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CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AND POVERTY ERADICATION:
KEY CONCEPTS AND ISSUES

Peter J. Henriot, S.J.
Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection Lusaka

Email:phenriot@zamnet.zm
www:www.jctr.org.zm

Note: This paper was delivered at a conference in Uganda during the final months of 2001

My task has been described as a clarification of the key concepts to guide our discussion here these two days. I will attempt to provide a conceptual framework that will both clarify the meaning of poverty eradication and situate it within the principles of Catholic social teaching.

Clarification is indeed important, though not always easy. I’m reminded of a true story of something that occurred during one on our regional workshops in Zambia, designed to get local people (“grass roots”) to offer their perspectives and recommendations on the preparation of the PRSP. In as much as possible, the workshop was conducted in the local language, which in this instance was ciTonga, in the Southern Province of Zambia. One of our staff asked the participants to suggest the best word for “poverty” – and this was easily supplied. And then for “poverty eradication” – but then no suggestion came. Finally, one of the elders commented, “We have always had poverty so we have a word for that, but we have never had poverty eradication, so we have no word for that!"

For me the challenge this morning is to address three questions:
  1. What is poverty eradication?
  2. What is “Catholic social teaching”?
  3. How can CST influence poverty eradication?
Table of Contents
 
1.   What is Poverty Eradication?
2.   What Is Catholic Social Teaching?
3.   How Can CST Influence Poverty Eradication?
     i) Entry point
     ii) Process
     iii) Content
4.     Conclusion



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