In a paradigm shift, CARITAS Antilles and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have set the stage for a revolutionary transformation in the way non-profit organizations receive support.
Marcia Haywood, the Regional Coordinator for CARITAS Antilles, spoke passionately about this game-changing Localization initiative that is poised to empower non-profit entities, promote equity, and ensure sustainability.
CARITAS Antilles, the social action agency of the Roman Catholic Church, serves a vast jurisdiction spanning 19 territories, from the Bahamas in the north to Guyana in South America.
This new ethos empowers organizations like CARITAS Antilles to harness their established technical resources, fostering self-sufficiency and resilience.
“It actually mirrors one of our very close partners in the CARITAS Confederation that of CRS Empower and I think this is a tremendous shift and we are very happy to see this shift or turn around by USAID. Fifteen years ago we were just receiving. Maybe if USAID wanted to respond or another actor wanted to respond they would just come in and say this is what we are doing and this is how you are going to do it etc. Now, we are actually part of the process, we are actually involved in determining what should be done and how it should be done for sustainability and also how we impact and maintain the dignity of those persons who are affected,” remarked Haywood.
CARITAS Antilles, renowned for its humanitarian responses in times of crisis, has offered vital relief during hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and other disasters in the Caribbean.
Notable interventions include hurricanes Ivan and Emily in Grenada, Maria and Irma in Dominica and the BVI, Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, the volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hurricane Lisa in Belize and most recently the troughs in Dominica and Saint Lucia.
The new localization thrust enables CARITAS to leverage its substantial technical expertise, gained through years of engagement with vulnerable communities.
Haywood says knowing and understanding the cultural nuisances in which humanitarian assistance is rendered, makes a critical difference in how it is received.
According to Haywood, “One of the advantages is that we are there before, during and after any emergency event which is so helpful.
The fact that USAID is able to help us to strategically be viable and make a response feasible in a short space of time is really critical to how lives are saved and how we are able to respond in the various jurisdictions, but in a cultural context.”
Beyond disaster relief, CARITAS Antilles engages in social development initiatives, focusing on at-risk youth and championing a preferential option for the poor.
The Regional Coordinator from Saint Lucia was the featured speaker at a high-level engagement in Washington, USA.
The gathering explored the localization shift as a strategic policy change, fostering closer collaboration between donors and recipients, while nurturing sustainability and capacity within executing agencies.
SOURCE: CARITAS, USAID