Caritas Ghana, the Relief and Development Organization of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has been awarded a grant of Ninety-Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighty-Five Euro and Fifty-Six Cents (Euro 99,785.56) by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Caritas Internationalis COVID 19 Response Fund (CRF), to embark on a Comprehensive Emergency Response Interventions on the pandemic in the West African country.
In a Zoom Webinar virtual ceremony last Week Thursday for the official announcement of the grant, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana said “The Fund, managed directly by the Emergency Unit of Caritas Internationalis, opened up a call for proposals in March and Caritas Ghana submitted the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference Covid-19 Response Plan in March and was later invited to submit a proposal based on a prescribed template.”
“Caritas Ghana responded to this invitation by submitting a proposal in April, 2020,” he said during the zoom virtual ceremony, noting that the “project contract implementation period from July 6 to October 5, 2020 will focus on the Archdioceses of Accra, Cape Coast, Tamale and Archdiocese of Kumasi.”
Under the instrumentality of Pope Francis, a Vatican Commission on Covid-19 was established. Under this umbrella, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) and Caritas Internationalis (CI) set up the Covid-19 Response Fund (CRF) to mobilize resources from Caritas Member Organizations to provide quick and short-term support to Caritas Organizations needing urgent assistance.
Dr. Aloysius John, Secretary-General of Caritas Internationalis and Msgr. Pierre Cibamo, Vatican Ecclesiastical Liaison to Caritas Internationalis, who participated in the brief virtual ceremony commended Caritas Ghana for being a beneficiary of the grant and exhorted the management “to ensure high standards of accountability and safeguarding of the vulnerable in the implementation of the project.”
In a briefing paper during the virtual ceremony on July, Mr. Akologo said the overall objective of the project is “to guarantee access to basic livelihood security services (food, shelter, medicine) for the poor and vulnerable.”
He noted that it is also “to provide technical/logistics support to Catholic Health facilities in the remote Regions of the four Archdioceses and coordinated dissemination of authentic COVID-19 information using the World Health Organisation and Ghana Health Service approved guidelines to influence Social and Behavioral Change in Ghana.”
According to him, the Fund will also be used to embark on an awareness campaign to raise community awareness to avoid the infection of COVID-19.
He pointed out that 2,570 individuals from the four Archdioceses will be direct beneficiaries of the Project, among them will be “800 young girls known as ‘Kayayie’ (Head Porters) who were affected and displaced through the Government demolition of illegal structures, including 200 People Living with Disabilities to be provided with food items.”
Mr. Akologo added “800 displaced women and their children to be provided with blankets and mats,” and added that “800 workers of Health facilities in the remote areas of the Four Archdioceses to be provided with face mask, and other Personal Protective Equipment (sanitizers, veronica buckets and liquid soap.”
The project, he averred “will reach a total minimum number of over 10,000 indirect beneficiaries who will access support from the health facilities and the community prevention and mitigation of COVID-19.”
He mentioned that “100 Caritas Ghana Staff, Arch/Diocesan Caritas Officers and National Catholic Secretariat Staff will have virtual training on Safeguarding Procedures and Mechanisms,”
Touching on media sensitization, dissemination of information on behavioral change measures, the Caritas Head said “Religious and Traditional leaders, Parish Priests, Opinion Leaders, Faith-Based Organizations in the four Archdioceses, National Commission of Civic Education, Radio Presenters and Stations,” will be contacted for dissemination of information.
Since the first announcement of COVID-19 cases in Ghana on March 12, 2020, Caritas Ghana, has embarked on numerous humanitarian activities by providing basic needs support to the indigent poor in the areas affected by Government’s imposition of restrictions; especially lockdown in Accra, Kasoa and Kumasi respectively as well as support to Catholic Health facilities.
In March this, the Catholic Bishops of Ghana launched a nine-month Response Plan seeking to contribute to the containment and alleviation of extreme hardship on the populace and to contribute to the national response to Covid-19 pandemic.
Archbishop Philip Naameh, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, in a brief remark at the July 30 virtual ceremony, thanked Caritas Internationalis for awarding Fund to the Church in Ghana to fight COVID-19, and assured that with the project “social protection services for the vulnerable and poor community members will be utilized and serve the underserved communities.”
He expressed confidence that the “impact of stigmatization, fear, and panic within the community will be reduced and people will understand the nature of the virus better,” adding “safety and prevention measures in communities will be far enhanced and the spread of the virus will significantly be slowed.”
On his part, Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Episcopal President of Caritas Ghana, expressed optimism that the project “will improve the capacity of staff of Caritas Ghana, Priests and Opinion Leaders on COVID-19 pandemic for effective outreach activities.”
Participating in the virtual ceremony was Archbishop Gabriel Justice Anokye of Kumasi, who doubles as the President of Caritas Africa.