On behalf of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), I wish to, first of all, thank each and everyone of you for making time to come and witness the official launch of the new Strategic Plan for Caritas Zambia. For us, this is a visible sign of your remarkable commitment and valuable support you have always rendered to the Church through Caritas Zambia. Despite being a public holiday, you have elected to come and once more demonstrate the fact that you are our all-weather friends and Strategic partners in the noble work of promoting integral human development by advocating for social justice and genuine peace in the Zambian Society. In so doing, you have enabled us to follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ who unveiled his Mission in the words of Prophet Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour” (Luke 4:18-19).
In 2016, we launched the ZCCB strategic plan (2017-2026) which led to the rebranding from Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) to the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB). This was done to highlight the Catholic identity of the Bishops’ Conference. I am therefore pleased to note that at least many people are slowly but surely getting used to our new name, ZCCB rather than ZEC.
The Catholic Secretariat
The Catholic Secretariat is a structure that was established by the Conference of Catholic Bishops to play the coordinating and facilitating role in the primary task of integral evangelization at both the national and diocesan level. The secretariat does its work through the seven departments, that includes the Pastoral, Education, Health, Communication, Finance, Human Resource and Caritas-Zambia, whose strategic plan we are launching today. Indeed, Caritas-Zambia is the human development department of the Bishops’ Conference and among the many issues it is involved in is that of addressing humanitarian needs of the people of God.
The Mandate of Caritas Zambia
The mandate of Caritas Zambia is to foster the Social Ministry of the Catholic Church in Zambia. Thus, inspired by the Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel values, Caritas Zambia is committed to the promotion of human dignity through programmes that endeavor to uplift the livelihood of the poor and marginalised from their situation and confronting structures that deprive and oppress the weak in society. Caritas Zambia’s Mission statement therefore reads: Inspired by the Word of God and Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas Zambia, a department of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, is dedicated to the promotion of integral human development through witnessing, animation, conscientization and institutional strengthening.
The Structures of Caritas Zambia
Caritas is part of a worldwide family. At the world level, we have Caritas Internationalis while at the Continental level, we have Caritas Africa. The structures of Caritas in Zambia run from the national level (Caritas Zambia) to the Diocesan Level (Caritas Lusaka, Kabwe, Monze, Mongu, Livingstone, Chipata, Kasama, Mpika, Mansa, Solwezi, and Ndola). At the lower level are Parishes with their Out-stations and Small Christian Communities. At the community level, we find the Parish Justice and Peace Committees and Parish Development Committees which are part of the diocesan structure. These are followed upward by deaneries, a couple of which constitute a diocese. At the diocesan level, are the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commissions and Diocesan Development Commissions which make up a diocesan Caritas although in other dioceses, these structures are referred to as Directorates, or Departments of Social Ministries/Programmes.
You may wish to know that the eleven Catholic Dioceses in Zambia are generally aligned to national provincial boundaries except in few cases; Mongu Diocese (most of Western Province except for Sesheke, Shangombo and the new districts of Sioma and Mulobezi); Livingstone Diocese (part of Southern Province which are Kazungula and Livingstone districts and the Western Province districts west of the Zambezi river); Monze Diocese (the rest of Southern Province and a small part of Lusaka Province being Chirundu district and parts of Central Province, Itezhi- tezhi district); Solwezi Diocese (North-Western Province); Ndola Diocese (Copperbelt Province); Mansa Diocese (Luapula Province); Kasama Archdiocese (Northern Province), Mpika Diocese (Muchinga Province), Kabwe Diocese (most of Central Province and part of Muchinga Province); Lusaka Archdiocese (Lusaka Province and parts of Central Province being Mumbwa district and parts of Chibombo district); Chipata Diocese (Eastern Province and one district in Muchinga Province which is Chama).
It is actually the Church’s geographical spread that gives Caritas Zambia a national coverage and presence. In other words, when you partner with the Catholic Church through Caritas Zambia, you can literary reach all parts of the country.
The Caritas Zambia Strategic Plan
The development of this plan was informed by the previous Strategic plan taking into account the 2017 socio-economic and political context in Zambia. The plan was designed to try and respond to the root causes of some of the challenges that the Catholic Church has continued to worry about. These include but are not limited to, political intolerance, increasing poverty among the poor, political violence, unfair political processes, poor adherence to the rule of law, promotion of agriculture methods that degrade the environment, land issues, extractive industry issues, poor social accountability, genderbased violence and child marriages. Thus, to move towards a society where all citizens attain integral human development is a wider vision of the Catholic Church in Zambia. Here, we are reminded of the famous teachings of Blessed Paul the VI. Firstly, he taught that “Development is the new name for peace” (Cf. Populorum Progressio, #s 76, 87). Secondly, he insisted that development must be integral, that is, development of every person and of the whole person in all his or her dimensions while being open to God (Cf. Populorum Progressio, #s 14-21, 42).
Therefore, this event here is important because the Caritas Zambia Strategic Plan (2018-2022) being launched sets the direction and the mechanism of responding to the key issues we have just outlined. It captures the goals and targets the Catholic Church has set while addressing the many challenges that Caritas Zambia has identified at the national, diocesan and community level.
Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Church is always concerned when Health, Education, Human Rights, Climate Change, and the general livelihood of the people continue deteriorating and when government policies fail to improve the livelihood of the people, especially that of the poor. This is the reason why Caritas Zambia is given this noble mandate to promote integral human development.
The Catholic Church in Zambia has continued to publicly express its concern that, despite Zambia being rich country with abundant natural resources, many of its people have continued to live in poverty. This paradox has not helped in a situation where national resources continue to be plundered while the many Zambians just watch and do nothing. The Catholic Church has continued to speak out on the need for prudent use of these God-given resources and calling upon men and women of good will to stand for social and economic justice. Again, we wish to restate what we have said before, that the conspiracy of silence is not helping the situation. If anything, it is actually killing us. This is because the Church belives that “If we want true peace, we must work for justice.”
On the other hand, when the Church speaks out about these social, economic and political issues, it is sometimes accused of having been sponsored by the opposition and of working with others that are pushing for regime change. Thus, the common phrase often used by the powers that be is that the Church has become political. However, is the Church wrong to ask about the huge sums of money that the Auditor General’s office has continued to report missing or misapplied, year in and year out? Surely, if these resources were put to good use, we believe that there would be sufficient medicine in hospitals; the Farmers In-put Support Program would be efficient and more beneficial to farmers, the standard of education would improve, descent work for our youths would be created and the general economic situation of the country would be more bearable for many. Again, we wish to underline the key principle in the Social Teaching of the Church, that is, that “Action on behalf of Justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation” (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).
The Church stands ready to help in many areas of concern in our country. Through Caritas-Zambia, we hope to continue doing our socio-pastoral ministry in the following focus areas:
- 1. Democracy and Governance Caritas: Zambia will contribute towards building a ‘Zambian society which upholds the key tenets of democracy’ (promotes people participation, rule of law, media reforms and respect of human rights).
- 2. Livelihoods and Climate Change: Caritas Zambia will continue to promote equitable access to food and safe water for the poor and vulnerable. This will be done through empowerment of communities by diocesan Caritas teams to enable them challenge attitudes, systems and institutions that impoverish them. Caritas Zambia will contribute towards empowering the dioceses with skills to engage in climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives that will assist the communities to build resilience so as to reduce vulnerability and contribute to the reduction of negative impacts of climate change. Indeed, actions to promote agro-ecology and tree regeneration will be promoted.
- 3. Conflict Transformation and Peace Building: Caritas Zambia will call for social awakening among pastoral agents to effectively serve within the Justice and Peace and Development structures of the Church in order to exercise their prophetical role and to build peace in families, communities and the country. This will involve the awakening of God’s people to a further understanding of their call as Christians with regard to social justice, leading to a greater awareness of human rights and consequent duties. This will further form a critical conscience which empowers people to challenge and act to overcome unjust situations in their communities in order to create peace.
On behalf of ZCCB and Caritas Zambia in particular, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to the many individuals and organisations that supported and helped to complete the development of this 2018 - 2022 Strategic Plan document.
We truly acknowledge the crucial role played by the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Secretariat Management Team who supported the process by making sure that the plan takes into account the focus areas of the ZCCB Strategic Slan. As a result of these interventions, Caritas Zambia was able to develop this plan in line with the Vision and Mission of the ZCCB. In addition, the participation of the diocesan partners, was greatly appreciated. The diocesan partners helped Caritas Zambia to focus on issues that are not only relevant at the national level but also at the local community level.
Not only that, special thanks go to all the Cooperating Partners that provided both financial and technical support for this process. These are Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), CAFOD, Irish Aid, CRS, JCP and Diakonia. Caritas Zambia will always appreciate the support these organisations have continued to render towards its work. Last but not the least, many thanks go to the Caritas Zambia staff and the interns who invested their time and effort, often beyond normal working hours, in developing this document. Their cooperation and hardwork throughout the process was outstanding.
To our Cooperating Partners, I wish to make a special appeal for your continued financial and technical support. Be rest assured that the resources you entrust with Caritas Zambia will be put to good use and reach their intended goal.
Further, allow me to extend our special appeal to the CSOs as well as government for continued collaboration in the identified areas of focus. Indeed, “an army of well organized ants can bring down an elephant” of poverty, corruption, Gender Based Violence and human rights violations.
In addition, I wish to take this rare opportunity to call upon Catholic Professionals, including Councilors, MPs, government officials, business men and women, to rally behind Caritas Zambia and support the good work the Catholic Church is doing as it strives to save the people of Zambia, especially the poor and most vulnerable.
The Church through Caritas-Zambia will continue to be your key partner in developing our country in accordance with the vision and mission of the Catholic Bishops in Zambia.
Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I take this opportunity to congratulate Caritas-Zambia for the good work it is doing and for coming up with this Strategic Plan. May the Good Lord bless your noble efforts and grant you the wisdom and strength you need to successfully implement this new plan. Keep up with the good work you are doing!
Thank you and May God bless you all!
Delivered at Kapingila House on 9th March 2018
By Fr Cleophas Lungu
ZCCB SECRETARY GENERAL
Download Speech here: http://caritaszambia.org/index.php/publications/general/file/127-keynote-speech-at-launch-of-caritas-zambia-strategic-plan-9th-march-2018