Andhra Pradesh Social Service Forum (APSSF) is an official organization of the Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Council(TCBC), for social development. His Excellency and Grace Most Rev. Poola Anthony, Archbishop of Hyderabad is the Chairman, and Fr. Kanapala Kiran Kumar is its Executive Director cum Secretary. It was registered in the year 2010 under the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act 2001 with Registration No. 232.
APSSF consists of 15 Diocesan Social Service Societies in the region of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State, operating and promoting the socio-economic development of people. Its aim is to function as a federation of all the 15 Diocesan Social Service Societies in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States. It promotes and coordinates developmental activities among the dioceses for integrated development of target areas, irrespective of caste, creed, and religion. APSSF facilitates as a coordinating body for the developmental activities of 15 DSSS at the state and national level with national and international agencies. APSSF voices regional issues to dialogue with the government, donor agencies, and other like-minded organizations. It acts as a liaison body to intervene in developmental activities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States.
Major activities undertaken so far:
- AP & TS Forum enabled the diocesan partners, Governing Body members, and Core staff of the partner organizations to strengthen organizational systems and structures regional forum and dioceses through Diocesan Perspective Plan and Regional Perspective Plan.
- The systems of the regional forum are assessed and improved and the required legal compliances are pursued.
- The Forum director provides technical support to all the dioceses of the region.
- The problems and challenges of the people living in vulnerable situations are assessed and dealt with appropriate actions
- The partner organizations were provided support with the organizational assessment and development process.
- The regional wise problems were identified and committees were formed to develop the concept notes on Health, Human rights, and Women empowerment.
- The systems and practices were reviewed and the staff was given a new job description and a plan was developed for the Organization development of the Forum.
- AP & TS forum facilitated flood relief works in collaboration with Caritas India and respective DSSS at Nellore, Hyderabad, Warangal, Guntur, and Kurnool. The Forum facilitated relief and rehabilitation to the victims of disasters.
Map of the area of our intervention:
Socio- Economic Description:
The project area is mostly agricultural and it is the most important sector of Telangana’s and Andhra Pradesh’s economy. About 70% of the population is engaged in agriculture, and it is India’s main rice-producing area. The main crops are rice, maize, millets, pulses, castor, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, groundnut, and bananas. According to the 2011 Census, more than 8 million people live in poverty in Andhra Pradesh and this number is more than 3 million for Telangana.
The objectives of APSSF are to capacitate the 15 diocesan partners with different training programs, seminars, workshops and to form a disaster management cell. During disasters, APSSF is looking to respond effectively and concretely to serve the needy as these areas are faced with droughts, cyclones, floods every year, and the present COVID-19 Pandemic situation.
- APSSF covers 15 Diocesan partners in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The 15 Dioceses of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are Adilabad, Cuddapah, Chittoor, Eluru, Guntur, Hyderabad, Khammam, Kurnool, Nalgonda, Nellore, Prakasam, Srikakulam, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Warangal, and Shamshabad. The DSSSs are the partners who are working together with the Forum to reach out to the poor and marginalized.
- Supporting the DSSSs(Diocesan Social Service Centers) to serve the vulnerable people in emergencies:
It’s a common phenomenon that the Telugu region is highly prone to disasters for various reasons such as rapid climate change and the situation is very urgent to be with them and facilitate the process of relief and rehabilitation. The Forum witnessed and continues to witness various calamities and disasters and the team must swiftly fling into action.
- Serving regular Needs: To use the vehicle as a conveyance to commute to places of faraway distances including the underserved and unreached areas of the region.
- Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Council has mandated the APSSF, that as Regional Organization, it has to take Catholic social teaching to all the institutions in the region through seminars and awareness programs.
- Since 2016 APSSF is trying its best to disseminate the message of the famous encyclical of Pope Francis “Laudato SI” to all Catholics and non-Catholics in the region, by arranging a Regional Seminar for all Religious Superiors, Heads of educational institutions, directors of pastoral centers and directors of youth on “Care for our Common Home” i.e. our planet earth. APSSF intends to hold seminars, workshops, educating people, students, parish priests, and catechists on “Laudato Si” in all 15 dioceses to reduce CO2, minimize the production of greenhouse gases and thereby make sure that ecosystems are in place.
- APSSF is mandated to help the church institutions, like dioceses, churches, schools, hospitals to establish policies like gender, child protection, human resources and make sure that social justice is honored and maintained in all aspects and at all levels in the church.
- APSS Forum as a coordinating & facilitating body of 15 Social Service Centres has a mandate of taking up lobbying with the state governments of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State on the problems and issues faced by the communities with whom Social Service Centres are working on matters of governments’ policies and programmes.
- Monitoring and Review Meeting of various projects:
It is warranted to monitor and review the performance and results of the projects being implemented under the aegis of Forum as well as a Partner organization. It is imperative to visit all the dioceses at regular intervals.
Conclusion: As mandated by the Telugu Catholic Bishops Conference, to build the capacities of the directors, coordinators, field animators of 15 diocesan partner organizations through training and workshops where in turn they deliver social services to the poor and marginalized in an effective manner in their diocese and to develop policies and systems that enhance the institutional capacity building of the partner organization and to coordinate disaster relief works in times of emergency, AP Forum is striving hard to do its best. I humbly request all the faithful in this Parish to consider our activities positively and help us to serve better in taking Christ through our social services to the poor and marginalized of the Telugu region irrespective of caste, color, creed, gender, and language.
Thanking you in advance.
Fr. Kanapala Kiran Kumnar, Executive Director
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