Long-term development: your questions answered

25 July 2016

Tabitha with a sack of grain

After working with our Hands On project in Kitui, Tabitha now has enough grain to last her through the year

Fergus Conmee leads our work in the Horn and East Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia. He answers some of your questions about development and emergency response.

What is long-term development or long-term aid?

Development is supporting people in poor communities to demand and receive basic rights such as food, water, health services, education and ways of earning money. These are the basic resources people need to be able to look after themselves and their families.

What is emergency response?

It means responding after a crisis hits to save lives. This is normally to provide the basics of survival, such as water, shelter or food. We also work with communities to help them recognise when a crisis is likely to develop, and take steps to reduce the impact.

Join our emergency response team

Do long-term development and emergency response overlap?

After disasters, we help communities to rebuild in a way that makes them less vulnerable. These shelters in the Philippines are designed to withstand extreme weather.

Yes. CAFOD’s approach is to work with local partners before a crisis, during a crisis and after a crisis. We often think of emergencies as responding to short-term aid crises, and then leaving again. But we help communities to be more resilient in the long-term. We make sure people have a better income, different ways of earning money, and are not reliant on one sole crop or livestock. This means they can withstand the shock of a crisis when it hits.

What does CAFOD do in terms of development?

One example is our series of Hands On projects. These projects allow you to support a particular commuity as they tackle a large, two-year project.

Our first Hands On project was in Kitui, Kenya. We took proactive steps to make sure people could grow crops in this area of unpredictable climate. As well as helping them alter their landscape, plant trees, use drought-tolerant crops, and access new water sources, it was important that people could earn money during times of crisis. So we helped them form cooperatives to produce goods to be sold.

Now if you visit Kitui in a time of drought, water is available in the dams we’ve built, and crops are more drought-resilient. This means people have food and fewer people are malnourished.

Our new Hands On project is in Bolivia, helping families living in poverty to improve their farmland and grow enough food for their families. By joining the Hands On scheme, you are supporting long-term development. Find out more about our latest Hands On project.

What do you mean by CAFOD’s partners?

Planting seeds in Bolivia

One of our long-term development projects is through Hands On, where we are teaching people in Bolivia how to grow crops that can survive despite harsh growing conditions.

We work through more than 450 local organisations in 40 countries. Many of these organisations are connected to the local Catholic Church. Our partners are based in communities, often in remote areas, and local people trust them. Being based in these communities enables us to understand local complexities and find out exactly what is needed. It also means we can reach rural and potentially isolated people. 

Are some projects more difficult to fund than others?

At CAFOD, we fund our projects in different ways. Some money comes from the Government and other organisations through institutional grants, but the majority of our work is funded by our supporters. It can be difficult to get funding for countries and issues that aren’t in the media. But the money given by our supporters means that work can continue, even when other funds aren’t available. This means we can always support people who are most in need.

How can people support long-term aid?

One of the best ways to support our long-term aid and development work is by giving a monthly donation to CAFOD projects. What’s great about this is we know we’re going to have money for a number of years, so we’re able to plan longer-term projects. This brings greater benefits for people living in poverty. One of the ways you can give regularly is through Hands On. The money goes directly to the projects, and you will receive feedback from local people about what your money is funding and how the project is progressing.

Join our new Hands On project in Bolivia

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