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Turning hope into action in Burma and Bihar

Are you ready for Christian Aid Week?

Climate and tax: a campaigning double

The anguish of Gaza As a shell-shocked population faces an uncertain future, we report from the frontline on how our partners are responding to the humanitarian crisis

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Phil Barratt collects donation envelopes in three streets… to fight poverty Colin Dale hosts a Quizaid

in his local… to fight poverty

Anna-Lea Rigby prays for the work of Christian Aid partners… to fight poverty

Jack McCarthy stands in his local station at rush hour with a collecting tin… to fight poverty Belinda Upson-Smith inspires fellow church-goers about Christian Aid’s work… to fight poverty

Ros Cooke collects donation envelopes in her village… to fight poverty John Taylor hosts a Quizaid in his own pub… to fight poverty Shereen Mehra collects donations outside the supermarket… to fight poverty Hannah Leslie attends the Edinburgh book fair… to fight poverty Margaret Field collects Christian Aid Week envelopes in her home town… to fight poverty Elizabeth Johnstone is sponsored to walk up hill and down dale… to fight poverty Sandra Dutson takes part in the Great Manchester Run… to fight poverty The Rev Matthew Freeman shows the Christian Aid Week DVD-rom in a church service… to fight poverty Pamela Dudley hosts a Quizaid in a local community hall… to fight poverty Luci Brand leads Christian Aid Week

worship… to fight poverty Kate Diamond takes part in a sponsored midnight ramble… to fight poverty

Barbara Lawrence signs a Christian Aid Week prayer-and-action card… to fight poverty Delmer Rao is sponsored to walk round the city… to fight poverty Hope Deloitte hosts a Quizaid in her school… to fight poverty... Ian Jones gets on his bike … to fight poverty...

Geoffrey Pleace delivers donation envelopes in his block of flats… to fight poverty

Phil Barratt collects donation envelopes in three streets… to fight poverty Colin Dale hosts a Quizaid

in his local… to fight poverty

Anna-Lea Rigby prays for the work of Christian Aid partners… to fight poverty

Jack McCarthy stands in his local station at rush hour with a collecting You Belinda are Christian Aid fellow church-goers tin… to fight poverty Upson-Smith inspires about Christian Aid’s work… to fight poverty

Ros Cooke collects donation envelopes in her village… to fight poverty John Taylor hosts a Quizaid in his own pub… to fight poverty Shereen Mehra collects Add your and join donations outside the supermarket… to fightname poverty Hannah Leslie attends the Edinburgh book fair… to fight poverty Margaret collects Christian Aid Week envelopes in her theField fight against poverty home town… to fight poverty Elizabeth Johnstone is sponsored to walk up hill and down dale… to fight poverty Sandra Dutson takes part in the Great Manchester Run… to fight poverty The Rev Matthew Freeman shows the Christian Aid Week DVD-rom in a church service… to fight poverty

Pamela Dudley hosts

Christian Aid Week 10–16 May 2009 Luci Brand leads Christian Aid Week a Quizaid in a local community hall… to fight poverty worship… to fight poverty Kate Diamond takes part in a sponsored midnight ramble… to fight poverty Barbara Lawrence Tosigns a how Christian Week visit Prayer and-action card… find out you couldAid get involved, Rao is sponsored walk to fight poverty Delmer or call 020 to 7523 2270round the city… to fight poverty Geoffrey Pleace delivers donation envelopes in his block of flats… to fight poverty

Hope Deloitte hosts

a Quizaid in her school… to fight poverty... Ian Jones gets on his bike … to fight poverty... Phil Barratt collects donation envelopes in three streets… to fight poverty Colin Dale hosts a Quizaid in his local… to fight poverty

Anna-Lea Rigby prays for the work of Christian Aid partners… to fight poverty

Jack McCarthy stands in his local station at rush hour with a collecting tin… to fight poverty Belinda Upson-Smith inspires fellow church-goers about Christian Aid’s work… to fight poverty

Ros Cooke collects donation envelopes in her village… to fight poverty John Taylor hosts a Quizaid in his own pub… to fight poverty Shereen Mehra collects donations outside the supermarket… to fight poverty Hannah Leslie attends the Edinburgh book fair… to fight poverty Margaret Field collects Christian Aid Week envelopes in her home town… to fight poverty Elizabeth Johnstone is sponsored to walk up hill and down dale… to fight poverty Sandra Dutson takes part in the Great Manchester Run… to fight poverty The Rev Matthew Freeman shows the Christian Aid Week DVD-rom in a church service… to fight poverty

Pamela Dudley hosts

a Quizaid in a local community hall… to fight poverty Luci Brand leads Christian Aid Week worship… to fight poverty Kate Diamond takes part in a sponsored midnight ramble… to fight poverty

Barbara Lawrence signs a Christian Aid Week prayer-and-action card… to fight poverty Delmer Rao is sponsored to walk round the city… to fight poverty Hope Deloitte hosts a Quizaid in her school… to fight poverty... Ian Jones gets on his bike … to fight poverty...

Geoffrey Pleace delivers donation envelopes in his block of flats… to fight poverty

Phil Barratt collects donation envelopes in three streets… to fight poverty Colin Dale hosts a Quizaid

in his local… to fight poverty

Anna-Lea Rigby prays for the work of Christian Aid partners… to fight poverty

Jack McCarthy stands in his local station at rush hour with a collecting tin… to fight poverty... Belinda Upson-Smith inspires fellow church-goers Case studies are based on real people and events, but no actual names of Christian Aid supporters have been knowingly used

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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

GAZA. A four-letter word that’s provoked more outrage and controversy than any expletive Jonathan Ross could come up with. And whatever your stance on the politics of the conflict between Israel and Hamas – and on the row over the BBC’s decision not to screen the Gaza relief appeal – no one can deny the scale of the humanitarian crisis that’s unfolded in this blighted and beleaguered strip of land. Following the ceasefire, Andrew Hogg, Christian Aid’s news and campaigns editor, managed to get into Gaza. There he spoke to survivors who had lost homes and family, and to Christian Aid partners who had seen their own offices and a clinic wrecked by Israeli tanks and bombs. His report, which starts on page 10, makes for edgy and uncomfortable reading. Meanwhile, 2009 is a big year for Christian Aid campaigners. The Day of Action in Coventry is the latest stage in our Countdown to Copenhagen campaign, which reaches its conclusion in the Danish capital in December. And we’re also launching a new campaign, The Big Tax Return, which aims to tackle tax evasion and avoidance by multinational companies. Read about both in our six-page Campaigns Special, starting on page 16. Also vital to the success of our development work in around 50 countries is Christian Aid Week. Once again, 300,000 of you will be delivering envelopes, walking and running to raise funds, and using your brain power at one of our Quizaid events. Thank you, all of you. Finally, news of Christian Aid News itself: from the next issue, this magazine will also be available digitally, as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint. You can get a taster of how that might work by checking out a digital version of this issue on http:// See page 4 for more details. Roger Fulton, editor

A mother, child and elderly relative outside the remains of their home in Gaza

Contents Spring 2009 Issue 43 ■ 10 FRONTLINE


Christian Aid News is printed on 100 per cent recycled paper

known as Christian Aid Week. And spring-clean your life with some ethical choices that also help our work

REGULARS ■ 4 NEWS CAN goes digital… Britain goes quizzing… Platform2 goes from strength to strength. Plus, in our extended news section, updates on how Christian Aid is reponding to emergencies around the world ■ 15 COMMENT What now for Gaza? Janet Symes, Christian Aid’s head of Middle East region, on the desperate need for a viable long-term peace agreement ■ 22 REFLECTION Act together first, talk later. Nigel Varndell, Christian Aid’s interfaith manager, shows the way ahead on improving cross-religious links ■ 24 INPUT Your letters and emails ■ 26 DO THE RIGHT THING Play your part in Britain’s longestrunning fundraising week – better


Christian Aid/Sarah Malian

Editor’s letter


■ 28 EVENTS Limber up for a year of fundraising challenges – from cycle rides and marathons to sponsored walks and midnight treks ■ 30 PEOPLE POWER Meet some more supporters doing their bit to make a difference

FEATURES ■ 10 FRONTLINE: GAZA IN CRISIS Six-page report from inside the Gaza Strip in the wake of the 22-day war waged by Israel on Hamas. Survivors’ stories… how Christian Aid partners fared… and what should happen next ■ 16 CAMPAIGNS SPECIAL Take the pledge on climate change and get set for The Big Tax Return as Christian Aid’s Campaigns team steps up pressure in 2009



Christian Aid works with some of 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 As her young child sits in the rubble, a mother in Gaza shows what remains of her home. Photo: Christian Aid/Sarah Malian ■ Pictures Brenda Nicholson ■ Sub-editors Carolyn Crawley, Louise Parfitt and Sophy Kershaw ■ Circulation Ben Hayward ■ Design and 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 online at

Christian Aid News

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■ A digital offer ■ Kara’s backing Quizaid ■ Aid for the news christian aid

We’re going digital Christian Aid News is embracing the digital age with an exciting new development for the magazine FROM OUR next edition we will be able to send a digital version of Christian Aid News to your email address. This would cost you nothing, but would save us money on printing and postage costs, as well as contributing to our push to reduce our carbon footprint. To help you decide whether you would prefer to receive Christian Aid News in this way, you can view a digital version of this edition by logging on to http:// If you like what you see, you can sign up there, and we’ll do the rest. Meanwhile, the print

Your spirit was willing CALLS TO solicitors, leaflets and articles in church magazines were all ways in which Christian Aid supporters helped ensure Will Aid 2008 was a great success. Christian Aid hopes to receive more than £60,000 as our share of Will Aid donations made by people who used the scheme. Even more important is that nearly 70 people used the scheme to include a gift to Christian Aid in their wills – gifts which may be worth up to £880,000 in the years ahead. Colin Kemp, legacy manager at Christian Aid, said: ‘Will Aid is a great cooperative effort. First, we should acknowledge the support of solicitors who generously waive their normal fee for will-writing during November to allow donations to be made to the participating charities. And thank you to everyone who used Will Aid – thus ensuring an immediate donation to Christian Aid – and to those who have generously decided to include a gift for Christian Aid in their will. ’ Could you help promote Will Aid in 2009? Please contact Colin on 020 7523 2173 or email


version of Christian Aid News will still be available for those who wish to continue receiving it in this format. However, as it’s been three years since we last refreshed the look of the magazine, it will get a gentle facelift in time for the next edition. To help us with this, enclosed in the middle of this issue is a readership survey. We would be grateful if you would take a few minutes to complete and return this to the address shown on the survey – or go online at www.tinyurl. com/apqdp9 and complete it there. John Davison, Christian Aid’s head of

media, says: ‘Going online is an exciting development for Christian Aid News – giving us the chance to get the magazine to many more people, while at the same time saving costs and helping to reduce our carbon footprint. It also has some fun functions to play with! ‘The survey gives us the first chance in years to find out what readers really think of Christian Aid News. Does it keep you in the picture? Does it inspire you? What else would you like to see covered? We really want to know so that we can make Christian Aid News even better.‘

Let’s get quizzing EASTENDERS STAR Kara Tointon is helping to put the fun into fundraising by backing our nationwide Christian Aid Week event Quizaid, which aims to boost funds so we can help poor communities around the world have a better future. Last year’s Quizaid raised a brain-busting £185,000, and this year’s event aims to top that and raise £250,000. In a bid to get even more people quizzing this year, Christian Aid has produced four levels of questions: brainiacs, average-Joes, 11- to 18-yearolds and under-tens. If you want to organise a Quizaid event with your friends, families, schools, colleagues and churches, our quiz packs contain everything you need to make the event a roaring success. Packs can be ordered online at www. or by calling 0808 000 5005. ‘I hope all the pubs, clubs, churches and community halls up and down the country get quizzing for Quizaid,’ says Kara. ‘Having seen some of Christian Aid’s work myself in Zambia, where I saw children who had been orphaned by HIV given homes and care, I know how vital this money is.’ ● Be part of Britain’s longest-running fundraising week – see page 26

Christian Aid News

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displaced in Sri Lanka ■ What’s the best church website?

Sri Lanka: emergency aid as thousands flee fighting CHRISTIAN AID partner organisations in Sri Lanka report that tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the fighting in the north of the island are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Fighting has intensified between government troops and the ethnic separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). An estimated 230,000 civilians are trapped by the fighting and forced into an ever-shrinking corner in the northeast without adequate access to food and shelter. The UN says that hundreds of civilians have been killed in the past weeks, reports that are denied by the government of Sri Lanka. The lack of access by media and independent monitors has prevented verification of these claims. Christian Aid has urged all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the need to ensure the safety of civilians, to allow their free

movement and to enhance access for humanitarian assistance. Christian Aid partners are working in the areas worst affected by the fighting. Two organisations – the Social Organisation Network for Development (SOND) and The Refugee Rehabilitation Organisation (TRRO) – are doing relief and rehabilitation work in Jaffna. In Vavuniya and Mannar, the Organisation for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR-Ceylon) has been working with people displaced by the tsunami of 2004 and is now focusing on those displaced by the fighting. ‘The immediate humanitarian needs of the people who have fled to Vavuniya are food and medical care. The families have to be provided with cooked food as they do not have the facilities to cook their own,’ said Ms S Sooriyakumari, president of OfERR-Ceylon. Robin Greenwood, Christian Aid’s head of Asia division, said: ‘It is vital to protect civilians from immediate harm. But it is as important to ensure rights to a dignified life and a decent livelihood in the long run.’ The long-running conflict has so far killed an estimated 70,000 people and displaced thousands more. ● See

Vote for your favourite church website CHRISTIAN AID’S community website,, has launched a competition to find the best church websites in the UK. The 2009 Church Website of the Year competition is being run in association with the Church Times newspaper, and is open to all churches that have a website. Anyone can nominate a site for one of the six awards by visiting by the closing date of 26 May. The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in London. The categories include Local Church Website of the Year, which will be shortlisted and then voted for by visitors to the Surefish and Church Times websites. Surefish editor Andy Jackson said: ‘We thought it would be good to recognise the unsung heroes who work to promote their church online.’

Christmas appeal CHRISTIAN AID’S work in support of families torn apart by poverty, conflict, disease, lack of healthcare, and the consequences of climate change, inspired supporters to donate around £800,000 to the 2008 Christmas Appeal.

Ruth Ruderham, head of fundraising, thanked supporters for their generosity. ‘Christmas is a time when there are so many other calls on people’s money. It was especially appreciated that so many people were able to think of fractured families around the world,’ she said.

A WORLD OF AID Snapshots of some of the work and issues facing organisations supported by Christian Aid PACIFIC ISLANDS Christian Aid is funding the Pacific Conference of Churches’ (PCC) campaign to ensure that vulnerable peoples’ concerns are addressed in this year’s crucial negotiations for an international deal on climate change. PCC works with communities across the Pacific Islands who are already under threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. SOUTH ASIA Following the success of ECPAT International’s Youth Partnership Project supported by Christian Aid and Comic Relief, the project is going global. During the next three years, young people in 11 countries around the world will be working to raise awareness of commercial sexual exploitation of children, run peersupport schemes and persuade policymakers to uphold their rights. (ECPAT stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.) BRAZIL The World Social Forum was held in Brazil in January, and several of our Brazilian partners took part. One, EQUIP, arranged for almost 300 young people from the poverty-stricken northeast to make a 2,200km bus trip to the host city, Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon. The ‘communications caravan’ stopped in villages along the route to run communications workshops with more than 2,000 youngsters. The project aimed to help young, poor Brazilians find new ways to make their voices heard, such as blogging and video. KENYA Christian Aid, the Commonwealth Foundation and United Nations Environment Programme are hosting a climate change conference this month in Nairobi for African partners and policymakers. This is one of many workshops and conferences that Christian Aid is supporting around the world in the run-up to the UNFCCC’s climate summit in Copenhagen in December, to strengthen our partners’ understanding of the impacts and risks of climate change, as well as their understanding of how communities can adapt to changing environments in effective, sustainable ways. Christian Aid News

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■ Volunteer success ■ How Christian Aid responds to emergencies news christian aid

Malawi: clinic responds to hunger crisis

250 climb aboard at Platform2 AS THE first anniversary approaches of its official launch in 2008, Platform2 has seen more than 250 young people from the UK volunteer in Ghana, India, South Africa and Peru (above). The project, funded by the Department for International Development and run by a team at Christian Aid, offers funding for 18- to 25-year-olds from less advantaged backgrounds to spend ten weeks volunteering in a developing country. The aim is to engage young people in global issues such as poverty, climate change and education, and to encourage them to get involved in campaigning and educating other young people when they return. Most of the volunteers taking part in the scheme have never had the chance to travel overseas before, and for nearly all it has been an eye-opening experience. Many of the volunteers have returned with ambitions to pursue careers, education or voluntary work in fields

related to their Platform2 experience. So far, several are training to be youth workers, many are campaigning with Christian Aid’s youth sector, Ctrl.Alt.Shift, and one 22-year-old from Gloucestershire has become a UK youth ambassador at a UNESCO summit. With applications increasing rapidly, the Platform2 team looks forward to helping many more potential young campaigners such as 22-year-old Dawn Boyd from Glasgow. ‘My trip to Ghana was by far the best experience of my life,’ she said. ‘I saw more in ten weeks than many people do in a lifetime. I now find it hard to look at life as something singular; a light left on all night isn’t just a bigger electricity bill – it’s a drain on resources in a world where some simply go without. Platform2 made me realise that I can do as little or as much as I want in the world, and I feel ready now to choose the latter.’ ● See

Dame honour for new Christian Aid chair THE OUTSTANDING work of Anne Owers, new chair of Christian Aid, was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List. Anne becomes a Dame, in recognition of her services to the criminal-justice system. Since 2001, Dame Anne has been HM chief inspector of prisons. She became chair of Christian Aid in November 2008. Christian Aid director Daleep Mukarji said: ‘Christian Aid is delighted at this official recognition of Dame Anne’s outstanding work in the criminal-justice system but she has also achieved a great deal on human rights and race relations. ‘Christian Aid was very pleased that Dame Anne agreed to become our chair and we look forward to her providing leadership for us in that capacity in 2009.’


SUPPORT FROM Christian Aid has helped a clinic in Malawi to open a new ward to cope with a two per cent rise in the number of malnourished children coming through its doors. In a country where, on average, one in five children under five is malnourished, Christian Aid partner The Baptist Clinic saw the number of cases diagnosed through their nutrition clinic for the under-fives, hit a peak of 69 in January following disastrous harvests caused by heavy rains and fierce heat that destroyed crops. Anne Kaburuse, senior community health nurse and midwife at the clinic (the only public medical facility in the remote Senga Bay area of lakeside central Malawi) said that during the worst months – known as the ‘hunger season’ – the Baptist Clinic usually identifies about five cases so severe they are referred to Salima District Hospital for specialist treatment before returning to the Baptist Clinic for rehabilitation through its daily feeding and treatment programme. ’On average two of these children would die, with the parents unable to afford the time or transport costs to travel to the district hospital,’ said Anne. To prevent these unnecessary deaths, the Baptist Clinic has built a new ward to treat severely malnourished cases. ‘Now that assistance is within reach, we can take care of the children within reach of their families,’ explained Anne. The ‘hunger season’ is so called because poor families dependent on subsistence farming tend to run out of rain-fed crops and, in the dry months, are unable to grow more and often go hungry. Rising food prices and national grain shortages mean that people can afford to buy less of their staple food when home-grown supplies run low. Christian Aid is also providing £60,000 for the Baptist Clinic to coordinate a solar-powered irrigation project that will ensure water all year round and prevent disasters such as droughts leading to famine.

Christian Aid News

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Displaced Congolese find shelter at a community centre in Goma organised by ACT International


ACT International/Tarik Tinazay

‘Poorer countries argue that they have little responsibility for global warming, and it is up to richer countries to put their own houses in order first…The building of a third runway at Heathrow will be seen by many in the developing world as evidence that rich countries will always put self-interest above any real desire to tackle climate change.’ Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s senior climate adviser

Congo: appeal brings relief to displaced families Christian Aid partners responded quickly last autumn when renewed fighting broke out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between government forces and rebel militias AN EMERGENCY appeal raised £570,000 to help families displaced by fierce fighting around DRC’s provincial capital, Goma. In addition, Christian Aid will receive £466,000 from the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. Christian Aid is working with four local partners to reach more than 9,000 families. CBCA is distributing food, clothing, soap, cooking utensils and medicine to displaced people staying in churches, schools and public buildings, and to host families who have taken in some of the displaced. CBCA will also fund a centre for unaccompanied children, after the church found 128 children who had been separated from their parents in the chaos of the fighting. This will provide a refuge for the children until relatives can be traced. Adapae plans to build 47 spring-fed water points and 100 latrines, and is providing seeds and tools to both displaced people and their host families. PIAMF has a micro-finance project that helps cooperative groups set up small

businesses. Fondation Femmes Plus, a long-standing HIV partner, works to raise awareness of HIV among the displaced. Large movements of people often result in an increase in the HIV-infection rate. Christian Aid is deeply involved in advocacy to ensure a regional political settlement is reached to prevent any more humanitarian catastrophes. It also urges greater emphasis be put on resolving the other underlying cause of the conflict – the illegal mineral trade, fuelled by the increasing global demand for minerals such as cassiterite and coltan. In 2002 a UN Panel of Experts report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the DRC named a number of UK companies. The UN estimates that more than 200,000 people have been displaced since fighting resumed. More than five million have died in the past ten years in the DRC, making it the world’s deadliest conflict since the second world war. ● See

‘Christian Aid has always been unequivocal in its support for the security of Israel and the rights of the Israeli people to live safely and securely. We believe the Palestinians should be afforded the same rights. Our current appeal for Gaza is based on the humanitarian imperative. We assert that Israel’s blockade of the Strip over the past year and a half had already created a humanitarian crisis.’ Dr Daleep Mukarji, Christian Aid director, rebutting suggestions that Christian Aid had taken sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas

THE THINGS THEY SAY ‘There have been times when the Department for International Development (DFID) has not clearly understood why the private sector is so important in lifting people out of poverty. We would make it more friendly towards the business community.’ Andrew Mitchell, shadow international development secretary ‘This is the most complicated deal the world has ever tried to put together. In effect you’re asking nearly 200 countries to align their energy policies – to create a common world energy policy.’ Tom Burke, adviser on climate change to the foreign office, in The Independent And for this issue only…

THE THINGS OBAMA SAYS ‘To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.’ From the president’s inauguration speech Christian Aid News

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■ From Bihar to Burma: Christian Aid partners help deal with the a news christian aid

Bihar: and the waters receded SIX MONTHS ago, as reported in the last issue of Christian Aid News, the Kosi river broke through its embankments and flooded a huge area of north India, forcing millions to leave their homes. Only in January was the Bihar government finally able to divert the river back to its old course. But the devastation caused by the river shifting 120km eastwards has meant that thousands of people are still vulnerable. Thanks to your generous donations the India Floods appeal has so far raised nearly £1 million, but more funds are urgently needed. Our three partners in Bihar – Churches Auxiliary for Social Action, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) and JUDAV – have finished relief work and are now planning for much-needed recovery and rehabilitation work. One of the main challenges is the


stagnant water left behind by the flooding. Sajid Mohammad, regional emergency officer for south Asia, said: ‘Fields remain waterlogged, boats are still lying in paddy fields and thousands have lost their livelihoods as their cultivable lands have been permanently ruined. Around 500,000 people are believed to have migrated in search of work.’ Land is still not ready for replanting and people are relying on food supplies from partners and the government, but they need more help. Christian Aid partners are helping farmers and labourers to get back to work by providing cash for work programmes. EHA now has some new equipment at its hospital in Madhepura, including an ambulance with an advanced cardiac life-support system, and a minor surgery kit. It is also running mobile medical

clinics to provide medical services in remote areas. In December the Bihar government shut down all the relief camps in the state and people were asked to return home. However, more than two million people are still living in terrible conditions in temporary shelters. In Supaul district, JUDAV provided blankets to 4,000 of these families. It is now identifying safe locations for rebuilding 1,000 houses and working with the government to make this happen. Christian Aid partners will continue to prioritise the needs of dalits and adivasi communities who have experienced discrimination in the relief effort. They have also been focusing on the needs of communities and formed village-response committees, which took the lead when giving out relief. ● See

Christian Aid/Antoinette Powell

Flooded roads made getting around a problem for those displaced in Bihar

Christian Aid News

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e aftermath of disasters

Zimbabwe: Burma: looking to the future partners help fight against cholera

blueprint after a visit to partners in India where learning was shared. This has now been approved for wider use. So far the partner has built six schools, with another two to be built by the end of July. The schools have flat concrete roofs that people can escape to if flooding happens again. The trauma of the cyclone will take a long time to dim. An estimated 130,000 people died and many families were nearly wiped out. Techniques to help people suffering trauma have included listening awareness, breathing relaxation, forms of meditation, painting or drawing, storytelling, singing songs, and – for children – play. Christian Aid is also helping people return to work. Last autumn’s harvest failed in some areas. Many people could only plant crops late – if at all. Partners have provided livestock for farmers and nets and boats to fishermen, helping them to plan for a more secure future. ● See

A grandmother and her two grandchildren, aged four and three, in a new house built for them by a Christian Aid partner

Christian Aid

THE CHOLERA outbreak in Zimbabwe shows no sign of abating. At the time of going to press, the World Health Organisation said more than 65,000 people have been infected, with more than 3,300 deaths recorded since the epidemic broke out in August 2008. All Christian Aid partners are responding either through their own programmes or through the UN system. They are distributing water purification tablets and conducting hygiene campaigns. The Zimbabwe Project Trust has received £50,000 to conduct public-health and hygiene-promotion sessions. It will also distribute soap, cotton wool and disinfectants for the next three months, which coincide with the most intense period of the rainy season when cholera cases are likely to peak. This programme will benefit 15,000 urban poor in Harare. In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s secondlargest city, the Dabane Trust, a Christian Aid partner which specialises in droughtrecovery programmes, is providing an emergency response in both the city and in the outlying rural areas. It donated 2,000 litres of fuel to the city council of Bulawayo so its sanitation teams could go out to the suburbs. It has also cleaned four large water containers that are on standby for distribution of clean water. Dabane also has a pilot scheme to build sand water filters for some 30 homes in the rural areas and it is training local builders to make these filters. The epidemic has been fuelled by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s water and sanitation systems. Many hospitals have closed and most towns have inadequate water supplies, broken sewers and uncollected waste. ‘With proper treatment less than one per cent of cases should die. At present it is officially five per cent. In an increasingly failed state, the lack of healthcare is devastating an already exhausted and frail population. That is why our emergency response is so vital,’ said William Anderson, Christian Aid’s country manager in Harare. ● See

NEARLY ONE year on from Cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma in May last year, Christian Aid partners are continuing to support hundreds of thousands of people in the Irrawaddy delta. Partners are focusing on recovery and rehabilitation work, and helping people look to the future. The next few months of the dry season will be difficult as people struggle to find clean drinking water. The water level in many of the affected areas is very low, in spite of efforts to harvest rainwater, and some ponds are still contaminated. One grandmother, 49, who lives in a remote village in the delta explained, ‘We only have one pot of drinking rainwater left, and the two small ponds in the village may be contaminated by salt water.’ Christian Aid’s partners are providing water filters, and the materials to harvest rainwater, and are also assisting with cleaning out ponds and building wells. Our partners have also been building cyclone-resistant houses and schools. One partner was able to design a

Christian Aid News

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Frontline: Gaza

GAZA: what does the future hold for a devastated people?


Christian Aid News

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Gaza: a crisis unfolds 18 DECEMBER The six-month truce between Hamas and Israel comes to an end and is not renewed. During this time there had been a reduction but not total cessation of rocket fire from Hamas, and Israel had let some humanitarian aid into Gaza without lifting the blockade completely. 27 DECEMBER Israel launches aerial offensive on Gaza. More than 225 people are killed on the first day, and hundreds more are injured. 31 DECEMBER Christian Aid opens Gaza crisis appeal.

For 22 days, from December to January, the world watched in mounting horror as war came to Gaza. Christian Aid partners in the region found themselves caught up in the bitter conflict between Israel and Hamas: lives, homes, health clinics, farmland and their own offices were destroyed by Israel’s bombs and tanks. Only after the ceasefire did the full scale of the devastation emerge. Christian Aid news editor Andrew Hogg travelled to Gaza and found communities still shell-shocked by their ordeal. On page 14 Charlotte Marshall rounds up Christian Aid’s response on the ground, and on page 15 head of Middle East region Janet Symes explains what Christian Aid believes is needed to ensure this never happens again

3 JANUARY Israel begins ground invasion. 6 JANUARY Christian Aid asks supporters to email Gordon Brown calling for EU-Israel talks to be suspended until a ceasefire is agreed. 10 JANUARY Direct missile hit destroys a clinic run by a Christian Aid partner organisation.

Christian Aid/Sarah Malian

15 JANUARY EU-Israel talks suspended.


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18 JANUARY Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas negotiated. 28 JANUARY DEC Gaza appeal launched.

Left: A family shelter in the ruins of their home Above: Christian Aid partner executive director Constantine Dabbagh tries to come to terms with the destruction of his clinic

CONSTANTINE DABBAGH had prepared himself for the worst when he visited the ruins of the Gaza clinic for mothers and children run by his organisation. It had been destroyed by an Israeli jet. Nonetheless, the scale of devastation shocked him. ‘There was a heap of rubble, and some papers from files blowing about in the wind,’ he says. ‘Together with some smashed pieces of laboratory equipment, that was all that was left as a reminder of 40 years’ work serving the community. I cannot express how I felt. I didn’t cry, but my heart was aching. For humans to have caused this made it especially shocking.’ It wasn’t until Israeli forces withdrew from the Strip that Mr Dabbagh, aged 70, the executive director in Gaza of the Near East Council of Churches Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, was able to inspect the damage. A Palestinian Christian, he was spending Christmas in Bethlehem continued on page 12 Christian Aid News


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Frontline: Gaza continued from page 11


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southern outskirts of Gaza City. Carrying the inert form of Hassan’s wife, Hannia, who had collapsed in fright, they fled to safety on a donkey cart. It was many days before it was safe for them to return, and then it was to find that their once-prosperous smallholding, where they grew tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines and apricots, was a ruin. Olive trees had been uprooted, greenhouses smashed and crops churned to pulp as Israeli bulldozers drove all before them to erect earth-bank defences, and tanks moved in to establish vantage points, their barrels trained on the southern suburbs. Similar damage was wrought by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on agricultural land in many parts of the Gaza Strip, says Christian Aid partner the Palestinian

I am not a terrorist. Why did they destroy my house and farm?

when the 22-day Israeli incursion into Gaza began. Only when a ceasefire was declared could he return home. The clinic, in the densely populated Shujaiya district of Gaza City, was destroyed after people living in the flat above received a telephone warning from the Israelis to vacate the premises. A missile strike followed 15 minutes later. Funded by Christian Aid and until recently by the European Union, the clinic was closed at the time because of the security situation, but the bombing destroyed medicines, and thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. One of only three clinics serving a population of 80,000, it offered pre- and postnatal care, and the services of gynaecologists and general doctors. It had also launched an ambitious programme to visit 15,000 homes to check every child aged between six months and three years for malnutrition. That programme is now being managed from borrowed premises which – if construction materials can be obtained – could become a temporary clinic. Ultimately, Mr Dabbagh would like to rebuild, but according to Sir John Holmes, the United Nations under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Israel remains reluctant to allow building materials into Gaza for fear they could be put to military use. That embargo will cause immense hardship for the many Gazans who had their homes and businesses destroyed in the onslaught. Farmer Hassan Nemer Hassan is one such inhabitant. He and his family were at home, chatting about the coming wedding of his youngest son, when, from the field behind their house, they heard the roar of engines moving closer and closer. They barely had time to register alarm before the shelling started, and bullets began hitting the building in Zeitun, on the

Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), which estimates that some 20,000 dunams of arable land (5,000 acres) were laid waste, along with 400 greenhouses. Agricultural land was destroyed in previous incursions, says PARC, for the IDF prefers to approach built-up areas across farmland for fear roads are mined. Today, PARC estimates that 60,000-70,000 of the 175,000 dunams of the land in Gaza suitable for agriculture is unusable, much of it in the buffer zone at the border with Israel, which in places is now 2km wide. About 25 per cent of people newly made homeless, PARC reckons, are farmers. This time, however, wanton vandalism went hand in hand with military tactics. Inside Hassan Nemer Hassan’s house,


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Christian Aid/Andrew Hogg Christian Aid/Sarah Malian

the ornate new furniture bought to set 22-year-old Mahmoud up in married life was pockmarked with bullet holes, water tanks were destroyed, and obscenities scrawled on the walls in Hebrew. Next door, the headquarters of PARC fared even worse, with gaping shell holes in the walls, the computer room gratuitously smashed, files thrown into the garden below, and black ink cartridges ground into carpets. Along with Stars of David etched on the walls and obscenities about Hamas, were the words ‘peace and love’. ‘We are used to incursions, but this is the first time we have seen this sort of damage,’ says PARC project coordinator Mervat Hasona. Now working out of rented offices in Gaza City, the

organisation, which gave out emergency supplies of tinned food immediately after the incursion, now plans to distribute fresh food bought from farmers whose crops have survived, to Gaza’s most vulnerable. ‘PARC is a strong organisation. We can rebuild. With the help of others we can manage,’ says Mervat. Hassan Nemer Hassan says it will take him five years to replace what was destroyed. ‘Some crops were almost ready for market,’ he says. ‘Now I have nothing. I am not a terrorist. We are normal people living peacefully. Why did they destroy my house and farm?’ At the Women’s Affairs Centre in Gaza City, which, with Christian Aid’s support, gives financial support to female university students, and offers skills

Left: children forage for water using pipes salvaged from the wreckage of their home Above: Arafat Samouni, who lost 19 family members in what he and others are calling ‘a massacre’ Below left: farmer Hassan Nemer Hassan and his family had to run for their lives

training, deputy director Amal Siam poses the same question. ‘If you ask people who lived through the 1950s and the war in 1967 they will say this is the first time they have seen this sort of thing – the soldiers were fighting people, civilians. They were not fighting Hamas,’ she says. It is a verdict that is difficult to refute when visiting survivors of the Samouni clan in the southeast of the city. The scale of the destruction, with numerous houses reduced to piles of rubble, is proof that something terrible happened there, but it is the smell of death still lingering on the air nearly a fortnight after the IDF withdrawal that suggests the true horror. The full story of what took place has yet to emerge. To try to elicit it from those spending their days encamped on the ruins of their homes in the hope that someone, anyone, would arrive continued on page 14

GAZA CRISIS IN BRIEF • More than 1,400 Palestinians killed including more than 400 children. • Estimated 4,000 homes destroyed and tens of thousands homeless. • Israel accused of using white phosphorus weapons, illegal under international law. • 13 Israelis (four civilians, nine soldiers) killed. • More than 6,000 people email Gordon Brown calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel talks. • Christian Aid appeal so far raises over £400,000. DEC appeal raises £3 million in the first week.

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Frontline: Gaza

How our partners responded

HOW YOU CAN STILL HELP SO FAR Christian Aid’s Gaza appeal has raised an amazing £400,000, so thank you for your crucial contribution. Yet the scale of devastation in Gaza means that our support will be critical over the months to come as people start to rebuild shattered lives. If you haven’t donated to our Gaza appeal yet, your contribution could make the vital difference to someone’s future. ● See continued from page 13

offering relief, is to open a floodgate of anguish. Women clamour to tell their stories, their voices shrill with grief and anger, as wide-eyed children are thrust forward and identified as orphans. On one thing the community agrees. Thirty-two of their number died – men, women and children – when Israeli troops arrived at night by helicopter and from the nearby site of the former Israeli settlement of Netzarim. Some, it appears, died immediately. ‘We were 18 in the house. When the soldiers came in, with dark paint on their faces and uniforms with leaves on, they asked where my husband was. He stepped forward and they shot him in front of all of us, his wife and children,’ says Zinat Samouni, cradling a newborn


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baby who was just ten days old at the time. ‘My husband was not from Hamas. He was a farmer.’ Others, selected from the various family groups, were then, those interviewed insist, herded into a house and kept there for two days, before the house was shelled. ‘There were 120 people, without water, food or electricity – men, women and children,’ says Arafat Samouni, 36, who lost 19 of his family, including three brothers. ‘Then the tanks started firing. The rest of us were too afraid to leave our houses. We are a farming community, growing and planting. We have not seen this sort of force before.’ The UN has called the killings at Zeitun one of the gravest incidents of the war, while the International Committee of the

Above: a family cling to the ruins of their home in Beit Lahiya Right: PARC project coordinator Mervat Hasona outside her wrecked offices

The fear they have put into the hearts of the children – it’s not easy to forgive but we have to

IN THE MIDST of the crisis, Christian Aid partner organisations were running ambulances and clinics. As soon as the ceasefire provided safe access, they stepped up the response, delivering food, blankets, medicines and other essential supplies. But the message from the ground is clear: this emergency is not over. More than 14,000 homes have been totally or partially destroyed, tens of thousands are homeless, and the Gazan civilian population is coping with trauma and fear. Christian Aid partners continue to be a voice of hope in the darkness. While they have suffered immensely themselves, they are offering physical and psychological support to the most vulnerable and affected. The Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) is working with traumatised children and families, helping them to express themselves through drawing, drama, or making cardboard cameras, and then discussing what they have created. This enables the children to talk about their experiences and their fears. Majeda Al Saqqa, director of CFTA, recently visited a mother, who had lost her daughter in the attacks: ‘She said I was the first person to come to the house and actually ask about her. People forget that we have lost loved ones, we have lost our homes.’ Another partner, the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, provided life-saving medical aid during the crisis, running mobile clinics and ambulances. It is now reaching out to those disabled during the conflict, to help them prepare for a changed future.

Red Cross said it was ‘shocking’. The IDF says it is investigating what happened. It has denied that troops ordered people into one house and said its troops do not target civilians. However, Israel says that Hamas and other groups fired nearly 6,000 rockets indiscriminately into Israel prior to the incursion. As the hostilities between the two parties flare up intermittently, and their war of words continues unabated, the Samouni clan and many others in Gaza see themselves as innocents in a conflict not of their making. At the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, life is slowly returning to what passes as normal in a health facility where, because of Israel’s blockade, supplies are always short. There are blast marks on a wall, bullet holes in the roof, and plastic instead of glass in a number of windows. But the flow of new admissions is back to manageable proportions from the 20 to 40 wounded who arrived daily during the fighting. More than 40 per cent were women and children – mainly suffering from shrapnel wounds. Miraculously, most survived – but not all. The hospital’s director, Ms


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

‘Gaza needs more than small steps; it needs long, determined strides’

Christian Aid/Andrew Hogg

Christian Aid/Sarah Malian

Janet Symes, Christian Aid’s head of Middle East region, explains why only a long-term viable peace can end the suffering in Gaza

Suhaila Tarazi, is visibly moved as she recalls a six-year-old boy who bled to death after being hit by shell fragments close to his school. ‘It was a real massacre,’ she says. ‘Our homes were not safe, the hospital was not safe, the schools were not safe, the streets were not safe. The fear they have put in the hearts of the children – it’s not easy to forgive but we have to. We hope this will stop, that peace and justice will prevail. ‘All of us are really traumatised in some way or other. We need time to restore our normal spirit. If a door slams, you see the fear in our faces. Every moment of every day during the war it was a challenge for us, but thank God we could do something.’

THE FIRST time I visited Gaza was back in 1994. I was with Christian Aid’s partner the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). I hopped in a taxi, which took 90 minutes from Ramallah to the main square in Gaza City, passing, but hardly stopping at, a couple of checkpoints on the way. No one asked to see my ID. This time it has taken me 18 days and I’ve still not got there. I’m waiting for ‘security clearance’ required by Israel for all humanitarian workers wishing to enter Gaza. I’ve had this clearance many times since it was introduced so it should be routine. The form says it takes five days. For the people of Gaza the changes are far more devastating. During that first visit I met a farmer in the northern Gaza Strip. He was producing strawberries for export to Europe and participating in a PARC programme to help farmers meet the required quality standards. Now I wonder if there is anything left for him to farm. Orchards here were destroyed a few years ago during repeated incursions by the Israeli military. So PARC ran a programme to help farmers reclaim their land and restart production. But during the attacks this January the area suffered severe damage once again. PARC is now working to distribute fresh food to the homeless and other vulnerable families. This change in the focus of PARC’s work – from supporting export production to distributing food – is indicative of how the situation in Gaza has got progressively worse. The worries of farmers have shifted from dealing with produce rotting at the border because of the increasingly restrictive closure policy, to how they can find food to eat, or a place to live. A short-term ceasefire means nothing to the farmers: they need long-term peace to start reconstruction work. It’s not just agriculture. On that first trip, I was struck by the buzz about the place: streets jammed with donkeys, carts, cars and trucks; the bustle of the

market; the sound of hammering from workshops on every side street; the chatter of children playing in the streets on the way to school. The last time I was in Gaza when the blockade – imposed by Israel after Hamas took control in the summer of 2007 – had taken hold, fuel was in such short supply that the streets were eerily empty; workshops were silent and shuttered as they could no longer get raw materials. There was already a humanitarian crisis: 80 per cent of families were dependent on humanitarian assistance; 95 per cent of factories had closed. At least children still played in the streets on their way to school. Now when I speak to my colleague at PARC he tells me that his children aren’t going to school. They are afraid to leave their house – too scared that the attacks will start again. Christian Aid is calling for immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access. This is non-negotiable – it is guaranteed under international humanitarian law. It would at least allow the arrival of urgent materials needed to cope with the massive scale of the crisis. Even the steel and plastic that farmers need to rebuild their greenhouses, and the cement and glass people need to rebuild their homes, have been refused entry. But this is only a small step towards alleviating the suffering, and small steps are nowhere near what Gazans need to rebuild their lives. That requires long, determined strides towards a reconciliation process that unifies Palestinians to work towards a lasting solution to the conflict; and for all to be held accountable for their actions. Without these, we will only see ourselves back in this same situation in the near future. I wonder what the farmers will be worrying about then? This is why Christian Aid is calling for an end to the occupation and a longterm, viable peace built on justice. This is the only way to achieve the security and prosperity to which Palestinians and Israelis are equally entitled. Christian Aid News

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17/2/09 10:51:02

TAKE THE PLEDGE: help save the planet Andrew Hogg, Christian Aid’s campaigns editor, explains why 2009 is make or break for climate change, and how you can help us to put pressure on the international community to deliver a fair, lasting new deal THE YEAR 2009 will feature prominently in history books of the future. Hopefully, it will be celebrated as the year the international community thrashed out the most complex multilateral treaty ever, to avert climate catastrophe. It could, however, go down as the year that self-interest by the industrialised countries trumped concern for future generations, and sealed the fate of vulnerable communities. There are just nine months remaining until the next critical summit of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December. It is there that the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets legally binding caps on carbon emissions, must be agreed. Failure would raise the real prospect of hardship and destruction on a massive scale in the developing world. Christian Aid has campaigned vociferously on climate change for the past two years. Our concern is that vulnerable communities in poorer countries, which have little or no responsibility for carbon pollution, already bear the brunt of its impact. This includes drought, flooding, rising sea levels, a greater incidence of extreme weather such as hurricanes, and a higher


prevalence of diseases affecting humans, livestock and crops. Scientists warn that if carbon emissions worldwide are not dramatically cut to keep global temperatures within a 2ºC rise above pre-industrial levels (they are 0.76ºC at present) climate catastrophe will ensue. That would mean 30 million more people going hungry, and up to three billion people facing acute water shortages. By 2050 there could be 250 million climatechange refugees in the world, and by the end of the century 182 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone could die of disease attributable to climate change. That is why we are putting so much effort this year into our Countdown to Copenhagen campaign, which aims to get 250,000 people to take a pledge to help save the planet in the name of the poor. More than 15,000 of you have done so already, so thank you, and please spread the word. The pledge (which can be found at copenhagen) includes a commitment to: ● reducing your personal carbon footprint through recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption ● writing to the prime minister and speaking to your local MP to

Above: Members of the Association of World Council of Churches Related Development Organisations in Europe (APRODEV) adopted Christian Aid’s Countdown to Copenhagen campaign to make a timely point at the UN summit on climate change in Poznan, Poland in December

tell them you expect the UK government and the rest of the international community to work for a new international climatechange agreement that is fair to poorer countries. Specifically, Christian Aid wants the new climate deal to include a commitment by industrialised countries to reduce their CO² emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and to shoulder the cost of helping poorer countries develop in a carbon-clean manner and adapt to climate change. On Thursday 19 March, as part of the Countdown to Copenhagen campaign, Christian Aid, together with the Catholic development agency Cafod, will hold a service in Coventry Cathedral at 12 noon.

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can: campaigns special

This will be followed by a parade through the city with Stop Climate Chaos, and a rally with the World Development Movement at the headquarters of E.ON, to protest about the new coal-fired power station planned at Kingsnorth in Kent. Speakers in the cathedral will include the Right Reverend James Stuart Jones, the Lord Bishop of Liverpool, and American climatologist James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. In the past year, there have been some promising developments in the battle against global warming, following campaigning by Christian Aid and other agencies. The UK’s Climate Change Act,

the first of its kind in the world, includes a commitment to 80 per cent cuts by 2050, as well as a requirement for large companies publicly to reveal their emissions of greenhouse gases. Both of these were demanded by the supporters who joined our campaign. Our delight at their inclusion was tempered, however, when in January the government gave the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow, which will make reaching the 80 per cent target virtually impossible without massive off-setting of carbon emissions abroad. Off-setting means paying poorer countries to curb their emissions to enable the payer to continue polluting at will. The go-ahead also sends the


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wrong signal to developing countries about how far rich nations are prepared to go in reducing their carbon emissions. One of the thorniest issues leading up to Copenhagen will be a demand from the industrialised world that developing countries cut their emissions. Poorer countries rightly argue that richer countries must put their own houses in order first. For example, Senegal emits less than half a tonne of carbon per person annually compared to more than nine tonnes in the UK and more than 20 tonnes in the US. The Heathrow decision also begs the question of whether the government will now give the green light to Kingsnorth, which could trigger a new generation of such plants. The last UNFCCC conference took place in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008. There was little to celebrate, although there were three positive outcomes: ● it was decided that talks preCopenhagen – for example, those in Bonn this summer – will be full negotiations, not discussions ● a programme and schedule for those negotiations was agreed ● the adaptation fund to help poor countries deal with climate change is to become operational. These achievements were overshadowed, however, by the failure of developed nations to indicate how far they are prepared to go in cutting emissions, other than to reiterate they would ’consider’ cuts of 24 to 40 per cent – language agreed a year ago. Nor did they indicate how much money or technology they are prepared to give to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and pursue low-carbon development. Clearly, there is much work to be done if, in the future, developing countries are to be able to look back on December 2009 as a brighter chapter in human history. TO JOIN US in Coventry on 19 March, or to order pledge packs to hold your own local Countdown event in the run-up to Copenhagen, please email or call 020 7523 2264.

Christian Aid News


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Campaigns special

It’s time to file The Big Tax Return Back in 2007, a certain US senator from Illinois made some scathing remarks about tax havens in the Cayman Islands. Now that senator, Barack Obama, is the US president and is pledging to stamp down on tax-haven abuses in a move that could raise US $50bn (£35bn). In April, President Obama flies into London for the G20 summit, where he will meet a UK government that is being less than helpful on the subject. Rachel Baird explains why this is a good time for Christian Aid to launch a new campaign – to use the power of tax to help lift millions out of poverty


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given by rich countries to poor countries each year. Many companies use transfer mispricing and false invoicing to ensure that the bulk of their profits are declared in a country with very low tax rates, rather than where they were actually generated. Both forms of tax evasion involve the deliberate manipulation of prices at which goods and services are bought and sold, within or between firms, to ensure that most profits arise in countries with low tax rates, such as tax havens. This has absurd as well as tragic consequences, as President Barack Obama has pointed out. ‘There’s a building in the Cayman Islands that houses, supposedly, 12,000 US-based corporations. That’s either the biggest building in the world, or the biggest tax scam in the world,’ he said in 2007. Christian Aid is in good company when it comes to our drive to reform tax. We are campaigning with fellow development agency ActionAid and with economists and accountants. Intergovernmental agency the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is also convinced that tax reform is the way forward. Angel Gurria, its secretary general, has described taxes as ‘the long-term financial platform for sustainable development and the lifeblood of state services’. So how does Christian Aid intend to help developing economies secure billions of pounds of extra tax revenues?

Taxes provide the long-term financial platform for sustainable development

HERE IS A RIDDLE: what single change will help prevent another economic crisis and transform the lives of millions of poor people in developing countries? The short answer is: an end to financial secrecy. The same secrecy that banks used to hide their ‘toxic’ assets until it was too late to save them is still being used by multinational companies to dodge paying billions of dollars in taxes. Christian Aid is very excited about tax. We believe it has the potential to transform the lives of millions of poor people in developing countries. And so we have launched a new campaign – The Big Tax Return – to help unleash its power. Christian Aid’s head of campaigns, Paul Brannen, says: ‘We are excited because effectively tackling tax evasion and avoidance by multinational companies will unlock vast, sustainable flows of money for development. Money that could be used to fund schools, hospitals, pensions, law and order, and many of the other public services that we in the UK and Ireland take for granted. Money that is free from the strings that donors so often attach to their aid.’ Christian Aid calculates that two of the most common forms of corporate tax evasion – transfer mispricing and false invoicing – together cost poorer countries some US$160 billion (£115 million) in lost tax revenues each year. This figure is roughly one-and-a-half times the total amount of aid (US$90 million/£65 million)

Initially, we are campaigning for the little-known but very powerful London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to introduce country-by-country reporting. The IASB writes accounting rules for companies across much of the world, setting out what they must reveal in their financial accounts. More than 100 governments, including those of the UK and other EU states, tend to rubberstamp the IASB’s decisions into law. However, Christian Aid believes that if we win the backing of politicians, businesses and the public, then the IASB will have to act on our concerns. Country-by-country reporting would require companies to reveal what profits they declare and the taxes they pay in each country in which they operate. This would make it much more difficult to evade tax and much easier for tax authorities to tackle evasion. This would benefit rich countries such as the UK as well as developing economies, in so far as their governments too would find it easier to collect tax and fund public services. Christian Aid plans to fight for country-by-country reporting on several fronts, to convince UK and EU politicians, accountants, the media and the public of the compelling case for change. We are organising seminars with political decisionmakers, that will focus attention on our arguments. We have also commissioned a major piece of

To find out more about The Big Tax Return, go to

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FAIRER TAX: it really does work

Below: Emitilla now has a state pension – thanks to money from new, fairer taxes Right: the tax income also pays for school breakfasts of food supplements for Bolivia’s primary-school children

Hannah Richards explains how new taxation aimed at multinational companies is benefiting poor and vulnerable people in Bolivia

Christian Aid/Hannah Richards

new academic research that will highlight the huge scale of transfer mispricing and how it affects different countries. Christian Aid supporters also have a major role to play in our tax campaign. This year we are asking people to visit or write to accountancy firms and MPs about the huge difference that country-by-country reporting could make to poor people. Go to www. uk/tax to take action.

BOLIVIA, THE poorest country in Latin America, provides clear evidence of the difference that fairer taxation of multinational companies can make to vulnerable people’s lives. Most people in Bolivia are poor, in spite of the country having incredibly valuable oil and gas resources. In 2003, massive popular protests began calling on the government to use these resources to address Bolivia’s poverty, with Christian Aid partners among those campaigning for change. In 2006, new laws were introduced that dramatically raised the taxes on multinationals profiting from oil and gas exports from as little as 18 per cent to 50 per cent, generating revenue for the Bolivian government of an estimated US$1.57 billion (about £1.15 billion) in 2007 – up from US$173 million (about £127 million) in 2002. Some money from these new taxes goes straight into social programmes, including funding pensions for older people, and annual school grants and nutrition programmes for schoolchildren. The cost of the pension and school-grant programmes is £182 million (about US$250 million) a year. Like hundreds of thousands of over-sixties, Emitilla spent her life living hand to mouth with no savings. Now, at 77 and too old to continue her work as a cleaner, she is entirely dependent on her monthly state pension. ‘If we didn’t have this,’ she says, ‘how would we survive?’ The pension eases pressure on Emitilla’s children who struggle to support their own families. As a result of this programme, there is less abandonment of older people, and they are not forced to work until the day they die. Nine-year-old Omar is one of 1.7 million primary-school children receiving the annual school grant. Until this was introduced Omar’s mother often had to choose between buying school uniforms and books or food for the family. The grant is an incentive for parents to keep their children in school, especially girls in rural areas, who were usually the first to be taken away from their studies to help with farming work and cut family costs. The school-breakfast programme guarantees at least one meal a continued on page 20 Christian Aid News

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Christian Aid/Hannah Richards

Campaigns Special

continued from page 19

CHRISTIAN AID currently supports 11 partners in Bolivia, working across a range of issues, including tax, secure livelihoods, climate change, and human rights, spending £646,000 in the year 2008-09.


Above and right: nine-year-old Omar works as a shoeshine boy in La Paz to supplement his family’s income, but is also now able to afford books and uniform for school – thanks to a new grant funded by fairer taxes

Christian Aid/Hannah Richards

day to primary-school children across the country. In the capital, La Paz, adding vitamins to the food the schools provide has cut anaemia levels in these children from 37 per cent to just seven per cent. Children are healthier, and more able to concentrate at school. During the protests, Christian Aid partner the Centre for Labour and Agricultural Development (CEDLA) helped local people understand the taxation system. This meant translating written material into indigenous languages, making radio broadcasts for those who could not read, and also explaining the issue in simple, understandable Spanish. Mauricio Corihuanca, one of the leaders of the protests, says: ‘If the people are armed with the truth, they can achieve anything.’ Now CEDLA is helping to monitor and evaluate the way the money is being gathered and spent – ensuring the government is fully accountable to the people. Paul Brannen, Christian Aid’s head of campaigns, says: ‘It’s remarkable but not surprising that revenue from fairer taxation can cut anaemia in poor school-children to a fraction of what it was in the space of just three years. This will increase their capacity for learning, which should enhance Bolivia’s long-term capacity for developing. By joining us in our new campaign for The Big Tax Return, you can make a difference to poor individuals and poor countries’ ability to change their own path.’

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THE BIG TAX RETURN: WHAT CHRISTIAN AID WANTS CHRISTIAN AID wants the introduction of new accounting rules that will require companies to reveal the profits they are making and the taxes they are paying in every country around the world. This will make tax evasion much harder – although it will not completely solve the problem.

THE BIG TAX RETURN: HOW YOU CAN HELP YOU CAN help us by: • writing to your MP, urging them to support the introduction of country-bycountry reporting. Go online and do it now, at www. • becoming one of Christian Aid’s specialist campaigners on tax, which would involve a small amount of training and then work to help spread our message – contact for more information.

Christian Aid/Matthew Sowemimo

Below: Charlotte Seymour Smith with members of Christian Aid partner the Copperbelt Health Education Project (CHEP)

‘Football shirts, but no drugs…’ Zambia’s mineral wealth has not been fairly shared. And now its mining companies are fighting to overturn a new tax deal secured by a Christian Aid-supported coalition of churches and trade unions in the country. Christian Aid trustee Charlotte Seymour Smith travelled to Zambia to see how the mining companies could be making a stronger contribution to the country’s development ‘WE HAVE empty medicine cabinets but the company offers us T-shirts instead.’ I am listening to the despairing voice of a trade union official in the Chingola mine in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. In recent years Zambia has become a favourite of international donors, winning applause for tackling corruption and being rewarded with debt relief. The crater-filled path that takes us to the Vedanta-owned KCM mine in Chingola provides a powerful metaphor for the relationship between parts of the mining industry and the community that generates much of its profits. Vedanta’s revenue in 2006-07 was US$6.5 billion (£4.5 billion), almost matching Zambia’s entire national income in 2006. But in the vicinity of the Chingola mine, dereliction is everywhere. The union officials told us of a company that has reduced the services available to the mineworkers, including access to healthcare. ‘We have no drugs,’ I was told. No drugs, but the company is distributing football shirts to miners. Chingola was once part of a nationalised mining industry in Zambia. The mines had a wide social impact, providing wages and social benefits to their workforce. However, services have been scaled back in the years following privatisation. The costs of these services now come out of profits. But there has to be a ‘social floor’ that meets basic human needs. Either the companies fund this through a fair tax settlement with the Zambian government or contribute through a more generous direct provision. Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has never managed to put in place services that would make a major contribution to improving the health of its

citizens. Sanitation exists in just four per cent of rural areas – where two-thirds of the country’s population live. The mining companies could alleviate the social conditions that exist in countries such as Zambia. The taxes they pay, the services they provide to their workers, and their environmental impact are of comparable influence to the contributions of donor governments. The absolute minimum obligation the companies should have is to clean up the damage caused to the environment by their operations. Beyond this there are wider and more ambitious obligations. The profitability of the mines from 2003-07 provided a major opportunity for government to marshal the additional resources required to meet social needs. Following privatisation the companies paid 0.6 per cent royalty rates – at the bottom end of prevailing taxation rates in the extractive sector in Africa, and hardly a fair sharing-out of the rewards of the copper industry. But as a result of a grassroots campaign by organisations such as Christian Aid partner the Zambian Council of Churches, the Zambian government agreed to increase the royalty rate to three per cent and introduce a windfall tax. Christian Aid will continue to consider the role that the private sector can be encouraged to play in development. However, I am proud of the work that we are engaged in ‘on the ground’ to hold the Zambian government to account for its efforts to tackle poverty. In Lusaka I met Juliet Ilungu who manages the Council of Churches’ work to promote greater accountability. ‘Little by little we are giving churches across Zambia the confidence to check on the extent to which money intended for schools and healthcare reaches the people who need it,’ she says. This work is vital if Zambia is to take the step from being a society where the lines of accountability are mainly to donors, to one where the governing elite feel pressurised from people at grassroots level.

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Bursting the single-faith bubble Following a multi-faith conference hosted by Christian Aid in December, interfaith manager Nigel Varndell argues that actions speak louder than words


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we aim to encourage among faith communities in the UK. It starts not with the face-to-face approach that addresses issues of divergent understanding, but the side-by-side approach where religious traditions work together. Last December Christian Aid, along with the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, hosted a conference in Cambridge where just such a multi-faith approach to development issues was explored. The conference featured case studies provided by Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and World Jewish Relief where different faith communities worked together on development issues. The challenge was to try to understand what had helped these projects succeed and to learn lessons to apply elsewhere. Christian Aid’s case study involved a Catholic organisation, the Socio-Pastoral Institute (SPI), and a Muslim one, the Ummah fi Salaam, who have been working together in Pagadian City on Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Mindanao’s population is today majority Christian (Catholic), but Muslim and non-Muslim indigenous groups still make up a sizeable element. All have been affected by years of conflict, often between religious communities, which has fuelled desperate poverty. In Pagadian City this has particularly affected the Muslim communities, who are among the most marginalised. It was here that Christian Aid started funding

Interfaith working becomes real when people can see positive outcomes

INTERFAITH DIALOGUE is the ‘in thing’. More than half of the 253 groups listed in the UK directory of interfaith organisations have sprung up since 2000. This is perhaps unsurprising when we realise that in the UK it is increasingly difficult to exist in a single-faith bubble. People of other faiths live next door to us and we share places of work. The interfaith encounter is no longer a choice, but a growing fact of life. The question for us is, how do we approach it? For some, dialogue is about creating understanding and tolerance in order to build social cohesion and reduce communal tensions. For others, the dialogue has more to do with the clash between mutually exclusive religious claims to truth: if we are right then people of other faiths must be wrong and we are obliged to demonstrate to them the errors in their thinking. Both of these approaches are inadequate because they insist on treating the ‘other’ as an object, either a social problem or a theological one. If we want solid foundations on which to build, we need to treat our fellow conversationalists as partners not objects, or we risk turning dialogue into diatribe. There is, of course, another model for how interfaith interaction might proceed, one that Christian Aid has been modelling in the developing world for years and one that

the interfaith urban-poverty reduction project with Ummah fi Salaam and SPI. The successes of this partnership over the years have been dramatic – from defending the land rights of fishing communities, rebuilding houses destroyed by fire, and instituting literacy and health-education programmes. All of these have relied upon the ability to bring together Christian and Muslim communities, many of whom had lost loved ones at the hands of people from the other faith. While this is an inspiring example of development, it also has lessons to teach us about working together across faith divides here. First, overcoming the depth of mistrust that existed in this community required a great deal

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Christian Aid/Jon Challicom

of time. Second, the interfaith encounter was driven by the need to deal with common issues of poverty and injustice; and finally, the encounter between faith communities became real when tangible progress had been made on those issues. Interfaith working requires time; it becomes real when people see positive outcomes and, most importantly for Christian Aid, a desire to tackle common issues can help drive the partnership. The common perspectives on poverty and injustice shared by the main faiths can provide a ‘safe space’ in which a multifaith encounter can start not in dialogue, as traditionally understood, but in common action towards an agreed goal. Over the past few years this

approach has seen me march with Muslims and Jews over climate change. I have joined Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists on platforms standing for global justice, and, more recently, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders joined Christian Aid to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. These partnerships have not only been effective in their aims, but have also been the start of genuine conversations that have deepened my understanding of other faiths and, because of the need for self-reflection, my own faith too. So what might this mean for Christian Aid supporters? Perhaps these national partnerships will be replicated between local mosques, synagogues and churches as we stand together

Above: houses built in the slum areas of Pagadian City, Mindanao, by SPI and Ummah fi Salaam Right: Maguid Maruhom, director of Ummah fi Salaam. After attending our conference in December, Maguid has been invited to join a prestigious interfaith group in the Philippines

against poverty and grow in friendship and understanding. Such interfaith partnerships have the capacity to have a real impact on global poverty and over time might move, not from dialogue to action, but instead from common action to real friendship and genuine dialogue. Christian Aid News

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Inpuatil your m

Dealing with disaster in Haiti and Bihar

Present incorrect? I have just returned from a trip to Madagascar. While there are many wonderful things on the island, one is left troubled by the scale of the grave environmental pressures there. One, for instance, concerns the spread of cattle grazing. Rural people, who are outside any banking system, hold their wealth in cattle. A top-quality animal costs around £250, I was told. However, more cattle mean more demand for grazing land. The result is an inexorable pressure to cut down the forests with all their richness and biodiversity. Christian Aid’s Present Aid catalogue lists many different types of livestock that can be given to people in the developing world. I appreciate that we must meet people’s needs today, as well as in the future. And I can understand people in the UK wanting to feel their present makes a direct contribution to some of the poorest people in the world. However, I do have concerns that encouraging a more livestock-intensive agricultural system may well be detrimental to long-term development as well as environmental goals. There are lots of excellent gifts in the catalogue such as bikes, teaching girls, and water projects. Would you consider gifts of education in better farming techniques instead of some of the livestock in a future edition? Martin Haigh London

Cultural legacy In response to John Burton’s email on population growth (Input, issue 42), is it not a little ironic that we who have more than enough should criticise those in the developing world who


have nothing? Surely the reason for large families in the developing world is that many such societies were traditionally agricultural and many hands were needed to work the land. Now that people have been forced into towns by unproductive land, they continue to have large families because it is part of their culture. We in the UK have a cultural legacy too. Years ago, men toiled in coal mines or steel works. Men dug canals, laid railway tracks and built steam engines with far less mechanisation than we have today. Work was physically very demanding, so we developed large appetites and ate big, starchy meals. Now that much of our work has become sedentary we still enjoy big, starchy meals and there’s an obesity epidemic. How many Ethiopians email Christian Aid blaming our obesity for the starvation of their countrymen? Chris Powell Maltby, Rotherham

Put education first While reading the letters in issue 42, I was alarmed by some of the comments about population growth. As an African, from Uganda, I do not think most people understand the daily reality of being poor in a poor country and I would like to make two points about this. First, in the UK people have a job and access to a pension, the welfare state, disability benefits, hospitals and other measures of support. In poor countries your children are your security, your pension and your welfare system. It makes sense to have many so that the burden of poverty can be spread and no doubt half will not survive into adulthood. In Kerala, India, there was

What price developm ent in a credit crunch?

How we put climate change on the map

In this issue The issue of overpopulation again provokes passionate responses from readers, as does Present Aid, climate change and, er, photographs in Christian Aid News...

Bringing fam back togetherilies

EastEnders actress Kara Tointon travels to Zambia to launch Christian Aid’s Christmas appeal in support of families fractured by poverty Issue 42

a drop in the number of children people had when the federal government provided better healthcare and education. Shouldn’t we concentrate on providing these kinds of measures? Second, it is very unfair for those of us who live in ‘developed’ countries to talk about population growth as a problem when we use up most of the world’s resources. On the same letters page a correspondent mentioned that the average energy bill for next year is likely to be £1,300 per household in the UK. I can assure you that the average African household will not be using up that much energy. Surely it is we in the ‘developed’ countries who need to change? Habiba Nabatu London

Living more lightly These days it is tempting to become wrapped up in striving for our own personal happiness. We don’t want to hear what we all need to be doing, which is living more lightly and looking after the earth. We have so much that is superfluous in our lives, and these goods do not make us happier, but use precious resources in production and inevitably end up in landfill. It is not a pleasant fact, but our western way of life needs to change. Oil and gas are finite resources – rather than stealing from future generations, let’s try to ensure that there is some left for them, at the same time

Winter 2008

reducing our CO² emissions. The Transition Movement aims to empower and inspire us towards a future using less oil. Their ideas paint a picture of a resilient, healthier and happier, community-based future. But to achieve it, we all need to act now. Claire Wise Seaton, Devon

Growing pains I was very pleased to see the question of population growth and sustainable population levels raised in the last issue of Christian Aid News (Input, issue 42). I am well aware that this is a politically incorrect area, as it might offend Christian fundamentalists, the Catholic church and probably many others. However, the role of population growth in the problems of the developing (and developed) worlds cannot be ignored. Eventually reality will triumph over dogma, although the process could be very uncomfortable for a great many people. The problems associated with excessive population growth are exacerbated by corrupt and inefficient administrations, unfair sharing of the world’s resources, poor care for the environment, and basic human nature. Yes, we must apply day-to-day relief in the many troubled areas of the world, but at the same time the underlying problems must also be addressed and not glossed over. Otherwise it is rather like applying a sticking

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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

It doesn’t add up God commanded Adam and Eve to ‘fill the Earth’. I would suggest that both the ability of households to financially afford to keep themselves and the ability of the planet to afford (or sustain) the lifestyle measure how full the Earth is. The conclusion is very sobering, not least because as households are, financially, more able to afford to keep themselves, their lifestyle outstrips what the planet can afford, while advertising and international economics promote this trend. Elaine Pierpont via email

Space race In 1987 I visited Malawi in a group that included the former Archbishop of Africa,

Carbon equation In response to the West’s call for countries like China and India to set targets to reduce carbon emissions, their response has been that their emissions are much lower per capita and that therefore they should be allowed to move their emissions closer to ours. I can quite see why they might want to use this as a bargaining chip but, at a time when the world’s population is expanding exponentially, this is a recipe for a huge increase in emissions. The effects of emissions are related to land area. The wider the area over which a given level of emissions is released, the less impact it will have on the climate. Land area is more or less fixed while population is growing. Using this indicator will help countries with growing populations avoid the smog which has been so prevalent in industrial cities and help the world reduce emissions in a way which is fair to all. Ken Ilett Walsall

Questions for Euro-candidates As we campaign towards the Copenhagen climate summit in December, we need to keep in mind that both the European Parliament and the European Commission will change in composition during this year. Questions about combatting climate change need to be asked of parliamentary candidates at hustings this spring. Our national governments need to be pressured to accept nothing less than a Commission that takes trade justice and development seriously. Kaihsu Tai Oxford

Overpopulation needs a joint effort I do not think that the problem of overpopulation can be tackled by Christian Aid alone. Could all relevant agencies not get together to plan a comprehensive family-planning programme? Achieving this will not be easy, and results will inevitably be slow. However, we have been hearing for years that 5,000 children under five die every day. This number never seems to get any lower, in spite of the efforts of aid workers. My great-grandmother gave birth to nine children before her death in 1863 aged 41. Five of the children died between the ages of three months and eight years. I think she would have been glad of contraceptive advice had it been available. Mrs E Brown Wallasey, Merseyside

Pleasing some of the people‌ I thought that the photography section in the last edition of Christian Aid News (see below) had some wonderful images. Nicola McIvor Lisburn, Co Antrim

‌some of the time I found some of the photos in ‘The Big Picture’ special in the last issue less than informative. Keep up the good work, but please avoid meaningless arty photos. M Hugh-Jones Oxford /Â…iĂŠLˆ}ĂŠÂŤÂˆVĂŒĂ•Ă€i ÂœĂœiĂ€vĂ•Â?ĂŠÂˆÂ“>}iĂƒĂŠĂŒÂœĂŠ



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I was saddened by readers’ comments on overpopulation. Do we understand the sacredness of our God-given sexuality? It is a gift for procreation, and for cementing the love of a couple, into himself. Unfortunately, the world looks at sex as just another form of social recreation. Let’s have education by all means, but in its rightful context. Issuing contraception like sweets, and promoting abortion, is very irresponsible and damaging, both physically and spiritually. Also, we are setting a poor example to poorer countries with our materialistic attitudes and reckless mismanagement of our natural resources. Joe Viotto Gillingham, Kent



A poor example

the Right Reverend Donald Arden. We visited many health clinics and learned of the success of the Malawian ‘child-spacing’ programme. We were told that when doctors had tried to introduce ‘family planning’ schemes few families or communities would consider them because family planning was viewed as limiting the size of the family. However, ‘child-spacing’ was much more successful. It was explained that a family could have as many children as they wanted, but should space them at least two years apart. Semantics? Possibly, but it seemed to be working. Babies were surviving and mothers were healthier. Jane Reynolds Barnsley, Yorkshire


plaster to a body haemorrhaging from an unknown cause and hoping things will be all right. Neil Hancox Abingdon, Oxon

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Do theing right th


Nadia Kabula now runs a tailoring training course, thanks to money raised during Christian Aid Week

Christian Aid/Heidi Bradner

How your home insurance could help Christian Aid

Be part of Britain’s longest-running fundraising week! Christian Aid is gearing up for the biggest date in its calendar – Christian Aid Week. And if you’re planning to get involved, we’ve a special request for you THIRTEEN MILLION red envelopes, 300,000 volunteers, thousands of sponsorship events, and 1,500 Quizaid quizzes can only mean one thing – Christian Aid Week, which this year takes place from 10-16 May. Launched in 1957, Christian Aid Week is famous for the distinctive red envelope dropping through millions of letterboxes. Last year an amazing £14.7 million was raised to fund work with some of the world’s poorest communities. The money raised has helped people such as 18-year-old Nadia Kabula (pictured above) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When her father died, Nadia’s family struggled desperately to make ends meet. A tailoring course run by Christian Aid partner Humanité Nouvelle has allowed Nadia to imagine a brighter future – and she hopes one day to open her own business. Meanwhile, Nadia is giving others the chance of a fuller life by passing on her


skills and her love of fashion to other young girls in her community. ‘Humanité Nouvelle has given me education for life,’ says Nadia. ‘Our supporters constantly amaze me, especially during Christian Aid Week,’ says Anne Phipps, head of church marketing and appeals. ‘Whether they are collecting door-to-door, putting quiz teams together, or doing 101 other exciting and amazing fundraising events, the commitment is phenomenal.’ And this year, Christian Aid is asking collectors and supporters to respond to a special online survey. ‘This year we want the world to know about every street collection, fundraising challenge or Christian Aid Week event,’ says Anne. ‘At we’re creating an online community of volunteers, supporters, activists and enthusiasts, so please go online and add the details of whatever you are doing.’

CHRISTIAN AID has announced a new relationship with insurance provider Ecclesiastical Insurance that can benefit both you and our work. We’ve negotiated a ten per cent discount for supporters on home insurance, and an agreement that ten per cent of your first annual premium will go straight to Christian Aid. This donation will average around £20 – enough, for example, to pay the labour costs of building a house for a family made homeless by floods in Bangladesh. Through this partnership we’re hoping to raise £250,000 over the next five years to fight poverty and injustice. Matthew Reed, director of marketing and supporter care, comments: ‘I am delighted to welcome Ecclesiastical Insurance as a new corporate partner for Christian Aid. There is a strong fit between the values of our two organisations, and this scheme offers our supporters a way to raise money for our vital work while making savings on a product which most of us need to buy.’ And if your existing policy is not yet up for renewal, you can still raise money for Christian Aid just by telling Ecclesiastical your home-insurance renewal month. They have pledged 50p for every renewal date that they receive by 30 June 2009. It won’t commit you to or cost you anything, but it will raise funds for our work. For more information, see the home-insurance advert on the inside back cover.

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17/2/09 11:00:58

Stock the choc call to Tesco DIVINE, THE Fairtrade farmer-owned chocolate that Christian Aid has supported since its launch in 1998, has a big ‘ask’ for our supporters. Tesco has stocked one or two bars of Divine for years in some of its stores, but has signalled its plans to reduce the number of stores taking it and to replace it with Tesco own-label

fair-trade chocolate. Now Divine and Kuapa Kokoo, the Ghanaian farmers’ cooperative that owns the company and shares its profits, is asking Christian Aid supporters: ‘Please ask your local Tesco store to stock Divine.’ Divine is both your brand and the farmers’ brand. It is so much more than fair trade – through farmer-ownership, it bridges the gap between producer and consumer, and ensures that farmers share in the wealth they are indirectly creating. Let Tesco know that you still want the choice. You can help make change happen. If thousands of people ask for Divine, we can help to keep it in Tesco’s

2,184 stores around the country. Download a request postcard at We will let you know what happens. Power to your shopping trolley!

Give your life an ethical spring clean enquiries number: 118 708. It’s cheaper than other muchadvertised services, and 9p from every call is donated to us. Putting the number in your phone and encouraging friends, family and colleagues to use it can make a big difference to our work. Calls to 118 708 cost 14p per minute or part thereof, with a 59p connection charge from BT landlines. Mobiles and other network prices may vary. Prices correct at March 2009.

● Recycling old mobile phones and ink cartridges is not only green but can also raise vital funds. Both items can now be recycled using just one envelope, cutting down on packaging and benefitting the environment. A total of £4 for every mobile phone recycled and £1 for every ink cartridge will be donated to us. With an estimated 90 million phones hidden in drawers and

cupboards across the UK, that’s a lot of cash that could be helping some of the poorest communities tackle the effects of climate change, fight HIV, and gain access to clean water. Freepost recycling envelopes can be ordered at christianaid or by calling 0845 130 2010. Free collections can be arranged for bulk recycling for offices and schools. Your lifestyle choices can help communities gain access to a better future

Christian Aid/Elaine Duigenan

SPRING IS a great time to think about clearing out bad habits and making more ethical lifestyle choices. At Christian Aid we have a range of partners who make a donation to the charity every time a supporter chooses one of their products or services. Here are a few ideas about how your lifestyle choices can make a difference. ● If you’d like to check that you’re still getting the best deal on your gas and electricity bills, you can use our Switch and Give comparison service, which could save you more than £350 a year and provide a donation of up to £20 to Christian Aid. If you choose to switch your electricity to renewable energy supplier Ecotricity, you will receive four free light bulbs and a price match on your regional tariff, while Christian Aid will receive a £25 donation towards its work in around 50 of the world’s poorest countries. To get Ecotricity phone 0800 032 6100 and quote Christian Aid. You can call Switch and Give free on 0800 074 0743. ● Christian Aid has also launched its own directory

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Get your boots on! We all know walking is good for us, but with Christian Aid, walking is good for others too. By joining one of our walking events, you’ll be giving poor communities around the world the chance of a better life

Christian Aid/Jiri Rezac

They came, they saw, they posed for pictures: these Christian Aid trekkers took on the 2008 Hadrian’s Wall challenge

Hadrian’s Wall Last July Mike and Helen Playdon from Leicester put on their walking shoes, trekked 25 miles along Hadrian’s Wall and raised an awesome £2,700. Although Helen had recently had a double knee-replacement, she found it hard to decide what she enjoyed most about the trek. ‘The scenery, the company and the amazing finish complete with a round of applause all scored highly,’ she said. They both enjoy walking, but it was the challenge of trekking and fundraising which really persuaded them both. ‘Fundraising was easy once we started asking friends and family,’ Mike added. ‘People were extremely generous, far more than we expected, and when Helen decided to


Christian Aid News

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make bread and marmalade and sell it on, we knew we’d reach our target.’ Hadrian’s Wall is a two-day trek that will take you across the remaining sections of this historic Roman landmark. You’ll visit sites such as Birdoswald Fort, experience some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK and get back to nature by camping for two nights. Mike loved the ‘fun and the challenge’ of the longdistance walk and has no hesitation in urging others to follow in their footsteps. ‘When the trekking got tough, we realised that it’s nothing compared to the daily struggle of people living in poverty all over the developing world and we knew that joining this Christian Aid event meant we’d be changing lives.’

Holy Island Midnight Challenge If you could rustle up a group of like-minded souls who are up for a challenge,

we’ve got just the event for all of you. We’re looking for 25 teams of four to take part in this new Christian Aid-exclusive endurance event that will not only test your physical stamina, but also your mental willpower. You will be walking 60 miles in 30 hours, trekking through the night as you follow the fascinating trail of St Cuthbert, the seventhcentury saint, along a route that runs from the historic town of Melrose in the Scottish borders to the religious site of Holy Island. This stunning route passes a variety of landscapes – lush river valleys, hill tops, moorland, sand dunes, and a causeway that is only passable at low tide – just what you need for a Midnight Trekking Challenge! To be part of this event

Are you up for a trek to Holy Island?

For more pictures and stories on challenge events go to

17/2/09 11:02:21

you need to register a team of four walkers plus a support crew for a total fee of £99 and agree to raise a minimum sponsorship of £2,500. Jane Bennett from Essex took part in our team challenge last year, and says the encouragement and support she got from her fellow team members made it much more fun. ‘The fundraising was easier because every member could do their bit, and in the end our team of four raised £4,500!’ Ruth Ruderham, head of fundraising, says: ‘By joining a fundraising event people aren’t just challenging themselves; they’re challenging the consequences and causes of poverty around the world.’ For more information about all of Christian Aid’s fundraising events, or to register, go to www. or ring 020 7523 2248.

Beijing star backs our bike ride British Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins is backing Christian Aid’s London to Paris Bike Ride. The winner of two gold medals at last year’s Beijing Olympics lent the ride his personal endorsement, saying: ‘This is an exciting event bringing together cyclists of all abilities on what is a really picturesque route – and they get to see the Tour de France at the end of the challenge! I encourage you to join the Christian Aid London to Paris Bike Ride team in 2009 for what will be a truly awesome experience.’

Challenge events calendar 2009 APRIL 26 April: Flora London Marathon Pound the streets of London in the world’s most famous marathon. If you’ve got a place, get in touch and we’ll send you a free running vest and invitations to a post-race reception.

MAY 17 May: Bupa Great Manchester Run Add a little 10k to your Christian Aid Week. We’ve got 75 places to be filled in this race. If you’re new to running, this is an ideal distance to start, and even better, it’s the Sunday after Christian Aid Week. 25 May: Bupa London 10,000 Fancy running part of what will be the course of the 2012 Olympic marathon? We’ve got 15 places to fill in this 10k run, which takes in sights from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral. 31 May: Edinburgh Marathon With large downhill stretches, you breeze through this capital city, knowing you’re supporting poor communities around the world.

11-26 July: Land’s End to John O’Groats Bike Ride Sixteen days, three countries, more than 1,000 miles – and one amazing way of making a difference to poor communities around the world. 22-26 July: London to Paris Bike Ride Arrive triumphant in Paris in time to catch the Tour de France after cycling a momentous 300 miles. Christian Aid has 150 places to fill, so grab yours today!

SEPTEMBER 11-13 September: Holy Island Midnight Challenge We’re looking for teams of four to get together for this new event: walking the route of St Cuthbert’s Way, to Holy Island – before the tide comes in (see opposite). 18-21 September: London to Amsterdam Bike Ride A new three-day challenge takes you through the rolling country of East Anglia, to the idyllic (and flat!) vistas of rural Holland, winding up in beautiful, bike-friendly Amsterdam. 20 September: Bupa Great North Run Our biggest running event to date; we have 150 places in this, the world’s greatest half-marathon. Sign up today.

Pentland Hills, just south of Edinburgh (1 November).

DECEMBER London to Copenhagen Bike Ride Join our campaigners in Copenhagen for the UN conference on climate change. Keep it green by cycling there and raising money for Christian Aid. If those challenges sound a little, well, challenging, there are a number of sponsored walks taking place around the country to raise funds for Christian Aid. Here are some: 28 March: North Staffs Sponsored Walk, Tittesworth Reservoir, near Leek. A legendary Christian Aid event. Contact: John Bamford, tel 01782 516 137 12 April: 44th Halifax Long March, YMCA, Crossley Street, Halifax A 13- or 26-mile night hike through Calderdale. Contact: Leeds office, tel 0113 244 4764 9 May: Humber Bridge Cross, Hessle Country Park, Leeds. A there-andback-again walk across the famous east coast landmark. Contact: Gill Dalby, tel 01482 504 203

JULY 3-5 July: Hadrian’s Wall This two-day trek will take you back 2,000 years in time to discover Roman landmarks and some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK (see opposite).

OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER 25 October, 1 November: British Military Fitness Runs There are 5k and 10k runs taking place in Redhill, Surrey (25 October) and the

Register online today or find out about events in your local area by visiting uk/events or give us a ring on 020 7523 2248.

17 May: Circle the City A sponsored walk around the City of London. Contact: 020 7523 2248 4 July: Sheffield Night Hike, St Luke’s Church, Lodge Moor. A 17-mile hike in the Peak District. Contact: Leeds office, tel 0113 244 4764.

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People Power

Make a difference. Be inspired.

HOW WENDY GOT CHRISTMAS LICKED Christian Aid volunteer Wendy Evans was seen all around the world in the run-up to Christmas – as the Wicked Queen on the Royal Mail’s 81p Christmas stamp

WENDY EVANS, who looks after Christian Aid collections and activities for Hayling Island in

Hampshire, is also an actress, singer, presenter and producer, and is used to the occasional flirtation with the limelight. But she was as surprised as anyone when she went to buy some stamps for her Christmas post and was handed some with her face on. ‘The original shoot was done back in November 2007 for a pitch by design company So Design in Bristol, which was bidding to get the stamp job,’ explains Wendy. ‘Apparently, the Royal Mail was so impressed with

Oliver’s twist for Present Aid A schoolboy and his friends have done their bit to combat poverty WHEN TEN-YEAR-OLD Oliver Woodford picked up the Present Aid catalogue that fell out of his dad’s newspaper, he decided that he wanted one of the gifts for Christmas. Oliver’s dad, Nigel, suggested that if he got classmates involved then he could buy some Present Aid items for his school, Grafton Primary in Holloway, north London. So with the help of his pal Kierran Kelly and his teachers, Oliver (far right, with Kierran) organised a bring-and-buy at the school’s Christmas fair, raising £271.20. The school then bought a beehive, 16 ducks, a watering can, a community tap stand, 250 saplings, a rainwater harvester, eight turkeys, and a baby buffalo! Oliver’s favourite gift idea was the tree saplings, which hold the soil together and help prevent vital water supplies drying out, ‘because you get quite a lot and they do a big purpose even though they are quite small’. A bit like Oliver and his friends, really… ● See


the shots that it used the same pictures rather than re-shoot them. ‘Like most of the work I do, I forgot all about it until I went to buy some stamps and there was my face! I stuck the stamp on my uncle’s birthday card, which I sent to Australia, and put an arrow saying: “This is me!” ‘There have been many jokes from friends and family about people franking my face and licking my backside!’ Wendy’s story was picked up by national and local papers and on radio and TV. ‘It has been fun,’ she says, ‘but I am happy to fade back into obscurity.’

Piano aid A young musician born with Down’s syndrome has made a CD, with half the profits going to Christian Aid STUDENT Meilyr Tomos, 19, from Eglwyswrw in north Pembrokeshire, who plays the organ at his village church, believes that he can do a lot of important things in his life. ‘To prove this,’ he says, ‘I decided to produce a CD of me playing the piano to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association and Christian Aid. ‘We have supported Christian Aid ever since I can remember. We volunteer on the stall at the National Eisteddfod every year and raise money locally.’ The CD, Arbennig i Anghenion (Especially for Needs), is a mix of hymn tunes and traditional and popular songs, and is available from Welsh shops and the Christian Aid offices in Wales. The photo of Meilyr (above) is part of a touring exhibition showing how young people with Down’s syndrome can play a full part in their community. You can order the CD by phone on 01267 237 257 or by emailing

Christian Aid News

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Insure your home‌ for more! More for you • Five-star cover from Ecclesiastical – as evaluated by independent researchers Defaqto • Ten per cent discount for Christian Aid supporters • Save another ten per cent if you buy online

More for Christian Aid • £20 donation (That’s the average amount Christian Aid will receive from Ecclesiastical for each policy sold)* • 50p to Christian Aid for every home insurance policy renewal date given to Ecclesiastical before 30 June 2009** Call or go online now If your home insurance is due for renewal soon, contact Ecclesiastical for a quote. If not, just provide your renewal date. Christian Aid will receive 50p,** and Ecclesiastical will get back to you nearer the time with a quote.

Call 0800 731 7616 Lines open 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Or visit *Maximum of one policy and donation per household. The donation to Christian Aid will amount to ten per cent of your home insurance premium. **A 50p donation will only be made for one renewal date per Christian Aid supporter household. For full details of the renewal date offer, visit Terms and conditions apply – please refer to summary of cover for details. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc. (EIO) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ, UK. (Reg. No. 24869). Christian Aid Trading Limited (Company No. 1001742) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of EIO.

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FREE, just to make sure you try it.

Help us to help Christian Aid. For every free trial weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll donate ÂŁ20 to Christian Aid.

International Contributors from around the world. Independent Free from shareholder and corporate advertisersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inďŹ&#x201A;uence. Intelligent New Internationalist takes you beyond the headlines to give you a fresh, global perspective.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;New Internationalist is full of intelligence and useful insights. Everyone who wants to understand the world should read it.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; George Monbiot No Obligation. We're conďŹ dent that once you've read your FREE copies of New Internationalist you'll never want to be without it again. However, if you decide it's not for you that's ďŹ ne. We'll still make the donation to Christian Aid and you won't pay a penny. or 01858 438896

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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.

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Christian Aid News 43 - Spring 2009  

Christian Aid News 43 - Spring 2009

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