|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.
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.
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.
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 ]
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. Latest results show PEPFAR has saved over 17 million lives.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian aid and development organization of the United Methodist Church (UMC). UMCOR is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operated under the auspices of the General Board of Global Ministries. One hundred percent of donations are directed to an earmarked project or relief effort. Administrative expenses are funded by an annual offering collected by United Methodist churches on UMCOR Sunday.
Alight, formerly the American Refugee Committee (ARC), is an international nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that has provided humanitarian assistance and training to millions of beneficiaries over the last 40 years.
The Global AIDS Coordinator at the United States Department of State is the official responsible for overseeing U.S.-sponsored humanitarian aid programs to combat the AIDS epidemic around the world. The Global AIDS Coordinator has the rank of ambassador-at-large and Assistant Secretary.
The Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) is the biggest and most decentralized and widespread humanitarian organization operating in Sudan. The society developed out of the Sudan branch of the British Red Cross Society and was established in 1956. Upon Sudan's independence in March 1956 received official recognition as an independent National Society following the Sudanese Council of Ministers decree No. 869. The National Society covers nearly the entire country with 15 State branches and several sub-branches/units in the provinces/localities and administrative units, with a nationwide community-based network of 35,000 active volunteers and another 300,000 who can be deployed as need arises. It has well-established working relations with public authorities at federal, state and local levels, and good partnership and collaboration with Movement partners and UN specialized agencies and national and international NGOs working in Sudan.
The very high rate of HIV infection experienced in Uganda during the 1980s and early 1990s created an urgent need for people to know their HIV status. The only option available to them was offered by the National Blood Transfusion Service, which carries out routine HIV tests on all the blood that is donated for transfusion purposes. Because the need for testing and counseling was great, a group of local non-governmental organizations such as The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Uganda Red Cross, Nsambya Home Care, the National Blood Bank, the Uganda Virus Research Institute together with the Ministry of Health established the AIDS Information Centre in 1990 to provide HIV testing and counseling services with the knowledge and consent of the client involved.
The diplomatic relationship between the United States of America and Zambia can be characterized as warm and cooperative. Several U.S. administrations cooperated closely with Zambia's first president, Kenneth Kaunda, in hopes of facilitating solutions to the conflicts in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Namibia. The United States works closely with the Zambian Government to defeat the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is ravaging Zambia, to promote economic growth and development, and to effect political reform needed to promote responsive and responsible government. The United States is also supporting the government's efforts to root out corruption. Zambia is a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The U.S. Government provides a variety of technical assistance and other support that is managed by the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Threshold Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Treasury, Department of Defense, and Peace Corps. The majority of U.S. assistance is provided through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Food for the Hungry is a Christian international relief, development, and advocacy organization with operations in more than 20 countries. Food for the Hungry was founded in 1971 by Dr. Larry Ward. Food for the Hungry's stated mission for long-term development is to graduate communities of extreme poverty within 10–15 years. The organization does this by going to some of the hardest places with an exit strategy, empowering local leaders and walking "together" with them, as they lead their communities into being thriving, self-sustainable places to live. The organization also works in disaster relief and humanitarian response, including working with the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Angola has a large HIV/AIDS infected population, however, it has one of the lowest prevalence rates in the Southern Africa zone. The status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Angola is expected to change within the near future due to several forms of behavioral, cultural, and economic characteristics within the country such as lack of knowledge and education, low levels of condom use, the frequency of sex and number of sex partners, economic disparities and migration. There is a significant amount of work being done in Angola to combat the epidemic, but most aid is coming from outside of the country.
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 Eswatini.
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.
Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) is a humanitarian agency engaged in community development, refugee resettlement, emergency relief, basic commodity shipments, volunteer placement and alternative trade.
Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha is an Anglican priest in Uganda with a parish outside of Kampala. In 1992, he became the first religious leader in Africa to publicly announce that he was HIV positive. In 2009, Byamugisha received the 26th annual Niwano Peace Prize "in recognition of his work to uphold the dignity and human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS".
The Catholic Church is the world leader in the provision of care to people with HIV/AIDS. With over 117,000 health centers, it is also one of the largest providers, partnering with other institutions, including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Much of the church's work is focused on the developing world, though programs exist in the Global North as well.
The relationship between religion and HIV/AIDS has been an ongoing one, since the advent of the pandemic. Many faith communities have participated in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, offering free treament, as well as promoting HIV/AIDS testing and preventative measures. Christian denominations, such as Lutheranism and Methodism, have advocated for the observance of World AIDS Day to educate their congregations about the disease. Some Churches run voluntary blood testing camps and counselling centers to diagnose and help those affected by HIV/AIDS.
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.
Global Health Initiatives (GHIs) are humanitarian initiatives that raise and disburse additional funds for infectious diseases– such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria– for immunization and for strengthening health systems in developing countries. GHIs classify a type of global initiative, which is defined as an organized effort integrating the involvement of organizations, individuals, and stakeholders around the world to address a global issue.
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is an organizational unit within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is charged by the President of the United States with directing and coordinating international United States government disaster assistance.
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.