Caritas Norway was established in 1952 as Norsk Katolsk Flyktningehjelp (Norwegian Catholic Help for Refugees) by the Catholic Church in Norway; the current name was adopted in 1964.
The primary objectives of the international aid organisation are to support programmes within the areas of development and emergency relief, human rights, education and skills development, and peace and reconciliation work in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Domestically, their aim is advocacy work to increase public awareness in Norway about unjust social structures and the causes of poverty and to aid the 37 Catholic parishes in the development of welfare work for refugees, immigrants, children and the elderly.
Caritas Norway work overseas focuses on long-term development and humanitarian relief to improve the living conditions of people in poor countries, such as El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Philippines and DR Congo.
In 2002, after a food crisis struck Zambia, Caritas Norway and Caritas Zambia coordinated long-term care to the region by implementing methods to secure long-term food supplies. As of 2013 Caritas Norway operate in 15 countries.
Caritas Norway have been effective in promoting environmental sustainability development and the sustainable management of natural resources in countries such as Uganda and Zambia. In Honduras they have implemented measures to work on the conservation of forests and water sources, and a more environmentally friendly production of metals and minerals.
As founder and active member of the Christian Council peace platform, Caritas Norway have sought solutions, through social welfare and economic security, to promote peace and prevent violent conflicts; such as improving the human rights situation in Colombia and find a political solution to the protracted conflict afflicting the country.
Domestically, Caritas Norway actively promotes Grow Climate Justice and delivered thousands of signatures to Norwegian authorities from people advocating climate change be taken seriously. They also run an information and guidance centre for labour immigrants in Oslo. Here Caritas offer information and advice if you are new to Norway on subjects such as: the Norwegian labor market, CV assistance, housing, health services, legal aid, where to learn Norwegian, etc. A similar centre will be opened in Bergen in the autumn of 2013.
Caritas Norway headquarters is located in Oslo and employs 14 paid staff and approximately 20 volunteers. There are also many Caritas volunteers in the Catholic parishes around Norway. Caritas Norway is under the Catholic Bishop Conference of Norway (which includes the Dioceses of Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsø) and the ruling body is an assembly of representatives from the 37 Catholic parishes in Norway, which meets once a year.
Caritas Norway works in close partnership with the national and local Caritas organisations and other organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Through such cooperation, they contribute to the work of advocacy, peace and reconciliation, and humanitarian work around the world; such as a campaign with Caritas Honduras to raise public awareness for violence prevention.
Ms. Elisabeth Thieleman
Ms. Martha Rubiano Skretterberg