The history of CAFOD’s debt campaigning

Maria Elena Arana, CAFOD’s Campaign Outreach Coordinator, shares three moments of CAFOD’s debt campaigning history and how you can get involved today.

1997: Fair Deal for the Poor 

I started work in CAFOD’s campaign team back in summer 1991. CAFOD then was in the third year of the environment campaign Renewing the Earth.

During the 1990s, CAFOD supported policy forums that were looking at the impact of debt in increasing poverty in many developing countries across the world, but particularly in sub Saharan Africa. These issues became a key component of the CAFOD Fair Deal for the Poor campaign launched in 1997.

Today, CAFOD still calling for debt cancellation for the poorest countries, sign the petition now.

1998: Jubilee 2000

CAFOD was a founder member of the Jubilee 2000 Coalition, campaigning on debt cancellation for the poorest countries.

On 18 May 1998, the same day at the FA Cup final that year, a human chain of over 70,000 campaigners surrounded a meeting of leaders from the world’s richest countries – the G8 – in Birmingham.

By the end of the Jubilee 2000 campaign, over 300,000 CAFOD supporters had signed the Jubilee 2000 petition.

Twenty-three of the world’s poorest countries have received debt cancellation totalling over US $87 billion. As a result, spending on public services rose in all these countries: an average increase of around 40 per cent on education and a massive 70 per cent on healthcare.

2000-2004: Debt cancellation in Africa

When primary-school fees in Uganda were cancelled due to debt relief, the number of children enrolled in primary schools more than doubled, to more than five million, over the next four years.

Enrolments doubled again in the four years after that.

Twenty million more African children entered school thanks to debt cancellation and targeted aid increases between 2000 and 2004. Money freed up through debt cancellation helped build classrooms and provide training for teachers.

2020: Speak up to cancel the debt

In April 2020, the G20 group of the world’s largest economies announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 70 countries could stop making debt payments over the next eight months to the countries they owe.

This would save around $12 billion. This is a welcome step, however, debts must be cancelled – not just suspended.

Sign our petition asking the Prime Minister to cancel all debt payments by developing countries due in 2020 and 2021 so that countries can spend money on much needed healthcare rather than debt repayments.

Sign the petition today

Join us for an online talk about life in El Salvador

Last year, a group of CAFOD volunteers and local representatives went to El Salvador. In this online talk, they will share their incredible experiences.

El Salvador is a country with a turbulent history: Despite the civil war in the country ending in January 1992, poverty, high unemployment and gang violence still make life very difficult, especially for women and young people.

Farming communities are struggling to grow their crops on poor land.

Climate change is causing more extreme weather in El Salvador with floods, droughts and tropical storms becoming more frequent.

 

CAFOD has worked with local partners and communities in El Salvador since 1974.

We are inspired by Saint Oscar Romero and his insistence on the need for peace, justice, equality and respect for human rights.

 

In El Salvador, our projects focus on agriculture, promoting a culture of peace and justice, and empowering women.

Please join us on Tuesday 28 July at 11 am-12 noon with the priests and volunteers who visited El Salvador, to learn more about the rich history and our work in the country today.

Register to join us.

 

It’s not too late to join us today at 6 pm for our Eucharistic celebration

Abbé Michel Kabongenaje leads mass in the Ebola-hit town of Mambasa, DRC. The Abbé frquently preaches about the dangers of Ebola to his congregation.

As churches across the country begin to slowly reopen, we wanted to organise an online service to allow our CAFOD community from around the country and world to come together to celebrate mass.

On Wednesday 22 July, at 6 pm, we will join in solidarity and prayer to celebrate a live-streamed Mass.

The event is open to communities across the UK, as well as to CAFOD partners and communities around the world.

Jo Kitterick, CAFOD’s Head of Fundraising and Participation, said:

“Online sessions give families, friends and volunteers an opportunity to celebrate their faith in a way that is familiar at a time when we are being challenged and asked to do things so differently.

“During these tough times, it is so wonderful to be able to reach out to each other and to those who are feeling physically distant from the ones they love and their traditional places of worship – and virtually come together as a community and Catholic family.”

It is hoped that the online Mass will be an opportunity for us to come together in prayer, joined by communities and partners from across the world.

Please register to join us.

DEC Coronavirus appeal raises £10 million in first week – helping charities like CAFOD to respond as first cases reported in Northern Syria

This week, thanks to the generosity of the UK public, the Disasters Emergency Committee – of which CAFOD is a member – Coronavirus Appeal has raised an incredible £10 million to help those living in the most fragile states.

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal will help the most vulnerable people in six of the world’s most fragile states: Yemen and Syria; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afghanistan.

Donate now

In Syria, our local partners on the ground are reporting urgent concerns about the risks of the virus spreading, as vulnerable people are unable to take the basic measures to protect themselves.

Mustafa, 28, a frontline worker supported by CAFOD, lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people.

He explained how they are preparing for what he calls ‘an explosion of coronavirus’ in the camps. He said:

“My heart is beating so hard; we are expecting an explosion of coronavirus in the camps.

The coming days are really critical for us.

“Doctors are preparing for the spread of the virus. People live in large overcrowded settlements in tents with maybe 12 people and no access to clean water. It will be a catastrophe. Disaster. Please help them.”

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal now

Continue reading

The role of faith-based charities in time of pandemic

The DEC’s faith-based charities: CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Tearfund and World Vision – can play an essential role not only in terms of community outreach and messaging relevant to prevention ( i.e. in promoting safe spacing precautions and essential behavioural change), but also in terms of dealing with the mental impact and long term effects of pandemics.

Faith leaders have potential for awareness raising in a way that is more trusted by local communities, complementing and reinforcing the work of national authorities and the global public health and humanitarian response.

Faith communities often play a vital role in helping the most vulnerable to have access to soap, water, hygiene kits (which contain a bowl, soap, shampoo, sanitary pads and toothbrushes, among other essential items) and can mobilise the wider community to counteract the stigma of quarantine and sickness, and to support families in isolation.

In order to continue protecting and improving the lives of those in poor communities, your gifts are needed now more than ever. Your essential support will help families survive.

Please support this urgent appeal, if you can.

And keep our global family in your prayers. 

£6 can buy a hygiene package for a vulnerable family containing soap, washing powder and reusable face masks

£33 can give a religious leader information about Coronavirus, which they can share with their community.

£260 can write, edit and broadcast a 30-second radio advert sharing news about Coronavirus with isolated communities.

Click below to see the latest DEC Coronavirus appeal message, featuring Mustafa, a local water expert, supported by CAFOD in Syria.

296422_DEC_Coronavirus_Coupon_340x262_Red_I_No_Coupon_05

Welsh cyclists urge public to join global Coronavirus appeal

Three Welsh cyclists – two of which now work for the NHS – have called on the people of Wales to join the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal, which is working to help the world’s most vulnerable communities threatened by Covid-19.

In a video message Rachel Draper, a coach at Welsh Cycling and former double World Champion cyclist, was joined by retired cycling husband and wife, Olympian, Ciara Oliva (nee Horne) and Commonwealth champion, Lewis Oliva – who now both work for the NHS – to call for support of the DEC appeal in Wales.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has touched many people in our towns and communities across Wales,” explained Ciara, who was an Olympian at Rio 2016, European Champion, a double World Cup winner and World Championship medallist.

“Sadly, families have lost loved ones. We’ve had to adapt to a new way of doing things, working, shopping, exercising, but perhaps most of all we have missed being able to get together with our closest friends and family.

“But we know from our own experience, here at home, that simple steps, taking simple precautions makes a huge difference.”

Now, a full-time physiotherapist with the NHS, Ciara explained how the appeal shows the dire need in poorest countries around the world.

In countries like Yemen, Syria and Sudan, families who have already had to flee violent conflict, now they face the new threat of coronavirus, without the precautions to protect themselves.

Ciara continued: “In some countries, volunteers use bikes to travel out to very remote communities to give them vital information about to how to prevent infection from Covid-19.  As elite cyclists, we salute their effort, commitment, and determination to get the job done and save lives.

“Here in Wales, we have been told, time and again, how important it is to wash our own hands frequently, to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

“It’s easy for us because we can turn on the tap at home and out comes clean water. So clean, we can drink it. But in many countries around the world, the very thing that is essential for handwashing – clean water – just isn’t available.”

Cyclist Lewis Oliva, who spent six years with British cycling, winning medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, World Cup and European and Commonwealth Games, before going onto study medicine at Cardiff University, added:

“We know the charities that make up the DEC have unique expertise and when those charities come together to launch an appeal, things must be serious.

“Charities like CAFOD, a member of the DEC, are already on the ground in places like Syria, doing what they can, but they need our help.

“The need is urgent. But together, we can help families protect themselves with water, soap, handwashing stations and healthcare information.”

Whatever you can give, however small, it will make a huge difference to help us reach and protect the most vulnerable people who have already lost everything.

 

Donate today.

 

How does the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) help CAFOD scale up?

Matthew Carter, Head of Humanitarian Programmes at CAFOD with Pope Francis

Join us tomorrow morning – Thursday 16 July at 10:30 am  – to join Matthew Carter, Head of Humanitarian Programmes and Damian Conlin, Head of Supporter Fundraising at CAFOD – in conversation.

They will  be giving us the inside story on how the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal helps CAFOD scale up protection for people who have lost everything in countries like Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo…

Register to attend with your name and email address using the following link below on your phone, tablet or computer. 

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3803459618244039949

Continue reading

CAFOD joins DEC Coronavirus Appeal

CAFOD has joined forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help millions of vulnerable people, whose lives are at risk as the Coronavirus pandemic spreads – and we are inviting communities and parishes across England and Wales to get involved.

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said:

“In the UK, our struggle against coronavirus has entered the next phase, but in many of the world’s poorest communities, the fight has only just begun.”

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus appeal today

Millions of families living in crowded camps or makeshift shelters are having to face the coronavirus with little access to running water, soap, or medical aid.

Families who have been forced to flee their homes in places like Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic of Congo, are especially vulnerable.

Continue reading

Sarah’s Stars

Sarah O’Kane is a star volunteer for CAFOD in her wonderful parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Mumbles, Swansea and a school volunteer in her local schools.

Sarah volunteered with our dear friend Sue Philippart, who tragically died in March. But Sue continues to be her inspiration.  And now Sarah is crocheting Stars for CAFOD.

We all miss Sue dreadfully, but I think, well I know, that Sue would absolutely love and support Sarah’s efforts and commitment to build a Summer of Hope.

Sarah says she is passionate about CAFOD’s work because of its sustainability.

We work in partnership with our local experts, whether priest, midwife or water engineer. They understand what people need as they are part of the community.

At this difficult time, as you can imagine, CAFOD is working very hard to support ongoing essential projects as well as re-purposing grants in communities that are coping with the devastating effects of the Coronavirus.

Continue reading

Virtual Pilgrimage to Holy Island with our friends in the North – it’s not too late to join in for a few days…

With the help of parishioners from across the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, CAFOD (@CAFODHN)  is on “virtual” pilgrimage to Holy Island (1-11 July).

The virtual pilgrimage will feature daily reflection and prayer, stories from past pilgrims and will end with a special Mass at 3.00 pm on Saturday 11 July 2020.

For more information visit CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle’s

There’s still time to journey with our friends as they discover the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, through reflections, memories, photographs and prayer.

In the footsteps of saints and in the spirit of CAFOD, get involved. 👇

cafodhexhamnewcastle.wordpress.com 

Pilgrims (from above)