Page 1

Christian Aid Week: all in a good week’s work

Special report: the hidden cost of tax dodging

Climate campaign: making our next move

The pain of Burma We go inside the stricken country to see how Christian Aid is helping cyclone victims

Issue 40 p01 Cover.indd 1

Summer 2008 3/6/08 11:43:41

Get real change from your credit card A Christian Aid credit card can help to bring lasting change to those in need. When you open your account, The Co-operative Bank gives Christian Aid £15. A further £2.50 is donated when you use your card within six months, and then 25p for every £100 spent on the card.

And it doesn’t cost much to help – just two new credit-card accounts would pay for a pack with everything needed to set up a small business selling fish.

working with

18.9 % APR


0% on purchases and balance transfers*, fixed until six months after account opening.

A balance transfer fee of 3% of transfer value is applicable during promotional rate periods only (min. £5).

For an instant decision, phone

0800 002 006

quoting 67136 Or apply online at

Christian Aid/Tim Hetherington

This money can save lives. When a disaster such as the Asian tsunami strikes, people lose their livelihoods as well as their loved ones. Christian Aid funds vital new equipment, training and loans to help women such as those pictured here to restart their businesses.

The Co-operative Bank is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (No. 121885), subscribes to the Banking Code, is a member of the Financial Ombudsman Service and is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading (No. 006110). Applicants must be UK residents aged 18 years or over. *Excludes balance transfers from other credit cards issued by The Co-operative Bank. Credit facilities are provided by The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. (Registered No. 990937), Head Office, P.O. Box 101, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester M60 4EP, are subject to status. The Bank reserves the right to decline any application or offer a card product that differs from those advertised. Interest rates are correct at time of going to press 06/08. Calls may be monitored or recorded for security and training purposes. Christian Aid UK registered charity no. 1105851 Company no. 5171525 Scotland charity no. SC039150 Northern Ireland charity ref XR94639 Company no. NI059154.

CAN02 AD.indd 1

3/6/08 12:48:11


UK registered charity number 1105851; company number 5171525 Northern Ireland charity number XR94639; company number NI059154 Republic of Ireland charity number CHY 6998; company number 426928 Scotland charity number SC039150

020 7620 4444

INEVITABLY, there’s only one story to lead this edition of Christian Aid News – the appalling aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma on 2 May. We’ve all grown used to seeing harrowing images of destruction, hearing stories of death and survival, and responding to victims’ plight as appeal follows disaster around the world. What’s especially heartbreaking this time, of course, is how the natural disaster has become a man-made catastrophe as the Burmese regime tries to keeps the world and its aid at bay. But Christian Aid is there – and through our network of local partners we have been able to ensure that aid bought with your donations can reach those who need it. Read our report from inside Burma on page 10. Yet Burma is not the only story that deserves your attention in this issue of Christian Aid News. One you must read is our report on the consequences of tax dodging – how US$160 billion a year in corporate taxes is lost to the developing world, money that could be channelled to priority areas such as health and education. Our report on Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging is on pages 12-16. And then there’s Zimbabwe. Again, Christian Aid’s partners are there, picking up the pieces of the fall-out from the 29 March elections. As voters who dared oppose President Mugabe flee from violent retribution, organisations supported by Christian Aid have been providing refuge and documenting the violence. Elsewhere, our Climate changed campaign looks towards Copenhagen; two fashion icons looked at a remarkable project in Brazil; and there’s a round-up of Christian Aid Week. If you took part in a sponsored event, or Quizaid night, or knocked on doors… thank you. Your efforts are hugely appreciated. Roger Fulton, editor

Contents Summer 2008 Issue 40



■ 30 THE LAST WORD Actor Peter Egan has all the answers


Responding to disasters in Burma and FEATURES China – and the crisis in Zimbabwe… ■ 8 A GOOD WEEK’S WORK youth volunteers leave for Africa… A look back at some of the highlights ■ 17 REFLECTION of Christian Aid Week A country on a knife edge. Africa ■ 10 SURVIVORS’ STORIES specialist Judith Melby on a struggle for power – and a future – in Zimbabwe A report from inside Burma on how victims of the cyclone are coping ■ 20 CAMPAIGNS ■ 12 SPECIAL REPORT: TAX Make Copenhagen count for the world’s poor – the rallying cry goes out DODGING – THE NEW SLAVERY How corporate tax evasion is costing to our climate change campaigners the developing world a fortune in ■ 23 COMMENT lost revenue Haiti partner Raymond Pershony on ■ 18 FASHION IN THE FAVELAS how the food crisis is biting Fashionistas Pearl and Daisy Lowe ■ 24 INPUT see a triumph for style over poverty Your letters and emails ■ 22 SOUND AND VISION ■ 26 DO THE RIGHT THING Innovative projects developed to How you can use your skills to help us tackle the stigma of HIV ■ 28 EVENTS ■ 30 EVERY DROP COUNTS Where to go and what to do, plus Gardening tips: what you can learn the story of two cyclists’ courageous from farmers fighting drought efforts on behalf of Christian Aid

8 Christian Aid News is printed on 100 per cent recycled paper

ACT International

Editor’s letter




Christian Aid works with the world’s poorest people in around 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 Children in a village where around 100 people, a quarter of the population, were killed by Cyclone Nargis. Photo: Alayung Thaksin/Panos ■ Pictures Brenda Hayward ■ Sub-editors Lucy Southwood and Sophy Kershaw ■ Circulation Ben Hayward ■ Design & production Bonnie Coupland/Circle Publishing, 020 8332 2709 ■ Christian Aid head office 35 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RL ■ Tel 020 7620 4444 ■ Fax 020 7620 0719 ■ Email ■ Stay in touch with us online News, campaigns and resources ■ Christian and ethical internet service provider ■ Children and schools ■ Our campaigning and student website

Christian Aid News

p03 Contents.indd 3


3/6/08 11:45:25

news christian aid

Dealing with disasters in Burma and China ■ Coping with political

CHRISTIAN AID and its partners in Burma responded swiftly to the devastating Cyclone Nargis that struck the Irrawaddy delta and the Rangoon area in May. As Christian Aid News went to press, the official death toll stood at more than 77,500, with tens of thousands more still missing, but British officials fear that as many as 200,000 may have lost their lives. UN reports estimate that up to two million people are at risk of hunger and starvation. Hundreds of thousands are homeless and without clean water, food, shelter, sanitation and medicine. Within hours of the cyclone striking, local partners – who cannot be named due to ongoing security concerns arising from the sensitive political situation there – had begun relief operations, distributing blankets, medicines and water-purification tablets to those most in need. ‘By working with local partner organisations, Christian Aid was able to support relief efforts almost immediately,’ says Ray Hasan, head of programme policy and strategy for Asia. ‘We were not as constrained by the Burmese regime’s ban on allowing humanitarian aid workers into the country.’ These partners, many of whom have


Christian Aid News

p04-05 News.indd 2

themselves lost family and friends in the disaster, have shown incredible strength and commitment in the wake of this disaster. One worker with a Christian Aid partner organisation explained: ‘Recently, I was in an aid truck delivering supplies to the delta area. We drove past thousands of people lining the road who were begging for food. It was most upsetting – we could not stop as we had to deliver our supplies to the most remote areas. That makes us all feel terrible and we want to do much more.’ Ensuring that international agencies and staff have unrestricted access to cycloneaffected areas remains a priority. ‘The local aid workers have not stopped working in three weeks. It is very hard on them as they feel that all the responsibility is on their shoulders,’ said a Christian Aid spokesman. As well as participating in a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, which has so far raised around £10 million, Christian Aid launched its own emergency appeal for £2 million. This has helped partners to: ● carry out rescue missions in the delta ● set up around 60 relief camps in schools, churches, temples and office compounds ● set up childcare centres and recruit carers and teachers for orphans

ACT International

Partners get aid to Burma cyclone victims ● distribute rice, baby blankets, mosquito nets, mats, clothing and footwear ● provide plastic sheeting for shelter and rainwater harvesting systems ● distribute medicines and treat survivors in the camps ● send medical teams to the worst-hit areas and help to restock hospitals ● fund six vets to vaccinate livestock. Their relief effort aims to reach around 200,000 people. Survivors face a fight for the future – see page 10

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE After immediate life-saving and rebuilding needs have been met, part of the money our Burma appeal raises will be spent on disaster risk-reduction projects to help communities become more resilient to natural disasters in the future. In neighbouring Bangladesh, following improved risk-reduction measures across the country, just over 3,000 people lost their lives in Cyclone Sidr in November compared to 138,000 in the similarly severe cyclone of 1991. When it was first thought Cyclone Nargis would strike Bangladesh, partner organisations there were able to evacuate at-risk communities.

To make a donation to Christian Aid’s Burma appeal go to

3/6/08 11:52:51


violence in Zimbabwe

Struggle for hope in Zimbabwe

AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Hukwazhi

ACT International

AS POLITICALLY motivated violence continues to sweep rural areas in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the 27 June election run-off between president Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Christian Aid staff and partners are working to help victims of the deteriorating situation. Member churches of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) have been helping people fleeing the violence, providing refuge as well as essentials such as food and blankets. The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is documenting cases of violence by suspected army personnel, police and so-called war veterans, and has published a list on its website www.chra. So far more than 130 instances have been logged in detail in Harare alone. Our

Above: a woman stands outside the remains of her home, destroyed in a wave of violence

partners report that no community-based organisation in Zimbabwe has gone unaffected, and the threat of violent recrimination is such that movement is heavily restricted. Neither Christian Aid nor partner staff are able to enter the rural areas, having been given unofficial warnings by ruling party representatives to remain in the cities. One partner who works mainly with orphans and children affected by HIV has been forced to withdraw its staff completely from its rural bases. Another partner, on seeking official permission from rural district councils to continue its activities, was told that these could continue on condition that no community meetings would be held. ‘This makes working difficult,’ says a spokesman, ‘and it robs the project of bottom-up decision-making processes.’ But there are other worrying consequences of the limitations on partners. ZimPro is one of several organisations who work with farming communities on improved techniques in areas prone to drought. For them, now is the vital time to carry out assessments following the last harvest in order to plan support over the coming expected long stretch of dry weather. It is during these months that there is the greatest risk of food running dangerously short.

CHINA CRISIS LESS THAN two weeks after Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma’s Irrawaddy delta region, neighbouring China was hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that destroyed an estimated five million homes and left more than 55,000 people dead. Christian Aid has made a grant of US$50,000 to help ACT partner Amity Foundation respond to the China earthquake through the ACT China Earthquake appeal. Supporters can donate to this through the general emergencies fund. Amity is focusing on supporting families in Gansu, Sha’anxi and Sichuan who live in the worst affected communities. They are providing 8,000 blankets to some of the poorest families and 8,000 plastic sheets to families who have been made homeless. Food is being provided to 16,000 of the most vulnerable in areas facing food shortages. ‘They have provided us with clean drinking water, some biscuits, instant noodles, necessary medicine and other items,’ said one woman living in Mianzhu county, where 5,000 people who survived the earthquake have been living in a stadium. Amity has also dispatched a team of voluntary counsellors to provide emotional support. Once the immediate needs have been met, Amity will assist in rebuilding houses, schools and hospitals or clinics that were destroyed or severely damaged, and rehabilitating five drinking-water or irrigation systems.

Snapshots of some of the work and issues facing organisations supported by Christian Aid SOUTH AFRICA The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has expressed shock and sadness over the violence directed at foreigners living in the Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg. Churches and church leaders are providing humanitarian relief and working closely with civil society and government. Mobs of South Africans roamed through the townships looking for foreigners, many of whom sought refuge in churches, community halls and police stations. Eddie Makue, SACC general secretary, says: ‘As people of faith, we strongly condemn violence and intimidation, particularly as it is against uprooted people.’ COLOMBIA May 16 marked ten years since a horrific massacre in Barrancabermeja, when heavily armed paramilitaries went through a community killing seven people and taking off another 25 at gunpoint. These people have never been seen again. Human-rights organisation Credhos is campaigning – in the face of continuing death threats – for those who ordered the killings to answer for their crimes. HONDURAS Twelve-year-old Keren Dunaway, from Fundación Llaves, will be opening the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico in August alongside the President of Mexico. Honduras has the highest HIV rate in central America, and Keren edits a magazine for children infected and affected by the virus. Her parents, Rosa and Allan Dunaway, the founders of Fundación Llaves, were the first couple in Honduras to acknowledge publicly that they were living with HIV. ANGOLA Human-rights groups, including Christian Aid partners, are being targeted and harassed as the Angolan government cracks down on dissent in the run-up to September elections. It has already told the UN’s human-rights office there to close. In advance of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Angola in May, Christian Aid and other agencies asked him to urge Angola’s leaders to respect their citizens’ rights. To take action on human rights in Angola, go to Christian Aid News

p04-05 News.indd 3


3/6/08 11:53:09

Volunteers head for Africa ■ Sculptor bishop heads for UK ■ news christian aid

Young volunteers now boarding on Platform2 THE FIRST group of 18- to 25-year-olds have embarked on an innovative new volunteering scheme with Christian Aid. The Platform2 programme aims to raise awareness of global development and voluntary work among young British adults who would not normally be able to afford to volunteer overseas. Organised by Christian Aid, British Universities North America Club and Islamic Relief, the three-year scheme, funded by the Department for International Development, will allow 2,500 participants to experience the realities of overseas development work in countries including Ghana, South Africa, Peru, India and Malawi. During their ten-week placement, volunteers live and work alongside communities on a range of projects including conservation and income

generation for local communities and health and sanitation training in schools. On their return to the UK participants will attend a residential workshop where they will design activity plans to share their experiences and raise awareness of development issues within their own communities. Mark Vyner, Platform2 project manager, said: ‘These young adults will have an experience which will transform their lives. They will learn new skills and unlock their potential to be better global citizens.’ The first two groups are heading for Africa – eight to Ghana and ten to South Africa. In Ghana they will visit the Afadjato Agumatasa project, a five-hour drive from the capital Accra. They will work to conserve the natural resources at Mount Afadjato, help create alternative income-generation schemes for the local population, including

encouraging eco-tourism, and manage the sustainable use of the conservation area. Ghana-bound Daniel Stone, 18, from Handsworth in Birmingham, says: ‘All year I have been looking for an opportunity to volunteer abroad, but have been astonished by the cost. Platform2 renewed my hope. At the moment I feel that my view of the world is so narrow and that there is so much for me to learn and experience.’ The South Africa group will stay at the False Bay Ecology Park and Environmental Centre located next to Rondevlei Nature Reserve, 40 kms from Cape Town. The volunteers will help make the park one of the country’s leading conservation, environmental education, recreation, and ecotourism centres in the country. For more information on Platform2, or to apply, visit

MORE THAN 800 bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion will gather in Canterbury this July, for the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The conference takes place once every ten years, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. With Anglican church partners attending from across the world, many of Christian Aid’s key institutional partners will be present at this unique opportunity to engage with the Anglican leadership. For Bishop Hilary of Malakal, from Christian Aid partner the Episcopal Church in Sudan, the conference is more than a meeting of minds for worship and learning – it is a chance to showcase some remarkable works of art. In October 2007, with support from Christian Aid and Lambeth Palace, Bishop Hilary held southern Sudan’s first art exhibition since the civil war – which ended in 2005, having claimed two million lives. The travelling version of The Art of Reconciliation – featuring work by local artists and schoolchildren – is coming to the Lambeth Conference, one of several stops on a UK summer cathedral tour. See for tour dates. As well as showcasing the reconciliation art, Christian Aid will use the conference as a platform to engage with the Anglican leadership on HIV. Church responses to HIV vary greatly. All over the world, people living with HIV continue to be abandoned by friends and family, sacked from their jobs, hounded from their homes – and rejected by their church. Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha (see


Christian Aid/Caroline Wood


story, page 22) will help delegates consider the role church leaders could play in tackling stigma and discrimination. Christian Aid staff and partners from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Haiti, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso will also be sharing learning at the XVII International Aids Conference in Mexico City this August.

Above: Bishop Hilary will bring this sculpture to Lambeth

Christian Aid News

p06-07 News.indd 2

3/6/08 11:54:07


Africa heads for Royal Show ■ You can head for the world



Christian Aid/Matthew Gonzalez-Noda

Below: Minister for International Development Shahid Malik meets the first group of volunteers at the House of Commons

HAVE YOU ever wished that you could see the work of Christian Aid’s partner organisations for yourself? Well, now you have the chance. Christian Aid has teamed up with Saddle Skedaddle (an award-winning ethical tourism company) to offer you the chance to visit our partners in India, Bangladesh, Malawi and Nicaragua – with more destinations in the pipeline. We’re currently taking bookings for our 9-22 November trip to northern India. The two-week visit costs £1,335 (excluding flights). As part of a small group of eight to 12 people, you will have the opportunity to explore the culture, scenery and sites of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and to visit inspirational projects supported by Christian Aid. ‘Visiting Christian Aid partners in the developing world and seeing their work is a powerful experience,’ says Matthew Reed, associate director of marketing and supporter care. ‘We are delighted to now give more people the opportunity to do this, while being sensitive to the needs of our partners and the communities in which they work.’ Ten years after a supporter tour to Mali, Anne Parker from Leeds is still energised. She says: ‘It had a lasting impact. I realised that being a suppporter is a long-term commitment.’ Destinations for 2008/09 include India, Bangladesh, Malawi and Nicaragua. For further information call Lizzie White on 0191 265 1110 or email

BLUR OF ACTIVITY ALEX JAMES, farmer, writer, broadcaster and former member of rock band Blur, is helping Christian Aid to highlight the plight of farmers coping with climate change in developing countries, at the Royal Show in Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire this July. We are recreating a small piece of Burkina Faso, west Africa, in the flowers, gardening and horticulture area, which will showcase how farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are adapting to the effects of an increasingly unpredictable climate. The garden will demonstrate simple soil and water-conservation techniques that Christian Aid partners are teaching farmers to help combat the twin threats of drought and floods. It will also highlight the use of natural fertilisers,

bio-pesticides and planting techniques that help farmers grow more crops to feed their families. And the garden will show how Christian Aid is working with remote communities – which until now have had no access to electricity – to harness new solar technologies. Alex, who travelled to Burkina Faso with Christian Aid to visit the projects, says: ‘As a working farmer, I am fascinated to see how agriculture there compares with the UK. It’s been rewarding to exchange ideas and techniques and to learn how farmers there are dealing with the challenges presented by climate change. I look forward to sharing this with Royal Show visitors.’ Christian Aid is using the garden to highlight its Climate changed campaign and raise vital funds for climate-related projects across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Tickets for the Royal Show, which takes place from 3-6 July, are available at uk/climate – ten per cent of the cover price will go to Christian Aid when booked through our website.

‘The generals who rule Burma know full well the contempt with which they are regarded in the West and view its aid workers, especially from the former coloniser, Britain, as a Trojan Horse that could further undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of their own people.’ Lord Malloch-Brown, foreign office minister, on why an aid operation fronted by southeast Asian nations stands a better chance of delivering aid ‘It is possible that in the next two or three years prices will come down a bit from the peaks we’ve seen – but not to where they were before.’ Sir John Holmes, UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, acknowledging that high food prices are here to stay ‘Like biofuels and micro wind turbines, carbon capture and storage turns out to be another great green scam. It will come too late to prevent runaway climate change; the government has no intention of enforcing it; and anyway, the technique is likely to boost our carbon emissions.’ Green campaigner George Monbiot, writing on the Guardian website ‘Christian Aid and similar agencies stand for a different set of values. Staff do not enrich themselves. Many volunteers offer their time and money freely – they give, and don’t take. They believe in reducing, not maintaining, inequality. They are an antidote to social evils.’ Glasgow Herald columnist Bob Holman commends Christian Aid for its role in exposing tax dodging

THE THINGS WE SAY ‘Only if you have worked on the moon, will you know what it is like to work in Burma. It is a totally different context here. It is very difficult as the country has been so isolated for so long.’ A partner in Burma on the logistical problems after Cyclone Nargis

THE THINGS YOU SAY ‘Christian Aid has a reputation as a serious development agency – yet this scheme sounds flighty, opportunistic and with no relation to your normal long-term work.’ Reader Kathy Owston comments on the Platform2 scheme, Input, see page 24

Christian Aid News

p06-07 News.indd 3


3/6/08 11:54:24

Photos, clockwise from below left: Courtesy Lancaster Guardian, Christian Aid/Elaine Duigenan, Nell Freeman, Dan Oxtoby, Nell Freeman, Matthew Gonzalez-Noda, Nell Freeman

What a week that was!


THEY DANCED, they walked, they rode and they knocked on thousands of doors – more than 325,000 volunteers pulled out all the stops to make Christian Aid Week 2008 a huge success. And this year’s event saw the introduction of a great new fundraising idea – Quizaid, in which we asked supporters to host a quiz night in their town on Friday 16 May. Your response was fantastic, and we sent out more than 12,000 free Quizaid question packs. Up and down the country quizzers were exercising their brains in a great cause. Even comedienne

Sue Perkins got her grey cells ticking, by taking part in her local event in St Brides’ in Fleet. Christian Aid is hoping to raise more than £125,000 from all the Quizaid events that have taken place throughout the UK, and lots of you are pledging to join in again next year. Thanking all those who took part, Amanda Borg, Quizaid event manager, said: ‘I was thrilled to see how many of our supporters responded to our idea of holding a good old-fashioned quiz night.’ Email your Quizaid stories and pictures to events@christian-aid. org – and don’t forget to bank all your money before 21 July to be in with a chance to win a Divine luxury fair-trade chocolate hamper. There were too many great events to mention them all, but here are a few highlights. ● Dancers from Newcastle, Darlington, Sheffield, Wigan, Ilkley, and Leeds performed 1920s Lindy Hop swing dance routines for passing travellers at Leeds railway

Left: enjoying Quizaid Below: a Bangladeshi rickshaw on a bike ride in Morecambe

station, raising more than £600 for Christian Aid Week in the process. ● More than 70 walkers – and quite a number of their dogs – strolled up to 17 miles in the 2008 Walk on the Wild Side around the Isle of Wight, raising around £100 on the day. ● The Yorkshire villages of Haxby and Wigginton hosted a Scarecrow festival featuring around 100 scarecrows, and raised more than £1,000. ● Children from Melton Mowbray primary schools showcased their artistic talents with an exhibition on water use. ● In Harrogate a group of young people dressed as superheroes took to the city-centre streets to raise funds and awareness. ● In Darlington, green-fingered supporters proved that anything Chelsea can do they can do too, with a weekend flower festival. ● In Cardiff folk singer Gwyneth Glyn and electro-pop band Clinigol (Clinical) were among a number of leading music acts playing in a concert at Clwb Ifor Bach. And an open-air service attracted 200 people at Glyn y Groes Abbey in

Christian Aid News

p08-09 News.indd 2

3/6/08 11:55:10

can: christian aid week

Llangollen, North Wales. ● In Stranraer, local women modelled clothes from the Whispers collection at the North West Castle Hotel, with volunteers from all the Stranraer churches contributing to the event. ● The new leadership team of Aboyne Church organised a soup and bread lunch for 100, raising £250, while the three churches in Alyth, St. Luan’s, St. Ninian’s and the parish church hosted an afternoon tea that raised £300. ● In Lhanbryd representatives of the SNP and the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party went head to head in a baking contest. An innovative idea in Banchory saw children singing in retirement homes while Keith (North) Town Hall staged a Stars in their Eyes contest. ● The famous St Andrew’s and St George’s Book Sale in Edinburgh was this year opened by author A L Kennedy, while down the road in Morningside the United Reform Church Book Sale received Michel Chancy from Christian Aid partner organisation Veterimed as he was touring the country.

● Director of Christian Aid Daleep Mukarji even did his bit, joining supporters in Annandale to pack bags at local supermarkets. Paul Langley, head of community division and websites, paid tribute to the efforts of all those who took part in this year’s event: ‘If you went house to house collecting or put on a fundraising event in your community – you have a made a huge difference this Christian Aid Week. Early indications show that your passion and hard work have combined to produce amazing results that will make a huge difference to some of the poorest communities. Thank you.’

Left: Big Heat swing dance at St John’s in Waterloo Above: a global birthday party at Nunsmoor Play Centre, Newcastle Right and below left: a family fun day at St John’s Below right: an ethical expo in Bristol

Christian Aid News

p08-09 News.indd 3


3/6/08 11:55:27

Now Burma’s survivors face a fight for the future

Photos: Reuters, courtesy of Alayung Thaksin/Panos

In defiance of an official media ban, one of Christian Aid’s writers travelled to Burma undercover to report on the desperate plight of the victims of Cyclone Nargis


WHEN CYCLONE Nargis struck Burma on 2 May, Lin Sein was at home with his wife and three children. As a huge storm surge of 15-20ft waves ripped through their village, it literally swept their house from around them. The family fled to the local church, but that, too, collapsed in the intense storm, killing Lin Sein’s wife and two of his sons. Lin Sein managed to escape, clutching his terrified four-yearold son. But as the wreckage of buildings swirled about them, Lin Sein was struck by a plank of wood. He lost hold of his son and was unable to save him. ‘He was immediately lost in the water,’ says Lin. ‘I never saw him again.’ Lin Sein, 28, is from a village

in Laputta, one of the areas of the Irrawaddy delta worst hit by May’s cyclone. He is among a group of survivors who left their village because they ran out of food and water and are now being cared for by a Christian Aid partner organisation. They have shelter, clean water and enough food – unlike many of the 2.5 million affected. The United Nations has estimated that around 75 per cent of survivors have not yet received the help they urgently need, partly because the Burmese regime has only allowed a trickle of international aid into the country but also because the stricken areas are so remote – sometimes the only way to reach

Above: a woman prepares food for her family outside a makeshift shelter

them is by a long boat journey. But aid has got through to many places and Christian Aid local partners, who have been working round the clock, have managed to reach 200,000 people with food, clean water, shelter, medicines and other essential items. Partners have also set up kindergartens for children in the relief camps and have sent counsellors to the delta area to help the huge numbers of people who have been left traumatised. Partners say they are not yet seeing widespread outbreaks of disease, but the longer people are without clean drinking water, the bigger the risk. Lin Sein had left his village because survivors were getting ill from drinking

Christian Aid News

p10-11 Burma.indd 2

3/6/08 11:56:32

dirty water and had run out of the small amount of rice they were able to salvage after the storm. Half of the 700 people who lived in his village have died or disappeared. Of the ten children in his group, two are orphans and seven have lost one parent. ‘There is only one child with us who has not lost one or both parents,’ he said. ‘These children are traumatised. In some cases they saw their parents swept away in front of their eyes. Some cannot talk about what happened yet. But it is not just the children who are suffering. The eight families here have lost 12 children between them.’ Myo Lin, also from Laputta, lost his daughter. He clung on to a tree in the dark for eight hours. When dawn broke only his son was still alive – his wife and nine-year-old daughter had been swept away. ‘They must have been swept away by the force of the water, but I will never know. We have lost them, we are on our own now. There is no one left in the village now, no one can live there. There is no food, no water, the smell of the bodies in the

water is terrible. We had to leave,’ Myo Lin said. Another survivor said: ‘Our house collapsed and everything and everyone was washed away. We were swimming in huge waves of water. I was only saved because a boat came past me and I managed to grab it. Sixty people managed to grab on and that was the only way we were saved. We sat on that boat in the dark and wind and rain for seven hours.’ Another woman said she had lost 18 members of her extended family, including her aunt, cousins, nieces and nephews. ‘The waves were huge and came again and again,’ she said. ‘You can’t imagine what it was like in the total blackness in water and some people could not swim. Those that could were holding children up out of the water to try to save them. But the water was strong and we were exhausted. We could hardly save ourselves. ‘After the water level dropped ten hours later, we tried to find our relatives. We only found seven bodies out of the 18, the rest were washed away. We had no idea what was going to

Top: survivors at a relief centre Above: a boy carries a bag of rice salvaged from his village’s wrecked storage barn

happen to us or if we would survive. After a few days we had run out of food and no one was coming to help us so we managed to get away by boat.’ She said they could not imagine ever going back to their village. ‘How can we go back? Our homes are gone, all our cattle and rice stocks are gone. And we have to live with the memories of what happened and who we have lost.’ To donate to Christian Aid’s Burma appeal, go to uk/emergencies Christian Aid News

p10-11 Burma.indd 3

Names have been changed for security reasons


can: cover story


3/6/08 11:56:44

Christian Aid/Judy Rogers

Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging

TAX DODGING: THE NEW SLAVERY A new report published by Christian Aid exposes the scandal of a global taxation system that allows the world’s richest to duck their responsibilities while condemning the poorest to stunted development, even premature death. The report’s leading author, campaigns editor Andrew Hogg, explains how it works CHRISTIAN AID has a long history of supporting the interests of poor and vulnerable communities around the world against the rich, powerful and greedy. Following publication of our new report, Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging, the battle has reached a new pitch. Global trade is riven with tax evasion according to a growing body of academic research. Countries rich and poor suffer, but the impact of lost tax


revenues in the developing world is far greater. Christian Aid has examined the figures and reached a damning conclusion. The amount of money lost to poor countries – which we believe is at least US$160 billion a year – could save the lives of almost 1,000 children under the age of five every day. It’s part of a global process by which the wealth of the developing world is being steadily shifted to the world’s

Above: Antigua is one of the Caribbean’s many tax havens

richest countries. ‘The abuse is so widespread and damaging that it is tantamount to a new slavery,’ says Dr Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid. With debate increasingly focusing on the progress – or more often the lack of it – towards the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve world poverty by 2015, Christian Aid has concluded that the necessary money to realise this lofty vision is already available – if only those who owe it would pay up. The culprits are transnational corporations (TNCs) and other big businesses, which manipulate their accounts to lower their tax liability. There are two main ways they do this. The first involves one part of a TNC selling or transferring goods and services

Christian Aid News

p12-16 Tax.indd 2

3/6/08 11:59:15

Christian Aid/Judy Rogers

Any questions?

We have built and expanded an entire integrated global financial structure, the basic purpose of which is to shift money from poor to rich

to another part of the same TNC at a false price to reduce profits, on paper at least, and reduce the tax that is due. The scope for this is enormous – some 60 per cent of all global trade involves internal transactions by TNCs. The second involves business accomplices in unrelated companies using false invoices to lower tax. A shipment of diamonds intended for jewellery might, for instance, be disguised as industrial stones to reduce its value. An informal agreement between vendor and purchaser ensures that the true price is paid out of sight of the taxman. Aiding and abetting both forms of evasion are the world’s 70-plus tax havens where money, the identity of its owners and details of the transactions in which they are engaged are hidden offshore. Britain has a particular responsibility in this, as no fewer than 30 tax havens are in Commonwealth countries, Crown Dependencies or UK overseas territories. The International Monetary Fund recently identified the UK itself as a tax haven. Ireland, meanwhile, has in recent years become a country that facilitates tax-dodging. Raymond Baker, a respected authority on money Iaundering, says: ‘For the first time in the 200-year run of the free-market system, we have built and expanded an entire integrated global financial structure, the basic purpose of which is to shift money from poor to rich.’ And indeed, Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging does not confine itself to tax evasion. It also examines the apparently perfectly legitimate tax breaks that big companies – particularly in the oil and mining industries – are able to obtain from governments in the developing world. We warn that sometimes these tax breaks are obtained by bribing politicians and officials in the countries in question. In other cases, they are the result of the World Bank and other major institutions insisting that poor countries settle for a ridiculously

Q Why has Christian Aid engaged with the world of high finance? What does it have to do with helping poor people in developing countries? A The issue of tax is central to developing countries having the resources to tackle poverty. Tax, not aid, is the most sustainable source of finance for development, promoting accountability and allowing governments to generate revenue from their own economic activity to invest in their own infrastructure, healthcare and education. We have campaigned on the issue of trade since 2001 because we believe that donor aid conditions and Europe’s proposed Economic Partnership Agreements limit the ability of developing countries to address poverty; we believe that depriving them of their rightful tax revenues does the same. Q How have you arrived at the figure of US$160 billion? A A number of academics have examined the abuse of global trade. Two in particular are worth mentioning. Raymond Baker, a senior fellow at the US Center for International Policy and guest scholar at Washington DC’s Brookings Institution, says that seven per cent of global trade involves trade-related false accounting to evade tax. And Professor Simon Pak of Pennsylvania State University has noted figures as high as ten per cent for some countries. Q Surely academics can only guess at the size of the problem? A Their figures are estimates but their methodologies were rigorous. Baker’s are based on some 550 interviews in 11 countries with business heads, all on condition of anonymity. Investigating corruption more generally in developing countries, he conducted a further 335 interviews in 23 countries

with people such as bankers, government officials and customs officers. He estimates that around 45-50 per cent of trade transactions in Latin America are falsely priced by an average of more than ten per cent while 60 per cent in Africa are mispriced by an average of more than 11 per cent. Pak found widespread discrepancies when he analysed trade statistics in the US, checking the export (and import) prices of commodities in the countries of production with the reported prices paid further up the line. Q So how do you arrive at a figure of saving the lives of 1,000 children a day? A Taking Baker’s more conservative figure, which is accepted by the World Bank, we calculated the tax lost if seven per cent of developing countries’ trade involved false accounting. We then looked at historic and current revenue patterns in poor countries, and estimated the implied impact on infant mortality rates if this US$160 billion had been used by governments with the same effectiveness as at present. Benefits would have occurred in a number of different areas to which tax revenues contribute; we only quantified the effect on child mortality. Q What else could that buy? A US$160 billion is roughly one-and-a-half times the annual bill for global aid from rich countries to poor, and it is several times larger than the US$40-60 billion that the World Bank estimates will be needed annually to meet the Millennium Development Goals. That figure is dependent on developing countries improving their policies and institutions.

continued on page 14 Christian Aid News

p12-16 Tax.indd 3


3/6/08 12:00:00

Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging continued from page 13

low share of the potential profits, for fear that the big companies will simply go elsewhere. We visited Tanzania and Zambia, where we found that poor deals in the past on gold and copper have left these countries unable to capitalise on recent huge surges in commodity prices. We also went to Malawi where a more robust negotiating stance has obtained a better deal. In Peru, we found that rapid economic growth is failing to deliver benefits to the country’s poor. By contrast, in Bolivia raised royalty rates on gas extraction have enabled better healthcare and care for the elderly. And we went to India, where tens of thousands of people are being displaced to make way for Special Economic Zones where some of the country’s biggest and richest companies enjoy a tax-free ride. The report also focuses on the activities of the big four accountancy firms, which have marketed aggressive tax-avoidance schemes using tax havens, and have in recent years had to pay large sums of money to settle allegations of criminal wrongdoing or breaching financial regulations. Underpinning our concern is the sheer pervasiveness of the view that reducing tax liability is a good thing, irrespective of the social cost. Christian Aid believes that tax, not aid, is the most sustainable source of finance for development. We’re not suggesting that Britain and other countries should cut back

Death and taxes: the true toll of tax dodging received considerable coverage in print, online and broadcast media when it was launched at the start of Christian Aid Week, including articles in The Independent, Guardian and Financial Times, the Irish Times and Daily Record. To see two video podcasts linked to the report or download a copy of the report, go to www.christianaid.


on their aid budgets – far from it – but this money would surely be better used to target the poorest and most marginalised people, with the basics of state provision financed by in-country taxation.

What should happen next? There is much to do if the pernicious global tax system is to be made to work for the world’s poor people, not just the rich. But there is much that can be done. Christian Aid is calling for: ● the UK and Irish governments to investigate the role played by their own jurisdictions, and their own institutions, in facilitating tax evasion in the developing world ● a new international accounting standard that would force TNCs to publish their accounts on a country-by-country basis. These must show where profits are made and taxes are paid so that abuse can be quickly spotted ● banks to be required to disclose ownership of all foreign entities to which they supply services so the information can be exchanged with the countries in question ● UK and Irish governments to support the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the EU in their efforts to regulate tax havens. For our part, we will continue to work with organisations in poor countries to support effective taxation, and demand greater accountability from governments and greater transparency about commercial transactions.

A SEAM OF GREED Judith Melby looks at the lessons to be learned in negotiating fair deals on mining rights TANZANIA AND Malawi are both rich in natural resources. Tanzania is one of the fastestemerging gold producers in Africa; it is also rich in rubies, sapphires, diamonds and emeralds. Neighbouring Malawi has valuable seams of uranium. But their experience with mining companies is vastly different. When Tanzania entered into contracts with mining companies in the 1990s, the World Bank was urging governments to develop private investments and

Christian Aid News

p12-16 Tax.indd 4

3/6/08 12:00:15

Christian Aid/Evelyn Hockstein

only mine in Tanzania. One of Africa’s biggest open-cast mines, it produced 308,000 ounces of gold in 2006, according to its annual report. It has been widely reported in the Tanzanian media that AGA will only start paying corporation tax in 2011 – 11 years after starting operations. Yet the company’s own annual reports show that it made operating profits of US$93m from Geita between 2002 and mid-2007. The residents of Geita have little to show for AGA’s gold boom. The town has few paved roads and intermittent electricity, and water is still drawn from wells. Geita’s few resources are over-stretched; the town’s population has exploded from 20,000 to 120,000 as men flock here in search of work. Geita District Hospital was built in 1956 and probably has not seen much upgrading since. It is busy, with about 250 outpatients a day and 160 inpatients. Many wards have two patients to a bed. The busiest place is the HIV clinic,

Above: working at the heart of the Geita gold mine

These countries have the resources to lead them our of the deep poverty in which they exist

provide incentives to attract foreign capital. Peter Kafumu, commissioner for minerals, says negotiating with the mining companies and their experienced lawyers was intimidating, and likens it to facing a traditional African weapon: ‘The companies are holding a panga by the handle and we are getting the sharp end.’ Instead of reaping the rewards of a bonanza, Tanzania has lost hundreds of millions of pounds because the royalties levied on extracted gold are so low and mining companies have reportedly minimised their tax liability by inflating their losses. Tanzania’s statistics are dire: more than half the population lives on less than US$1 a day, life expectancy is just 51 years and 44 per cent of Tanzanians are classified as under-nourished. The town of Geita in the heart of Tanzania’s mining region illustrates this disparity between the country’s mineral wealth and abject poverty. It is home to AngloGold Ashanti’s (AGA)

with an average of 150 patients a day; as with all mining sites, the gold mine attracts many young single men. In Malawi, the story is quite different. Soaring oil prices and concern over climate change have led to increased interest in its uranium reserves. Malawi is now poised for its first modern mining project, being undertaken by Australian-based Paladin Resources, at Kayelekera in Karonga in the far north of the country. The Malawi government took a hard look at the mining contracts in surrounding countries before sitting down at the negotiating table. Ellason Kaseko, acting director at the department of mines, says: ‘We knew the uranium deposits were there, but it was better to leave them there rather than get a raw deal. We saw how our neighbours had blundered and we decided to learn from that.’ The government says it is now satisfied with the deal it has negotiated. It even holds a 15 per cent equity in the mine. Civil society organisations (CSOs) also played a role in the contract. Alarmed by what they saw as glaring gaps in the environmental-impact assessment, they took the government to court saying they ‘believed it was not acting in the best interests of Malawians’. The government, the company and the CSOs eventually settled out of court, with the government establishing a working group involving the CSOs to amend the Mines and Minerals Act and develop legislation to deal with the handling and transport of radioactive substances. Observers say the contract will have beneficial repercussions far beyond Malawi’s borders. Tundu Lissu, a Tanzanian lawyer and activist, says taxpayers in donor countries also have a role to play: ‘It makes sense for citizens to demand their governments stop subsidising African countries when these countries have the resources to lead them out of the deep poverty in which they exist.’ Christian Aid News

p12-16 Tax.indd 5


3/6/08 12:00:40

Photos: Christian Aid/Ana Cecilia Gonzales-Vigil


In the midst of the soaring economic growth brought about by mining and agricultural exports, life for many in Peru is actually getting worse. Sarah Wilson reports PERU IS enjoying an economic boom, owing to the soaring world price of minerals – and to its status as one of the world’s leading asparagus producers. But little of that wealth is reaching the poorest Peruvians, who need it the most. Despite the economy growing by ten per cent last year, 45 per cent of the population were still living on less than two dollars a day. Outside the short British growing season in May and June, nearly all the asparagus sold in the UK is flown in from Peru. Year-round supply and relatively cheap production costs have made it one of Peru’s most successful agricultural exports. One region, Ica, now accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s total agricultural production. The mainly foreign companies


that run the asparagus industry enjoy generous tax breaks. They do provide lots of jobs, but the work is back-breaking and does little to lift people out of poverty. Because the state does not have the resources to provide enough nursery places, most mothers are forced to leave their young children with a neighbour or by themselves from 4am until they return home from the fields 12 hours later. The number of children with chronic malnutrition has doubled since 2002 to 15 per cent. Victoria Sardon, who runs a government health centre in Ica, says: ‘When children are left alone, sometimes they simply don’t eat. It is the biggest health concern we have in the area.’ Father Jose Manuel Miranda, who runs Health Houses, a

Above: a worker picks asparagus in Ica, Peru. In spite of the heat, she is covered from head to toe to protect herself from sunburn and skin irritation caused by insecticides Right: part of the crop that finds its way onto our supermarket shelves

medical charity supported by Christian Aid, says: ‘Little thought is given to the most marginalised people. Public investment rarely reaches the poorest.’ Peru’s mining industry is less visible to UK consumers than its asparagus, but in economic terms it is far more important. Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of silver, the sixth-largest producer of gold and copper, and a major producer of zinc and lead. Accounting for more than half the country’s exports, mining has the potential to contribute hugely to Peru’s development. To translate the economic windfall into real improvements in the lives of the poor, a robust tax system needs to be put in place. However, the tax deals negotiated by the government are extremely favourable to the transnational companies exploiting the natural resources. Not enough of the gains are filtering through to infrastructure improvements and job creation. Professor Anthony Bebbington of Manchester University worked with the Peru Support Group, a Christian Aid partner organisation, to compile a report into mining and development last year. It warns: ‘Peru is essentially giving away its resources.’ ‘The tax regime is terribly generous to the mining companies,’ says Professor Bebbington. ‘If you are paying no royalties, then basically you are getting the sub-soil and its materials for free.’

Christian Aid News

p12-16 Tax.indd 6

3/6/08 12:01:17


Poised on a knife edge Africa specialist Judith Melby has watched events unfold in Zimbabwe over the past eight years, making many trips to visit Christian Aid partners. Here she offers a personal perspective on a seismic shift in attitudes

There is a sense that the country is being hollowed out. A third of the population has left

Reuters/ Howard Burditt

those in Mugabe’s heartland, the rural areas, have shown the courage to vote against him. There is no going back but the big question remains: how long will it take and how bloody and ugly will it be? People who voted for the opposition are now being hunted down ruthlessly. The date for the run-off in the presidential election has been set for 27 June and most observers expect the violence to increase. Christian Aid has been working in Zimbabwe since independence 28 years ago. One of our partners, the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), is coordinating the churches’ response to this state-sponsored violence. ‘Our churches are opening their doors to provide refuge for these people,’ said Reverend Jonah Gokova of the ZCA. ‘From a faith perspective these actions are demonic. They are undermining the dignity of people created in the image of God.’ The economic meltdown has also resulted in a moral decay: the ZCA says restoring traditional values in the post-Mugabe era will be as important as the reform of government institutions. ‘We are a very divided society,’ says Rev Gokova. ‘People are finding all kinds of ways to survive and that is turning many of our people into criminals.’ The grim reality for Zimbabwe continues: an inflation rate of more than 200,000 per cent; a surreal, worthless currency with bills of denominations in the

IT WAS EXHILARATING to return to Zimbabwe in the immediate aftermath of the 29 March elections. The opposition had won the parliamentary election for the first time since independence and, although the presidential results had not been made public, there was a sense that the 28 years of President Mugabe’s rule were over. People were smiling, allegedly banned Zimbabweans were rushing home to witness the historic moment and the ban on foreign journalists was clearly no longer a deterrent. Zimbabwe’s future felt poised on a knife edge. However, all that changed overnight, with a wave of arrests and police raids. The rumour mill claimed that Mugabe’s cabal had urged him to hang on: too many people had too much to lose if the ‘old man’ went. And yet something had changed. As one western diplomat put it: ‘He has lost. The monolithic image has been shattered.’ For years political observers and analysts in Zimbabwe had told me that political change was not on the cards; Mugabe still had life in him. After the infamous Operation Marambatsvina in 2005, which destroyed some 700,000 homes to ‘clear out the trash’, surely, I said, that would be the final straw for the poor, the primary victims? ‘No,’ I was told, ‘this was not the Zimbabwean way.’ This time, however, the response was unanimous; the spell has been broken. Even

billions; scant food in the shops, and power and water cuts. Standing in a mainly empty supermarket, where the only stock available was bags of soya mince for 41 million dollars and jumbo-sized containers of raspberry syrup, I suddenly noticed a stampede across the car park. A bread van had pulled up in front of the bakery. Those lucky enough to be at the front of the queue could buy a loaf of bread for ten million dollars – more than US$300 at the official exchange rate, but about 25 cents on the black market. There is a sense that the country is being hollowed out. A third of the population has left, industry has been decimated, there is 80 per cent unemployment and 45 per cent of the population is classified as malnourished. Predictions for the next harvest are grim. Mugabe’s aura of invincibility has been destroyed; he leaves an evil and shameful legacy. Visit www.christianaid. then follow links to Power & corruption and Zimbabwe for latest news on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Christian Aid News

p17 Reflection Zimb.indd 2


3/6/08 12:02:29

Fashion in the favelas Fashionistas Pearl and Daisy Lowe visited Brazil to see how a life-changing fashion project is helping women in Salvador’s poorest neighbourhoods. Youth journalist Fiona Cowood went with them CALAFATE, a favela or slum neighbourhood in Salvador, is home to 28,000 people. Here, shacks creep up the steep hillsides, precariously stacked one on top of another. Many are without electricity or running water. In this deprived area, the poverty often leads to high instances of drug abuse, HIV and a lack of status for many women. Every 15 minutes, it is estimated that a woman in Brazil experiences some form of domestic violence. Faced with these serious problems, it


is difficult to imagine how fashion could possibly make a difference here. But, according to the members of a women’s dressmaking cooperative, that’s exactly what is happening. The cooperative, Costurart, is funded by Christian Aid’s longstanding partner the Coordinating Committee for Ecumenical Service [CESE]. The project provides a safe haven for women to come together and earn money by designing and making clothes, which they sell in their nearby shop.

Ahead of Christian Aid Week, mother-and-daughter fashion icons Pearl and Daisy Lowe travelled to Salvador to see first-hand how Costurart is improving women’s lives. Designer Pearl, who was the lead singer of two rock bands in the 1990s, and 19-year-old Daisy – the UK’s hottest young fashion model, with Burberry and Gucci among her clients – are new ambassadors for Christian Aid. Their involvement allows Christian Aid to spread news of our development work to a wider audience and draw in new supporters. Pearl and Daisy met several women from the project and from CESE as they sought to understand how drugs are blighting the lives of people in Calafate. Pearl says: ‘I quickly realised that in Calafate, women bear the brunt of the problems. Many husbands, boyfriends and sons sell drugs – it’s quick money – and many of them are addicts, too. HIV is also a real problem, and we met one woman living with the virus, whose story was profoundly moving.’ The story of that woman, 28-year-old Jaciara Santos Sacramento, epitomises the situation of many women here. Jaciara is currently living in a single

Christian Aid News

p18-19 Pearl & Daisy.indd 1

3/6/08 12:28:33

can: frontline

Christian Aid/Kevin Leighton

Far left: Pearl with Viviane Hermida of Christian Aid partner organisation CESE Left: Pearl and Daisy watch the collective’s fashion show Below: Pearl with Costurart founder Rose

makeshift room above the CESE-funded Women’s Collective of Calafate. She has no running water and her electricity is about to be cut off. She is struggling to bring up her two children, Diana, 12, and Everton, ten. Jaciara told Pearl: ‘I had a violent partner who was a drug dealer – I was forced to learn how to use a gun so that I could defend myself and my kids from him and rival gangs. Here, almost everyone is linked to drugs in some way – you can’t escape.’ Now alone, Jaciara struggles to put food on the table. Without the help of the women at the collective, she says she would have killed herself. Viviane Hermida, who oversees small projects at CESE, explains that the women’s collective has been going for 15 years. ‘It started as an effort to unite women against domestic violence and that’s still a main priority,’ she explains. ‘Drugs exacerbate the situation – there are a large number of weapons in this community and men who are high on drugs are more likely to be aggressive. It was important

to give women an opportunity to gain some financial independence – that’s how Costurart started. Since then, it’s given so much more than that – new skills, a purpose in life and supportive relationships. Later this year, they will open a shop in the tourist area of Salvador – that’s a huge achievement.’ Costurart organiser Rose adds: ‘It really lifts the women’s spirits. Women can’t always rely on men or the police to protect them so it provides a really valuable role in our lives.’ Pearl and Daisy met Jaciara again the following day. This time all three were in the front row of a special fashion show, put on by Costurart to show off their hard work to the community. Daisy, who is accustomed to flashbulbs popping on the world’s most stylish catwalks, found herself in the line-up of models who strutted their stuff on the makeshift red carpet. Daisy said: ‘It was wonderful to see Jaciara at the fashion show. She and all the other women were having a day off from their usual worries and actually enjoying

themselves – you could see how much it meant to them. That’s something we take for granted back home.’ Christian Aid supports CESE with a five-year project giving small grants to grassroots organisations such as Costurart. Every year CESE makes more than 400 grants, allowing groups to meet the needs of some of the poorest communities in innovative and effective ways. In 2007-08 Christian Aid supported CESE with a grant of £200,000.

Pearl and Daisy’s trip to Brazil was featured in Hello! magazine, the Daily Record, Vogue and Marie Claire.

Christian Aid News

p18-19 Pearl & Daisy.indd 2

3/6/08 12:29:01

Climate changed: let’s make Copenhagen count

Countdown to Copenhagen After the success of last year’s Cut the Carbon march, Christian Aid launches the next phase of its Climate changed campaign calling for a fair deal for the world’s poor at next year’s Copenhagen talks


towards rises of up to 95cm by the end of the century, submerging 18 per cent of Bangladesh ● 40–60 million more people exposed to malaria in Africa. Paul Baer, research director of climate advocacy group EcoEquity, has carried out calculations for Christian Aid that show that even if global emissions are cut by 80 per cent by 2050, there will still be a risk of the increase topping 2°C. In a report for Christian Aid, The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World: The Greenhouse Rights Development Framework, he says: ‘Nothing short of an emergency programme of climate protection will do.’ The danger, however, is that too much of the burden will be transferred to poorer countries – to the very people already suffering the devastating consequences of a problem they played little part in creating. This is why Christian Aid is calling on richer countries, including the UK, to recognise that they have created most of the climate-changing emissions to date and have the greatest capability to act. We will be urging them to make at least 80 per cent cuts in carbon emissions at home by 2050 and to play their part in cutting emissions globally while safeguarding developing countries’ right to development. Sarah Spinney, climate change campaign manager for Christian Aid, says: ‘While

Without giving developing countries room to develop, it is highly unlikely that they will sign up to any agreement

THE WORLD is counting down to the next big international agreement on climate change – at Copenhagen in December 2009 – and Christian Aid will be lobbying hard in the run-up for a deal that is fair for the world’s poor. The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 committed some of the world’s richest countries to reductions in their greenhouse-gas emissions. But it was famously not ratified by the United States, and action by other countries has been inadequate. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end in 2012. The protocol stipulates that all ratifying countries must have reached agreement on a second commitment period by then. Scientists at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory have recently measured a record peak of 387 parts of CO2 per million in the atmosphere – the highest for at least 650,000 years. Christian Aid believes that it is crucial for agreement to be reached at Copenhagen if the global temperature rise is to be kept within 2°C and catastrophic climate change avoided. Experts predict that the consequences of not achieving this target include: ● acute water shortages for 1-3 billion people ● 30 million more people going hungry as agricultural yields go into recession across the globe ● sea levels edging

the planet simply cannot sustain another wave of carbon-spewing development akin to our own, the Copenhagen deal must be just to poorer countries by ensuring that they are still able to develop. For example, we need to give them access to low-carbon clean development technology – which we need to pay for. ‘Without giving developing countries room to develop, it is highly unlikely that they will sign up to any agreement at Copenhagen.’ Christian Aid will be asking its supporters to target the UK government and also Members of the European Parliament, who will be voting on energy legislation – the EU Climate and Energy package – in January 2009. The EU has already adopted goals of a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 and getting 20 per cent of energy use from renewable sources by the same date. Among the measures that the proposed

Christian Aid News

p20-21 Campaigns.indd 2

3/6/08 12:32:15

climate and energy package additionally calls for are: ● an updated Emissions Trading System (ETS) to create a borderless ETS that will drive cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions from big industrial emitters ● specific, binding national targets so that member states know what they have to do outside the ETS, in sectors such as transport, buildings, agriculture and waste ● binding national targets on renewable energy ● new rules to stimulate carbon capture and storage. Christian Aid will also be calling on the EU to: ● go beyond the 20 per cent unilateral cut in emissions it has agreed to reach by 2020 ● commit to additional mitigation action in the

south as part of an equitable global mitigation effort ● provide adequate financing for clean development and adaptation in the developing countries.

JOIN US Please join us at Coventry Cathedral for a service of dedication for our international climate campaign on Wednesday 15 October. As well as hearing from inspiring speakers there’ll be the chance to join a unique ‘people map’ to send a message to politicians that our supporters want them to act on climate change in the name of the world’s poorest people. For more details e-mail campaigns@christian-aid. org

No to coal As we went to press, the government was still considering whether to allow E.ON to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, Kent, without working carbon-capture technology. We remain concerned that business secretary John Hutton should even be thinking about whether to give E.ON the go-ahead to build at Kingsnorth. If you haven’t emailed him or E.ON yet, please visit our website today. See

Power to the people Those who backed our call to lobby the prime minister on the Climate Change Bill have helped secure a major change to the bill in the House of Lords. The bill now states that UK-listed companies must report their carbon emissions. You have also helped to ensure that: ● the bill includes a commitment to annual milestones on emissions cuts ● more than 200 MPs have backed our call for an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. We now need to keep up the pressure on MPs as the Climate Change Bill passes through the House of Commons. Please log on to to find out how you can still lobby your MP.

Transform our world To find out more about our campaign work, come along to one of Christian’s Aid’s regional Transformation events in September and October. These one-day events aim to inspire and empower you. You’ll be able to debate the issues with expert speakers, learn to lobby decision-makers and meet other Christian Aid supporters in your area. Dates are: Saturday 6 September Dewars Centre, Perth; Belmont Chapel, Exeter; University of Cumbria, Lancaster Saturday 13 September Grosvenor House Conference and Training Centre, Glengall Street, Belfast;, Waterloo, London Saturday 27 September Northeast Wales Institute, Wrexham; Vineyard Church, St Albans Saturday 4 October Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Saturday 11 October St John University, York To book your place visit www.christianaid.

Christian Aid/Brenda Hayward

The world would look very different if each country’s land mass were in proportion to its carbon emissions, as this Worldmapper cartogram reveals. A cartogram is part-map, part-pie chart. It attempts to keep areas (such as countries) in roughly the same place, while changing their size to reflect the value of a variable – in this instance, carbon emissions. A population cartogram would depict China and India as larger than their actual size, while Australia would be smaller. For more information, visit

© Copyright 2006 SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan)

can: campaigns


p20-21 Campaigns.indd 3

3/6/08 12:33:01

can: people power

Making a song and dance about HIV With the increasing use of multimedia projects involving film, song, dance and video animation, Christian Aid’s HIV-prevention work is taking an exciting new direction. Writer and researcher Mark Nunn looks at two innovative examples that make substantial contributions to prevention, peer education and anti-stigma work

Fighting the stigma THERE ARE 48,000 people living with HIV in Sierra Leone, and stigma and discrimination are major issues. Denial is also widespread: a significant number of people in Sierra Leone do not even believe that HIV exists. Charlie Walker, Christian Aid’s Freetown-based Sierra Leone HIV programme officer, tells the story of a member of one organisation supported by Christian Aid: ‘Her landlord was a lab technician, and they got on well. He visited her when she fell ill; she needed blood, but couldn’t afford a transfusion. As a favour he gave her blood for free – blood he knew was infected with HIV. He didn’t think it was an issue as he didn’t believe HIV was real.’ Though many related stories are less dramatic, it’s ignorance such as this that a new CD and


DVD package, HIV e-dae o (HIV is real), hopes to help eradicate. HIV e-dae o is an album of songs written and performed by young HIV peer educators from the town of Bo in southern Sierra Leone. The CD comes with two animated videos – one on stigmatisation and the other on Christian Aid’s SAVE approach to HIV prevention and care. The package is further supplemented by an hour-long film called Stigma, in which peer pressure, HIV and stigma affect the life of a young man who moves from the country to the capital, Freetown. HIV e-dae o was recorded by Christian Aid volunteers on mobile equipment in an office in Bo’s Methodist Youth Resource Centre (MYRC). The CD took three months to produce, and features 12 songs in a mixture of English, Creole and Mende. Since its

Above and below: images from the animated videos that go with the HIV e-dae o album

release in March, HIV e-dae o has become a radio hit across the country. Dr Rachel Baggaley, head of Christian Aid’s HIV unit, explains: ‘If young people can be taught how to protect themselves from HIV – how to get tested, what the risks are, where to find help – it can make a real difference. And if the stigma that makes life for HIV-positive people so difficult can be broken down, then real change can happen.’ Charlie Walker adds: ‘MYRC’s profile has increased with its success – CARE International want the peer educators to go on trips with the HIV community education units into isolated rural areas – and lots of people are asking for live performances.’ Christian Aid funds ten ongoing projects in Sierra Leone, on various HIV issues. This foray into multimedia is a pilot, but with its success, versions are being considered for Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. ‘Progress has been astounding in such a short time,’ says Dr Baggaley. ‘We’ve printed 800 CD/ DVD packages so far. They have gone to radio stations, NGOs, schools and churches; now other organisations have been asking to use the material in their outreach work. The National AIDS secretariat, which coordinates HIV activities in Sierra Leone, has decided it wants to adopt our SAVE approach – and even the president’s got his copy!’ ● To hear the music, go to www. ● To see the videos, go to www.

Christian Aid News

p22-23 HIV.indd 2

3/6/08 13:09:33

Gideon’s journey


WHEN Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha was diagnosed with HIV as a theology student in Uganda 16 years ago, not one priest in the entire African continent had ever admitted to being HIV positive. Canon Gideon (below) was faced with the choice of keeping quiet and trying to rebuild his life, or becoming the first man to break one of the most important barriers in Africa’s struggle against HIV. ‘Openness is painful,’ he says, ‘and not something that comes easily. But if we are to defeat AIDS, we have to learn about it, to force ourselves to say painful things.’ He chose the difficult path. One result is a film, part-funded by Christian Aid, called What Can I Do?. Covering topics such as stigma, it shares the lessons Canon Gideon has learned from his HIV journey. More than 22,000 copies have been distributed worldwide, and versions exist in 11 languages. Canon Gideon’s example has been followed by many, as religious leaders in Africa and elsewhere begin to face HIV with real honesty. Dr Rachel Baggaley, head of Christian Aid’s HIV unit, says: ‘These leaders have a uniquely strong position from which to fight HIV, through the authority and infrastructure of organised religion. As they start to use that power, it becomes apparent just how powerful stigma can be – and how crucial their efforts are to fight against it.’

What’s your reaction to Prospery’s views? Write to the Editor, Christian Aid News, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT or email

Too poor to eat…

IN BRITAIN, the rising cost of rice can be absorbed by most shoppers. Even costing 60 per cent more than last year, rice is a relatively insignificant part of the average weekly shop. But in Haiti, where 80 per cent of people live below the poverty line, a 50 per cent hike in the price of rice is catastrophic. In April, desperate people took to the streets in violent protests in which six people died. During the rioting, the stores were all closed and my family started running out of food. Even my six-year-old daughter knew that people were being killed on the streets. She heard the shots and the rioters breaking windows. Looters were everywhere. They even stormed a UN warehouse that was stockpiling emergency food rations in preparation for this year’s hurricane season. The staple foods in Haiti are rice and beans. We used to grow enough to feed ourselves, but most of our rice is imported from the US now and prices have shot up beyond most people’s reach. A cup of rice costs about 50 gourdes. For those who are earning – and most are not – the average daily wage in the countryside is only about 35 gourdes. It doesn’t take much to realise

Christian Aid has criticised the wholesale lifting of tariff barriers for many years. Now we are seeing the human cost

Christian Aid/Brenda Hayward

Rocketing food prices have caused unrest around the world, sparking riots in some countries. Prospery Raymond, Christian Aid’s representative in Haiti, reflects on the impact the food crisis is having on his country

that many people cannot even afford one cup of rice a day. Haiti is at the beginning of a major crisis, and there is a real risk of more political violence. It is not just Haiti, either – countries as diverse as Egypt, Bolivia, Indonesia and Senegal have seen riots over food prices since April. A major contributing factor to the current food shortages is the economic policies required by donor countries. Lifting tariffs on food imports meant that Haitian farmers couldn’t compete, so their production levels fell. Now that less food is coming in from abroad – partly because more land in the US is being given over to biofuels – there is not enough productive capacity to take up the slack. Christian Aid has criticised the wholesale lifting of tariff barriers for many years. Now we are seeing the human cost. Haiti’s president, Réne Préval, managed to restore calm by convincing the Haiti business community and international donors to provide a 15 per cent subsidy on the price of rice. But this agreement expires in late summer. Ultimately, Haiti needs to do more to support its own producers. It’s not good for a country as poor as ours to be so reliant on buying in food, because when international prices rise people cannot eat. Veterimed, a Christian Aid partner which runs 13 dairies in Haiti, is boosting domestic milk production to help overcome our country’s reliance on imports. This kind of thinking is the only way to tackle the crisis. Human development and security must be at the heart of the agenda. Free markets can sometimes be an instrument for this, but should never again be pursued as a goal in their own right. Christian Aid News

p22-23 HIV.indd 3


3/6/08 13:09:54


Help us lobby Gordon over climate change

your m


Critical response

You ask: we reply.

As an active supporter for more than 40 years, I am naturally upset when people criticise Christian Aid. Often, the criticism is ill-founded and can be dismissed, but when it comes from a serious, well-informed source, one is forced to sit up and take note. Such was my reaction when I recently read The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier, and encountered his criticism of Christian Aid. He is an academic economist and a specialist in Africa. His book goes into great detail on all aspects of extreme poverty in the third world, looking for practical solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of the countries of the ‘bottom billion’ who are stuck in abject poverty. Collier is not against aid agencies; he believes aid has a vital part to play in relieving poverty, but asserts that it needs to be carefully targeted. He is concerned that although charities such as Christian Aid usually apply rigorous research methods before adopting policies, this was not done when Christian Aid launched its 2004 campaign ‘Free Trade: Some People Love It’. When he looked at the evidence for your claims that Africa had suffered huge economic losses due to reducing trade barriers, he found it misleading and lacking in peer review. I was shocked by this. Now, when I read articles in Christian Aid News expounding the evils of free trade, the IMF and World Bank, I find myself wondering whether the evidence is really there. I am not an economist and have to rely on the wisdom of others who are better-informed than I. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that Christian Aid uses the best-informed experts in the

Readers take Christian Aid to task over politicisation, economic research, a new volunteer scheme, Present Aid and men threatened by newly empowered women

Teens work to raise awareness of HIV

Can you run poverty into the ground?

Human league

From health and educati on to dignity and justice: how Christian Aid is helping the poor in their struggle for human rights p01 Cover.indd 1

Issue 39

Spring 2008 28/2/08 17:03:06

fields of economics and development to form its policies. I should like some assurance that this is so. Anita Ballin Penzance Charles Abugre, head of policy and advocacy, replies: Christian Aid research observes a set of guidelines and research standards to ensure that it is technically accurate and honest. In his book, Paul Collier offered no substantive critique of our work except to say that the lead author of our paper was merely a ‘young man’ whose work was not supervised by those Mr Collier considered credible trade economists. In fact our advisers included a former chief economist of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; a renowned professor of economics whose accolades include being the ‘father of computer-generated equilibrium models’; and the head of the economics department of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. For Christian Aid, these people are credible enough to advise our work. On the free trade issue, Christian Aid has based its position firmly on the evidence of the experience of trade reforms in practice, and come to the conclusion that a variety of solutions need to be available to developing countries in harnessing trade for poverty reduction. Lowering, maintaining or even raising trade barriers might each be the appropriate solution depending on the circumstances.

Playing politics? As an organiser of Christian Aid Week’s door-to-door collection in Haslemere, I do object to the increasing politicisation displayed by Christian Aid. Not that it is recognised by the average home from which we collect, where people imagine that Christian Aid is giving practical aid to poor farmers through relief schemes, and also, of course, in times of natural disaster. Would it not be more honest to hive off the political activity into a separate charity, to be supported by those who will? Norman Rogers Haslemere Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid, replies: Concern about inequality, poverty, discrimination and injustice cannot be apolitical. If Christians are to put their faith into action they need not only deal with the symptoms of poverty, but with the root causes, too. Christian Aid does just this! We are not in party politics, but we do go beyond the issues of our humanitarian and poverty agenda. So we have spoken out more recently on what is happening in Burma, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Israel/ Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Board controls how much we spend on education, advocacy and campaigning – in the 2006-07 period, this was 13 per cent. We spent 40 per cent on long-term development and another 30 per cent on emergencies. We are responding well to real need

in our regular relief and development activities, working with and through partners. This is the bulk of our work and will continue to be important to Christian Aid.

Present and correct? As you say in the Spring issue of Christian Aid News, Present Aid was again a huge success at Christmas. But while I applaud the concept in theory, I do have problems with it in practice. We are supposed to choose a gift that we think would appeal to our relative or friend, that he or she would be able to imagine being used to improve the life of the recipient. Then we have to say, ‘Well, it won’t actually be this exact gift, but something in this general category.’ I feel this is a bit of a con, especially if you want to give this gift to a child as an introduction to the idea of charity giving. It also takes away the point and pleasure of choosing something. People respond to something definite, and it may lead them to a greater understanding of a particular country or situation. Obviously, thousands of Christian Aid supporters do not find this a problem, so I would be grateful for their thoughts. Then I might be able to use Present Aid with a more positive attitude! Jill Goddard via email Editor’s reply: The gifts featured in the Present Aid catalogue may be ‘virtual’ but all are examples of real items used in real projects. The Present Aid scheme allows

Christian Aid News

p24-25 Input.indd 2

3/6/08 13:10:51

Inspired? Enraged? Send your views to the editor. Christian Aid News, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT or email Enquiries or requests for information should be sent to Supporter Relations at the address on page 3 money to be spent on what is most appropriate to people’s needs, while offering an insight into how people’s lives can be transformed through the work our partners do. Think about it: just suppose everyone using Present Aid chose to ‘buy’ a duck. Would you expect Christian Aid to provide nothing but ducks?

Wrong priorities? I was surprised to hear that Christian Aid has accepted £10m from the Department for International Development (DFID) to send young people on exposure trips to developing countries. Christian Aid has a reputation as a serious development agency – yet this scheme sounds flighty, opportunistic and with no relation to your normal long-term work. I have many concerns about this scheme. • Glorified holidays for young people will take up the valuable time of your staff and partners overseas for little immediate benefit. • The fact that the trips are fully funded means you won’t be able to ensure they are really committed to it. • The scheme implies that young people can’t actively understand and support Christian Aid without going to

the developing world – but if that is the message for 2,600 young people, then is the message for all other young people that they aren’t expected to get involved? • Most fundamentally, this is not your core work, yet you seem happy to take £10m of DFID money to set up a wholly new scheme where Christian Aid has no experience. Would you have prioritised this scheme if it was Christian Aid Week income? Obviously not. If you asked your partners in Africa if this was a good way to spend £10m what would they say? I very much doubt they would make it a priority. Kathy Owston Hassocks, West Sussex Matthew Reed, associate director of marketing and supporter care, replies: There are number of ways that people get engaged with development and become lifelong champions of justice. Visiting the developing world is one key way of doing this. Christian Aid supporters who have had the chance to do this report what a powerful experience it is. Working with DFID’s ring-fenced youth volunteering funds, we are now finding imaginative ways of putting these life-

changing experiences in front of a new generation of young people, especially those who would not usually have the opportunity to do this sort of thing. We will then work with these people and their peers to help them become lifelong champions for social justice. Knowing that the flame of justice will be kept burning by a new generation of activists is, we think, good news for the world’s poor.

What about the men? I was really interested to read Sian Curry’s moving account of the work of Christian Aid partner Bethania, helping downtrodden women in Guatemala. However, what always puzzles me about this and similar articles, is the lack of mention of the men of the community, and how they might be reacting to women’s initiatives. According to systems theory, if you alter one part of a system it will destabilise others. My imagination runs riot into the possible increase of domestic violence and alcoholism as the men feel threatened; and I wonder what parallel work is being done to help the men move forward and accept and adapt to changes positively. Please enlighten me! Carol Woollard Kennington, London

The bigger picture Here at Christian Aid News we do our best to keep you informed about Christian Aid’s work around the world – and how you can get involved. From relief and development to our campaigning and advocacy, you’re usually quick to tell us what we’re doing right – and where you think we’re going wrong. Now we want to hear more from you. For a special Input feature in the next edition of Christian Aid News, we’d like your thoughts on the role and nature of Christian Aid. For example: • what does Christian Aid mean to you? And how do you think it is perceived in society as a whole? • whether it’s climate change, HIV, the food crisis or natural disasters, what of our many challenges most concerns you? Please send your views by post to the address at the top of the page, or via email to

Sian Curry replies: Bethania staff consciously and deliberately involve men in the process, especially in presenting literacy as a great achievement for the whole family, and very publicly celebrating the women’s success, including radio announcements. In response to growing demand, they now also have a limited number of mixed classes, so that men who are interested in learning to read are not excluded. One especially striking success is a

family where the husband is now a pupil in the class his wife teaches. In a very male-dominated society, such a turnaround shows that attitudes really are beginning to change.

Half-baked idea A friend just showed me a printout from your website with suggested fundraising ideas, and I am absolutely horrified and disgusted. Personally I am unhappy about any sponsored events unless the task set is useful per se, such as picking up litter or knitting, but I do realise that you have to be less puritan in order to appeal to a wide base of supporters, so I reluctantly see your point in suggesting head shaving and dressing up or down. But my blood boils at you, of all organisations, suggesting sponsored oat-cake eating or sitting in a bath of baked beans. You rightly constantly highlight what climate change and the greed of globalisation are doing to the most basic food requirements of those who just happen to be born in the third world – and YOU suggest eating for the sake of it, eating more than we’d really want to, and wasting large amounts of food (somehow I don’t think those baked beans will be use for human consumption after somebody has sat in them)! Irene Auerbach via email Paul Langley, head of community division and websites, replies: It’s a fair point and we apologise. This was a mistake and the details were taken down immediately this was pointed out. While we make no apology for attempting to broaden the scope of our fund raising, it certainly isn’t our intention to incite wastefulness. Christian Aid News

p24-25 Input.indd 3


3/6/08 13:11:15

Do theing right th

Great news on Gift Aid – where we thought we would lose up to £1m annually in Gift Aid due to changes in the 2007 Budget, the government has granted transitional relief to charities for the next three years (2008-2011), and will pay a supplement of 3p on every £1 you give. This means that Christian Aid will receive 28p for every £1 you give.

So what can you do? Specialist volunteers can add a lot to organisations such as Christian Aid. Mary Milne, head of volunteering and community action, explains how journey towards a career in development work. By volunteering, they are able to find out more about the organisation and the opportunities – and to demonstrate their commitment. Oby Eriken joined Christian Aid’s gap-year volunteer programme, working with staff in London to promote Christian Aid’s message to other young people through events and youth groups. She has now joined the staff team, and

Volunteers bring skills and insights that add something extra to the contribution of paid staff

‘DEAR CHRISTIAN AID, I would like to give some of my time and am interested in volunteering.’ This is typical of many emails received at Christian Aid every week. It’s hugely gratifying for us to know that there are so many people out there who want to help. So, if you’re thinking about volunteering, what’s in it for you – and for us? For many young people, volunteering is the first step on a

manages church youth projects. For others it is a way of giving something back. Many specialist volunteers first get involved when they retire from full-time work. By volunteering, people can share skills they have built up during a working lifetime in a new and more flexible way. And, of course, for some people, volunteering is a great way to get out and meet new people. For Christian Aid, volunteers of course give their time. But, more importantly, they bring skills and insights that add something extra to the contribution of paid staff. For example, all Christian Aid’s face-to-face work in schools is now done by our 150 volunteer teachers. That could add up to as many as 30,000 children hearing about Christian Aid’s work every year. And the fact that visits are done by volunteers adds an authenticity that schools respect. If you’d like to volunteer for Christian Aid, go to www.

Helen Ewing – media volunteer Helen, 26, is a social sciences undergraduate at Napier University. She works in the Edinburgh office once a week. ‘I’ve been volunteering with Christian Aid since October 2007. I’d done a few bits of work on the Edinburgh Evening News, and helped a different charity with their media work, but I really wanted to get involved with a more international one, and one that would make the most of my skills – I didn’t really want to be helping out in a shop! In the end I emailed Christian Aid direct and said, “Here are my skills, can you use me?” Christian Aid’s media manager in Scotland said, “Yes, please!” ‘We worked out some projects for me to do, which is great, as I know what I am doing week-to-week. My first was publicising Christian Aid’s stall at an Ethical Christmas Market in December – and also Present Aid. That involved contacting all the local papers and radio stations. Then I had a great project finding fundraising stories from Christian Aid Week organisers all around Scotland, which I really enjoy, as they are all so lovely! They have got some great stories too – one group did a sponsored Stars in Your Eyes night and another staged a Ready Steady Cook with a local politician against a church leader! ‘The Edinburgh office is small and friendly, and everyone is quick to help if I get stuck with something on the computer. It gets lonely stuck in a library for eight hours a day, so it’s really nice to come into an office environment once a week.’


Christian aAid/Claire Shelley


Christian Aid News

p26-27 Do the right thing.indd 2

3/6/08 13:13:31

By the book A long-time supporter of Christian Aid in Lancashire has donated royalties from her latest book to Christian Aid. Author Catherine Rothwell, whose book My Lancashire Childhood details reminiscences about growing up in the region, presented a cheque for £225.


Christian Aid/Claudia Janke


Christian aAid/Claire Shelley

‘YOU’RE HELPING TO PLANT A SEED AND WHO KNOWS WHERE THAT COULD TAKE THEM?’ Emily Bradbury – volunteer teacher Emily, from Horsham, is 37, and has three children. As well as being a volunteer teacher for Christian Aid, she is studying for an Open University degree and volunteers at her local YMCA. ‘The first time I visited a primary school, in July 2006, I did an assembly. I was terrified! It seemed to take forever – though it probably only lasted ten minutes. But it must have gone well because I was invited back. ‘I do assemblies and classroom presentations, as well as some church and youth club presentations. One of the best things about being a volunteer teacher for Christian Aid is that it’s entirely flexible. I could do one school visit a year, or one a week. Generally I do about two a month. And, of course, there’s time for preparation and keeping up to date. It’s good for me because I’m free for my own children in the school holidays. ‘I get wonderful support. Caroline (the volunteer development officer in the area) is a great mentor – she’s incredibly supportive, and goes through ideas with me. Recently she organised a training day. Christian Aid provides loads of resources at no cost to the volunteers. And it helps my own personal growth – it links in to my studies and is helpful grounding for going back to full-time work. I love working with children – they sit there and listen and take onboard what you say. You’re helping plant a seed – and who knows where that could take them as they get older. I try to give them a sense of the unfairness of the world. When you show them things – like how much water we use in a day – you see them understand.’

CHRISTIAN AID-BACKED health projects in the developing world will benefit from a new partnership with Exeter Friendly Society, a leading provider of private medical insurance in the UK, Europe and worldwide. For every new policy purchased by a Christian Aid supporter, Exeter Friendly Society will donate ten per cent of the premium towards health-related projects around the world. Christian Aid will also receive five per cent of the renewal price in future years. Partnerships such as this one offer our supporters a way to help our work through a purchase that they would have made anyway, at no extra cost. Exeter’s Shared Care Plan offers flexible benefits for in-patient treatment – at a time and hospital of your choice – with the option to insure for additional cover such as private consultations, diagnostic tests, physiotherapy and health screens. As a friendly society with no shareholders to pay, they can focus on delivering a quality service to their members. Established in 1927, they aim for the level of service you expect with the experience and knowledge you require. In a recent survey, 87 per cent of their customers say they would recommend them to others. For more information on private medical insurance from Exeter Friendly Society, phone 08080 556575, mentioning Christian Aid, or visit

GIVE AS YOU SPEND YOU CAN NOW support Christian Aid just by signing up to our newly designed credit card, produced in association with the Co-operative Bank. When you sign up, the bank will donate £15 to Christian Aid, plus a further £2.50 if you use your card within six months. And for every £100 you spend, it will donate another 25p. Visit christianaid for more details, or call 0800 002 006. Christian Aid News

p26-27 Do the right thing.indd 3


3/6/08 13:13:45


Courageous cyclists ride again Two cyclists who suffered horrific injuries in road crashes are getting back on their bikes to support Christian Aid Trevor Jones has always been a keen cyclist, having even tackled the steep Tour de France climb to Alpe d’Huez

AFTER BEING hit by a car while out cycling four years ago, Nottingham accountant Trevor Jones suffered serious spinal injuries and damage to his skull. With internal bleeding on the brain, it was touch and go whether Trevor would survive. But after a long, slow recovery, he’s back on his bike and ready to join 71 other riders this July on Christian Aid’s 300-mile London to


Paris bike ride. And one of those other riders will be Sheffield vet Catalina Thiersen. In August last year, a car driving at 60mph hit the back of Catalina’s bike as she competed in a cycle race in Derbyshire. Catalina, 35, was pulled backwards and her body flung 100 metres on to the tarmac. She suffered serious spinal injuries, severe damage to her skull and the lower part

of her right leg was nearly severed. At first it was feared Catalina would lose her leg, but specialists in Sheffield were able to save it. Her recovery has also been slow, but against all the odds, Catalina too will be taking the road to Paris. Trevor’s comeback did not get off to the best start. He says: ‘I actually had the worst possible start when I broke an arm and a leg in February, but

I’m now back on the bike and building up the miles. The race is definitely one of the most daunting challenges I have ever faced, but I’m looking forward immensely to being back on the road and raising money for such a worthy cause. I’m passionate about the things Christian Aid stands for; it is not just another charity. I’m aiming to reach and pass a fundraising target of £1,100.’ Catalina also hopes to raise around £1,200. She says: ‘Physio has been slow and painful – I’d lost most of the muscles and nerves from my calf – and I’ve had to retrain my foot to move as I still have no feeling in it. However, I was determined to ride again, and in January, I began to train on a stationary bike.’ She adds: ‘While I still can’t spend more than an hour at a time on a bike as it’s too painful, I’m determined to do this ride. There are few incentives in the world that are quite as fantastic as riding up the Champs-Elysées.’ Catalina’s and Trevor’s are inspirational stories, and thanks to their courage and the enthusiasm of riders from all over Britain

and Ireland who have signed up to make their stand against poverty, Christian Aid expects to raise £100,000 from this year’s event, which takles place from 23 to 27 July. If you’d like to sponsor Trevor’s ride visit www.justgiving. com/trevorjones2 To sponsor Catalina, visit catalinathiersen

IF THE EFFORTS of Trevor, Catalina and our other riders inspire you, now is the time to book your place on the 2009 London to Paris bike ride. With 150 places available, next year’s event promises to be the biggest yet. Call us now on 020 7523 2248 to reserve your place, or email events@ Everyone can take part in the LondonParis bike ride. Whether you’re a beginner or you cycle every day, it’s all about having fun and raising vital funds for poor communities around the world. But if you’re looking for a challenge before 2009, Christian Aid still has a few places available in the London 10k run, the Great Manchester Run and the Great North Run – or you may be interested in walking along Hadrian’s Wall. To check out the range of fundraising events at Christian Aid, visit uk/events

Christian Aid News

p28-29 Events.indd 2

3/6/08 13:16:27

visit for regular updates of events around the country ■ 21 June Cumbrae Challenge A sponsored jog, walk or skip round Cumbrae. Contact May Richmond on ■ 1, 26 and 29 July Music for a Summer Evening 8pm Hawkshead Parish Church, Lake District A series of concerts in this beautiful Lakeland setting. Admission free. Contact Mrs Parker on 01539 431070. ■ 4-6 July New Hope Rising Great Wood Camp, Somerset A weekend in the Quantock Hills for young people (11- to 15-year-olds) to reflect on climate change and the difference they can make. Cost is £50, including food, accommodation and all activities. Contact Martin Parkes on 01454 415923 or email ■ 5 July Northampton Christian Aid Walk From 10am Roade Methodist Church Walk either five or ten miles around the Northamptonshire

countryside. Contact Ruth Bowden on 01604 633436 or email ■ 5-6 July Sheffield Night Hike 8:30pm St Luke’s Church, Lodge Moor, Sheffield A stunning, 17-mile dusk-till-dawn sponsored walk from Lodge Moor into the Peak District. Contact Yorkshire office on 01132 444764 or email ■ 6-11 July Quiz Aid and Hope 08 Stourbridge Stourbridge Churches Together is organising a week of events under the banner of Hope 08, from the annual carnival to Quizaid, involving local businesses, community groups and churches. Contact Mary Reay on 01212 002283 or email ■ 12 July Sponsored Canoe Race 2-5pm The River Bure – starting at Aylesham A ten-mile canoe race along this delightful river in Norfolk. This is an opportunity for

young people to get involved in fundraising and raising awareness of climate change. Contact Peter McAllen on 01603 620051 or email ■ 19 July Duddon Valley Sponsored Walk 10am Millom, Cumbria An inter-church six-mile walk organised by the Millom and District CA Group. Contact Rev Alex Stockley on 01229 716875 or Beryl Newbold on 01229 772563. ■ 19 July Footstomping Christian Aid Fundraising Evening Hayling Island URC Main Hall An evening of foot-stomping, spirit-lifting, sing-a-long music and soup supper – and the tickets will be very cheap. Contact Wendy Evans on 02392 469019 ■ 30 July Garden Party/Coffee Evening 7-9pm Sandbach CA Group are hosting a Garden Party/ Coffee Evening. Includes stalls and a raffle. Contact Deborah Darnes 01270 764681

Every cup counts TV CELEBRITY Anne Diamond is backing Christian Aid’s 2008 Tea Time event, with the message that, whether it’s Lapsang Souchong or a mug of builders’, even the humblest cup of tea can transform lives. Last year more than 35,000 people in the UK and abroad took part in 2,000 tea parties, raising an incredible £195,000 at Christian Aid’s first Tea Time. Now we’re asking you to put the kettle on again, to host a tea party at this year’s event on 19 September. You can host your Tea Time anywhere you like: at home, in the office, your local hall or somewhere more adventurous – last year one Tea Time took place up a church tower. It could be a posh affair with a slice of cake and your best china or just your best pals and a cracked teapot. Just ask everyone to give a small donation to Christian Aid in return for a refreshing brew and tasty biscuit or two. Simple! ‘It’s hard to beat a nice cup of tea,’ says Anne (above), ‘unless it’s a cup of tea that could help

■ 13 August Salford Deanery Sponsored Walk Irwell Valley An early start is necessary for this 30-mile sponsored walk starting from Sacred Trinity Church. Contact Becky Hurst on 01925 241222 ■ 20, 25, 26, 27 August Harvest of Hope Martin John Nicholls present songs, images, and stories of hope inspired by Christian Aid partners in Senegal. 20 August – Church of Christ the Cornerstone, Cornwall Contact Keith Roberts on 01566 777117 25 August – Helston Methodist Church, Helston, Cornwall Contact Colin Combellack on 01326 340196 26 August – 7:30pm Tretherras School, Newquay, Cornwall Contact Hazel Meredith on 01637 850240 27 August – 7:30pm Truro Baptist Church, Chapel Hill, Truro Contact Lin Euden on 01872 242258 ■ 3 September Walk the Line 1.30pm Aberdeen Sponsored walk along the Old

Deeside Railway Line – an annual fundraising event. Contact Jean Rutherford on 01224 480654 ■ 20 September Forth Bridge Cross 2-6pm All welcome to join John Carrie Memorial Walk, in memory of the event’s founder. Contact Edinburgh office on 01312 401523 ■ 26-31 September Rock the Boat – Six Days to Change the World Venue: various canals around the north west Fourteen- to 18-year-olds are invited to join Christian Aid on three canal boats for a half term with a difference. Each day there will be workshops covering HIV/AIDS, climate change and trade. Contact Warrington office on 01925 241222 ■ 29 September Seaton Sponsored Walk 9.30am URC Church hall, Seaton, Devon Take part in a two-, four- or five-mile walk around this seaside town to raise funds for Christian Aid. Contact Arthur and Pat Wright on 01297 22926

change the world. So join us for Tea Time, because everyone is invited.’ To request your free Tea Time event pack now call 0870 076 7766 or visit www. The pack will include everything you need to organise your event including invitations, posters, and delicious cake recipes. And afterwards, do send in your stories and photographs to the Tea Time team!

Christian Aid News

p28-29 Events.indd 3


3/6/08 13:16:46

Final Word

For Pete’s sake While visiting the Christian Aid offices to narrate a film about disaster risk reduction, actor Peter Egan gave us his ever-decreasing answers no aftercare for asylum seekers. She is an inspirational person.

What would you save if your house was on fire? Taking into consideration my family and other animals, anything that was a personal item that you can’t replace – like photographs that hold a memory.

If you ruled the world, what is the first law you’d introduce? I would introduce a law forcing all politicians to live up to the standards by which they dictate other people should live. They should be transparent about expenses, pensions and other areas where they make demands of us.

What makes you cry? Courageous action. The courage that people who are oppressed in places like Zimbabwe show to overcome oppression is something I find very moving.

Have you ever met an angel? Yes, my five-year-old grandson, Oliver. He has me wrapped around his finger. He can be a devil sometimes, too, but he’s more angel than devil.

Where is the most remarkable place you have ever visited? Varanasi in India, the Hindu holy city. I was there in 1995 making a film [The Peacock Spring]. After I left, I missed it deeply for about a year.

What miracle would you like to work? The miracle of all of us being able to rub along with each other on the same planet.

Which book or song do you most wish you’d written? Purely on a mercenary level for the royalties, Happy Birthday. I wish I’d written the Theory of Relativity or anything involving physics because I then might be able to understand it.

What’s made you laugh today? Nothing at all. What’s your favourite food? I would say wild sea bass. Ideally served with rice cooked with spring onions, a soya dressing and coriander.

Who would you choose to be shipwrecked with? The best shipbuilder in the world.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Probably myself. If I weren’t available… Jimmy Clitheroe!

Which living person inspires you most? Helen Bamber, the former director of the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture. It is a most extraordinary organisation. Helen set it up after working with Amnesty International and realising that there was

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done – and would you do it again? One of them was auditioning for drama school.

When I left school at 15 I was like a fish out of water and educationally ill-prepared. When I auditioned for RADA, I hoped that they wouldn’t notice that my legs were shaking. Fortunately, I was playing someone who was about to be shot and so my knees jumping up and down was an advantage. I haven’t had to audition for over 40 years and so that remains the scariest thing I’ve done. What was the last text message you received or sent? From my daughter Rebecca, arranging a time to get together. What talent do you have, or think you have, which has so far been hidden from the general public? I’m quite good at drawing and my first ambition was to be a painter. When I decided to be an actor, that was pushed far into the background but I still love to paint.

Peter Egan is one of Britain’s most recognisable television actors, particularly for his work on BBC1 shows such as Ever Decreasing Circles, opposite Richard Briers and Penelope Wilton, and John le Carré’s The Perfect Spy, and films ranging from Chariots of Fire through Bean to last year’s Death at a Funeral, now out on DVD. His stage work is extensive, having acted in work by Osborne, Chekhov, Gorky, Tennessee Williams and Michael Frayn as well several Shakespeare plays for the RSC. He lives with his wife in north London.


Christian Aid/Karen Hedges

Gardeners in the UK can learn from farmers on the frontline of climate change


In Burkina Faso, west Africa, farmers are struggling to adapt to a changing climate. Their rains are becoming more scarce; and when they do come it is often with such force that nutritious topsoil is washed away. Christian Aid’s partner Réseau Marp is training the farmers there in techniques that help to conserve water and prepare them for an uncertain future. But with severe flooding and longer dry spells likely to increase, even UK gardeners will need to develop new planting techniques to cope better in a changing climate. Pictured left is one example of a technique that can be easily adapted for UK gardens or allotments. Making the most of even the smallest trickle, farmers in Burkina Faso use this system to deliver water to where it’s needed most. A watertight plastic bag is suspended above the ground. A series of pipes runs from the bag, delivering water to the root of every plant. The water flow is controlled via a valve at the base of the bag. You can see this and more drought-beating gardening tips at the 2008 Royal Show in Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire this July (see page 6 for details). If you can’t make it to the Royal Show, check out our tips on

Christian Aid News

p30 FinalWord.indd 2

3/6/08 13:21:20

Not all good things come to an end. The help you give Christian Aid needn’t stop when you die. In fact, it’s a chance to drastically improve someone’s life. Someone from a poor country you may not even have heard of. Someone like Madgopirova Hovahan from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. As a result of her husband’s death, the family went from poor to destitute. Single-handedly, she had to raise her six children. But with money donated to Christian Aid, she was able to buy a cow to help support her family. She also received training to cultivate a small piece of land. Now, Madgopirova and her family have real hope. They have the chance to lead a self-sufficient life. Christian Aid invests your money in long-term futures. For those of you who’ve already written a Will, there is a simple and cheap way to add a PS for Christian Aid (it’s called a Codicil). Please, remember our good work in your Will, and we'll make sure your good work goes on. Call Colin Kemp on 0207 523 2173, or email to find out more.


Christian Aid


CA C00000


2 1 Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 7 C RE ATI VE D I RE C TO R


C A L E G AC I E S 300x225


1 of 1 1





Greenbelt 08 22 — 25 August Cheltenham Racecourse Rising Sun

Speakers Brian McLaren Philip Yancey Michael Morpurgo Salley Vickers Frank Schaeffer Joel Edwards Lucy Winkett John Bell David Dark Pete Rollins Nigel Varndell

Music Michael Franti & Spearhead Fightstar One Giant Leap Martyn Joseph Ian MacMillan’s Orchestra Starfield yFriday [dweeb] thebandwithnoname

Performing Arts Linda Marlowe Roughshod Saltmine

Christian Aid Burkina Faso Garden Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Worship Aradhna Pall Singh Jonny Parkes Taize Wild Goose Sanctus 1

Visual Arts Hard Rain Leon Varga

For more see

First-time church leaders go free. Concession and family deals, too. For more see

Book before 31 July and save up to 10% off site prices

Book online Or call the ticket line 020 7374 2760

G08-Ad-CANews-0508.indd 1

All-age and family Tropical Inc. Children’s Festival

29/5/08 14:49:44

Christian Aid News 40 - Summer 2008  

Christian Aid News 40, Summer 2008