Caritas Botswana, known as the Tirisanyo Catholic Commission, was founded in 1984 with the aim of working with local people to help to lift them out of poverty. The agency's work is critical in a country where 47 percent of people live below the poverty line and one third have HIV and AIDS. Mining is the dominant industry, but its impact on other parts of the economy is weak. Caritas Botswana is working to raise people's standards of living through measures addressing education, better access to health services and more effective use of resources. There is a major emphasis on caring for orphans and vulnerable children, enhancing food security and increasing people's incomes, especially in rural and remote areas.
The agency's work includes projects addressing:
Training: From early-childhood education to projects in organic farming;
Materials: Providing food, clothing, seeds and farming equipment;
Finance: Setting up savings, loan and credit schemes;
HIV and AIDS prevention;
The agency's work has seen many of Botswana's orphans and vulnerable children benefiting from home-based care and education.
The challenge is now towards ensuring people are equipped with the skills and knowledge to sustain their livelihoods well into the future, without the need for external aid.