During the course of the three days CARITAS employees imparted their expertise and knowledge to the participants in workshops that included community engagement and fundraising, advocacy and campaigns and emergency relief and development. Catholic social teaching is at the heart of the values of the organisation and this was evident throughout each of the presentations.
Some of the highlights included ‘a day in the life’, which allowed the participants to sit down with a staff member to discuss their day-to-day activities and enabled a more personal look at a specific role within the organisation. A humanitarian emergency simulation was conducted to give the participants a feel for how CARITAS responds in an emergency.
The final day consisted of an ‘amazing race’ in which the participants were split into two teams and raced to a university campus nearby to raise awareness of the Fairer World campaign. “It was a great team building exercise,” says Michael Szmynec, “in a practical way we were able to experience the collaborative nature of an advocacy campaign within Caritas.”
The Fairer World campaign aims to challenge the government on three key issues. Australian aid is at just 0.23% of GDP whilst the UK has reached the 0.7% target of the Millennium Development Goals both countries signed in 2000. The campaign asks the Prime Minister to increase overseas aid to 2012 levels by the end of the current government’s term. Climate change affects us all though many of the partners Caritas supports feel these effects with greater impact. This campaign asks the Prime Minister to commit to a net zero carbon pollution target by 2050. The campaign also recognises the voices of the First Australians and advocates justice and subsidiarity in the decision making that affects their communities.
For more information and to add your voice to this campaign, visit Caritas online.
Photograph courtesy of Jay Young.