Caritas is a global confederation of Catholic Institutions working in humanitarian emergencies and towards the betterment and fullness of life for the marginalized in the community. Guided by Catholic teachings and gospel teachings, Caritas agencies strive to promote development, justice as well as assist refugees around the world.
In this regard, Caritas Nairobi is the social development agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi coordinating and providing aid and social development services without regards to race, gender, age, social backgrounds or even religious believes; our is pegged on socially and economically uplifting low income families that have lost hope for living due poverty and other demoralizing factors. Caritas Nairobi serves marginalized people especially in the slums of Nairobi and in Kiambu County.
“It has rightly earned the esteem and trust of the faithful and many other people around the World for its generous and consistent witness of faith and its concrete ability to respond to the needs of the poor.’ The kind words of Pope Benedict XVI praising Caritas.
Previously known as the Archdiocesan Development Office of Nairobi (ADO), Caritas Nairobi is in charge of the apostolate for human development. The office was established in 1862 and re-established in 1973 as the Catholic Action Office by His Eminence, the late Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga, following a decree of Vatican II. Between inception and 1979, the office focused on mobilising communities at the parish level and empowering them on developmental issues including entrepreneurship. However, this focus shifted in early 1980s, to training leaders of various church groups and Small Christian Communities. This trend has continued and the results have been overwhelming.
For the ADO to efficiently respond and reach a wider audience within the Archdiocese of Nairobi, in December 2008, it transformed into Caritas Nairobi, which was in line with Caritas Internationalis Family that emphasizes on “Christian Love and Charity”. Major challenges faced within the ADN include escalating poverty levels, HIV pandemic, substance abuse and the breakdown of family ties.
The role of Caritas Nairobi is to ensure the fulfilment of the mission of Christ. As Pope Francis once said “There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.” Caritas Nairobi has been mandated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi to coordinate and implement aid and social-economic development programmes within the Archdiocese.
So how is our societal role realised? Caritas Nairobi has centred programmes specifically designed to alleviate human suffering, enhance social justice and call people to self-consciously reflect on the challenges of the Gospel and social teachings of the church. This office also propagates the vision and mission of the ADN. Caritas Nairobi programmes are designed to promote integral human development through social, spiritual, economic and civic development.
The Archdiocese of Nairobi covers the counties of Nairobi and Kiambu, which are then divided into thirteen deaneries. The Archdiocese of Nairobi occupies a land area of approximately 3,721 sq. kilometres and has a population of 5 million, with a Catholic population of 1.6 million people (46%). It also has 116 parishes and numerous Christian communities. Since the establishment of the development office, personnel have increased quantitatively and qualitatively