name.

Heavy rainfall between July and September has caused severe flooding across Nigeria, leaving more than 2 million people homeless and killing 363, according to news reports. CRS, in collaboration with Caritas Nigeria, is planning an emergency response to assist those affected.

CRS’ Lionel Lajous has been traveling to affected communities in Nigeria’s Delta State, one of the most affected areas, to assess the most urgent needs of communities there.

“Despite the scale of the disaster, I have seen people working together in solidarity to protect themselves and their homes from the floods,” he said. “One city in Delta state was about 40% submerged under water, but it could have been worse had the community not come together to erect sand bag walls to protect part of the city.”

CRS will support the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) to distribute urgent relief materials over the next three months and educate communities on the treatment of water and the promotion of good hygiene to stave off disease.

Read more here.

Somalia: Meditation in Mogadishu

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Mogadishu child

A makeshift camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, as become a temporary home to countless displaced persons in Somalia. Photo by Neal Deles/CRS

By Neal Deles

CRS closed its office in Somalia in 1993 but continued to work there through our partners. It has been years since CRS sent an international staff back. I went to Mogadishu to meet our partners and see first-hand the work they do in the makeshift camps for those displaced by famine and conflict.

International aid workers here are mindful of heightened security concerns. We can only visit the camps for one hour and refrain from being out in the afternoon as that is when most of the violence happens. It was a long day visiting one of the many camps in Mogadishu and meeting partners and the people we serve.

Sahel Food Crisis: A Refugee’s Story

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

By Helen Blakesley

Refugee camp

Fadimata Walet Haiballa (in blue) is a refugee living in the camp in Fererio, northern Burkina Faso. Her husband was killed in the violence in northern Mali, so she fled with her 3 children. Photo by Helen Blakesley/CRS

Fadimata Walet Haiballa is a 49-year-old Tuareg woman from Gao in Mali. She’s been living in Fererio temporary refugee camp, Burkina Faso for nearly 6 months now. Her husband was killed in the violence in the North of their home country. She fled with her three children, her 82 year-old father and other family members, traveling for two days to reach neighboring Burkina Faso. She’s the women’s representative on the camp committee.

The militia rebels spread terror in our region. They would harass us, knock things from our hands … and worse. There were bombings, executions. I lost my husband in one of the bombings. We had to leave. We were terrified.

I left all I had behind. Life has changed completely. Back in Mali, before the troubles, we were in our big, beautiful house. We lived in good conditions. We didn’t know fear, we didn’t have this hot sun beating down on us. I had the father of my children with me. Now we’re here in the dust, with the sun. We’re thirsty, we’re surviving on mediocre food. So a lot has changed. Above all, my work, my job, with which I could feed and clothe my children, that’s all gone.

KONY 2012 Video Inspires Students’ Legacy

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

By Patrick Carney

It started with a YouTube video and ended with a legacy.

When Trey Book and Cheyenne Warren, 8th graders at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School in Henderson, Kentucky, saw the KONY 2012 video, a YouTube sensation by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, they saw an opportunity to make a difference. They just didn’t know how to go about it.

School Principal Sandy Fleming directed the students to Father Larry McBride, pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church.

“Father Larry talked about KONY 2012,” Principal Fleming says, “and he asked, ‘Are you aware of Catholic Relief Services?’ ” Neither one of the students really knew much about the agency, so Father Larry described CRS as a well-established, Catholic, faith-based relief and development agency.

Sahel Food Crisis: Helping Niger Help Itself

Monday, June 11th, 2012
Niger garden

A man waters plants in a CRS dry season market garden in Jougola, Niger. Photo by Tahirou Gouro/CRS

By Thomas Awiapo

Traveling in Niger to see the impact of the current food crisis there first-hand, as well as CRS’ work, I spent the last five days with an evaluation team tasked with assessing the impact of CRS’ work in the area. What a special learning moment this was for me!

I sat in on several focus group interviews and discussions in the villages we visited and I walked away with one great lesson: No one can develop human beings; you can only help human beings develop themselves.

Help Strengthen Our Nation’s Leadership to End Global Hunger

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Ethiopia food

Keddo Umar is one of more than 302,000 people to take part in the CRS Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia. Photo by David Snyder for CRS

Imagine you lived in Ethiopia, where millions of people like Keddo do not know where their next meal will come from. Before they could rely on their farms to provide much needed food to eat and to sell, but increasingly unreliable rains have changed this. Now many families must sell precious household items like their chickens or goats just to get through the hungry season. They are increasingly trapped in a cycle of poverty and hunger.

But imagine that something simple could be done to help people like Keddo.

Smart Aid: High-Tech Poverty Fighters

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Barcode pilot

A vendor signs information at a CRS seed fair in Seko, Central African Republic. CRS piloted a barcode tracking system in CAR in June 2011 as a more efficient and effective way to register and track beneficiaries and vendors. Photo by Sandra Basgall/CRS

Sandra Basgall turned seventy a few weeks ago. But there’s no easy chair in sight for this Colorado-born CRS staffer. Sandra’s an advisor on monitoring and evaluation for the Central Africa Region, lives in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is still very much in on the action. She’s lived in 15 different US states and 6 different countries, but home is wherever she lays her hat. “I don’t look back and think ‘oh I wish I was there again’. I just look forward and think ‘where am I going to go next and what am I going to do next?’”

Technology has never held any fear for Sandra. She touched her first computer in 1982. “The woman who was teaching us was maybe a week ahead of our lessons”. Since then she’s moved with the times … she started typing her Masters thesis on an electric typewriter before graduating to a huge word processing system that took up most of the office. By the time she was writing her Ph.D, she was on a laptop computer—albeit a 22-pound one, which looked like a portable sewing machine…