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Overview of the Approach

The organization's policy is one of deeper ecclesial engagement with, and accompaniment of its member Churches, in responding to the complex of social ills currently affecting the region.

This means greater involvement with, and through the existing agencies and institutions of the churches, right down to the level of local congregations as the churches together seek to live out their mission. Thus, a major deliverable of every programme is the bolstering and strengthening of member church initiatives through education, advocacy and sensitization, provision of funding and technical expertise where necessary.

As a strategic approach towards realization of its vision and mandate in the contemporary period, the CCC has devised and implemented an integrated programmatic response to the many socio-economic issues impacting the Caribbean. This integrated response is comprised of five (5) major programmatic initiatives. These are:

  • A Cluster of Human Development Programmes designated Priority Regional Initiatives (PRIs)
  • A Cluster of Sustainable Socio-Economic Development Programmes
  • The Regional Advocacy and Communications Programme
  • The Regional Ecumenical Institute
  • The International Relations Programme

In implementing its programme work the CCC works closely with partner organizations and relevant stakeholders. CCC’s input is also valued by the wider Caribbean and to this end, CCC holds membership on CARICOM’s Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), formerly known as the Caribbean Regional Task Force on HIV/AIDS and participates at the level of CARICOM’s Council of Human and Social Development (COHSOD).

The CCC is also a member of the Project Advisory Group of Strengthening the Institutional Response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean (SIRHAC), which is an EU funded project executed by CARICOM. In addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS the CCC has been collaborating with CARICOM and other regional partners towards the full implementation of the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS 2007-2011.

The issues being addressed by the CCC warrant serious attention as they affect security, self-sustainability, governance and moral development in our Caribbean region. The CCC is also well aware that one issue cannot be dealt with in isolation, and so approaches its programmatic work in an integrated, holistic approach.

A cluster of Human Development Programmes designated Priority Regional Initiatives (PRIs). The PRIs consist of Drug Demand Reduction, Family Life Development, Food Security, HIV/AIDS Response, Uprooted People, and Violence Mitigation. Although each programme focuses on a specific area, programme planning and design of various activities are conducted in an integrated manner.

This ensures that the links between and amongst the various areas are recognized and taken into consideration in determining appropriate programmatic responses. In this cluster of programmes focus is kept on achieving positive behaviour change and empowering persons so that they make informed decisions regarding their overall well being and quality of life.

A cluster of Sustainable Socio-Economic Development Programmes. This comprises the following programmes - Poverty Reduction, Project Development Fund and Disaster Management with a focus on Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness and Response. In consistency with its project objectives in these areas, the CCC holds membership in the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP's) Development Partners Working Group on Poverty, and also the Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB's) Disaster Mitigation Facility for the Caribbean Development.

An Advocacy and Communications Programme. The CCC has always sought to provide a voice for the marginalized of the Region's societies by advocating on their behalf. As a consequence of this, the CCC has developed a Regional Advocacy and Communications (ADCOM) Programme which seeks to bring to the forefront of public awareness the many critical issues facing the Region's people and which indeed threaten to adversely affect various sectors of society. As such, advocacy forms a core element in all of CCC's human and social development programmes.

In addition to the issues highlighted by the CCC through its programmes, it will also advocate on given issues on behalf of its constituency or any vulnerable sector, if a request is made. This has been the case e.g. with the plight of the Viequans in Puerto Rico who have made their voices heard for the cessation of use of their territory as a practice bombing site.

Through CCC's Advocacy it is able to:

•  Advocate on critical regional issues within the context of the contemporary Caribbean;

•  Provide information on a timely basis and with a high level of immediacy;

• Accurately capture and highlight information on critical regional issues facing peoples of the Caribbean at this time;

•  Sustain public awareness and focus on issues of concern;

•  Broaden the support base for its work on a local and regional basis; and

•  Facilitate dialogue/exchange/interface on critical social, global and theological issues; and

•  Foster deeper ecumenical and collaborative relationships among its membership and other Faith Based Organizations (FBOs).

The International Relations Programme. The Caribbean Conference of Churches is sensitive to the plurality of ethnicity, religion, language, culture and social institutions that comprise the Caribbean region and from which its constituency is drawn. Historically, the CCC approach to international relations has been largely to collaborate with regional professionals, institutions, initiatives and movements that promote the concept of integration across diversity as a visible manifestation of the unity which ecumenism embraces. At different times the CCC has also mounted solidarity visits to Caribbean countries in crisis and commented on the social, political and economic issues of the day.

The International Relations thrust continues in this vein seeking to interpret to the CCC constituency the issues and imperatives of individual countries and of the region, in general. Via the international relations programme dialogue is maintained with other regional organizations and non-governmental organizations, and with the region's public sectors on current social and political issues ranging from trade liberalization to civil-society-government dialogue and the social costs of economic globalization. The International Relations programme also represents the values of the CCC and its constituency to this diverse set of interests.

A major activity of the International Relations Programme is the membership and participation of the CCC in regional and sub-regional partnerships. An example is the organization's participation in the CARICOM civil society council, an alliance of regional non-governmental organizations formed to collaborate and dialogue with the CARICOM governments on a number of issues

The objective of the programme is to locate the CCC and its constituency authentically in the concerns of the wider Caribbean oecumene.

A cross-cutting concern impacting on the inter-relationships of churches and countries is the question of culture. The CCC has adopted culture as a portfolio responsibility of the Special Assistant to the General Secretary.

The objective is to focus on the community-building potential of tradition, of language and other aspects of culture as facilitative of the ultimate goal of unity and to integrate these understandings into the programming and self-understanding of CCC. In its most general sense the thrust in culture is an indicator via which, the CCC can assess the successes of its efforts to contribute to the freedom of Caribbean peoples.

The International Relations Programme therefore seeks to:

•  Represent the views and value-bases of the CCC and its church communities at regional and international fora;

•  Provide for the CCC constituency analysis of social and political issues impacting on the countries from which the CCC membership is drawn and to note the regional nature of such developments; and

•  Maintain dialogue with policy-makers, and with policy-oriented civil society organizations regionally and internationally.

The Regional Ecumenical Institute (REI)

Theology has always been a fundamental element in the formulation and implementation of all of CCC’s programmes, stressing that theology and development are intricately interwoven.

In light of this, and of ensuring that CCC’s mandate is fully realized, the CCC is the pioneer of the Region’s first Ecumenical Institute. This Institute is a mobile facility for continuing education and dialogue on theological, developmental and praxis issues from a Caribbean perspective.

The Ecumenical Institute focuses on the following major areas: Theological Issues which include Social Justice issues, along with Faith and Order and Inter-Faith issues; the issue of Development in the Caribbean; here it is intended that the debate on development be revisited, especially in the wake of Globalization.

In this regard the exploration of new paradigms of development appropriate to the region will be particularly important; Praxis Issues such as equipping church personnel and development workers with managerial and motivational skills, e.g. community mobilization and programme/project management; and Culture, in so far as it is integral to both Theology and Development.”

A major initiative of the REI is a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree which will be offered from July/August 2009. This is a collaborative effort between the CCC and the Faculty of Theology, Huron University College (HUC), University of Western Ontario (UWO).

It is a three-year programme that will afford students the unique opportunity to explore advanced theological studies from a Caribbean perspective and so gain a deeper more meaningful insight and understanding of tenets of the various Christian Faith as they relate to the lived realities and challenges of the region.

Along with this, the CCC has also established a Regional Forum for National Councils of Churches (NCCs) which is held annually. This provides a space for facilitating greater networking and sharing among the National Councils of the Region as they explore strategies for collaborating in serving the peoples of the Region.

Such fora are also important for maintaining a spirit of solidarity amongst the Councils as they seek to live out the mission of the church, especially as it relates to social outreach and development.

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