Our development approach

Caritas Australia promotes an integrated approach to community development through our long-term development programs in Indigenous Australia, Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America.  Integrated Community Development is not limited to economic growth but is holistic, covering all spheres of life — economic, political, cultural, personal and spiritual. It promotes the dignity of the human person, equality between every person, and the common good of all people in the community.

Children in Sudan

Group in field

We work alongside the poorest

Catholic Social Teaching (CST) tells us that the poorest should have priority and they should be the subjects of their own development, not the object of someone else’s idea of how they should be developed. This requires maximum participation by the poor and vulnerable, in all decisions and programs affecting their community.

At Caritas Australia, every program we initiate must first pass the test; so that in the communities we assist, we are working alongside the poor, involving them in decision-making right from the start and ensuring they are the authors and owners of their own ongoing development.

We champion communities

Caritas Australia’s approach is to support communities rather than individuals.

We believe it is far better to help whole communities through our partner organisations than to sponsor individuals. A village well, a community school, a trained primary health worker — these can all help to improve life for everyone.

Caritas Australia supports projects that respond to the needs identified by locals. We believe these people are the prime sources of energy, enthusiasm, ideas and vision for their own communities.

CST shows us that according to the principles of promoting human dignity, subsidiarity and solidarity, the only way to effectively and sustainably tackle poverty is to assist communities and people to do it themselves.

If you want Peace, work for Justice’
Pope Paul VI, 1972

We are stewards of creation

Our responsibility towards Creation is inextricably linked towards our pursuit to protect the human dignity of all who we work alongside. Sustainable development is central to the pursuit of genuine and lasting change. For many years, we have seen the result of natural disasters that leave communities suffering and in despair, and how the quick response of agencies like Caritas Australia can relieve that suffering.

We have seen the result of long-term development projects focusing on farming practices and sustainable livelihoods that can help communities respond to a poverty of natural resources.

Our partnerships

Long-term partnerships with local and international NGOs and communities are at the core of our work. As well as providing financial support for the projects and programs of our partner organisations, we support and accompany partners through the development process, providing technical support, advice on management and planning, mentoring and guidance.

The success of good development projects often hinge on the trust built in the communities. This trust, which is developed over time, produces dynamic and fruitful projects. We also believe that the moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.

Caritas Australia is also a partner of the Catholic Alliance for International Development, which works to maximise collaborative international development work aross Catholic Church agencies in Australia.

Our projects

Caritas Australia's long-term community and emergency response projects are centred around a wide range of global issues. Explore these issues via the links below, or explore projects by countries and regions via our online map.

Millennium Development Goals

As an agency, Caritas Australia maintains a commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through our projects. These eight goals are a global blueprint for breaking the chains of poverty and were agreed upon at the Millennium Summit in 2000 by 189 United Nations member states, including Australia. Their aim? To halve world poverty by the year 2015.

Although significant progress has been made, there are still one billion people living on less than US$1 per day, and more than 820 million people going to bed hungry every single night. The international community must act now to ensure the MDGs are met by 2015.