■ From solar power to saving water: coping with global warming
■ Haiti: Freedom sculpture highlights struggle for human rights
■ Plus: David Cameron on why tackling poverty means creating wealth
Why we must act now to cut the carbon! Join Christian Aid’s campaign to get government and business to do what it takes to tackle climate change
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CLIENT JOB NUMBER STUDIO NUMBER
5 JUNE 2007
CREATIVE DIRECTOR SIZE PAGE PROOF NUMBER
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UK registered charity number 1105851 Company number 5171525 Republic of Ireland charity number CHY 6998
Christian Aid News is printed on 100 per cent recycled paper
An audio version of this issue is available. Call 08700 787 788 for details
Main picture: new solar-powered lighting means studies can continue after dark for these two girls in Latigoan, India
Climate changed. Let’s cut the carbon
■ 10 CAMPAIGN SPECIAL REGULARS
■ 28 INPUT Your letters and emails
■ 4 NEWS Christian Aid Week preview... how the poor lose out as mining profits soar... why childbirth’s better in Bolivia... eco-house in the garden of Eden ■ 8 OPINION Tory leader David Cameron argues the case for economic empowerment ■ 10 CAMPAIGNS Christian Aid launches its climate change campaign with a postcard blitz and a Cut the Carbon march ■ 18 REFLECTION Paula Clifford on the theology of climate change ■ 18 CAMPAIGNS EXTRA Keeping up the pressure on Gordon Brown over the World Bank... April rally in London over EU trade deals ■ 26 DO THE RIGHT THING Christian Aid reveals its carbon footprint... plus how you can switch to cleaner electricity
Picture: Christian Aid/Anjali Kwatra
WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. Ten months ago, when Christian Aid’s report The Climate of Poverty revealed why climate change is the biggest single threat to the world’s poor, global warming was not yet the defining issue of the day. Debt, aid, trade justice. These were the issues that had galvanised the marchers for Make Poverty History the previous summer. Not climate change. Now, with evidence mounting about the impact climate change is having on our planet, the subject is right at the top of the mainstream political agenda. So we’re taking to the campaign trail again. And this time the message is simple: cut the carbon. As a Christian development agency we have a duty to campaign for real action to reduce the carbon emissions that are choking off the future for millions of the world’s poorest people. We’ll continue to lobby and protest for justice on trade, debt and aid (see page 19), but right here, right now, our primary campaign focus will be climate change. We’re staging a 1,000-mile Cut the Carbon march this summer which will carry our message up and down the country over 80 days. Read our special report starting on page 10. Elsewhere in this issue we report on a freedom sculpture from Haiti, learn how the members of Christian Aid’s gap year scheme are making a difference to their own and other young people’s lives and reveal how an aid programme in Lesotho has evolved into a successful standalone business. Finally, to all of you who are even now getting ready to do your bit for Christian Aid Week in May: good luck and do write or email to let me know how you get on, and how you find the message of Christian Aid Week is received on the doorsteps. Roger Fulton, editor
Contents Spring 2007 Issue 35
■ 29 EVENTS Where to go and what to see ■ 30 FINAL WORD With Kris Marshall, plus how you can give shares to Christian Aid
FEATURES ■ 14 CLIMATE CHANGE India... Mali... Afghanistan... Peru. How Christian Aid partners are helping people cope with the impact of global warming ■ 20 FREEDOM SCULPTURE Artists’ work marks a very modern form of slavery ■ 22 MIND THE GAP Making the most of the gap year experience with Christian Aid ■ 24 LEAVING LESOTHO One project’s standalone success means it’s time for us to let go
Christian Aid works with the world’s poorest people in more than 50 countries, regardless of race or faith. We tackle the causes and consequences of poverty and injustice. We are part of ACT International, the ecumenical relief network.
■ Cover Christian Aid/Mike Goldwater; Colin Palmer. Montage by Matthew Gonzalez-Noda ■ Pictures Robin Prime ■ Subeditor Lucy Southwood ■ Circulation Ben Hayward ■ Design & production David Lloyd/Circle Publishing, 020 8332 2709 ■ Christian Aid head office 35 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RL ■ Tel 020 7620 4444 ■ Fax 020 7620 0719 ■ Email email@example.com ■ Stay in touch with us online > News, campaigns and resources www.christianaid.org.uk ■ Christian and ethical service provider www.surefish.co.uk ■ Children and schools www.globalgang.org.uk ■ Our campaigning and student website www.pressureworks.org
Christian Aid News
Picture: Christian Aid/Richard Smith
Christian Aid Week preview ■ Bolivia baby boost news christian aid
Christian Aid Week goes gold – and green!
Baby boon A PILOT SCHEME created by a Christian Aid partner in Bolivia has virtually eradicated death in childbirth and has significantly cut infant mortality. Indeed, it has been so successful that the Bolivian government has pledged to roll it out across the country. The scheme works by adopting the simple premise that women should decide on their own birthing plans. Bolivia has a large indigenous population,
we know in 1957 that we would be facing the problem of climate change which is destroying the lives of thousands of vulnerable people across the world. ‘Christian Aid Week remains a vital part of our fundraising efforts. As we face new challenges, and our work increases, so too does our reliance on the incredible support and generosity of individuals and churches across the UK and Ireland.’ This year we are encouraging people to plant trees in their gardens, community
spaces and churchyards as a way of reflecting on the impact deforestation and climate change have on poor communities around the world. Diarmuid Gavin, award-winning garden designer and star of hit BBC TV show Home Front, travelled to Kenya with Christian Aid last year and saw the devastating impact of climate change on small-scale farmers who rely on the land. He says: ‘Drought is a serious issue there and it’s inspiring to see how Christian Aid partners
are teaching some of the world’s poorest people new agricultural techniques to enable them to make the best use of the little water they have to grow food. ‘We plant trees because they look nice in our garden. However in developing countries such as Kenya, which have been heavily deforested, they take on much greater significance. Trees not only encourage the rains but they also help prevent soil erosion that can lead to fatal mudslides.’ If you are interested in becoming a Christian Aid collector or in organising a fundraising event in your workplace, church or school, please call 0800 005005 for a free DVD or download materials from www.christianaid.org.uk
and these women have been reluctant to attend clinics as they felt misunderstood by the medical establishment. But introducing simple measures – such as respecting cultural practices, which include giving birth in a kneeling position and allowing male partners to attend the birth – gave women the confidence in the system to attend clinics. This meant that high-risk pregnancies could be identified in time to treat them properly, and women facing difficult deliveries were encouraged to have
their babies in hospital. Christian Aid’s partner, Causananchispaj, has also trained local midwives. They can now offer medical advice and support to expectant mothers who opt for home births. In 2002, 600 out of every 100,000 women who gave birth in the pilot area died in childbirth. In 2004/05 there was only one death – and that was from pre-eclampsia, a very serious condition. One mother, Isabel Sardinas, who took part in the pilot scheme, said: ’Before, we hardly went to the doctor during
pregnancy. Now we can go because they treat us as if we were in our own houses. We can also have our husbands and a midwife by our side.’
Below: Isabel Sardinas – a satisfied beneficiary of the scheme
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK, Britain’s longest-running door-to-door fundraising week, turns 50 this year. And to mark the golden jubilee it’s going green, encouraging people to plant trees in support of overseas work on climate change projects. Back in 1957, the first Christian Aid Week mobilised residents in 200 towns and villages across the UK, collecting £26,000. Half a century later Christian Aid hopes to draw on around 300,000 volunteers to raise £15.5 million during the fundraising week which this year takes place from 13-19 May. ‘The world has changed significantly in the past 50 years,’ says Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid. ‘Little did
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■ Schools poverty pack ■ Eco-house in Eden
Picture: Andrew Njoroge
Above: Diarmuid Gavin planting a tree in Kenya
CHRISTIAN AID HAS launched a new fundraising pack for 5- to 16-year-olds that’s designed to help flush out poverty. Flush, aimed at schools and youth groups, is about toilets and water. Around one billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. Every year 6,000 children die of diseases such as typhoid and cholera – and from the diarrhoea such infections cause – as a result of dirty water and inadequate toilet and washing facilities. The pack is full of fundraising ideas such as the Toilet Transformation Challenge, where children take part in a competition to find the ‘best-dressed loo’. There are lots of other fun ways to raise money, as well as information sheets and children’s water stories from around the world. ‘We want to encourage kids to spend some pennies when they need to spend a penny,’ said Nicola Inson, schools programme manager at Christian Aid. ‘For example, if 300 people use the toilet three times a day at a charge of 20p a go, that’s £180 in one day. That could pay for pumps, pipes and tap stands to bring fresh water to four villages in Nicaragua.’ For a free copy of the Flush pack, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08700 787 788, quoting F1331 for an English version or F1331W for a Welsh one.
Edging towards Eden CHRISTIAN AID’S acclaimed eco-house, which debuted at Grand Designs Live in Birmingham in October last year, will be one of the main displays at a new exhibition opening at the Eden Project in Cornwall on 26 May. ‘Towards the Edge – learning to live within limits’ will examine the challenges posed by climate change and the related risks to energy and water supplies. Emerging
new technologies and ideas will also be showcased and visitors will leave armed with tips on how to live cleaner and greener. With a mix of interactive
workshops, music, storytelling and films, there will be plenty for kids (and grown-ups!) to get involved in. Other participants include WaterAid, Friends of the Earth and local groups. The exhibition will run until 2 September. For ticket prices and other details call 01726 811911 or visit www. edenproject.com If you are unable to get to Cornwall, visit the eco-house online at www.christianaid.co.uk/ ecohouse
A WORLD OF AID Snapshots of some of the work and issues facing organisations supported by Christian Aid BANGLADESH In a country not usually associated with extreme cold, 118 people died in January as temperatures sank below 8ºC. In rural areas where the majority of people still lack adequate warm clothing, Christian Aid partner, the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh, distributed around 7,000 blankets from its reserve stocks. Christian Aid also bought 1,600 more blankets and distributed them among other partners. GUATEMALA Partner organisation Madre Selva has been threatened after alleging that the Tzala River in San Marcos – which is the main source of water for indigenous people in the region – has been contaminated with heavy metals seeping from a nearby gold mine. One of its volunteers received threatening phone calls and has been followed. Christian Aid has asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to raise the issue with the Guatemalan authorities. SUDAN Security is still a major concern in Darfur, with fighting and banditry rife in partner organisations’ areas of operation, despite the joint UN-African Union peace plan which was agreed in December. The Sudanese authorities continue to restrict the movement of aid agencies, and Khartoum remains opposed to any substantial force of UN peacekeepers. MOZAMBIQUE The Christian Council of Mozambique’s ‘Arms into Tools’ project, which exchanges disused guns for equipment such as sewing machines, bicycles and building materials, has collected and destroyed more than 700,000 weapons so far. AFGHANISTAN The UN says 1.9 million people are at risk because of the latest drought, and has appealed for US$76 million. Christian Aid has so far allocated US$1.2 million to emergency drought projects that include distributing food and animal fodder. Partner organisation the Agency for Humanitarian and Development Assistance for Afghanistan is digging wells and laying pipes to provide fresh water to prepare for future droughts. Christian Aid News
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Mines ■ Movies ■ Millionaires news christian aid
Poor lose out as mining profits soar POOR COMMUNITIES IN mineral-rich developing countries are missing out on the benefits of higher commodity prices while large oil and mining corporations make record profits, Christian Aid reveals in its latest report. A Rich Seam shows how poor countries such as Zambia, Bolivia and the Philippines have entered into one-sided, often secret, privatisation deals that allow transnational corporations to extract oil, gas, copper, nickel and other precious resources, giving back very little in the form of taxes or royalty payments. Mining companies have done well from the surge in world commodity prices which are now at an all-time high. Their profit levels in 2006 were
eight times higher than in 2002. However, the poor countries that own most of the world’s valuable mineral, oil and gas deposits have not been able to cash in. For example, Zambia receives around only 0.1 per cent of the value of its copper resources. ‘It’s a real indictment of the power of transnational companies that they can continue to make vast profits while the countries that actually own the goods in the ground make absurdly little out of the deal,’ said Claire McGuigan, Christian Aid’s senior economic policy adviser. ‘This imbalance shows that there is an urgent need for countries to renegotiate their tax and royalty deals.’ Christian Aid’s report
Films tackle injustice
Right: Mine workers at Chimbishi, Zambia. Since the mine was sold by the government in 1997, the mine shafts have been left to flood and the plant infrastructure allowed to rot
building on Christian Aid’s ‘Stop Paying for Poverty’ march in September 2006. Sign up at www.bamako-themovie.com From 4 May filmgoers will be able to see Black Gold, a documentary about coffee, aid, trade and Ethiopia, which Christian Aid has backed with a £4,000 grant. Made by brothers Marc and Nick Francis, it exposes how the US$80 billion global coffee industry sparsely shares the spoils of overpriced lattes and cappuccinos with the coffee farmers. Welcoming the film’s launch, Charles Abugre said: ‘Trade is the single most important component in reducing poverty in Africa, but rich countries continue to impose policies on poor countries that undermine their development. ‘We are asking Christian Aid supporters to go and see this hugely important and powerful film and support the trade campaign action that will accompany the release.’ See www.blackgoldmovie.com
Picture: Kois Miah
THIS YEAR SEES the release of two films supported by Christian Aid that highlight the debate over trade justice, debt, aid, the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the role of multinational firms. In Bamako, Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako takes on the World Bank and the IMF, gathering lawyers, judges and witnesses to put globalisation itself on trial. The film had its gala launch on 12 February, and is now on general release through distributors Artificial Eye. Bamako stars Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover, who is also executive producer. He joined Sissako, Kenyan film director Imruh Bakari and Christian Aid’s head of policy Charles Abugre, for a special interfaith Q & A session at the premiere, which was co-hosted by Christian Aid and Muslim magazine Q-News. Christian Aid has also organised many regional screenings for the film, and educational events in partnership with Film Education. A Bamako petition will be handed to Chancellor Gordon Brown and international development secretary Hilary Benn at the spring IMF and World Bank meeting in Washington. The petition calls for reform of both bodies,
was featured on the front page of The Observer’s business section. The Sunday Telegraph also visited one company featured in the report, the Chinese-owned Chimbishi copper mine in Zambia, describing it as ‘capitalism at its most raw’. Christian Aid is calling on the mining companies to reveal the full extent of their profits and the taxes they pay wherever they operate. This will make it easier for developing countries to negotiate a fairer deal.
Right: Abderrahmane Sissako and Danny Glover at the Bamako launch
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TALK BACK THE THINGS THEY SAY ‘It doesn’t matter what god you worship – if your god is sending you to maim and kill people, I say to myself: what kind of god is that?’ Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, in an interview for ITV News ‘If countries are borrowing to the extent that their debt becomes unsustainable then that undermines all the work that has been done in trying to tackle unsustainable debt.’ International development secretary Hilary Benn, warning that China’s promise of no-strings loans to African states could do more harm than good
THE THINGS WE SAY
Picture: Christian Aid/David Rose
Who wants to woo a millionaire? CHRISTIAN AID WAS one of two lucky charities which shared in a massive £1.5 million single donation to charity. Our share – £622,000 – will fund two projects in Ethiopia and one in Thailand. Christian Aid went up against 20 other charities which all applied for a share of the donation from the millionaire donors – a couple who wanted to give away the proceeds of the sale of their company. Mark Rowland, head of Christian Aid’s major gifts unit, said: ‘In the UK, there are now more than 450,000 cash-rich millionaires. Many of these individuals are eager to invest in projects that generate a social return. ‘Christian Aid received a letter from one such couple. Still in their thirties and regular Christian Aid week collectors, they decided that in keeping with their Christian faith, they wanted to give their money away. However, the same letter had been sent to 20 other charities and only two would eventually be chosen. Christian Aid and seven others were selected to make a presentation. In the end, the couple decided to fund all three of our projects – meaning that literally thousands of people will benefit from their generosity.’ The donor commented: ‘In terms of the people, projects and presentations, Christian Aid stood head and shoulders above the rest.’ If you would like to make a significant investment in Christian Aid’s work, please contact Mark Rowland on 02075232119, or email email@example.com
‘As Zimbabwe’s economy deteriorates under the autocratic rule of Robert Mugabe, campaigners look forward to the day when this potentially rich southern African country embraces democracy and the rule of law. When that day comes, its citizens should not be crushed by debt repayments invoked by Mugabe to prop up his regime.’ Africa policy manager Babatunde Olugboji, supporting Mr Benn’s stance on loans to African countries ‘We call on the UK government to capitalise on the opportunity that now exists and to end the isolation of the Palestinian Authority that has exacerbated poverty and insecurity. Positive political engagement can help to lay the groundwork for peace.’ Middle East advocacy officer William Bell on the agreement by Hamas and Fatah to create a Palestinian unity government ‘A rise of 3ºC could mean that millions of people in the developing world would be forced to abandon their farmland. This level of forced migration off the land and the loss of coastal cities to rising sea levels will transform our planet in ways hard to imagine.’ Senior policy officer Andrew Pendleton responding to the latest UN climate change report on behalf of Christian Aid
THE THINGS YOU SAY ‘The demands of over-population underlie all environmental degradation, resource depletion, climate change and, thus, poverty.’ Tony Utting, Input, page 28 Christian Aid News
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Why tackling poverty means creating wealth In the third – and final – of our articles by leading figures in the three main political parties, Conservative leader David Cameron outlines his vision of combining economic liberalism with economic empowerment
protectionism of rich countries, especially the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which is a direct engine for the impoverishment of Africa. It also means the immediate abolition of the so-called ‘killer tariffs’ that some governments levy on imports of anti-malaria bednets and vital medicines. However, economic liberalism – tearing down the barriers to enterprise – on its own is not enough. We must recognise that, for many, globalisation is not so much an invigorating breeze, but a chill blast. So a modern Conservative vision aims to combine economic
societies – where leaders are insulated from scrutiny, feedback and criticism – that situations are likely to spiral out of control. We have many levers at our disposal – not least our aid and our diplomatic influence – to help foster development in the poorer parts of the world. We should champion and reward good governance, and enable people to hold their politicians to account by encouraging the development of civil society. Second, because the burden of HIV and killer diseases such as malaria falls disproportionately upon the poor, priority must be given to prevention work and
We must recognise that, for many, globalisation is not so much an invigorating breeze, but a chill blast
Above and right: David Cameron meets Darfur refugees on a visit to Sudan in November last year
JOHN DONNE FAMOUSLY wrote: ‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.’ These simple yet evocative words challenged those thinkers who celebrated England’s physical isolation with a metaphorical separateness from the continent of humanity. Though written nearly 400 years ago, Donne’s words remain relevant today, and ingrained within them is the reason why fighting global poverty is the great moral obligation of our times: all of mankind has a responsibility to each other. I describe it as a moral challenge because that, for me, is first and foremost what it is. It is morally unacceptable for one-fifth of the world’s population to be living in dire and degrading poverty. But it is also a question of hard-headed political and economic reality. Poverty leads to mass migration – and the lack of progress in many societies is a great wasted opportunity. As the business thinker C K Prahalad once said, ‘There’s a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.’ Tackling poverty means creating wealth, and liberal economics, free trade and open markets offer the greatest hope for this. We must do all we can to ensure that we tear down the barriers to enterprise, ingenuity and innovation by constantly making the case for free trade, and practising its principles. But trade must be fair as well as free. For this, we must challenge the hypocritical and immoral
liberalism with economic empowerment. Economic empowerment means fixing the broken rungs at the bottom of the ladder from poverty to wealth. It means giving every individual the skills, resources and the confidence to take control of their life and benefit from the opportunities of the open economy, so as to enable them to move from poverty and dependency to prosperity and sustainability. And for this to happen, we must focus on four tragedies that stand in the way of poor countries getting richer: disenfranchisement, disease, disaster and conflict. First, freedom and prosperity go hand in hand. For it is in closed
widespread sexual education. Relatively small sums can lead to a profound improvement in millions of lives. Third, it is also the poor who suffer the most, and soonest, from natural disasters. The changing climate is predicted to disrupt crop yields and reduce African GDP by a tenth in the years ahead. Combating climate change and promoting environmental sustainability is an imperative, and requires leadership to focus international discussion on reaching an agreement on binding targets for carbon emissions, without holding back the legitimate economic aspirations of developing countries. Fourth, as was evident on my
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Pictures: courtesy the Conservative party
Do you agree with David Cameron or share his optimism? Write to the Editor, Christian Aid News, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT or email firstname.lastname@example.org
recent trip to Darfur, man’s inhumanity to man only entrenches poverty around the world. We should use all our diplomatic muscle, and in some cases sanctions or even force, to seek resolution to such conflicts. There is a vital need to ensure that the global arms trade is governed by firm, consistent and fair rules. That is why I support the principle of an International Arms Trade Treaty. Taken in sum, when we consider these four tragedies, it is clear that effective aid programmes are essential for economic empowerment. That is why a Conservative government would embrace the target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013. We will keep the Department for International Development as an
independent department, focussed on reducing poverty. There will be no return to tied aid. We will focus on results and outputs, and establish an International Aid Watchdog to provide independent and objective evaluation of the effectiveness of British aid – rather than the selfevaluation which takes place at present. And I believe we can do more to empower the poor, to make them leaders of the international development system, not just passive recipients. One idea we are investigating is aid vouchers. Put directly in the hands of poor communities, they would be redeemable for development services of any kind with an aid agency or supplier of their choice. Such an innovation would help show us what the poor really want
– and who is most effective in meeting their needs. Through economic empowerment and economic liberalism, I am sure we can remove the barriers that hold prosperity back. The seeds of the wealth of nations can – and have – been sown around the world. With our help, they can spread further. Christian Aid News
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Let’s cut the carbon Christian Aid has launched a campaign to combat climate change which is bringing suffering to millions of people in poor countries. In this special report, find out how you can get involved and read how Christian Aid is supporting projects to help communities cope with the effects of global warming
It’s time to come clean Christian Aid’s climate change analyst Andrew Pendleton explains why we’re putting the issue at the top of our campaigning agenda. Overpage: how the campaign works LAST YEAR Christian Aid broke new ground for a development agency. Our report, The Climate of Poverty, exposed the grave dangers climate change poses for poor people – and how it affects them first and most seriously. Since that report was published, scientists have announced fresh perils to our planet from the increasing pace of global warming, culminating in last month’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which lay the blame confidently at the feet of mankind. Christian Aid said ten months ago, and repeats now, that climate change is the most significant single threat to development. It could undo decades of progress in fighting poverty. And with the launch of our new campaign – outlined here and over the following pages – we are making it our number one campaigning issue. At Christian Aid we believe that the best way we can fulfil our remit to tackle the scandal of poverty throughout the world is by finding ways to stop greenhouse gases while continuing to help poor people deal with the ravages of climate change in their own communities. At the moment there is general
agreement that these emissions must be halted in their tracks and brought down – at a rate of five per cent per year according to the latest scientific evidence. But before anyone can do this it is imperative to know what we are dealing with. Christian Aid, using data provided by the environmental research agency Trucost, has analysed the figures for its new report, Coming Clean: Revealing Britain’s True Carbon Footprint. An extraordinary picture has emerged of a UK that has a far greater reach, and a far greater responsibility for global carbon emissions than government rhetoric suggests, due primarily to the activities of companies that operate on our stock exchange. The figure that is generally accepted in this country as the UK’s share of global emissions is 2.13 per cent – ‘only’ two per cent according to Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, if we follow the argument of successive governments and leading industrialists and think of the UK not as a single economy, but as one that is intrinsically integrated into the global whole,
then our real carbon footprint is very much larger. One estimate, from Henderson Global Investors, suggests that the worldwide consumption of FTSE 100 company products is responsible for 12-15 per cent of total global CO2 emissions. Although many of these firms’ operations are overseas, Christian Aid believes they should still be held accountable in the UK for their carbon emissions. However it is not yet compulsory for a company to show the extent of its CO2 emissions. There are agreed CO2 disclosure standards – some already in use by the UK’s Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs – but it is up to individual companies how and when to use them. Only 16 of the FTSE 100 companies have so far disclosed their carbon emissions in annual
Below: Ad bikes carried the campaign launch message around London last month
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DIRECTOR LAUNCHES CLIMATE CAMPAIGN
accounts or parallel environmental reports – and then only in the most basic of categories: direct emissions from global operations (fuel used in offices, shops and in their vehicles). And yet, the direct global emissions from these 16 companies account for a staggering 285.93 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. That is equivalent to almost half of the UK’s total emissions. Among the remaining members of the FTSE 100, it is only possible to estimate, using averages for each sector, what their direct CO2 emissions may be. Christian Aid believes they total a further 191.42 million tonnes. This is the UK’s
Footprint, which reveals that Britain’s biggest businesses have failed to declare hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, masking the full extent of the UK’s carbon footprint. Emissions associated with the worldwide activities of the FTSE 100 companies may amount to 12-15 per cent of the global total – a fact that flies in the face of the government’s estimate
dirty underbelly; the ‘carbon omissions’ that our money – invested through the stock exchange – buys both here and throughout the world. Christian Aid now calls on the government as a matter of urgency to begin work on mandatory disclosure standards for CO2 and ultimately, all greenhouse gases. It is only when companies come clean and parade their carbon figures in their annual accounts with the same transparency used to show profits and losses that the public and investors acting on our behalf will see the full spectrum of CO2 emissions that Britain has responsibility for. And it is only
through transparency in CO2 emissions that we will know if companies are helping to reduce climate change by cutting back their emissions, and the extent to which they are doing this. If carbon is to be traded or taxed in future there must first be a clear and transparent settling of carbon accounts. On behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people – who are encountering disease, sea-level rises, flood, famine and conflict as a result of climate change – Christian Aid demands that the British government takes the first step and makes carbon reporting mandatory. Climate change is too important to be left to the whims of voluntarism.
To download a copy of Coming Clean, go to www.christianaid.org.uk
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that the UK is responsible for just two per cent. The campaign launch was also covered by Sky News, Al Jazeera and LBC in London and featured prominently on the BBC News website. Five advertising bikes toured the City of London, Westminster and Whitehall on launch day last month, taking our campaign message right to the heart of business and government.
Picture:s Christian Aid/David Rose
Christian Aid director Daleep Mukarji signs a ‘postcard to Barclays’ calling on the firm to cut the carbon emissions that result from its investments, at the launch of Christian Aid’s climate change campaign last month The Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Metro newspapers were among those that ran stories on Christian Aid’s new report, Coming Clean: Revealing Britain’s True Carbon
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Let’s cut the carbon
How the campaign works The climate has changed – and we’ve changed it. So we can do it again.
So, we’re calling on UK companies to: publish a full account of their global carbon footprint in their annual reports and commit to reducing their emissions by at least five per cent a year. To avert further disaster for the world’s poorest communites, we must cut emissions by 90 per cent by 2050. Companies should do their bit by committing to a reduction of at least five per cent every year. Idealistic? Impossible? We don’t think so. The three companies that we have chosen to target at the start of this campaign have in different ways all made a start at declaring and cutting their carbon emissions, but we believe each can do more. Morrisons has started to cut its energy use but there are significant emissions it doesn’t currently count – its transport and supply chain, that is, emissions associated with its products. It hasn’t set a target for cutting carbon either. Barclays should be congratulated for tackling the
emissions resulting from its offices and its travel, but it has made no attempt to look at the emissions resulting from its investments. We estimate that these are 500 times bigger than those from its offices, branches and travel. International Power is a major energy producer owning power stations around the world. It does declare its emissions – but it hasn’t committed to cutting them, yet. In fact, last year its emissions grew. Compared to other energy companies, it is more carbon intensive.
And we’re calling on the UK government to: put in place laws that require UK companies to give a full account of their global carbon footprint in their annual reports That’s all the emissions that they have some control over – energy use, travel and the CO2 that’s emitted as a result of the products they sell and the services they provide. And we want companies with international operations to include their emissions throughout the world. If firms publish these figures in their annual reports, everyone can check their progress in reducing emissions. At present, because there’s no standard to stick to, every company can tell a different story.
Climate Changed. Let’s get to work ADVERTS SUCH AS this one will appear in national and church press this month as part of Christian Aid’s climate change campaign. The ads, which feature polite requests to change behaviour in the workplace juxtaposed with hard-hitting images of a climate that has already changed, clearly show the link between global warming and poverty. The ad campaign also hopes to encourage people to think beyond their own homes to how they can make their workplace, church or school, greener. The ads, which first appeared in national and church press last month, will be supported by workplace action posters distributed through The Independent and The Guardian, postcard stickers and posters that can be picked up at selected cinemas and gyms. For further information visit www.climatechanged.org
And what is Christian Aid asking its supporters to do? Tear out the postcards from the centre of this issue of Christian Aid News. Send one to the chancellor, Gordon Brown and the other to whichever of the three businesses it is directed at. Then call 08700 787 788 and ask for more! ■ Join Christian Aid’s Cut the Carbon march this summer – covering 1,000 miles in 80 days, we’ll be putting our campaign message across throughout the UK. (For details, see opposite.) ■ Take regular action via your mobile – text CHANGE1 to 84880. You will receive information on campaigning opportunities. Standard rates apply. ■
We have to stop abusing the atmosphere at the expense of the world’s poorest people
CHRISTIAN AID’S campaign is based on the faith that human beings can do whatever is needed to halt the worst effects of climate change – drought, famine, floods and conflict – that already affect the world’s poorest countries.
The next step Ultimately, this global problem can only be solved with a global solution. But putting our own house in order will give the UK clout in the international arena. ■ Moves towards a new international treaty have begun, but we want the UK government to press for an agreement based on the fact that the rich world has emitted more than its fair share of CO2, and so must make the deepest and most urgent cuts. We have to stop abusing the atmosphere at the expense of the world’s poorest people. We know that with your campaigning strength, we can stop this abuse. We must start now.
And finally… Poorly insulated homes are responsible for a significant percentage of the UK’s carbon emissions. As part of our preparations for a possible campaign to improve the quality of insulation in UK homes, we would like to hear from anyone living in a property built over the past ten years. Please contact the campaigns team on 020 7523 2264 or email email@example.com
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1,000 miles in 80 days: join the march for climate justice
Media manager for Scotland Claire Shelley explains why Christian Aid is taking to the road over global warming CHRISTIAN AID is stepping up its climate change campaign with a call for volunteers to join the longest-ever protest march in UK history. We are scouring churches and communities to find people willing to put their best foot forward for our mass march for climate justice this summer. The Cut the Carbon march will begin in Northern Ireland on 14 July, pass through Scotland, England and Wales and arrive in London via Bournemouth and the Labour Party conference 11 weeks later. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to join parts of the 1,000-mile route, including ten core marchers who will walk the full distance. They will join ten campaigners from Christian Aid partner organisations in the developing world to protest at the way poor people’s lives are being wrecked by dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Climate change is the most
serious threat to the future of all of us, but the shocking truth is that it’s poor people in the developing world who are already on the frontline of climate chaos,’ says Paul Brannen, head of campaigns. ‘We have a moral duty to stop this now.’ The Cut the Carbon march will carry the central demands of Christian Aid’s climate change campaign – that the UK government put in place laws that require companies to give a full account of their global carbon footprint in their annual reports and for companies to report their CO2 emissions to the highest standards and commit to a reduction of at least five per cent a year. We’ll also be calling on the government to take a lead in delivering a fair international agreement that will lead to a 90 per cent cut in global CO2 emissions by 2050 and deliver an effective UK
climate change bill to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions. Christian Aid will also be asking individual Christians, churches and the wider public to act to reduce their own carbon emissions. ‘We hope that the march will send a loud and clear message that the time for procrastination is over,’ says Paul Brannen. More information is available on www.christianaid.org.uk There will be six major rallies en route: Saturday 21 July Edinburgh Saturday 4 August Newcastle Saturday 11 August Leeds Monday 27 August Birmingham Saturday 8 September Cardiff Tuesday 2 October London Stock Exchange
CUT THE CARBON MARCH: HOW YOU CAN HELP There are plenty of ways you can get involved in the march. Look at the route (right) and see where it passes closest to you. Contact your local Christian Aid office to see what needs doing and who else is involved. If you live on the route: ■ cheer the marchers on, or even join them as they go through ■ host the marchers – the core group marching the whole route will need food and beds each night ■ put on an evening event for local people to meet the marchers and hear about the campaign ■ invite your local MP or civic leaders to take part
Edinburgh 21.07.07 Newcastle upon Tyne 04.08.07 Belfast 14.07.07 Leeds 11.08.07
If you live further away: ■ join the march for a mile or two ■ go to one of the big city rallies and take part online And wherever you live, come to London on Tuesday 2 October as the marchers take the campaign to the financial heart of the UK, the London stock exchange. How Christian Aid is reducing its own carbon footprint: see page 26
London 02.10.07 Bournemouth 23.09.07 Labour Party conference
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Let’s cut the carbon
Mali: ‘Light equals life’ Christian Aid’s head of media John Davison reports on how solar power is literally making the difference between life and death in rural Mali
Right: Midwife and community nurse Kadija Keita and some of her successful deliveries!
IT WAS a pose popular with busy reporters or city dealers in the days before ‘hands-free’ – the shoulder pushed up to the jaw to support a telephone receiver. But Kadija Keita is a midwife in rural Mali, west Africa, and she is demonstrating her technique for holding a torch while delivering babies at night. She sadly remembers how one child died shortly after birth because she was unable to identify a problem until it was too late. She simply could not see properly. In the end, she became afraid of patients coming after dark. Now, however, Kadija’s tiny health centre in the village of Boumou has solar-powered lighting and her job has been transformed. More pregnant women and other patients come there – in the past year alone she has delivered some 60 babies. She cannot imagine going back to the old system. ‘I would become
Picture: Andrew Njoroge
Kenya: When the ice melts…
supplied with a solar-powered refrigerator for the clinic, so that she can store vaccines and other vital drugs that she uses in her other role as general community nurse. But this will cost more than £2,000 to install, in a place where some people struggle to buy paraffin for their lamps or spare batteries for a torch. The Boumou solar lighting, and other systems in 30 villages, were installed by the Mali Folke Centre (MFC), an organisation funded by Christian Aid. It trains local people to maintain them, thus ensuring a continuing supply of virtually free energy to places far beyond the reach of grid electricity. A properly maintained system should last 25 years. With a sparse population, this is the only option for electricity-generated development, or even light, that the vast majority of Malians will ever see. MFC director, Dr Ibrahim Togola,
very angry and I would cry,’ she says, forcefully. ‘For me, light equals life.’ The story of Boumou is one of hope: it shows how renewable energy can be used to transform the lives of poor people in an alternative model of development. But it also points to a future where creaking health systems in places like Mali, will need increasing levels of help, as the effects of climate change bite more deeply. Mali is on the frontline of climate change, a country stretching from the Sahara desert in the north to relatively lush savannah in the south. In between is the dry Sahel region, where droughts are predicted to double in coming decades. Already, the growing demand for healthcare in Mali is such that communities are building small health centres like the one in Boumou with their own hands. Kadija now wants her clinic to be
Emma Wigley finds out how communities in Kenya are preparing for a future without a reliable source of water IT’S ONE of the most iconic images in Africa – and the world: the view across the sun-baked plains towards the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. But it’s an image which is set to disappear by the end of the next decade, potentially spelling disaster for communities which look to its slopes for a reliable source of water. The glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the source of many local rivers and drinking wells; and they are now
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has pioneered the use of renewable energy in poor communities. Other activities include integrated water systems, with solar-powered pumps, wind generation and bio-fuel production. ‘Poor people in Mali are definitely victims of climate change already,’ he says. ‘And this is just the beginning. We have to know how we can adapt our way of life to live in these conditions.’ He describes how rainfall figures have dropped across the country over the past decade. In the south, these have fallen from 1,500mm a year to less than 1,000mm. In the north, areas that could expect to get up to 200mm now get almost nothing. But there is some good news: in the southern village of Tabakoro, where MFC has based its training centre, renewable technologies are being deployed to dramatic effect. The village’s 2,000 people used to get their water from a single pump: it now flows freely and safely from four taps. Solarpowered pumps supply a water tower from a deep bore-hole. It might not sound like a huge improvement, but it drastically cuts down the time and effort that
women have to spend fetching water. For many, this allows them to attend adult literacy classes at the village school in the evening – lit by solar power. Perhaps the most valued resource, however, is the health centre – complete with solar-powered light and refrigerator. Resident doctor Ismail Diarra is in no doubt about the value of having the facility: they can now react quickly to emergencies at any time, as they now have light to work by. ‘The night before last, a child was brought here with a very high fever in a chronic stage of malaria,’ he says. ‘Because of the light and the drugs, we were able to save that child’s life.’
melting at an alarming rate. ‘The rapidity with which the glaciers are melting shows that Kenya is getting warmer’ warns Professor Odana, of the International Council for Science. Mount Kilimanjaro is expected to lose its remaining ice caps by 2020 and Mount Kenya has already lost at least 90 per cent of its largest glacier. These cannot be replaced, and the local communities, whose main water sources are fed by these mountains, will have to rely on increasingly infrequent rains for their water. This is bad news for a country where 80 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for survival. ‘We used to have drought every 15-20 years or so,’ says Maurice Onyango, Christian Aid’s emergency programme officer for Kenya. ‘Now it’s every five or even less.’ The irony, of course, is that only
one per cent of the world’s carbon emissions are produced in Africa. Most Kenyans will have produced very few of the emissions which now jeopardise their way of life. But there is hope… In Machakos district, in Kenya’s Eastern Province, the Benevolent Institute of Development (BIDII), a group supported by Christian Aid, is helping poor communities to conserve water and to adapt their livelihoods to deal with the consequences of climate change. Using innovative irrigation techniques, farmers are learning to dig channels or ditches alongside crops to collect and seal in rainwater; they use terraced planting on hillsides to prevent the nutritious topsoil from being washed away during rains, and plant grasses between terraces to bind the soil together. They learn to use ‘multi-storey
Christian Aid made a grant of £20,000 in December to fund the work of the Mali Folke Centre, which was set up in 1999 to focus on clean energy projects and environmental protection. One of its most innovative projects is the cultivation of plantations of jatropha bushes, the seeds of which can be ground into a clean oil to fuel generators.
For more information, go to www.christianaid.org.uk
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Picture: Christian Aid/Abbie Trayler-Smith
gardens’ that make the most of scarce water and space by planting crops at the top of soil-filled sacks and through slits in the sides. The gardens are fed using harvested rainwater which is poured through a central layer of stones, allowing the water to trickle through to each layer of the sack. One farmer said that before BIDII came along he could only grow maize and beans because they were the only crops that survived the harsh dry climate: ‘Now I will try to plant fruits, vegetables and even tomatoes’ he said.
Christian Aid has supported the Benevolent Institute of Development since 1998, and has given more than £60,000 over three years in suppport of its environmental regeneration work and has just begun to fund a large HIV project.
Opposite: Farmer Damaris Ndunda grows 140 citrus trees, beans, maize, pumpkins, kale, onions, cabbage, pau paus, mangoes and bananas on her smallholding in the hills of Kilome, in Kenya’s Eastern Province Christian Aid News
Let’s cut the carbon
India: Seeds of hope that fuel a cleaner future Anjali Kwatra discovers how pedal power is helping to meet energy needs in one of India’s poorest regions changed so much for the better.’ Urmila Senapati from Gram Vikas explained that the fuel is made with forest produce, and has a minimal impact on the environment. ‘The clean water has drastically reduced the incidence of life-threatening water-borne diseases,’ she added. Gram Vikas is also working to mitigate the effects of climate change through disaster-resistant housing and water management. It is helping villagers build houses that are better able to withstand cyclones – which experts believe will increase in frequency and strength as climate change bites. More than 10,000 people were killed during the last big cyclone in Orissa in 1999, but those who had
already built disaster-resistant homes were able to shelter in them safely. The new houses have strong brick walls, reinforced concrete roofs and small windows to withstand the cyclones that are common in coastal areas. To improve water management, Gram Vikas is reintroducing traditional techniques such as building water-harvesting structures and enlarging village ponds, called bandhas. These recharge the ground water up to one kilometre away and farmers can also use the water for irrigation if the monsoon rains fail. Pictures: Christian Aid/Anjali Kwatra
IF YOU’VE EVER worked out on an exercise bike at your local gym and wondered whether the energy you generate could ever be harnessed, here’s some food for thought. An organisation supported by Christian Aid is using renewable energy in one of the poorest states in India as a way of preventing climate change. Gram Vikas (the name means village development) uses solar energy, hydropower and bio-diesel to supply electricity and clean, piped water to hundreds of communities across Orissa. Since 2004 the village of Kinchiling, in the forested hills of Orissa, has had a 24-hour water supply, which is pumped using bio-diesel fuel. This fuel does not emit greenhouse gases when burned, and is produced by a machine powered by a pedal bike. Riding it for just 45 minutes a week provides enough fuel to run the water system for a week. Kunu Pradhan, pictured right, one of the villagers who take it in turns to cycle the bike, said she was proud to help provide the village with water. ‘Before we had our water supply we had to fetch drinking water from the river which was very dirty. Our lives have Gram Vikas, which won the inaugural Kyoto World Water Grand Prize last year, is currently helping 36,000 families build disaster-resistant houses, in 559 villages. It also provides clean water supplies, helps run schools and supplies villages with solar lamps so that life can continue after dark – and that includes allowing children to do their homework. Christian Aid has supported Gram Vikas since 1999, and has provided £11,500 in funding over the past year, increasing to £59,922 for 2007-08.
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Peru: ‘The weather used to be good; it’s changed now’ Communications officer Hannah Morley describes how farmers in Peru are being helped to adapt to climate change
and the meat bring better prices. Before, six to eight baby alpacas would die. Now none of them have died,’ says Elias. Others are finding ways of improving their standard of living without damaging the environment. Ever Cancho built his family an energy-efficient oven and an eco-fridge. ‘We made adobe bricks and built them like the fridge I had seen with CEDAP. It was worth all the work because now we can keep our food longer.’ These changes increase family income and help highland farmers adapt to climate change. And they ensure that fewer people are forced to migrate to the cities to find a way to feed their families.
Above: Elias Quichca farms in the high Andes of Peru Left: his adobe eco-fridge which enables his family to keep food fresh for longer Pictures: Christian Aid/Hannah Morley
MIGRATION IN PERU is reaching unsustainable levels, as changes to the country’s delicate ecosystem threaten to produce an increasing number of climate change refugees. Already, more than a third of the population lives in the overcrowded capital Lima – which has a shortfall of at least 1.8 million homes – and this is being swelled by new arrivals from rural areas. Changes in weather patterns, a lack of water and ever-degrading soil are making life unsustainable for highland farmers. In the Andes, Christian Aid partner CEDAP is trying to tackle this cycle of despair, working with more than 1,000 families in 60 communities to improve living conditions and restore the damage done to their natural resources. Alpaca farmer Elias Quichca Jayo says: ‘The weather used to be good; we had enough water and no ice. It’s changed now. There’s not enough water for the crops and the pastureland isn’t the same. The soil doesn’t retain the water that does come so it’s being wasted.’ Elias received training in different farming techniques, and now shares his knowledge with his community. Families here also compete to make the most changes over a six-month period: winners receive a cash prize put up by CEDAP and the local government. This combination of motivation, training, and pooling knowledge really works. Families learn to combat the impact of climate change by building shelters to protect their alpacas from the increasing cold spells. Building dams, reservoirs and slow-release ditches allows them to use rainwater in a more efficient way. ‘I have bigger, healthier alpacas and the wool
Centro de Desarrollo Agropecuatio (CEDAP) is one of Christian Aid’s longest standing partners in Latin America; we have been working together on rural development schemes since 1980. In January 2005 CEDAP started a new five-year association with Christian Aid worth US$220,000. CEDAP also runs a Quechua-language radio programme about improved farming techniques, health, culture and politics. Christian Aid News
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Christian Aid produces a wide range of resources for prayer and reflection. Call 020 7523 2225 or visit www.christianaid.org.uk
We must confront the ‘sin’ of global warming Paula Clifford, head of Christian Aid’s community communications team, argues the theological case behind our climate change campaign
‘CLIMATE CHANGE IS too important to be left to the environmentalists.’ Not my words, but an impassioned plea from the floor during one of the debates on climate change at January’s World Social Forum in Nairobi. The realisation that global warming has the potential to affect every aspect of our lives has led to a growing call for the voices of theologians and ethics experts to be heard in the worldwide debate. ‘We need to think about the kind of society we want,’ was another comment at that same Nairobi discussion. As Christian Aid embarks on a campaign that tackles global warming as a justice issue, it is clear that both these speakers were stating truths that must be reflected in our theology as well as our campaigning. Some might argue that Christian environmentalism has already provided us with an adequate theological basis for dealing with climate change. Not so. In this thinking, God creates a world that perfectly reflects his glory and entrusts it to Adam. Environmental destruction is then seen as humankind’s failure to play its part properly in this hierarchy: a view which I think belittles human beings (who, as theologian Jane Williams pointed out in a Christian Aid seminar, are surely more than just keepers) and also nature itself, which has a less subordinate relationship with both God and his people than this suggests. But, more crucially, what this view does not take into account is the kind of society we want. Care for the land is, of course,
enshrined in Old Testament law, with the principle of the Sabbath year (Leviticus 25). But this is closely linked to another law: to care for one another, in particular the poor and vulnerable (Deuteronomy 26.15). With the coming of human society, caring for the created world and caring for one another go together. It’s in the New Testament, though, that we see most clearly the inter-relationships between God, people and the world around us. In the incarnation, Jesus becomes part of the world he created and brings into it good news for the poor. To love God is to enter into a just and loving relationship with one another and with the world around us. So what has gone wrong? African traditional religions, I’m reliably informed, refer to sin as ‘broken relationships’. And, while others may want to focus on the fractured relationship between humankind and nature, it’s the broken relationship between human beings that our climate change campaign seeks to address above all, as global warming impacts on the poorest people who have done the least to bring it about. We should not lose sight of the fact that forgiveness and renewal are at the heart of the Christian Gospel. The resurrection offers us the hope of a world that is transformed and yet still physical. It gives us a promise that God has a use for a changed new world – albeit one that, like the resurrected body of Christ, bears the scars of suffering. It is up to us to see that such a world survives.
Aid and debt
The case of the £ CHRISTIAN AID CAMPAIGNERS in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, drummed home the call for change at two powerful global organisations when they handed Gordon Brown a specially-carved drum from Senegal. The drum – carved with ‘Gordon Brown: drum out poverty!’ – was accompanied by a petition calling on the chancellor to use his influence to stop the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank pushing poor countries to open up their markets. More than 25,000 people signed the Stop Paying for Poverty petition at festivals and campaign events during 2006. It was delivered by Rev David Redmayne and schoolchildren from Gordon Brown’s constituency. The hand-in followed several months in which Christian Aid campaigners have been keeping a watchful eye on a certain £50 million. This sum had become the focus of campaigners’ attention when Hilary Benn, the UK’s minister for international development, announced that he would withhold £50 million from the World Bank because it had not made enough progress in cutting the harmful economic conditions it attaches to its grants and loans. The announcement came on the same day, last September, that 3,000 Christian Aid campaigners gathered in London to drum
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Picture: Christian Aid/Sue Osmond
While the Cut the Carbon campaign moves to centre stage in the coming months, the beat goes on across other campaigning fronts – the struggle for trade justice, debt relief and aid. Here, Christian Aid’s campaigns team highlight where the battle lines are being drawn
Mass rally in London
e £50 million
Picture: Christian Aid/Martin Gordon
this very point home to the government. Withholding the cash certainly had some impact as the World Bank struggled to pull together an in-depth report showing progress in this area. Then in November, 1,500 campaigners sent emergency emails when Christian Aid heard that Mr Benn was thinking of releasing the money. In the end the money was released – too soon in Christian Aid’s view, as we felt the World Bank had not done enough. However, Mr Benn pleased campaigners by assuring them that conditions will be a key issue this year when the World Bank passes the hat around again for more funding. Christian Aid will watch closely to ensure this happens. Olivia McDonald, Christian Aid’s senior policy officer, says: ‘Gordon Brown currently holds the UK purse-strings and Hilary Benn decides on funding to the World Bank. We want to see both of them showing their commitment to changing this hugely powerful organisation and its sister the IMF, to ensure that they benefit poor people rather than harming them with inappropriate economic policies. Mr Benn should adopt the same approach as before, until we see them stop imposing harmful conditions.’ Find out more and send an e-mail to Hilary Benn at www.pressureworks.org/dosomething
JOIN CHRISTIAN AID and Trade Justice Movement campaigners at the German Embassy in Belgrave Square, London on Thursday 19 April at 11am, and demand that the EU – under Germany’s presidency – does not use new trade deals to lock poor countries into poverty. Without last-minute pressure, free-trade deals could wreak havoc in developing countries. By the end of 2007 the EU wants to finalise these economic partnership agreements (EPAs). They are supposed to be a tool for development. But in their present form they are set to put jobs and economies at risk, undermine healthcare provision and education for poor people, as well as damage their environment. On 19 April thousands will be calling on the German government to listen to the concerns repeatedly expressed by poor countries. Christian Aid campaigners will be adding their voices to those of fellow campaigners in 20 other countries throughout Europe and Africa. The EU must re-write these deals before it’s too late. Find out more about the event and register online at www. pressureworks.org/dosomething. To order copies of the event flyer call 08700 787 788, quoting F1363.
EPAs explained ■ Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are harmful free-trade deals currently being negotiated between the EU and 75 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. ■ Millions of poor-country producers and industries risk devastation if forced to open their markets to compete with rich-country producers. ■ The EU continues to ignore the requests of poor countries on EPAs and is acting in its own interests. ■ Last year UK campaigners sent a staggering 10,000 postcards to Finland, demanding that they act on EPAs during their EU presidency.
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An expression of freedom Pictures: Chrisrtian Aid/Leah Gordon
Caribbean specialist Sarah Wilson reports on a Christian Aid-backed arts project that is highlighting the fight for human rights in Haiti
IT HAS BEEN 200 years since Parliament outlawed the slave trade in Britain and its colonies, yet in many parts of the world people are still enslaved – forced by poverty to work in unhealthy, dangerous, even life-threatening conditions. As the UK commemorates this bicentenary, Christian Aid decided to find out what people from a former slave colony thought about the modern forms of slavery and inequality that still exist today. Four artists from Haiti were chosen to create a ‘Freedom’ sculpture to represent their interpretation of the
ongoing struggle for human rights in the developing world. The sculpture was commissioned by National Museums Liverpool, which is opening a new International Slavery Museum in August. It was made from a mixture of salvaged car parts and other objects found in Grand Rue, an area of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince surrounded by car-breaker yards. To give a voice to all that freedom and slavery means to ordinary people in Haiti today, the artists held workshops with young people who benefit from the work of APROSIFA, a Christian Aid-supported
organisation in Haiti that provides basic education, runs health clinics and works to bring an end to fighting between gangs. The workshops were conceived by Mario Benjamin, a renowned Haitian artist who has represented his country at several Biennale international art exhibitions. Before creating the sculpture, Mario and the other three artists from Atis Resiztans took the young people to visit museums in Port-au-Prince, gave them virtual tours of world art collections on the internet, and held sessions in their own
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can: freedom sculpture ateliers to demonstrate how they work. One of the young people who took part was Natalie Fanfan. She is 23 years old, but won’t finish high school for another three years. Living in one of the most dangerous slums in the Haitian capital, means her studies have been frequently interrupted. Her father is a carpenter,
‘People don’t have chains on their arms and legs now, but they still have chains in their minds’ but clashes between rival gangs in the neighbourhood, often prevent him from leaving the house. When this happens, he cannot earn enough to feed his family and pay school fees. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, falling below many African countries in terms of average income and dependence on food aid. Unfair terms of international trade mean that Haiti’s farmers are increasingly unable to sell their produce. In the 1980s, Haiti was forced to allow many staple products to enter the country tax-free, making it impossible for local farmers to compete with cheap food from richer countries. Local rice production has fallen by half, and sugar cane has seen a similar slump. Unable to feed themselves and their families, many thousands of people migrated to the cities to find jobs. But few could find work, and with no source of income, many young men succumbed to the temptation of joining heavily-armed urban gangs. These gangs perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Random killings and kidnappings make earning a living even more difficult. Evelyne LaPaix, who took part in the sculpture project, lives in a particularly dangerous area. Last year, nine people were gunned down in her neighbourhood. Like many families, hers cannot afford to move to a safer area. Ronald Cadet, who also took part on the sculpture project, said: ‘People don’t have chains on their arms and legs now, but they still have
chains in their minds. When you have problems getting enough food, housing and education, you are not living in a free country.’ Rose-Anne Auguste, founder of APROSIFA, said: ‘When you live in shanty towns you can feel as though you have no right to culture. It is sad that the artists had to teach these kids to visit museums. Their parents are too busy surviving to take them. But culture is in their blood. The best art comes from young people living on the edge.’ THE SCULPTURE WILL TOUR THE UK ON THE FOLLOWING DATES: Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool: 26 Feb-18 March ■ House of Commons, London (to be confirmed): 20 March-1 April ■ Stratford Circus Arts Centre, London: 3 -19 April ■ The Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Bristol: 23 April-11 June ■ The Eden Project, Cornwall: 13 June-31 July ■ International Slavery Museum, Liverpool: 23 August onwards. ■
Main picture: artist Guyodo and assistant Daniel Cadeau at work on the sculpture Left: The sculpture can be illuminated at night Below: Guyodo, André Eugene and Jean-Herard Celeur from Atiz Resistans
MAKING MORE OF IT To see video clips of how the sculpture was made, details of the venues where you can see it, and to find out what you can do to tackle the trade regime which keeps people poor today, visit www.pressureworks.org For more information about the new museum in Liverpool, visit www. internationalslaverymuseum.org.uk
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Mind the gap
Pictures: Chrisrtian Aid/Brenda Hayward
Youth and student worker Jema Davis looks at how Christian Aid’s gap-year scheme is harnessing the passion and enthusiasm of young people like her
THIS YEAR around 50,000 young people are expected to defer the start of their university studies or their post-graduate careers and plunge into a period of hedonistic globetrotting or idealistic volunteering – or both. It’s called the gap year and since 1999 ever bigger handfuls of these outgoing young people have joined Christian Aid’s burgeoning gap-year programme. This year the Christian Aid scheme has welcomed a record 15 volunteers aged 18-25 into placements at area offices up and down the UK. The programme, which started with just two volunteers, has gone from strength to strength in the past seven years, providing a massive boost to Christian Aid’s work with young people. For the volunteers, it’s a perfect opportunity to make a real difference in the world while gaining valuable work experience. Many former volunteers have gone on to put this experience to good use in jobs with Christian Aid or other development charities. In return, Christian Aid gets 15 full-time volunteers who bring new enthusiasm and creativity to the organisation’s work with young people – as well as 15 individuals who will, hopefully, remain
committed to Christian Aid throughout their lifetimes. Recruitment for the programme starts in January, and volunteers begin their year at the Greenbelt festival in August before entering area office placements in September. They then spend ten months working with young people and students in their area, engaging them in Christian Aid’s work and the issues surrounding poverty and development. The scheme also includes a two-week overseas trip to see the work of Christian Aid’s partner organisations first hand. Volunteers each pay Christian Aid an £800 donation at the start of their year, and the organisation covers the costs of the placements – including accommodation, the overseas trip and living expenses. This year’s group travelled to the former Soviet state of Tajikistan in October, spending two weeks visiting various projects including ones that work with young people. They are now feeding their experiences from that trip into their work in the UK, inspiring another generation of active and aware young people to carry on the work of Christian Aid.
Ali Rooney, 22, from Birmingham, took time out from doing a teaching degree to join Christian Aid’s West Midlands office. I wanted to take a year out to help people who didn’t have the same opportunities as me, and Christian Aid offered a great package for young people wanting to do this. It is a real privilege to be able to see for myself how a large UK charity actually implements its vision. I have always felt slightly detached and somewhat insincere when it comes to global issues that are so far removed from my day-to-day experience. The trip to Tajikistan was truly memorable. It’s a country that is dramatically affected by poverty and a host of other issues – gender, climate change and HIV. Christian Aid works there through an organisation called ACT Central Asia, which in turn supports numerous projects in the country. We visited seven different partners, to get a clearer understanding of how things work on the ground, and to talk to the people in the communities. They were all inspiring, but two stood
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can: gap scheme out for me. The first was the National Volunteer Centre (NVC), a small network of pensioner-volunteers who make regular visits to their poorer, frailer peers in the capital Dushanbe, delivering fortnightly food parcels and providing vital human contact. I will never forget Nina – 89, isolated and disabled – who lives on the top floor of a dreary block of flats with her disabled son. She bemoaned her life and her loneliness, but clearly cherished the visits of the NVC volunteer who was with us. She reduced us all to tears since she seemed to embody the sobering reality of old age in Tajikistan. The second organisation was Rescue from Drug Addiction (RAN), a Christian Aid partner running an HIV-awareness programme for vulnerable groups such as drug users and sex workers. At a drop-in shelter I heard the story of Parvina, 26, who had lived through Tajkistan’s bloody civil war of the 1990s, two marriages and an on-off struggle with heroin addiction. The day we talked to her, she had returned from the funeral of a 28-year-old friend who had also been an addict at the centre. Parvina told us that from that day she was going to try again to come off drugs. I will never forget her because, despite everything that life has already thrown at her, she has a quiet determination to press onwards. Her story alone has given me hope and passion for Christian Aid’s work. I’m going to give this gap year everything I’ve got.
Emily Harrison, 23, from Cheshire, took up a gap year placement after graduating with a degree in English and German from Birmingham University. She plans to go into either speech therapy or primary school teaching. During this year I’ve learnt so much about Christian Aid, the importance of its work and a lot about myself. The most enjoyable thing has been running sessions and being able to stand back and be proud of what I have achieved and what I have brought to the young people taking part. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how much they have been taking
in, but then there’ll be a reflection at the end of the session and they’ll come out with really touching and profound prayers. It’s then you know you’ve made a difference – they want to really help those people who are suffering. Obviously, the trip to Tajikistan was amazing. Seeing the work Christian Aid funds on the ground has also been vital for me in relaying the importance and success of people’s fundraising and campaigning. I think that when I leave Christian Aid in June, I will be much more confident than I was when I started in September. I know, too, that I have given a lot of myself and taken inspiration and enthusiasm from others. I think it has set me up for life!
Rachel Tavernor, 18, joined the gap scheme after her A levels, and is hoping to be one of the ten core marchers on Christian Aid’s Cut the Carbon march, before either taking up a place at Durham University or joining a VSO programme. I was inspired by the Make Poverty History campaign which gave me the vision that poverty can be ended and that we must act with urgency. Working with Christian Aid has allowed me to use my enthusiasm and determination to end poverty in a really positive way. Visiting Tajikistan fuelled my passion for justice. The trip placed poverty on my doorstep. I had to explain to girls my age that I am allowed to go to university, that I have a choice of marriage and that I’m fortunate enough to never have experienced hunger. It’s not right; it’s certainly not fair and we need to act now. I was captivated by the director of a partner organisation in Tajikistan who lived by his motto: ‘Life is short and we have to do something good with it’. I feel really privileged to be part of Christian Aid’s gap-year scheme, to work with people who have true belief and passion in their work and to be in a position to inspire young people about huge global issues.
Joanna Poplawska, 25, came to the UK from Poland two years ago, and is working as a gap volunteer in the East Sussex office in Lewes. When I lived in Poland I didn’t know much about international development, I wasn’t aware of extreme poverty and injustice in the world. The gap experience has changed my life completely and Christian Aid has opened my eyes to the world and its problems. Now I can see more, I understand more and as a result I cannot accept injustice, inequality and poverty in the world. This is why I have no greater passion than working for international development and helping the most vulnerable people. I have already decided that after my gap year I will be looking for a job in that field. The gap scheme is a fantastic opportunity for me. Working with and meeting British gap volunteers allows me to get to know British people better, to find out more about their culture and lifestyle. That is a priceless experience for someone like me.
Jonny Mason, 23, from Lymington, Hampshire, joined the gap scheme after graduating in English from Royal Holloway University, and is hoping to get a job with Christian Aid after it ends. The best part of the job is watching apathy turn to passion and seeing anger at injustice being channelled powerfully and resourcefully. Young people have a voice that resonates and I am proud to be inspiring others to stand up, speak out and walk alongside the poor. One of the best things about the gap-year scheme is that it’s malleable. It is, in essence, your own. Of course, you operate within a framework but you are free to explore numerous avenues. For example, this year I am running two events: an awareness-raising exercise called Walking on Water, where continued on page 24 Christian Aid News
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From Lesotho with hope participants will carry as much water as they can across a mile on Exmouth beach, and Exeter to Senegal, a fundraiser which involves live African music, four exercise bikes, a church and a Christian Aid shop! We will be attempting to ‘cycle’ the distance from Exeter to Senegal and raise £8,000. Being a gapper has changed me. My perspective on life has widened; I will not stand for injustice and I just can’t stop talking about Christian Aid.
‘It’s time to s
Charlotte Edy, 22, from Witney in Oxfordshire, graduated from the University of York where she studied history, and is now based in our Bristol office. I’d always been interested in Christian Aid’s work, inspired by years of exhibitions at Greenbelt. I remember badgering my parents into buying Fairtrade bananas after finding out about trade justice, and getting my youth group to make a paper chain around my church to highlight the Drop the Debt campaign. The prospect of spending a year encouraging young people to consider how they can make a difference in global development issues seemed too good to miss! It’s fantastic to lead sessions and see people’s understanding develop, especially as they start to think beyond their own lives. I’m looking forward to finding ways of communicating Christian Aid’s development angle on the climate change issue to young people. The more I find out, the more I realise what an important question this is for my generation and how vital it is to motivate them into action. Probably the most exciting aspect of the year is having the opportunity to increase my knowledge of global problems but in a context where I feel that I can be part of the answer, and help others to be part of that, too.
After 15 years, Christian Aid’s flagship project in Lesotho is finally ready to go it alone. Siân Curry celebrates a unique takeover bid
MORE INFORMATION To find out more about the Christian Aid gap–year scheme go to www.pressureworks.org/ dosomething/gap/
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can: success story
o see if we can fly’ “
We canoed up the Amazon for two hours, and I saw where Malaquia had grown mango, papaya, cocoa and 650 mahogany trees
“ Pictures: Jo Jeans
IN THE MISTY southern mountains of Lesotho, a fledgling beauty industry and pharmacy is taking off. Letsabisa Lerotodi demonstrates how she makes aloe face cream. First, she says, you slice the skin off the aloe leaf and remove the gel. Then you mix the gel with herbal soap, milk and egg white and leave it to thicken. Letsabisa also points out some of the other plants that she is teaching people to harvest, process and sell: dandelion, which helps relieve itchy or flaky skin; chicory which is an excellent source of vitamins and iron, and mint which can help with coughs and chest pains. There are creams, soaps and ointments for sale, all neatly packed in small jars and packets. Christian Aid has been supporting development work in the Ha Sekake district for more than 15 years. But making and selling herbal medicine is a new idea, developed by local people. As well as bringing in money for the producers, these products are much-needed locally, to help combat the devastating effects of HIV. Although Letsabisa’s medicines can’t control the virus itself, they can ease pain and treat many of the related infections. When the Ha Sekake project first started, it was unheard of for local residents to confidently put forward their own business ideas. But people here have come a long way since those days – so far, in fact, that they’ve now taken over the project. The newly-named Southern Mountains Association for Rural Transformation and Development (SMARTD) began life as a clean-water project run by the Christian Council of Lesotho. With time and increasing input from local people, it gradually developed into a much broader development programme. Now it’s an independent outfit, run entirely by the people of Ha Sekake. The successful takeover marks the final chapter of Christian Aid’s involvement here. When SMARTD was established in 2004, Christian Aid offered to stay involved for the first few years, to help the new organisation find its feet. Now there is no doubt that SMARTD
Left and above: Here’s one she made earlier – Letsabisa shows how she harvests the aloe gel from the aloe leaf. Below: Mixed with soap, milk and egg white, it is turned into face cream is thriving. As the local communities have become more and more confident about suggesting ideas and driving them forward, the project’s range of activities and training schemes have multiplied. As well as producing the new beauty and medical products they are making sausages, growing fruit and preserving foods (in jams, pickles and chutneys), These activities run alongside training in more traditional farming skills and environmental protection techniques. But despite the packed shelves and flourishing fields, SMARTD director Palo Mochafo feels that the main change here has been psychological. In the early days, the situation was dire: ‘People had lost hope and saw themselves as losers,’ explains Palo. ‘It has taken time to make the psychological shift…There has been a lot of change as people begin to be proud of themselves and proud of their activities.’ Letsabisa’s journey illustrates the progress people here have made. In 2000 a severe food crisis left her dependent on SMARTD for emergency aid. After
seven years of support, encouragement and training, Letsabisa now works for SMARTD herself, teaching others the skills she’s learnt. ‘Christian Aid has supported [us] for a long time,’ explains Letsabisa’s colleague Paul Lebofe, ‘It has been like a bird in the nest, where the young are growing and feed little by little until they are strong. At some stage the young will have to leave the nest, to make it in the world on its own… Christian Aid has fed us, little by little. We are now strong, and it is time to see if we can fly.’
Christian Aid in Lesotho
Christian Aid has worked in Lesotho for 20 years. The main focus of our work has been this project in Ha Sekake. We also recently supported a three-year resettlement project nearby, helping families who were forced from their homes to make way for a large-scale dam. We have now sent our final grants to both these partners. We will keep a close eye on developments in Ha Sekake, ready to step in if there is an emergency. Meanwhile, our regional partner, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, will continue to deliver HIV work in Lesotho.
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Do theing right th
Switch to Ecotricity, help the planet and raise cash for Christian Aid CHRISTIAN AID has teamed up with Ecotricity to encourage more people to switch to renewable energy. Dedicated to changing the way electricity is made, Ecotricity builds new wind turbines to harness wind energy that doesn’t pollute the environment. The company invests more money per customer in building new sources of renewable energy than all the other UK suppliers put together. Ecotricity promises to match the standard price of each regional supplier so you don’t pay a premium for switching. And it has agreed to give Christian Aid £15 for every supporter who switches at home, and £40-£100 for every business that switches (including schools and churches). Switching is easy and it’s the biggest single step you can take – whether at home, at work or at church – to help fight climate change and protect the environment. Businesses, schools and churches should call 0800 0326 100, quoting Christian Aid. To switch at home visit www.ecotricity.co.uk/ christianaid NB Ecotricity is only available in mainland UK.
Kate Wills, Christian Aid’s PR manager outlines some of the steps we are taking to reduce our carbon emissions CHRISTIAN AID has become one of the first international development charities to publish its carbon footprint. We published our footprint on the Christian Aid website at the end of January. It is the result of an extensive review of our travel, publications and energy use. Christian Aid has been ‘greening’ its operations since early 2006. Last Christian Aid Week we announced our intention to make annual cuts in carbon emissions of at least three per cent. We have now raised this target to five per cent in light of growing scientific research that shows the earth is warming faster. Energy use across Christian Aid’s UK and Ireland offices is
responsible for 8.2 per cent of our footprint and Christian Aid has already made a significant commitment to cutting these emissions. We have switched electricity providers for our main UK offices in London, and now use 100 per cent renewable wind-power electricity from Ecotricity. We aim to extend this contract to all our leased offices where we have control over the supplier and to work with landlords where we do not. Other measures include using green print companies, and educating staff about carbon-cutting measures in the home and office. We have fitted water-saving devices in the toilets, power-saving motion sensors on the lights,
turned the heating down and keep it on for less time. As one of the UK’s largest international development charities, working in 50 countries, it is unsurprising that nearly 33 per cent of our carbon footprint is due to air travel emissions. Air travel is important in Christian Aid: it is essential to enable us to visit and support our partner organisations and is vital in discharging our responsibility to monitor and assure the quality of our programmes and the effective use of donor funds. This is even more critical following humanitarian disasters. However we have agreed a new travel policy that will reduce the number of trips
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Christian Aid has teamed up with Cartridges4Causes, an online printer cartridge shop, to bring you a wide range of ink and toner cartridges at great prices. For each cartridge you buy, Christian Aid will receive up to £1 to help fund our work. For information and to order your cartridges, visit www.cartridges4causes.co.uk/christianaid
staff take through greater use of tele-, skype- and videoconferencing and by moving some operations overseas. And while Christian Aid does not believe carbon offsetting is a strategic option for carbon management, we recognise the need to offset essential emissions to the accredited gold standard system. Almost 55 per cent of Christian Aid’s footprint came from indirect emissions linked to the energy used in the production and distribution of paper-based publications, including campaign flyers and briefing papers for lobbying. Many of these publications help to keep our 350,000 or so active supporters across the UK updated on our work. However we are confident we can make significant cuts in this area, including more use of recycled paper, and will be cutting the number of printed materials, increasingly moving publications onto the web. Finally, we are working with our partners overseas to make work as sustainable and low-carbon as possible, although early research suggests that emissions are modest and appropriate to the developmental needs of resource-poor communities. Dom Brain, who heads up Christian Aid’s poverty and environment action team is excited about the progress: ‘Measuring our carbon footprint has been critical in understanding our environmental impact. It has been a catalyst in changing the simple things like turning computers off when not in use, and has also challenged managers and staff to deal with the really big issues of air travel and paper use. This has focused our efforts to make improvements and meet our reduction targets.’
Carbon footprint at a glance
Greenhouse gas emissions from Christian Aid’s global operations for 05/06 were equivalent to 3,997 metric tonnes (MT) of CO2 equivalent. The carbon footprint was calculated using the DEFRA 2006 guidelines* and has been assured by leading UK/Global assurance firm SGS. Christain Aid Carbon Dioxide Emissions by source 2005/6 MTCO2e Summary Emissions MT CO2e % of total Direct Energy (gas, oil) 101 2.5% Vehicle use 167 4.2% Indirect Grid electricity 227 5.7% Air travel 1,307 32.7% Rail 4 0.1% Paper 2,191 54.8% Total 3,997 100.0%
Paper Air Travel
Christian Aid Direct and Indirect Emissions by source 2005/6 MTCO2e Summary CO2e MT CO2e % of total Direct (gas, oil, vehicles) 268 6.7% Indirect (grid electricity, air travel, rail, paper) 3,729 93.3% Total 3,997 100.0%
*DEFRA Environmental Key Performance Indicators – Reporting Guidelines for UK Business (2006) www.defra.gov.uk/environment/business/envrp/envkpi-guidelines.pdf
WIN TWO GREAT ECO BOOKS! The Atlas of Climate Change WITH MORE than 50 full-colour maps and graphics, The Atlas of Climate Change by Kristin Dow and Thomas E Downing examines the drivers of climate change and the possible impacts on vulnerable livelihoods, water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity, health, coastal megacities and cultural treasures. The Atlas of Climate Change is published by Earthscan (RRP £12.99). Order it online for £11.69 at www.earthscan.co.uk We have three copies to give away to Christian Aid News readers. To enter the draw, simply answer this question: On what date will Christian Aid’s Cut the Carbon march start?
Change the World 9 to 5
CHANGE THE World 9 to 5 suggests 50 simple everyday actions that we
can all do during our working day to change the world. Eco-friendly actions in the book include: ■ finding out where your lunch has come from ■ challenging your business about its ‘lights-on-at-night policy’ ■ calculating your carbon footprint and shutting down your computer properly. We have five copies to give away to Christian Aid News readers. To enter the draw, simply answer this question: Who sang the famous song 9 to 5 and starred in the film of the same name?
Write your answers to either or both competitions on the back of a (recycled!) postcard or envelope, marking it Atlas or 9 to 5 competition (or both) to: Book competition, Karen Hedges, Christian Aid media team, 35 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RL. Closing date for all entries is 14 April. The winners will be the first entries in each category drawn after the closing date. Christian Aid News
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Inspired? Enraged? Send your views to the editor. Christian Aid News, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT or email firstname.lastname@example.org Enquiries or requests for information should be sent to Supporter Relations at the address on page 3
A place to think
Thank you for your letters and emails – we welcome all your views. This issue: your thoughts on a debt we owe the developing world, the persecution of Christians, a response to Gordon Brown’s Opinion piece in Issue 34, and a contribution to the debate on population growth.
A debt we owe On the subject of debt and poverty, surely, we, on behalf of our forefathers (if we are of western European descent and are comfortably off) owe a huge debt to the third world. Did not our forebears empire-build largely with greed and oppression, entering other lands without permission, taking possession of the land, the resources and the indigenous people themselves through slavery, unlawful killing and oppression? It falls to our generation to repay the debt we owe to them. We should put paid to the idea that we are being kind to underdeveloped countries and needy people. We owe them. Perhaps we should ask the Lord to open the hands and hearts of very wealthy people as well as to convert governments. Mrs P Critchett Swanage, Dorset
Population growth I applaud Neil Hancox (Input, Issue 34). The demands of over-population underlie all environmental degradation, resource depletion, climate change and, thus, poverty. It is ‘non-PC’ to mention it. But PC is the antithesis of Christianity. Economists calculate that we need 2.5 extra Earths for the current population to enjoy
‘Western’ standards of living. Demographics show that 62 per cent of this population is less than 20 years old – in other words, they are coming into prime reproductive age. This will result in an even greater demand on the planet’s resources which, in turn, will degrade the environment as we strive to meet it. Thus the world’s population needs to be drastically and urgently cut by some 60 per cent. Mother Nature can do this cruelly through famine and disease. Christian Aid could help achieve it with education and birth control, giving women power over their fecundity. We have a choice – but only for very few years. Humane action is preferable. Tony Utting Chepstow, Monmouthshire
Bounty mutiny Surely it is not Christian to think that the Lord does not provide for all of his creation. Corruption, greed, abuse of power and sloth are just some of the reasons why there are food mountains in some parts of the world, while others do not even have clean water. He who loves us enough to send his son to die for us provides for all our needs but mankind does not distribute God’s bounty fairly. Charles E Brolly Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Aid for the Karen In response to Peter Sagar’s letter (Input, issue 34) on the plight of the Karen and other refugees from Burma, while Christian Aid would question the allocation of some UK government funding in Burma it is not true to say that it does not provide aid or relief to Karen and other Burmese refugees. The Department for International Development (DFID) has supported the work of the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (through Christian Aid), which gives direct support – primarily food and shelter – to refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border – for many years. Last year DFID provided £662,443. Ray Hasan, head of programme policy and strategy, Christian Aid London
Persecution complex A report in the Open Doors Frontline magazine stated that in September 2006, a Christian revival service attended by 500 people in Aceh province in Indonesia had to be cancelled because it also drew a large crowd of irate Muslims. A pastor was arrested. Later a crowd poured petrol over the local church and set fire to it. Two pastors have had to flee as both the local police and local Muslim leaders are searching for them. Is this not the same Aceh province which received large amounts of tsunami aid – much of it from Christian sources such as Christian Aid? This is a fine way to repay our Christian generosity! While I am not suggesting that we stop Christian-based aid to such areas, perhaps we ought to seek assurances that, in return, Christians will not be subject to persecution – or that if locals do try to persecute Christians, the police or army authorities
will be vigorous in protecting them and damage will be compensated. If not, some may think twice before giving to such causes in the future. Richard Camp Telford, Shropshire Anthony Morton-King, Asian tsunami emergency manager, replies: ‘This is indeed the same Aceh province. While we regret to hear that a church was burnt and pastors had to flee, the assistance that Christian Aid provides through our local partners is given without any strings attached. Of course we would not condone such behaviour and our sympathies go to all affected by this occurrence. We cannot, however, tie our aid to the holding of any political or religious viewpoint and could not ask that Christians in Aceh be treated in a certain way in return for our assistance. Indeed, we are signatories to the Red Cross and Red Crescent code of conduct which expressly states this. What we can, and do do, is advocate locally and internationally against such occurrences, and we would not provide aid in any area where we thought that this might happen without trying to head that off beforehand.’
Upbeat Gordon Gordon Brown was right to be upbeat (Opinion, Issue 34). If not, from where will hope spring for a resolution to more difficult areas such as Darfur? Improvements in health and education can only be realistically funded where there is a political will to sustain them. Darfur represents a survival-aid-only spot, at present. Eventually, rebel warlords who abduct children as warriors and slaves will become isolated in a sea of healing. Patrick Davies Haverfordwest
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Events ■ 11 March-3 April ‘every time I see the sea...’ – life after the tsunami The multimedia exhibition about rebuilding Sri Lankan communities devastated by the tsunami. 11-22 March Lancaster University Chaplaincy Centre Contact Steve Charman on 01524 594 073 28-30 March Cadeirlan Llanelwy, St Asaph Cathedral 30 March-3 April Bangor Cathedral 6-11 April St Mary’s Towyn, Abergele 16 April Galeric, Caernarfon 20-22 April Capel Bach, Trawsfynydd Contact Anna Jane Evans on 01248 353574 ■ 15, 17 March Afghanistan comes to Yorkshire Discuss the climate campaign and hear from Farishta Sakhi, of the Women’s Services and Activities Association, in Afghanistan. Contact Leeds office on 0113 244 4764 15 March – 7.30-9pm West Borough Methodist Church, Scarborough 17 March – 1.45-6pm St. Columba’s URC, Leeds ■ 17 March Merseyside and Region Global Justice Issues Network, 10am Friends Meeting House, School Lane, Liverpool Discuss how our lifestyle impacts on climate change with environmental author Penny Poyzer and Tony Jupiter, of Friends of the Earth. Contact email@example.com or call 01925 241222 ■ 19 March Christian Aid in Haiti 7.30-9.30pm The Sanctuary (basement), Victoria St, Douglas, Isle of Man Hear Prospery Raymond talk about Christian Aid’s work in Haiti. Contact Phil Craine on 01624 672224 ■ 19, 20 March Act Justly with Joyce Eribu Discuss HIV with Joyce Eribu from Ugandan partner Youth with a Mission, and hear about the climate campaign. Contact Helen Harrison on 0117 950 5006 19 March – 7.30-9.30pm Woodlands Central Christian Centre, Woodlands Road, Bristol 20 March – 7-9pm St Paul’s Church, Covingham, Swindon ■ 20 March Broadening Horizons 10am-3pm St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle Workshops and talks exploring worship materials for Christian Aid this year. Contact Sarah Moon on 0191 228 0115
Best foot forward
A round-up of some of the sponsored walks and hikes being organised to raise funds for Christian Aid. ■ 21 March Stop the Traffik 7.30pm St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich Christian Aid’s international director Paul Valentin tells how to combat people trafficking. Contact Eldred Willey on 01603 620051 ■ 21 March-12 May Harvest of Hope Songs, images and stories of hope inspired by Christian Aid partners in Senegal, presented by Martin John Nicholls and guests. Contact Penny Haynes on 01202 840764 21 March – 7.30pm Christ Church, Braunton, North Devon 10 April – 7.30pm Kingsbridge Methodist Church, Devon 11 April – Village Hall, Charminster, Dorset 21 April – 7.30pm Central Methodist Church, Launceston, Cornwall 12 May – 7pm Village Hall, Halberton, Devon ■ 23 March-2 April Christian Care in Zimbabwe Meet V B Ndlovu from Christian Aid’s Zimbabwean partner Christian Care; and hear how farmers are now growing maize cobs twice their previous size. 23 March – 7.30pm, Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton, Surrey Also with Henry Olonga, the former cricketer who fled Zimbabwe in protest against the political regime. Contact Daniel Sinclair on 020 7654 5330/2 24 March – 10.30am-3.30pm, ICH, 35-41 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London SE1, Contact Daniel Sinclair, as above 29 March – 7-9.30pm, The Court House, High Street, Berkhamsted Contact the Oxford office on 01865 246 818 31 March – 7-9.30pm Wantage Methodist Church Contact the Oxford office, as above 2 April – 10am-3pm Douai Abbey, near Thatcham Contact the Oxford office, as above ■ 26-28 March Christian Aid Week Roadshow Senegalese partner Ahmadou Sow talks about his work with Union Pour La Solidarite et l’Entraide. Contact Sarah Moon on 0191 2280115 26 March – 7.30-9.30pm All Saints Church, Gosforth 27 March – 7-9pm St Chad’s, Sunderland 28 March – 7.30-9.30pm Ponteland Methodist Church
March North Staffordshire sponsored walk 9.30am Join more than 500 walkers for this annual event at Tittesworth Reservoir, near Leek. Last year’s raised £50,000. Contact John Bamford on 01782 516137
May Wilberforce Way Sponsored Walk From Hull to Pocklington to York; walk or cycle part or all of the 60-mile route. Contact John Eckersley on 01904 410389
■ 12 ■ 8-9
April Halifax Long March 11pm-10am A 26-mile sponsored night walk in Calderdale. Contact Alex Jones on 0113 244 4764
May Sponsored Walk Nr Hertford Five or 42km – it’s up to you. Contact the Oxford office on 01865 246 818
April Tay Bridge Cross 2-5.30pm Sponsored walk over the Tay Bridge, Dundee. Contact 01738 643982
May Sponsored Walk Chester to Delamere 9.30am A 13-mile trek in Cheshire. Contact the North West office on 01925 241222
May Walk on the Wild Side 9am-5pm A 17-mile walk on the Isle of Wight. Contact Jim Curtis on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01983 526574 May May Day Sponsored Trek 10am-4pm St Luke’s Church, Blackbrook Road, Sheffield Walk five, ten or 15 miles in the beautiful Peak District. Contact Nick and Angela Waterfield on 0114 233 6885
May Humber Bridge Cross 2-5pm The 25th annual sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge. Register in country park car park, Hessle. Contact Gill Dalby on 01482 504203
May Sponsored Seafront Walk Sandbanks, Poole to Southbourne, Bournemouth. Contact Joan Percy in Poole, on 01202 737659, or John Jones in Bournemouth, on 01202 521754
■ 29 March Christian Aid Teachers Day 10am-3pm Albemarle Centre, Taunton, Somerset Get updated on the new climate change campaign and try out new schools resources. Contact Helen Harrison on 0117 950 5006 ■ 24 April Christian Aid Week Speakers Training Event 2.30-5pm Thornbury Baptist Church With head of campaigns Paul Brannen. West Office Opening 6-7.30pm 57 High Street, Thornbury, Bristol With Christian Aid’s director Dr Daleep Mukarji. Followed by a supporters’ meeting at Thornbury Baptist Church, from 8pm. Contact email@example.com or call 01452 309115
May Walk the Country A sponsored walk – five, ten or 15 miles – around Henley-on-Thames. Contact the Oxford office on 01865 246 818
May Circle the City 1pm St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London Sponsored walk around the City of London from the Tower to Fleet Street in aid of water projects. Contact Daniel Sinclair on 020 7654 5330/2
■ 12 May Staxton Singers in Concert 7.30pm Westborough Methodist Church, Scarborough Contact David Bridge on 01723 362091 ■ 12, 14-18 May Book sale St Andrew’s and St George’s Church, Edinburgh The annual event which has raised more than £1.3 million in 33 years. Contact Fiona Scott on 0131 220 1254 ■ 19 May Christian Aid Rocks 7pm Wesley Hall Methodist Church, Blackburn Featuring MySpoon, Relentless Craving and Rufus Garside. Contact relentlesscraving @hotmail.co.uk Christian Aid News
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Kris kross quiz
A TIME FOR SHARING
Support Christian Aid with the gift of shares
Actor Kris Marshall treats Christian Aid News to some straight answers, actually What would you save if your house were on fire? My hair gel. And then maybe my house. What makes you cry? Not a lot... traffic wardens. Where is the most remarkable place you have ever visited? Visiting Bolivia with Christian Aid last year was quite an eye-opener, but overall I’d have to say Hong Kong. It’s an amazing melting pot of different cultures all crowded into one place. I got to know it very well because I used to live there, and once you embroil yourself in the culture, it’s astonishing. Which book or song do you most wish you’d written? Song – Lucky by Radiohead. Book – 1984 by George Orwell.
Picture: Christian Aid/Brenda Hayward
Who would you choose to be shipwrecked with? The Brazilian female beach volleyball team. And a Portuguese phrasebook.
If you ruled the world, what is the first law you’d introduce? To put rubbish bins on every street corner. The reason people chuck rubbish on the streets, especially in London, is because they can’t find a bin.
What’s made you laugh today? These questions! What’s your favourite food? Baked Alaska. Have you ever met an angel? Juan Pablo Angel, the Aston Villa striker. Does that count? Which living person inspires you most? The Dalai Lama is fantastic. I’m told he has a wicked sense of humour. Who would play you in a film of your life? I’d expect to play the part myself. I like to think I’d be perfect for the role... What was the last text message you received or sent? Received was from the person doing this interview. The last text I sent just said ‘all right’. That’s the simple answer. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done – and would you do it again? Getting up on stage for the first time. Would I do it again? I guess I’ll have to keep on doing it... What talent do you have, or think you have, which has so far been hidden from the general public? Tactlessness... I’m Olympic standard at that.
Kris Marshall is one of Britain’s most recognisable young actors. After coming to prominence on the phenomenally successful BBC1 sitcom My Family, Kris has appeared in several films including Love, Actually, Iris (co-starring Dame Judi Dench), The Merchant of Venice (co-starring Al Pacino) and the upcoming Death at a Funeral. He is currently starring with Billie Piper in the production of Christopher Hampton’s Treats at the Garrick Theatre in London.
ARE YOU ONE of the UK’s 12 million shareholders? Did you know that giving shares to charity is a great way of unlocking capital and supporting your favourite charity? A change in tax rules in April 2000 means that gifts of shares or unit trusts usually qualify for full personal income tax relief, and are also exempt from capital gains tax. In November 2006 Rosemary, a Christian Aid supporter in Hampshire, wanted to simplify her investments. She remembered that charities could accept gifts of shares and phoned Christian Aid to find out how. ‘They were really helpful and arranged for me to receive the necessary paperwork to arrange the transfer of shares. They also explained that I may be able to claim tax relief on the value of the shares I have given.’ Rosemary wanted to make the gift to Christian Aid because she has supported our partner-based approach for more than 30 years. ‘First and foremost, this was about helping Christian Aid with its work. The tax relief I get when I send in my tax return is just a nice bonus!’ Joanne Lewis explains that gifts of all sizes are welcome. ‘The mechanics of gifting are quite simple – although the method will vary between more valuable holdings, which can be transferred straight to us, and smaller holdings, where it is more efficient to make the transfer via ShareGift.’ For information on gifting shares, contact Joanne Lewis on 0207 523 2174 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Aid News
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