|Founder||United States Conference of Catholic Bishops|
President and CEO
Most Reverend Gregory John Mansour, Bishop of Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn,
Chairman of the Board
|US$ $979 million (2017)|
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Founded in 1943 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the agency provides assistance to 130 million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
An aid agency, also known as development charity, is an organization dedicated to distributing aid. Many professional aid organisations exist, both within government, between governments as multilateral donors and as private voluntary organizations or non-governmental organisations. The International Committee of the Red Cross is the world’s oldest humanitarian organisation and is unique in being mandated by international treaty to uphold the Geneva Conventions.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is the episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in the United States. Founded in 1966 as the joint National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and United States Catholic Conference (USCC), it is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the bishops in the six dioceses form their own episcopal conference, the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference. The bishops in U.S. insular areas in the Pacific Ocean – the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, and the Territory of Guam – are members of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific.
A member of Caritas International, the worldwide network of Catholic humanitarian agencies, CRS provides relief in emergency situations and helps people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty through community-based, sustainable development initiatives as well as Peacebuilding. Assistance is based solely on need, not race, creed or nationality. Catholic Relief Services is headquartered in the Posner Building in Baltimore, Maryland, while operating numerous field offices on five continents. CRS has approximately 5,000 employees around the world. The agency is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 13 clergy (most of them bishops) and 10 lay people.
In economics, the cycle of poverty is the "set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention".
Peacebuilding is an activity that aims to resolve injustice in nonviolent ways and to transform the cultural & structural conditions that generate deadly or destructive conflict. It revolves around developing constructive personal, group, and political relationships across ethnic, religious, class, national, and racial boundaries. This process includes violence prevention; conflict management, resolution, or transformation; and post-conflict reconciliation or trauma healing, i.e., before, during, and after any given case of violence.
Stewart's Department Store, also known as the Posner Building, is a historic department store building located at Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Catholic Relief Services is currently headquartered there.
Initially founded as the War Relief Services, the agency’s original purpose was to aid the refugees of war-torn Europe. A confluence of events in the mid 1950s — the end of colonial rule in many countries, the continuing support of the American Catholic community and the availability of food and financial resources from the U.S. Government — helped CRS expand operations. Its name was officially changed to Catholic Relief Services in 1955, and over the next 10 years it opened 25 country programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. CRS's executive director during this period (1947–1976) was Bishop Edward E. Swanstrom.One of the key relief workers in those early years was Father Fabian Flynn, CP, who directed their efforts in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
As the agency grew, its programming focus widened, adapting to meet the needs of the post-World War II Roman Catholic Church and the circumstances of the people it encountered. In the 1970s and 1980s, programs that began as simple distributions of food, clothing and medicines to the poor evolved toward socio-economic development. By the late 1980s, health care, nutrition education, micro enterprise and agriculture had become major focuses of CRS programming.[ citation needed ]
In the mid-1990s, CRS went through a significant institutional transformation. In 1993, CRS officials embarked on a strategic planning effort to clarify the mission and identity of the agency. Soon after, the 1994 massacre in Rwanda – in which more than 800,000 people were killed – led CRS staff to reevaluate how they implemented their relief and development programs, particularly in places experiencing or at high risk of ethnic conflict. After a period of institutional reflection, CRS embraced a vision of global solidarity and incorporated a justice-centered focus into all of its programming, using Catholic social teaching as a guide.
Catholic social teaching is the Catholic doctrines on matters of human dignity and common good in society. The ideas address oppression, the role of the state, subsidiarity, social organization, concern for social justice, and issues of wealth distribution. Its foundations are widely considered to have been laid by Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical letter Rerum novarum, which advocated economic distributism. Its roots can be traced to the writings of Catholic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo, and is also derived from concepts present in the Bible and the cultures of the ancient Near East.
All programming is evaluated according to a set of social justice criteria called the Justice Lens. In terms of programming, CRS now evaluates not just whether its interventions are effective and sustainable, but whether they might have a negative impact on social or economic relationships in a community.[ citation needed ]
Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.
CRS programming includes: promoting human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty and nurturing peaceful and just societies
Serving Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world
Overseas work is done in partnership with local church agencies, other faith-based partners, non-governmental organizations and local governments. CRS emphasizes the empowerment of partners and beneficiaries in programming decisions. Program examples include:
The agency has also made engaging the U.S. Catholic population a priority. CRS is seeking to help Catholics more actively live their faith and build global solidarity. Program examples include:
Catholic Relief Services serves as a leading member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of over 400 major companies and NGOs that advocates for increased funding of American diplomatic and development efforts abroad.
As part of the massive, worldwide humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Catholic Relief Services donated $190 million to fund a five-year relief and reconstruction effort to help 600,000 victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. CRS provided shelter kits to build tents and temporary shelters, as well as transitional, sturdier shelters meant to last for a longer time. Some of these efforts have now been codified and made a part of the Sphere Project, an international set of standards to be used by organizations providing emergency assistance.
Catholic Relief Services has served in Haiti since 1954. Over 50 years of experience allowed CRS to respond to the earthquake immediately and has positioned the agency to be a key development actor as the country rebuilds. The agency works through a broad network of partners, including the Catholic Church in Haiti.These relief efforts are in conjunction with the humanitarian response by other non-governmental organizations.
CRS is fostering local leadership and helping communities develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to build local capacity so that Haitians drive their own recovery.CRS has committed to a $200 million, 5-year earthquake recovery program in partnership with more than 200 local organizations, focusing on community revitalization and shelter, health, water and sanitation, and protection.
Highlights of the recovery programming include the $22.5 million reconstruction of St. Francois de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, in partnership with the Catholic Health Association of the United States, turning the facility into a 200-bed teaching hospital; the Catholic Education Initiative, focused on building a vibrant Catholic school system throughout Haiti; and the development of innovative approaches for transforming camps into permanent housing communities, beginning with the construction of 125 housing units at Camp Carradeux.
Since the civil war in Syria began in March, 2011, CRS has been working with their church partners in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt to provide urgent medical assistance, hygiene and living supplies, counseling and support for the nearly 1 million Syrian refugees who are children. Most now live in unfamiliar and uncomfortable surroundings, unable to attend local schools and traumatized by atrocities they have witnessed. To give them structure and a sense of normalcy, CRS is supporting formal and informal education, tutoring, recreational activities and trauma counseling.
Though this crisis in the Central African Republic has received little media attention in the United States, an estimated 930,000 people—20 percent of the population—have fled their homes since rebels ousted the president in March 2013. Millions of people are in urgent need of food, shelter and assistance. Although a new president took office in August, many embassies, including the United States, remained closed. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Mbaiki, Bossangoa, and Bouar are working in the country to provide emergency food, shelter, and agricultural support, as well as supporting the work of Christian and Muslim religious leaders to promote conflict resolution and peace building.
CRS is a member of the Interfaith Partnership for the Consolidation of Peace (CIPP) in Central African Republic, a joint project launched in 2016 to support the process of national reconciliation and peace building. The CIPP brings together CRS, the Interfaith Peace Platform, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Aegis Trust, Islamic Relief and World Vision International in promoting social cohesion at various levels, supporting economic development and assisting those who have been affected by violence in the country.
Participating in the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan, in the first 3 months after the typhoon CRS collaborated with communities and Caritas partners to provide 40,000 families–200,000 people–with emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation. We are now focusing on long-term recovery and are committed to a 5-year plan that will help 500,000 people. CRS has spent $23.7 million on their response as of September 30, 2014.During this first year of relief efforts (2013-2014), CRS rebuilt over 3,000 homes, had 5,000 under construction, and rebuilt 2,800 household latrines. CRS also created a Livelihood Recovery Program to help all those who lost their jobs because of the disaster. The program offers locals the choose of five programs and provides grants for training. The programs are: intercropping, livestock production, aquaculture, small and medium-sized enterprises, skills development, and communal nursery.
For the humanitarian response to the Nepal earthquake, Catholic Relief Services and its partner organizations have begun procuring emergency relief materials, like shelter kits and sanitation and hygiene materials.
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The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease. Launched by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003, PEPFAR has provided more than $80 billion in cumulative funding for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research since its inception, making it the largest global health program focused on a single disease in history. PEPFAR is implemented by a combination of U.S. government agencies in over 50 countries and overseen by the Global AIDS Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State. It is widely credited with having helped save millions of lives, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Marie Stopes International is an international non-governmental organisation providing contraception and safe abortion services in 37 countries around the world. Marie Stopes International as an organisation lobbies in favour of access to abortion, and provides a variety of sexual and reproductive healthcare services including advice, vasectomies, and abortions in the UK and other countries where it is legal to do so.
Abstinence, be faithful, use a condom, also known as the ABC strategy or abstinence-plus sex education, also known as abstinence-based sex education, is a sex education policy based on a combination of "risk avoidance" and harm reduction which modifies the approach of abstinence-only sex education by including education about the value of partner reduction safe sex and birth control methods. Abstinence-only sex education is strictly to promote the sexual abstinence until marriage, and does not teach about safe sex or contraceptives. The abstinence-based sex education program is meant to stress abstinence and include information on safe sex practices. In general terms, this strategy of sex education is a compromise between abstinence-only education and comprehensive sex education. The ABC approach was developed in response to the growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and to prevent the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases. This approach has been credited by some with the falling numbers of those infected with AIDS in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe, among others. From 1990 to 2001 the percentage of Ugandans living with AIDS fell from 15% to between 5 and 6%. This fall is believed to result from the employment of the ABC approach, especially reduction in the number of sex partners, called "Zero-Grazing" in Uganda.
The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Servicess, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.
HIV/AIDS in Lesotho constitutes a very serious threat to the Basotho people and Lesotho's economic development. Since its initial detection in 1986, HIV/AIDS has spread at alarming rates in Lesotho. In 2000, King Letsie III declared HIV/AIDS a natural disaster. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2016, Lesotho's adult prevalence rate of 25% is the second highest in the world, following Swaziland.
Rwanda faces a generalized epidemic, with an HIV prevalence rate of 3.1 percent among adults ages 15 to 49. The prevalence rate has remained relatively stable, with an overall decline since the late 1990s, partly due to improved HIV surveillance methodology. In general, HIV prevalence is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and women are at higher risk of HIV infection than men. Young women ages 15 to 24 are twice as likely to be infected with HIV as young men in the same age group. Populations at higher risk of HIV infection include people in prostitution and men attending clinics for sexually transmitted infections.
UNAIDS has said that HIV/AIDS in Indonesia is one of Asia's fastest growing epidemics. In 2010, it is expected that 5 million Indonesians will have HIV/AIDS. In 2007, Indonesia was ranked 99th in the world by prevalence rate, but because of low understanding of the symptoms of the disease and high social stigma attached to it, only 5-10% of HIV/AIDS sufferers actually get diagnosed and treated.
Cases of HIV/AIDS in Peru are considered to have reached the level of a concentrated epidemic. According to a population-based survey conducted in Peru’s 24 largest cities in 2002, adult HIV prevalence was estimated to be less than 1 percent. The survey demonstrated that cases are unevenly distributed in the country, affecting mostly young people between the ages of 25 and 34. As of July 2010, the cumulative reported number of persons infected with HIV was 41,638, and there were 26,566 cases of AIDS, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the male/female ratio for AIDS diagnoses in 2009 was 3.02 to 1. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates 76,000 Peruvians are HIV-positive, meaning that many people at risk do not know their status. There were 3,300 deaths due to AIDS in Peru in 2007, down from 5,600 deaths in 2005.
The Dominican Republic has a 0.7 percent prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, among the lowest percentage-wise in the Caribbean region. However, it has the second most cases in the Caribbean region in total, with an estimated 46,000 HIV/AIDS-positive Dominicans as of 2013.
According to the Global Fund, Honduras is the Central American country most adversely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As of 1998, Honduras had the highest prevalence of HIV out of all seven Central American countries according to a study published by the office of the Honduran Secretary of Public Health. As of that same year, Hondurans made up only 17% of the Central American population, yet Honduras contained 50% of the initial AIDS cases in Central America and 60% of all Central American cases in 2001. In more recent years, new HIV infections have decreased by 29% since 2010 while AIDS-related deaths have increased by 11% since then. HIV/AIDS heavily affects the young, active, working population in Honduras, and HIV/AIDS deaths account for 10% of the overall national mortality rate. As of 2008, AIDS was the leading cause of death among Honduran women of childbearing age and the second-leading cause of hospitalization among both men and women. Sexually transmitted infections are common, and condom use in risky sexual encounters is sporadic and variable. HIV remains a mainly heterosexual epidemic in Honduras, as 90% of emerging infections are attributed to heterosexual transmission. It is estimated that the prevalence of HIV among Honduran adults is 1.5%.
Starfish Greathearts Foundation is an international non-governmental organisation formed in response to the tragedy of children orphaned or left vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Its mission is to help make a difference to the lives of these children through community-based organisations working at grassroots level. This enables individual communities to develop their own solutions to the challenges they face. As of January 2009, Starfish projects reach more than 36,000 children in 120 communities across South Africa.
The Catholic Church's position on HIV/AIDS prevention has attracted controversy due to its opposition to condom use. In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI said that the use of condoms could sometimes be considered a first step toward moral behavior, but a spokesperson for the church later clarified that the use of condoms was still considered immoral and that the pope had not intended to take a position "on the problem of condoms in general." In relation to the sexual transmission of the disease, the Church teaches that chastity, are a better means of limiting the spread of the epidemic than the use of condoms. United Nations bodies have criticised the Church for its stance against condom use, on the basis that condoms are the best available means to prevent infections among sexually active people. UN bodies co-operate closely with the Church on the provision of patient care, and in eliminating infections in children.
The relationship between religion and HIV/AIDS is complicated, and often controversial. Controversies have mainly revolved around LGBT people and condom use.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) first began its work in 1943. It is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in 99 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. Catholic Relief Services is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Caritas Internationalis is the official humanitarian agency of the global Catholic Church.
AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) is a non-profit AIDS service organization that addresses HIV and AIDS in Central Texas. Founded in 1987, ASA is the region’s oldest and largest community-based organization addressing the local AIDS crisis. Annually, they provide direct care services to over 1,500 people and HIV prevention education to over 10,000 people.
Shuga, also known as MTV Shuga, is a television drama series that was first aired in November 2009 on MTV Base as part of an initiative dubbed "MTV Staying Alive Ignite!". Its first two seasons was commissioned by MTV Networks Africa in association with The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, PEPFAR, the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation (HFG) and the Government of Kenya, as part of a multimedia campaign to spread the message about responsible sexual behaviour and tolerance. It later became a hit and was aired in 40 different African countries before it was aired internationally in over 70 television stations. It was thought to be a very controversial series by the senior generation of Kenyans because it contained some scenes that contained sexually explicit content. It bagged a Gold award in May 2010 at the World Media Festival in Hamburg, Germany in the Public Relations Health category for its vivid and uncompromising focus on love, emotions and sexual behavior amongst the Kenyan youth.
The Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) is an international, faith-based NGO, providing long-term, co-operative medical and development aid to communities affected by poverty and healthcare issues. It was established in 1912 and officially registered in 1928. CMMB is headquartered in New York City, USA, and currently has country offices in Haiti, Kenya, Peru, South Sudan, and Zambia.