Being good neighbours and getting hands on

Damian Conlin works in CAFOD’s Fundraising team, and has been involved in our Hands On projects from the beginning. Our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya finished recently – explore it on our website

A group from Hands On Kitui waving
The original Hands On group in Kitui waving to their friends around the world.

Our desire to be connected

There has been a lot of comment in the last few weeks – off the back of our recent referendum – on what that vote to leave the EU says for our collective desire to stay connected to others. And, more specifically, what it says about our willingness to offer help to those outside our own borders. To be good neighbours.

So, with those questions in my mind, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports CAFOD and makes our work possible.

Because, through that support, you restore my confidence in people’s goodness. Continue reading “Being good neighbours and getting hands on”

Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partner the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, based in the capital Addis Ababa, and met with Shiferaw Mamo, the Humanitarian Programme Coordinator. He spoke to her about the  role of the Church in tackling the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.

CAFOD partner Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat's Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Shiferaw Mamo
Shiferaw Mamo, Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Humanitarian Programme Coordinator

Pinned to the walls of Shiferaw Mamo’s office is a large map of Ethiopia with map pins marking the regions that have been hit hardest by Ethiopia’s severe drought.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

The map shows nature’s randomness, with some regions classed as level 1, meaning minimal food intervention, while other regions like Tigray are level 4: Emergency.

There’s another poster pinned behind Shiferaw’s office door which simple states: “FAITH, ACTION, RESULTS” in bold letters. This sums up the commitment and expertise of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia:

“We are small in number [Catholic Church], but we are everywhere, throughout the country, from North to South”, says Shiferaw Mamo, Humanitarian Coordinator for the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat.

“We have a history of responding to emergencies be it conflict or drought, and the people know that we are there on the frontline, seeing to their needs.” Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger”

Step into the Gap – Adventures in Peru

Fiona Sim is one of our gap year volunteers. Here are some of her reflections from her first week seeing projects CAFOD supports in Peru:

Fiona (right) with women from Lomas de Carabayllo's comedors
Fiona (right) with women from Lomas de Carabayllo’s comedors

From working with the dynamic children of Warmi Huasi to meeting the inspirational residents of Lomas de Carabayllo, it has been a jam-packed first week of our journey. Though it’s been quite an intense week, I feel so privileged to have been able to meet and learn from so many amazing people already. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I’ve met some of the real life super heroes of our time. These people have no special powers, no soothsaying abilities, and no fancy capes. This is what they do have: resilience, strength, and a kitchen at their fingertips.

These are the wonderful women of two of Lomas de Carabayllo’s comedors. These communal kitchens provide a subsidised lunch to people who need it in the community—those who would struggle to afford hearty meals otherwise—from Monday to Friday. The staff members themselves are part of the same community and earn free meals through working at the comedor when they can.

Buy Food for a Family with CAFOD’s World Gifts Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Adventures in Peru”

CAFOD corporate partner: cycling 180 miles for Kitui

Paul Bennett is Executive Chairman at CAFOD corporate partner b:ssec. Here he tells us about the huge challenge he and Wayne Ward, Managing Director of b:ssec, are taking on for CAFOD.

Paul and Wayne from b:ssec
Paul and Wayne from b:ssec training for their CAFOD Wessex Way bike ride

For three days in May 2016, Wayne and I will be taking our mountain bikes off road and cycling 180 miles in aid of CAFOD. The ‘Wessex Way’ ride takes us from Westbury in Wiltshire to Beachy Head in East Sussex, across rough terrain and through some really varied landscapes.

It’s a ride that has been on my bucket list for a while. Life is too short not to do what you love! Wayne was mad enough to join me on it – so great. What’s fantastic about this challenge is we will be having fun, reducing the middle age spread and raising money for CAFOD. Any sponsorship that we receive will go towards supporting vulnerable farmers in Kitui, Kenya, to grow enough food, access clean water and engage with the local government on the issues that prevent them from earning a living.

Please sponsor us via JustGiving

CAFOD is helping farming families in Kitui to plant seeds and to terrace their farms, re-sculpting the landscape to keep rainwater where it is needed and stop topsoil from being washed away during the rainy season. So that crops flourish, the farmers are being supplied with solar-powered drip irrigation kits and sand dams to collect rainwater. We are proud to be involved in making this important work happen.  Continue reading “CAFOD corporate partner: cycling 180 miles for Kitui”

Hands On: Strengthening bonds

Aichatou Abani is the Integrated Food Security Project Coordinator working on our latest Hands On project in Doutchi, Niger.
Aichatou is working on our latest Hands On project in Doutchi, Niger.

Aichatou Abani is the Integrated Food Security Project Coordinator working on our latest Hands On project in Doutchi, Niger.

My role in the project is to coordinate and manage all the activities: from the preparation, to implementation and evaluation.

The biggest challenge for people in Niger is food security and hunger. It has unfortunately become an ongoing problem in the last few years and is affecting a lot of people.

Involving the community

There has been a strong involvement of the community right from the start in terms of planning this project. We have held awareness-raising sessions to help everyone develop ownership of the goals.

Connect with the people of Doutchi

Following these sessions we have now begun the project and we have carried out certain activities, notably holding meetings with community members to share information with them, and at the same time to get information from them about how we can improve the plans.

We feel that the community knows where it is and where it wants to go. The awareness raising work we have done has really helped the community understand the importance of everything that they have received in support. It’s been a really important piece of work.

Continue reading “Hands On: Strengthening bonds”

Hands On Kitui: “I am hopeful for the future”

Stella lives in Kitui, Kenya, where our first Hands On project has been running for just over a year. Stella has been getting hands on with her community to rebuild a dam and bring water back to the area. She tells us about the progress her community have made.

Stella in her farm in Kitui - CAFODWater in Kitui

The soil in Kitui is not good at capturing water and the land is bare and rocky. There isn’t much greenery around. Sometimes it can be rainy, but the long rains are in April, May and June. The short rains are in October, November and December. These are best for the soil because they refresh the earth.

Before the Hands On project, I could only harvest a small amount of land. We have a big water problem, but with the dam, we have a solution. The dam will solve my biggest problem – that of having to walk 7km to the Athi River for water.

Find out about our second Hands On project in Doutchi, Niger

Farming techniques

As part of the Hands On project, I learned how to farm. I have dug terraces because they are good for the land. It will mean seeds don’t run down the hillsides and water doesn’t destroy the land. And I have planted crops using zai pits, which are made of vegetation, manure and soil. Continue reading “Hands On Kitui: “I am hopeful for the future””

CAFOD staff are cutting it out for Lent 2015

CAFOD staff Lent 2015
Mariacristina with her CAFOD colleagues who are cutting something out or doubling something in their lives this Lent.

Maricristina Lubrano from our digital team tells us about her colleagues who are giving something up for Lent.

It is at times like Lent, when we stop to reflect on a number of things and get closer to God, that we often realise how blessed we are. Right now I feel blessed to be working with a group of committed and passionate people. With only two weeks to go until Ash Wednesday I know lots of people will be trying to decide what to cut out in order to create a change in their own lives or in the wider world.

Take a look at our Cut it Out resources for Lent fundraising

I’ve been talking to my colleagues about their preparations for Lent and have been impressed by how dedicated they are to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer and taking care of the gifts we have been given by God. Many people are focussing on using Lent to help people living in poverty to cope with the destruction that extreme weather and climate change can bring. Lots of people at CAFOD are making Lenten promises, and we all have our own little challenging and exciting cut it out activities to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Continue reading “CAFOD staff are cutting it out for Lent 2015”

Step into the Gap Zimbabwe – Mary meets Mpofu

Mary is one of CAFOD’s gap year volunteers, and has been working with the Youth Ministry Team in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle. Here, she shares her story so far from her Zimbabwe visit:

Mary with Mpofu, a farmer in Zimbabwe
Mary with Mpofu, a farmer in Zimbabwe

Here in Zimbabwe we are learning more and more every day. The sun is always shining and hot and the people are so welcoming and friendly. This week we are staying in the rural area of Binga to visit the projects of CAFOD partner – Caritas Hwange.

Learn more about CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe

Our visit yesterday was to a farm in Zuka – a two-and-a-half hour drive away from Binga over incredibly rocky roads, full of potholes as well as herds of goats and cows and the occasional baboon! It was fascinating to drive past traditional thatched roof huts of the rural villages, and see the women, men and children going to work and school.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap Zimbabwe – Mary meets Mpofu”