The Social Welfare/Caritas Coordination Service of the Archdiocese of Bamenda was created in May 2007 by His Grace, Cornelius FONTEM ESUA, Archbishop of Bamenda, with the appointment of Benedicta Muffuh as the Archdiocesan Coordinator of the Service. After creating the service, the Archbishop charged the team with ensuring the social pastoral care of the people living within the local Church of the Archdiocese. The role or job description of the Social Welfare/Caritas Service includes: Mobilizing, animating and sensitizing the grassroots communities to develop in communitarian charity and also encouraging them to engage in income generating activities that will up-lift their standards of living. Ensuring the development of the whole person and caring for the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable. From its creation to date, the coordinator of the service engaged in networking with the National office BASC-Caritas and the CODASC –Caritas of other dioceses. Formation of Social Welfare/Caritas Commissions at Parish, and mission station levels began in 2007/2008 with the sensitisation of 51 priests in the six deaneries of the Archdiocese, and then 14 parishes and 23 Mission Stations Commissions have been trained. Contact visits were made to existing Social Welfare services in the Archdiocese as follows: - The Njinikom orphanage, the Akum Deaf/ School, 3 Treasure Centers, and SAJOCAH. - Seeking out and meeting Street Children: The coordinator made personal contact with some street children in and around Mankon stadium in Bamenda. - Bamenda Self- Reliant- Services (BSRS): A C.I.G. with a micro-credit component was registered in 2010 and launched in 2011 to enable individuals Catholics and C.I.G. groups have access to funds to start self-reliant income generating activities or projects that can partially solve the problem of unemployment in our communities. Since its creation in 2007, the service has had to deal with three crises that needed emergency relief aids as follows;
1. The Awing-Baligham ethnic Crisis in 2009
2. The Massaka-Esimbi ethnic conflict in 2011
3. The Babessi Flood disaster in 2012
In the area of community development the main success has been the sanitation project in Ambele and spring water catchment. 10 SCC pit toilets were constructed in 3 villages of Ambele zone in 2011/2012. A small water catchment was constructed at the source of a spring in Egbea-chuk in 2012. The activities realized so far had not been without difficulties, such as insufficient financial and material resources, insufficient qualified and competent personnel.The main difficulty the Social Welfare/Caritas Service encountered in implementation of the Pastoral Plan was lack of funds to operate. Office personnel could not move out for implementation of the pastoral plan due to the lack of means to support transportation. The greatest challenge is how to get the service out of debt and stay functional in 2014.