human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Turning injustice into justice!

Caritas Ukraine at the Advocacy Learning Path

“Injustice” is a word that has a very broad meaning and that exists in every society. It can be seen everywhere. Injustice triggers negative feelings in most people. However, the majority ignore it and tries to avoid thinking about it. They turn their faces away and never speak about the issue.

A smaller part of society tries to act. Caritas Europa unites millions of people all over Europe: employees, volunteers, beneficiaries and followers, who are motivated and strive for social change and for improving the quality of life of people experiencing poverty. At first glance, this mission is impossible. But commitment, loyalty and hard-work by the Caritas community will make it happen. Through a variety of trainings and educational opportunities, Caritas Europa enhances national as well as local Caritas’ institutional development, strengthening their role in societies and ability to help people in need.

The Caritas Europa Learning Paths meet the demand of Caritas organisations on theoretical and practical knowledge. As for the Advocacy Learning Path, around 20 participants from different countries, with different experiences and backgrounds, are involved in this process of peer learning. In November 2016, we gathered together in Berlin for the second module, which focused on the concept of “judge”. Each module is devoted to a specific theme that helps to discover what is advocacy and how to use it in our daily work and life. See, judge, act – 3 simple words with very deep meaning. One cannot judge without seeing and obtaining information from different sources. Neither can one act without understanding and planning the actions in an appropriate way.

Caritas Ukraine has a very ambitious advocacy goal: to develop a new system of social services provision in order to improve the quality of services for beneficiaries in Ukraine. It is in line with our strategic plan for 2013-2017. Despite achievements of significant results, we are still facing a lot of challenges on our way. Our main reason for joining the Learning Path is to use this unique opportunity to systematise and plan further activities. Simultaneously, exchanging with experts from other Caritas organisations is very helpful and the positive examples very inspiring. No doubt that good advocacy is a complex notion, an ongoing process that will give a result only after thorough fulfillment of all components. Accordingly, we gave ourselves the task to elaborate Caritas Ukraine’s advocacy strategy for 3 years that will contain both clear advocacy messages and methods to monitor and evaluate our impact. Also, we have understood that an organisation should work as single organism to achieve better results. Caritas Europa’s educational programmes are always an added value to the organisational development of our Caritas.

The Caritas community plays an extremely important role in societies to combat poverty. Through their daily work, dedicated employees and volunteers spread the indisputable human values of Catholic Social Teaching. Caritas has almost unlimited resources: large geographical coverage, expertise from the ground, professional approach, support of the community and recognition from state authorities as a strong social actor. Let’s learn together how to use all our advantages to turn injustice into justice!