The Caritas India management is working to strengthen the partnership with the Kerala partners by extending support in stewardship and programme management. The Executive Director, Fr. Paul Moonjely and Assistant Executive Director, Fr Jolly Puthenpura met the Diocesan Directors of Social Service Societies from Kerala on January 3, 2020, at Palarivattom, Kerala.
Fr. George Vettikkattil, the outgoing Executive Director, KSSF, Kottayam in his welcome note appreciated by saying, “Caritas India is the banyan tree of Bharath Catholic Church which inspires all of us to do better humanitarian services under its shade. The interventions of Caritas India during the last two years during the flood situation was a milestone. It shows Caritas’ concern towards the suffering people of Kerala”.
He further informed that the Catholic church under the guidance of Caritas India is the pioneer organization in beginning cancer care campaign. He appreciated the Caritas India management for their able leadership.
“Looking back at the tsunami-CMDRR years, there was a slumber after the tsunami but it was that time that Caritas started Ashakiranam programme where a huge volunteer force was mobilized to address the rising cancer awareness campaign”, shared Fr. Paul. He also informed that the Indian Government through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coming up with the online portal for registering volunteers under Apada Mitra Scheme to train community volunteers in disaster response.
He shared that the Caritas network has already initiated the European Union Aid Volunteers to complements the humanitarian aid actions and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in countries affected by the disaster, contributing to disaster risk management activities.
Complimenting the initiative of volunteer mobilization, Fr. Jolly voiced that we need to take forward the Ashakiranam programme to the new heights. He informed that 50 dioceses are identified this year and six of them are from Kerala for this new initiative. He requested the cooperation of all the Directors for the Lenten Campaign which is taking a new form and vigour. Lenten Campaign is the annual campaign of the Catholic Church in India during the lent season to bring awareness and sensitization on burning sensitive issues and encourage communities and the public to supporting the cause.
Presenting the last quarter results of Navajeevan programme, Larina Fernandez, Programme Office of Caritas India shared about the progress made in conducting Post Disaster Risk Assessments at the village level, the formation of village development management committees (VDMCs), and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) sensitization and trainings. for presenting the cluster-wise presentation of Navajeevan programme. Caritas India has initiated Navjeevana programme across the districts of Kerala in coordination with the Diocesan partners to build disaster resilient communities by developing village disaster management committees.
Recalling the success of the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) programme of Caritas India in Kerala after Tsunami, Fr. Paul shared that the people were able to face the last two floods that happened in 2018 and 2019 more efficiently. Giving the example of the disaster clinics functioning in Bihar, the death toll during floods in recent years in Bihar is very minimal.
“The innovations and models emerged from South clusters are the outcome of LRRD (Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development) initiative of Caritas India”, shared Fr. Paul. He said that we would not call VDMCs, but we would call them as Disaster Clinics to avoid further alignment problems with Government village demarcation when we consider the panchayath ward as one village.
Fr. Xavier Kudiamssery, Director of ADC&SWS suggested sharing the success of our intervention under “Building Resilient Communities” with the District Collectors forum/ meeting and with the Chief Secretary of the State to establish better cooperation.
Sharing the progress of 21 partners from North Cluster results, George Mathew and Abeesh Mathew informed that 86 VDMC were formed with 1302 members, 142 PDRAs were completed, 184 ward members and 70 panchayath presidents were contacted under the programme.
Sharing the Key Strategic Pillars (KSPs) of Caritas India, Sobha Jose, Operation Manager – Kerala presented the Regional Forum Accompaniment, and accompaniment plan to selected DSSSs. Fr. Paul shared that 6 dioceses were identified in Kerala for intensive accompaniment like IDEA programme and this will be replicated in another 50 dioceses and likewise all the 174 dioceses in the next four years.
Sobha also presented the thematic Core Teams on Child Rights (Children’s Parliament), and the Lenten Campaign– “Sustain Life and Sustainable Livelihood” with the partners. Dr. Haridas shared about the newly established Climate Desk namely ‘Ecoside’.
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