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

The Plan for a green, fair and healthy recovery – The Climate Coalition (CAFOD is a member)

Read the lettersent to the Prime Minister on 15 June – signed by The Climate Coalition, including, Christine Allen (CAFOD, Director).

“Ministers have said a lot about drawing up recovery plans which recognise that helping the economy means creating green jobs and investing in measures to protect our common home. Now we need the Prime Minister to turn words into actions.

“As we emerge from this crisis, we must put in place the policies to halt the climate crisis, as well as cancel debt payments for the world’s poorest countries as they deal with the effects of both of these emergencies.”

Click to access Green+recovery+plan+final+1.pdf

Five ways you can join in our Coronavirus appeal

There are many ways to get involved in our Coronavirus appeal and here we’ve listed a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Share on social media

We always share our latest updates and news on all our social media channels. Make sure that you are following our social media pages: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Click to follow us here: Twitter  Facebook  and Instagram Instagram (South Wales account) so you can be the first to hear about the latest developments in our projects and programmes and keep up-to-date with what is happening locally.

  1. Organise an event for our Summer of Hope

This summer, like never before, we are called to be signs of hope for our world.

And you can get involved by getting your friends, family and community together to virtually recreate a summer event, while fundraising for our Coronavirus appeal.

Could you get family on friends together online and come up with some quiz questions for fun, and donate or organise a virtual parish pilgrimage, getting sponsored for each mile walked?

Jane Davies from St Michael & All Angels parish at Belmont Abbey in Hereford recently took up this challenge and you can visit her fundraising page here: (21 mile sponsored walk). 

Check our A-Z fundraising guide for more ideas.

  1. Ask your friends to sign our petition for overseas debt cancellation

Through his Easter Urbi et Orbi message of hope, Pope Francis called for the whole world to be united in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Urging us all to reject indifference, he called for the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt that is “burdening the balance sheet of the poorest nations.

The spread of Coronavirus to countries with poor health systems will be devastating.  By cancelling debt payments, this money can be diverted to the health systems and infrastructure that is desperately needed.

At CAFOD we recently launched a petition asking the government to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised people are the priority in the UK’s international efforts as well as at home.

As Pope Francis reminds us, together we can speak out against a ‘globalisation of indifference’. We can use our voices to call for a fair and just political response

Make sure to sign and share our petition to help protect the world’s most vulnerable

  1. Get your parish or church group together for a virtual a Coronavirus prayer morning

We are so often told by the communities that we work alongside that prayers from communities in the UK are so powerful and meaningful to them.

Your prayers help to connect us as a global family and shows great solidarity and support.

So, why not get your parish group together for a prayer meeting and together reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our global brothers and sisters?

We have a selection of coronavirus prayers available for download

 

5. Donate the price of your coffee, haircut, or gym membership to the coronavirus appeal.

When lockdown meant that Jacquelyn and Alan Williams couldn’t frequent their local coffee shop, they decided to set up their own garden café and donate the price of their daily coffee to CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal.

Jacqueline said: “Before the lockdown, we never really thought anything about going a few times a week for a quick coffee and cake, but since we’ve been in lockdown, we realised how much we missed that experience. So, we decided to recreate it in our own garden – and it’s been a real treat! We wanted to do this to show everyone how easy it is to fundraise and help others.

It doesn’t have to be something big.

A small gesture really can make a big difference.”

Why not follow Jacqueline and Alan’s lead and donate the price of something you’ve saved to help families around the world?

 

We say THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers – Celebrate together this Volunteers’ Week with Mass at 6 pm today (Thursday 4 June)

This is National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June)  – an annual celebration of the millions of people who give up their time to help their communities and country. And this year, there are more people to thank than ever before.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen some amazing feats of volunteering to support the Coronavirus response both here and overseas.

“Over the past few months, here at CAFOD we have seen our numbers of volunteers and the time they are willing to give increase – equating to over 100,000 extra hours volunteered to help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Jane Davies (from St Miichael & All Angels parish, Belmont Abbey is doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Coronavirus appeal – Thank you Jane!

Volunteering in numbers

  • Across the UK, 11.9 million people formally volunteered at least once a month in 2017/18.
  • An amazing 6,305 CAFOD volunteers in England and Wales across 15 volunteering roles gave an average of 27,862 hours each month.
  • That’s the equivalent of 334,344 hours over the course of a year – a record-breaking 100,000 more hours than last year!

Join us

Every year, we hold volunteer events around the country to thank our amazing volunteers – and although our events may look a bit different this year, we’d still love for you to join us to celebrate what an amazing difference your volunteering has made.

Please join us on this evening (Thursday 4 June) at 6 pm for our Volunteers’ Week celebration online Mass.

Register to join us

 

Small steps towards sustainable living

Stella Westmacott – living simply

“I love peanut butter. It’s a staple part of my diet,” says Stella Westmacott, a retired solicitor and CAFOD volunteer. “But a lot of peanut butter contains palm oil, which is a hugely destructive industry.”

Stella and her husband, Paul, live on a remote farm in the Welsh countryside. They made the decision to live simply following retirement. They are now almost completely self-sustainable: producing their own electricity and water, recycling all waste, and growing plenty of food.

“But we can’t grow everything,” continues Stella. “So we try to make alternatives. I make peanut butter myself with a recipe that’s so simple – just peanuts, a pinch of salt and some sunflower oil. No palm oil involved!”

Stella shared with us her knowledge and top tips – the small steps you too can take towards living sustainably.

“When I retired, I went on a permaculture course and learned so much about water: how much is wasted with every flush; how grey water (the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, and washing machines, etc.) disappearing down the drain has devastating effects; how all this effects the ecosystem at large.

“Here, we are not on a mains water supply, but receive our water via a borehole directly on the property. Recently, I have noticed that rainfall is becoming more extreme in Wales – lots of rainfall, followed by drought. This has made us even more mindful about our water use.”

Stella volunteers for CAFOD because she recognises the similarities of her struggle to live sustainably with those vulnerable communities overseas.

Stella organising a Creation Celebration Mass with Fr Martin Donnelly

“We decided to install water butts to collect rainfall, as well as a compost toilet and a solar shower. We use the grey water in the garden. We make our own compost. We built a polytunnel so we can grow things all year round.”

Stella is also driven by a desire to reduce energy consumption. She is an environmentalist.

“We installed solar panels on the roofs to generate electricity for our home. This heats our water. If there is any excess electricity created, it goes straight back into the grid. We are also part of a local energy cooperative focusing on producing local renewable energy.”

But what are the challenges of living sustainably?

“One of our biggest challenges was cleaning. For most of my life, I used bleach to clean. Here, we have a septic tank system that decomposes waste. If inorganic materials like bleach are added, they kill the bacteria needed for the septic tank system to work properly. Therefore, I had to put my thinking cap on. After some research, I found alternative biodegradable products!”

Stella and Paul aim to create as little waste as possible.

“Of course, we do the usual: reduce, reuse, recycle. But the main thing we try to do is not create waste in the first place. We often try to repair things if they break, rather than buy replacements. I haven’t put a single black bag of waste out since we’ve been here. I compost food and regularly visit the recycling centre. I’m very mindful about what is going where.

“Being interested in the environment, I’ve always done my best to care for it. When I lived just outside Cardiff, I did litter picking on the beach. If you’re looking to start, you can do simple things like taking a carrier bag when you’re out and about and just picking up any litter you see.

Stella & Paul with fellow parishioners – showing solidarity with migrants and refugees – as part of CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign

“I’ve learned that everything we do, or don’t do, has an impact. It’s all about being aware of this, and doing our best to make sure that impact is not a negative one.”

This commitment to sustainability means Stella and Paul eat heartily.

“We grow artichokes, kale, beans and root vegetables, including carrots, onions and potatoes. In our polytunnel, we grow salad leaves, peppers, cucumbers, basil and coriander. We also grow lots of beetroots to make pickles, roasts and dips. We have apple trees, pear trees and strawberry beds. We inherited some asparagus beds, too.”

Inspired by her experiences, Stella thinks that everyone should have a go at growing something for themselves.

“If you have a garden and you don’t know where to start, just observe the garden for a while. Look to see where the sun is at different times of day. Think about the best places for plants to get sunlight. Begin by experimenting and trying different things.

“If you only have a little bit of space, you can easily create a wildflower meadow to attract wildlife and insects to your garden.

“I know not everyone has a garden, but you can even grow things on the windowsill, like lettuce, tomatoes and herbs. You can also grow things in pots.

“Growing things provides a deeper connection to nature, which has huge benefits for overall well-being.

“Most of the changes we have made are simple. Almost anyone can make the smaller changes in their own lives. It really takes no great skill or expertise – just an idea and a willingness to experiment.”

Find out more about CAFOD’s environmental work at cafod.org.uk/climate

The livesimply award is an opportunity for Catholic communities – parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies – to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.

It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living:

• simply

• in solidarity with people in poverty

• sustainably with creation.

Find out more about CAFOD’s liveSimply award

Take a look at our 100 liveSimply ideas

Stella’s commitment to a sustainable lifestyle with Paul is featured in the Catholic Universe this week.

Now is not the time to build barriers, but for the world to unite in love and compassion.

We need a global response to this global pandemic

People pray before Mass at a church service in the DRC. (celebrated by Abbé Michel Kabongenaje, who frequently preaches about the dangers of Ebola)

As we cope with lockdown, the coronavirus pandemic is changing all our lives.

For some of us it has been devastating, losing loved ones or desperately worrying about those who are vulnerable.

All of us feel the day-to-day impact, some facing financial hardship or working in a front-line role at greater risk.

But as people of faith, we also think of, and pray for, our sisters and brothers in developing countries who are facing this pandemic with fragile health systems:  some of which have almost no intensive care beds or ventilators.

Food prices have already risen with borders closing, the poorest are losing their jobs and income with wholesale shutdowns.

Furthermore, inadequate healthcare, lack of access to basic washing facilities and limited ability for social distancing inevitably increases the risk of contracting the disease on an incalculable scale.

Coronavirus is laying bare the inequalities that exist in our society, and for countries with health systems much more fragile than our own, the effects are likely to be even more devastating..

Despite being asked to stay at home we can still do something about this crisis.

We can use our voices here in the UK to ask our government to take practical, concrete actions to assist developing countries in the Coronavirus response.

We are all in this together, one global family. And as Pope Francis reminds us:

“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference” LS #52

Please will you sign the CAFOD petition to ask our government to work with other world leaders to help the most vulnerable people in our world to cope with this crisis?

To sign the petition online visit cafod.org.uk/coronaviruscampaign

What is the petition asking?  

It’s asking our Prime Minister to work with other world leaders to:

  •  Make sure that any vaccine developed with UK public money is made available to everyone regardless of income or where in the world they live.
  •  Provide urgent financial and technical support to help developing countries cope with this crisis.
  • Cancel all debt payments by developing countries due in 2020 so that countries can spend money on much needed healthcare rather than debt repayments.
  • Put plans in place to rebuild a fairer, more just society after the crisis so that the world’s most vulnerable people can live in dignity and to restore our common home for future generations.

 Please sign this petition to our Prime Minister today.  And please, please can we ask you to share it with your parish, your family and friends and your wider social network, if you can.

 

Even though we are no longer meeting face-to-face in parishes, there are new ways of connecting online, whether that is through parish websites, bulletins, emails or social media. 

We are in the midst of a public health challenge here in the UK, but sadly experience tells us that it will be far worse in the developing world, which is why we launched an EMERGENCY APPEAL two weeks ago.

We need a global response to this global problem and CAFOD is responding quickly. Our local experts are already in these communities helping those in need, preventing the spread of the virus and protecting lives.

We are providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses at this Catholic Health Clinic and Maternity Unit in Kailahun District, Sierra Leone:

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SUMMER OF HOPE

As we celebrate the fifth-year anniversary of Laudato Si’, now seems the perfect time to reflect on Pope Francis’ words from his ground-breaking encyclical.

His words, calling everyone to hear to ‘the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’ seem particularly apt during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, where we have seen communities come together in solidarity to tackle the virus.

And, in the scale of the global pandemic, we are often drawn to thinking that our individual actions can’t make a difference. Yet, Pope Francis reminds us that “all it takes is one good person to restore hope.”

So, this summer, we are calling you and your family to help restore hope in your local and our global community. We are calling on you to be the signs of hope for our world.

What can I do?

Getting involved is easy.

We are inviting everyone to get involved in the Summer of Hope by recreating at home the events you will miss this summer and transforming them into a sign of hope through raising money for CAFOD’s Coronavirus Appeal.

From sports days to summer fayres, we have a whole range of ideas you can reinvent at home in our A-Z of fundraising ideas.

You can hold your socially-distanced event with your family, school community or parish – and make sure to record your efforts on social media, tagging your photos and posts with @cafod #summerofhope.

Fundraising is easy through a JustGiving page and if you’d like any help, just drop us a phone call or email on [insert local details here]. You can also donate directly through the CAFOD website.

We can’t wait to see everything you get up to!

Dermot O’Leary backs CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal

Dermot O’Leary has added his backing to our Coronavirus Appeal for people living in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The TV and radio presenter said:

“Millions of people in developing countries face devastation from coronavirus and will be able to do nothing to stop it.

They need all the help they can get.

“That is why I am backing CAFOD’s fundraising appeal, so that people already living on the brink get some of the care and support we would want our own families to receive.”

“Please give whatever you can and help CAFOD’s local experts deliver food, provide clean water and train community leaders to help save lives.”

Donate now

What is my lockdown legacy?

Five years ago, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’ – a profound invitation to everyone on the planet to care for the earth, our common home. To mark its anniversary, Pope Francis invites us all to participate in Laudato Si’ week from 16-24 May.

During Laudato Si’ week, we at CAFOD are asking you to think about your hope for the world – to reflect and think about the world beyond lockdown.

To get involved, we are asking you to share what you want your lockdown legacy to be on social media using #LockdownLegacy and tagging @CAFOD.

Lots of people have already got involved.

Mrs Henderson from Manchester said: “My hope for the world is that we may never take the small things for granted because really they were the big things; the things that nourished our souls.”

While Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council, shared a message on twitter about his lockdown legacy around the environment and Laudato Si.

Listen to Councillor Sam Corcoran’s full message

We are really looking forward to hearing about your #lockdownledgacy

Bishop John Arnold hosts virtual mass for Laudato Si’ week

To mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si’, Bishop John Arnold of Salford is set to hold a special Mass and is inviting parishioners from across the country to join the online service.

Since churches were forced to close due to the lockdown, Priests across the country have leapt into action, organising online services so congregations can still celebrate together.

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, has been no exception hosting regular masses live-streamed from Salford Cathedral with the latest being planned for Wednesday 20 May, 6-7 pm, to mark the five year anniversary of Pope Francis environmental letter, Laudato Si’.

The Laudato Si’ Week Eucharistic Celebration with Bishop John Arnold will take place on Wednesday, 20 May 6-7 pm, you can tune into watch here: https://www.churchservices.tv/salfordcathedral

 

Laudato Si’ week – take a look at the events planned

TOMORROW – Laudato Si’ – volunteer prayer & chat, Tuesday 19 May @ 11 am
Five years after the publication of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si’, let’s come together online in prayer and reflection on caring for our common home. This online meeting will include a Bible reading, chance to reflect and share and a time of prayer together. Don’t forget to have a candle to light if you can.

NB ticket orders will close 1 hour before the start of the session in order to allow time for us to send you the link.

Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday with Bishop John Arnold, Wed 20 May @ 6pm

All are welcome to join together in solidarity and prayer to celebrate a special Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday during Laudato Si’ week. It will be streamed live from Salford Cathedral. We look forward to having you join us on 20 May at 6pm.

Motivating talk: Neil Thorns (CAFOD’s Head of Advocacy)  Thursday 21 May @ 11am

Join us online for an inspirational talk from CAFOD’s Head of Advocacy and find about the amazing people he meets in his work and how Laudato Si’ has affected him.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Coronavirus in Latin America with Clare Dixon, Tue 26 May @ 11 am

Local volunteers in Zimbabwe & Nigeria responding quickly in emergencies:Thu 28 May @ 11am

Bookings for all of these via the website: 

Deepening our commitment to Laudato Si’ – webinar today at 7.30 pm – need to register before 5 pm

Pope Frances has called all people of good will into an urgent conversation on the care of our common home, the Earth.

Laudato Si’ Week 2020 marks the 5th anniversary of his papal encyclical Laudato Si’ in 2015.

The need to hear the cry of the planet and the cry of the poor has never been more urgent.

Join us for this one hour gathering to deepen our commitment to living the message of Laudato Si’.

All supporters of Justice & Peace and CAFOD are invited to attend. The focus will be on the Diocese of Westminster in the UK, but we are happy to welcome participants from anywhere in the world!

Please register your details with Eventbrite by 5.00pm on Monday 18th May 2020 and we will send you the link for Zoom.

 

CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal

Last week, CAFOD launched an urgent appeal to respond to the unprecedented global challenge of tackling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

We are already working alongside local aid experts who are providing food and improving hand-washing and sanitation facilities in communities and households.

And, with churches who are using their networks to share hygiene messages through Catholic radio stations, and producing posters in local dialects on infection prevention.

With the help of generous communities across the UK, we hope to scale up this support.

Donate to CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal now

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said: “The potential scale of the pandemic across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East – as well as among refugee and displaced populations in places such as Syria, South Sudan and the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh – is truly frightening.

“We have a narrow window of opportunity to reach communities with the basics for life – food and clean water, and the messages they need on how best to keep safe. Donations have never been more urgent, providing steadfast support to those who are in greatest need”.

 

Coronavirus Appeal – raising awareness and prevention in Afghanistan

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