Caritas helps African communities to dig in

Sr Ivy Khoury (centre) in Mozambique (Caritas Australia)

Caritas Australia’s partners are responding to the effects of COVID-19 in eastern and southern Africa, where communities that rely on small-scale agriculture have been severely affected by restrictions on gatherings.

Sr Ivy Khoury, Africa Program Coordinator at Caritas Australia, works alongside local partners in Mozambique and Zimbabwe on long-term development projects, and has seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges in implementing programs.

“We were in the middle of everything — digging boreholes, fencing the gardens to protect people’s livelihoods and making bricks for the construction of latrines. We were lucky to get permission to continue work ... so that we could continue our programs while other organisations were in lockdown.”

“Sometimes only ten people are allowed at a time in the gardens, but it’s necessary so that households can continue to grow enough food for everybody to eat or sell at the markets.”

In a region that has been hit by extended drought, frequent flooding and rapidly increasing inflation in recent decades, long-term development programs are crucial to help communities survive these challenges and to become self-reliant after these crises.

As a Franciscan Missionary of Mary, Sr Ivy has seen parts of the world that few Australians visit. After the devastating floods in Mozambique in 2013, more than 140,00 people were forced from their homes. Sr Ivy worked with communities to rebuild.

“To see people lose everything, and I mean everything — that’s when organisations like Caritas Australia and other international Caritas members come in and help pick up the pieces.”


The impacts of COVID 19 on local communities in southern Africa (Caritas Australia)

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