Communique issued at the end of the Six-Day Training of Trainers on Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR)

The training was convened by Caritas Africa and Caritas Botswana with funding support from Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and Caritas Australia. It brought together 10 technical staff from National Caritas organisations in IMBISA: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome & Principe, Zimbabwe and the diocesan Caritas of Cape Town in South Africa. In attendance were: Rev. Fr. Rafael Sapato the Secretary General of IMBISA, two representatives of the Disaster Risk Reduction Unit of the African Union Commission, and Caritas Africa Regional Executive Secretariat.

Participants observed:

  • That Caritas actors continue to be inspired by the Papal encyclical, Laudato Si which calls on all humanity to act in promoting good environmentalism thus “listening to the cry of the earth” and its theological underpinnings, which endeavours us to be good stewards of this earth.
  • The ever-rising cases of disasters occurring in Caritas IMBISA zone have destroyed lives and livelihoods, negating the progressive gains of resilience slowly realised by local communities and, following interventions by state and non-state actors.
  • The causal effects of climate change, including human-induced impacts are worrying and need urgent action.
  • The need to collaborate with national DRR platforms and other stakeholders to feed into the continental agenda on the Programme of Action (PoA) for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa and other international protocols progressively calling for more attention on

Disaster Risk Reduction
The need for close collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and national governments to enhance the continent-wide agenda at the grassroots level to resilience building. Such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme (RVAA). The importance of accompanying local communities to develop preparedness measures and build community resilience in collaboration with government and Civil Society networks.

a) African Union Commission and Regional Economic Communities
Support Civil Society actors in their endeavours to champion for localisation of DRR through; increased access to funding by local actors who are close to the communities affected by disasters. Give increased recognition of the role of faith-based organisations in DRR through enhancing their participation and engagement in national and regional thematic working groups. Create avenues for participation by Caritas organisations in IMBISA zone; through the Africa Youth Advisory Board on DRR (AYAB DRR) and the Africa Science and Technology Advisory Group on DRR (AF-STAG).

b) National Governments
Allocate resources towards the formulation, implementation and review of the DRR policies, projects and processes at national and sub national levels. Enhance DRR coordination mechanisms and practices between state, and non-state actors including the private sector at national and subnational levels.

c) Partners
To prioritise long-term support towards DRR to increase resilience after emergencies. Increase support towards Caritas Africa as one of the 7 of Caritas Internationalis (CI) in view of its coordination, facilitation and representation roles, in collaboration with National Caritas Organisations. Promote the integration of DRR activities and strategies in the current programme of Caritas Africa member organisations at national, diocesan and parish levels.

d) Regional Episcopal Conferences
Promote institutionalisation of CMDRR at the national, diocesan and parish levels. Promote ownership of Caritas by the Bishops at the national and diocesan levels to organise the service of charity. To support implementation of action plan developed by each Caritas from this CMDRR training. IMBISA will facilitate this through Secretaries General of the National Episcopal Conferences who work closely with National Caritas Directors.

e) Multilateral institutions
Strengthen local front-line actors in crisis response and resilience given their potential as first-time responders.

We commit to:

  1. Roll out CMDRR trainings to other zones and in-country to reach as many dioceses as possible. Our work will also include building our communities’ adaptive, absorptive and transformational capacities to increase their resilience.
  2. Promote policy advocacy that is people centred.
  3. Facilitate capacity sharing with local communities to actively identify, analyse, monitor and evaluate risk and manage it.
  4. Leverage indigenous knowledge systems in CMDRR.
  5. Allocate time and technical support towards addressing capacity gaps that Caritas members face.


Representatives of organisations present jointly endorsed this communique.
Caritas Africa
IMBISA Secretary General
Caritas Angola
Caritas Botswana
Diocesan Caritas of Cape Town, South Africa
Caritas Eswatini
Caritas Lesotho
Caritas Mozambique
Caritas Namibia
Caritas Sao Tome & Principe
Caritas Zimbabwe

Issued in Gaborone, Botswana on September 30, 2023.