Major programme interventions
Caritas Swaziland has restrategised her organizational structure, operating systems and implementing parameters. This has streamlined its infrastructural capacity to ensure optimal utilization and management of resources.
The broad activities of Caritas Swaziland include management of information systems, education and training, advocacy and lobbying as well as capacity building for sustainable development. These activities are carried out in the following four main programmes:
1). HIV/AIDS Programme; which has programmes that include prevention, care and support (Home Based Care, Parish Nurse, and Hope House) and impact mitigation (Orphan Aid).
2). Justice and Peace Programme; which incorporates gender development
3). Micro Enterprise Development Programme
4). Micro Enterprise Development Programme
5). Food Security Programme; which includes food distribution, health and nutrition and disaster risk management and relief.
6). Refugee Programme; which incorporates asylum seekers, refugees and the internally displaced.
To address the needs of the above mentioned activities and programmes, Caritas Swaziland, has in a participatory way identified areas of common concern. These are common to all the programmes.
At present Caritas Swaziland is able to run the specified programmes though with limited capabilities. Our efforts are far outweighed by the need that exists in the communities we assist. Even with other NGO’s efforts, there still exists a large gap in the provision of services and building of capacity especially in rural communities. It is the organization’s plan to improve our service delivery by reinforcing our own capacity, expanding our programmes in the areas we have initiated them as well as expanding to other areas.
HIV Prevention: The Catholic principles of abstinence have so far been the most successful in retarding the HIV infection rate. Through peer education and behavior change workshops the programme has reached a lot of youth in the country with the view to fight ignorance and misconceptions on HIV/AIDS. Though this has worked there are still a lot of youth that have not ben reached and indeed there is always a need for follow up programmes. Needless to say there is also a continuous stream of young persons entering our target group every year. The aim is to further retard the rate of infection which is already being reported as slower than previous years.
Care and Support: The HIV/AIDS scourge has left a lot of people bedridden and in need of constant care and support. A lot of families cannot afford to pay for this service and a lot of hospitals and clinics cannot accommodate this need. As a result people continue to suffer at home, in most cases from opportunistic infections that can be easily managed with the right care. Hope House addresses this situation by providing facilities that have access to trained personnel while being close to hospitals. The home Based Care together with the Parish Nurse programmes addresses the problem of people who are either too far from hospice facilities or just cannot access them for any of several reasons.
Caritas Swaziland seeks to increase the number of units at the Hope House as well as provide more services to the clients. We would like to have a steady supply of medication and nutritious food which at present is sporadic at best. In the Home Based Care and Parish Nurse programmes we also would like to have a constant supply of medication and medical supplies for care givers, increase the volunteers’ incentives as well as train more volunteers to cover a larger geographic area.
Impact Mitigation: For those households that have lost their economically active heads, Caritas Swaziland, through the Orphanaid progrmme, is involved in providing education and welfare support to surviving orphans. Our education programme provides for school fees for primary school going girls. Our welfare programme provides income generation support in the form of backyard gardens and other micro projects.
We would like to expand our education programme to include primary school going boys as well as secondary school going children. In the welfare endevours we would like to reinforce sustainability in our programmes by accessing markets for our beneficiaries. The lack of water in rural areas is a big threat to our agricultural projects. We would like to venture into water harnessing to help those projects.
Food Security: This continues to be a challenge to the country. Natural disasters in the form of droughts and hail storms threaten food security in the country. Through the combined efforts of Caritas Swaziland, World Food Programme and the Government of Swaziland and other NGOs, food distribution programmes help alleviate this problem. Unfortunately this is not a sustainable solution. Caritas Swaziland would like to address the cause of the threat on food security, that is, lack of water, farm implements and agricultural inputs. Government efforts in providing these services have not been able to reach the poorest of the poor due to management shortcomings.
Refugees: The tripartite alliance between Caritas Swaziland, UNHCR and the Government of Swaziland is supporting refugees in Swaziland. Through the experiences we have had over the years we have been able to improve our service delivery. The end of the Mozambican civil war and subsequent repatriation of most Mozambican refugees has reduced our case load and allowed us to better focus on the remaining few. Unfortunately with the reduction of the number of refugees in the Kingdom came drastic reduction in the UNHCR budget. Presently we are only able to give very limited assistance. Caritas Swaziland has come up with a plan to upgrade the facilities provided by government to include self sustaining income generating projects, especially in agriculture. These will promote the culture of self reliance within the refugee community and also restore some of the dignity they enjoyed in their native countries.
Justice and Peace / Gender development: Caritas Swaziland has joined hands with other NGOs in the country in addressing cultural and historical issues that have developed gender imbalances and general marginalization of some sectors of our communities. The programme advocates for just practices and fights against the use of culture and other practices as an excuse to deny people basic rights. Swaziland as a culture rich and patriarchic society is vulnerable to these phenomena, especially in issue of gender discrimination. Through various efforts, the Justice and Peace commission has instituted education workshops in the areas where the society is most vulnerable, for instance the rights and development of the girl child and protection of widows.