Caritas Sierra Leone, established in 1981 on the basis to serve as the relief and development wing of the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone, has on the 22 April 2022 launched its Strategic Plan 2022-2026 with a focus on what it says “The six strategic pillars” which are: Institutional capacity strengthening, sustainability and availability; integral and human development; advocacy and influence to support the work of the organization; climate resilience, emergency and humanitarian crisis response; governance and development; and migration, human trafficking and vulnerability.
Caritas Sierra Leone has, through its development programs over the years helped thousands of Sierra Leonean women, children and people with disabilities. The organization has been directly and indirectly involved in activities related to social injustice, poverty reduction and relief aid, national disasters, economic inclusion and the rule of law in Sierra Leone. The organization is one of the few organizations to be in every region of the country with offices in almost all corners of the country.
The Strategic Plan 2022-2026 is to ensure that the organization work hand-in-hand with the Government of Sierra Leone and its donor and development partners to better serve the Catholic Church and the people of Sierra Leone within the organization’s social teaching and its management standards recommended and endorsed by the Holy Pope Francis. The Plan was, according to Caritas Sierra Leone, prepared in response to their increasing commitment to self-sustainability, viably and effectively responding to the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised Sierra Leonean, bringing justice to the poor and oppressed, and thus increasing individual liberty by reforming society through the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ, son of Mary.
This historic and important event took place at De Kona Lodge Hotel, Freetown with a host of dignitaries from all walks of life. In attendance were the National Coordinator and Executive Director of Caritas Sierra Leone Reverend Peter FR Konteh; Jonathan Titus-Williams (Rev. Dr), Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development; Paul Emes, Country Representative, Catholic Relief Services; The Apostolic Administrator of Makeni Diocese in Sierra Leone and President of Caritas, Bishop Natale Paganelli; Mr Mohamed Hajj Kella, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare; and many others. The Keynote Address was delivered by Jonathan Titus-Williams (Rev. Dr), the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Sierra Leone.
Reverend Peter FR Konteh, Acting National Coordinator for Caritas Sierra Leone gave the opening address where he welcomed the attendees with a short but very important speech. Reverend Peter FR Konteh, in his speech, says Caritas’ objective is “service and love” as he reiterates the Pope’s statement which reads “church without Caritas is not a church, and Caritas without a church is not a Caritas”. He continued by extending his thanks and appreciation to partners, participants, and beneficiaries of Caritas Sierra Leone, and calls for mutual partnership with partners and the Government of Sierra Leone to develop the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 as Caritas “cannot work in isolation”. He added that Caritas Sierra Leone’s activities are to complement the government’s policies. He lastly called on the government to guide the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 in fulfilling its six-strong pillars.
Mr Paul Emes, Country Representative, Catholic Relief Service was also of the speakers of the event, Paul Emes, in his statement, stressed the need for partnership in achieving a common goal. He continues by saying that humans of planet Earth need to work as one if we want to create a better world for not just us but for generations to come. Paul Hems also urges young leaders in Sierra Leone and Africa at large to put forward integrity and ideas first before money, because according to him “with great ideas, great people, and integrity – you can get what you want (money)”. Mr Emes added that Catholic Relief Service will continue its usual support and partnership with Caritas Sierra Leone in providing for the vulnerable, marginalized young men and women in Sierra Leone and people with disabilities (PWD). As the outgoing Country Representative for Catholic Relief Service Sierra Leone, Mr Emes expressed the love and compassion he has for Sierra Leone having been in the country for years as Country Representative, Catholic Relief Service Sierra Leone.
In the mid of the launch, Dr Robert T. Moikowa, Chairman of the event called upon the Directors of Caritas Freetown, Bo, Makeni, and Kenema to give their reports on their activities and action plans over the years. He also called upon 24-year-old Mamusu Dumbuya, one of the thousands of the beneficiaries of Caritas Human Development and Relief Programs and an Ebola survivor who had lost 21 members of her family including her two parents, to the stage to tell her inspiring and compelling story of how Caritas Sierra Leone helped her in transitioning from nobody to somebody. Mamusu Dumbuya while narrating her story said she was 16 when she lost 21 of her family members including her mother and father in the hands of the 2014 deadly Ebola epidemic that ravaged Sierra Leone killing over 4,000 people and leaving hundreds of kids like Mamusu homeless and orphan. Mamusu, who is now 24-year-old, was left with her younger brother; younger cousin; and her adopted sister – At 16, she became the breadwinner of three. As young as she was, Mamusu was already parenting her young ones with just faith and hope left in her. The moment of liberation arrives when Caritas Sierra Leone went to Mamusu’s community, Kuntolor, to distribute food items to vulnerable and marginalized people living in the community. This was when, according to Mamusu, came in contact with Caritas Sierra Leone; a moment that changed her story from anguish to unbridled joy. Mamusu, as a beneficiary of Caritas Sierra Leone, through the items that were to supply to her, has now become a small scale entrepreneur. Through Caritas Sierra Leone, Mamusu continues to take care of her young ones by fully paying their school fees and taking care of their school needs and also runs the small home they are living in. This story, narrated by Mamusu, gave the audience goosebumps as they gave her a standing ovation.
Caritas Sierra Leone’s success stories do not only limited to Mamusu, there are many Mamusu out there that has benefited from the unflinching support and human development programs for vulnerable and marginalized Sierra Leoneans irrespective of tribe, religion, region, and political affiliation.
Jonathan Titus-Williams (Rev. Dr), Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Government of Sierra Leone, who happens to be the Keynote Speaker of The Strategic Plan 2022-20226 Launching and the last speaker, acknowledge the enormous and tremendous contribution of Caritas Sierra Leone in complementing the government of Sierra Leone efforts to implement its policies and encourage Caritas Sierra Leone to continue carrying out its life-changing programs. The Minister also further by saying this is a “new beginning” for Caritas Sierra Leone and commends the organization’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026. He also says the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Government of Sierra Leone is delighted to know that the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 six pillars are well in line with the Government of Sierra Leone’s Medium-term National Development Plan 2019-2023. The Deputy continued by stating that the government and the Ministry lay more emphasis on accountability, service delivery and the intervention of NGOs and development partners. He also stated that the government will create enabling environment for all NGOs in the country to operate efficiently and effectively in Sierra Leone by providing them with tax exemptions and duty waivers for legally registered NGOs in Sierra Leone. The Minister ended his speech by commending Caritas Sierra Leone for its support and shifting its focus from conventional to modern.