Caritas Nepal was founded in 1990 by the Catholic Church to respond to the devastating floods and other natural disasters that occurred. Beginning as a 3 member team the agency has grown and expanded their range of services and today operates in 50 of the 75 districts in Nepal. As the social arm of Catholic Church in Nepal, Caritas Nepal aims to apply animation and sector specific participatory approaches to empower the poor, women, marginalised, and disadvantaged people to reduce poverty, secure humanitarian assistance to refugees and in times of emergency and conflict, and realise social justice and peace.
One of the main intervention areas of Caritas Nepal is to promote sustainable agriculture to enable small farmer households to realise food security and sustainable livelihoods, as about two thirds of the population is dependent on agriculture for livelihood. Collaborating with Caritas Australia, they implemented a national campaign, “IPM Program for Small Farmers”, in 24 districts of Nepal to distribute seeds, promote the use of vermin-composting and animal waste for organic fertilizers, and advocate for small farmers to improve their household food security, incomes, and farming sustainability.
Another major focus of Caritas Nepal’s work, in a country prone to natural disasters, lies in preparedness and emergency relief. After flash floods and landslides were triggered by heavy rains in 2009, displacing an estimated 2,500 households, Caritas Nepal mobilised teams to provide emergency supplies in the form of food and non-food items to families in need. Once the flood waters receded, Caritas Nepal initiated livelihood assistance and sustainable food security programmes to help them recover from the significant loss of food stocks and livestock.
In addition, Caritas Nepal instituted a national programme on prevention of trafficking and HIV/AIDS, through measures such as awareness-raising sessions, a radio programme and street drama. Smaller projects, often carried out through partner agencies, include skills development, savings and credit programmes, and education programmes for children displaced by the war.
Caritas Nepal main office in Kathmandu employs around 20 staff and volunteers to carry out the agency’s activities.
As a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia, Caritas Nepal has collaborated with Caritas Germany, Caritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Austria, Caritas Italy, Caritas France, Caritas Korea, Caritas Singapore and Caritas Japan.