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.

“Stay home, stay safe!” But what if your home isn’t safe? The reality for thousands of Syrians…

Apologies for the lateness of this post, but yesterday evening (Tuesday 7 July between 7 and 8 pm), we held a special online talk about what it is like to live with Coronavirus in Syria and the surrounding countries.  Listen to the recording here.

Here in the UK, we are so used to hearing the message ‘stay home, stay safe’, but what if your home isn’t safe?’

This is reality for thousands of Syrians who were forced to flee their homes because of war and violence and are now displaced within their own country or are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

In Syria, there is real worry for people living in camps where overcrowding makes social distancing almost impossible and where the remaining healthcare facilities are extremely fragile. The extensive community networks of the Church in Syria mean that it is well placed to provide aid in some of the worst-hit and most inaccessible areas of the country.

Continue reading

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

Going above and beyond for our Coronavirus appeal

Ewan, 10, from Tavistock, cycled 320km to fundraise for CAFOD’s Coronavirus appeal.

Since lockdown began, CAFOD supporters across England and Wales have ​been breaking into a sweat to achieve amazing feat​s of: walking, cycling, and even paddle boarding, nearly half a million miles – the same distance to the moon and back – for our Coronavirus appeal.

Lockdown caused many activities and events to be cancelled. But that hasn’t stopped ​energetic women, children, young adults and men – CAFOD supporters and volunteers – raising vital ​money. ​

You’ve spent the last ten weeks being the ​pacesetters coming up with creative ways to fundraise.

Create your own fundraising challenge by checking out our A-Z of fundraising ideas.

Continue reading

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?

 

Recent online talks and dates for some future ones too…

Stories of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

 Apologies all – this was yesterday: Wednesday, 17 June 11 am-12 noon – but a recording will be available online shortly. 

Join us to hear about the inspiring work of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia with Ulrike Beck, CAFOD’s Programme manager in Colombia.

Register to join us.

Meet the Director – Geoff O’Donoghue

TODAY – Thursday, 18 June 11 am-12 noon 

Join us for to hear from Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, about the amazing people he meets in his work and how it has changed his life.

Register to join us.

CAFOD’s response to the global COVID-19 crisis – an update

Tuesday, 23 June 11 am-12 noon

Join us to hear from CAFOD’s panel of experts updating us on COVID-19 globally.
Claire Dixon Head of Region Latin America & Caribbean, Janet Symes Head of Region Asia & Middle East , Fergus Conmee Head of Region of Africa, John Birchenough Head of Humanitarian Programmes Africa and Jo Kitterick Head of Fundraising will report on situation in their region.

Register to join us.

 

Marking life’s key moments

Thursday, 25 June 11 am-12 noon

Hear from three amazing supporters who make CAFOD’s work possible. Find out how they are putting their faith into action, sharing hope and joy during life’s key moments.

Register to join us.

Past online talks

Browse all past online talks

Together, we can help communities to survive, rebuild, and heal

Join us TOMORROW (Thursday 18 June) from 11 am-12 noon to hear from Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, about the amazing people he meets in his work and how it has changed his life.

When speaking recently about the how generous acts of kindness by UK communities has impacted families overseas, he said:

“We are in awe of the generosity communities across England and Wales have shown. Thank you.

“It’s now over to our local experts and volunteers, who are already in affected areas. They have the knowledge and experience to help stop Coronavirus from devastating the most vulnerable communities in the world.

“Your donations will ensure that these front-line workers can put our global, three-part plan into place so that we can save lives now, protect the incredible progress we’ve made together towards ending poverty, and build a world that is kinder, healthier and more ready to deal with shocks in the future.

“This is a crisis that affects us all.

It will take all of us working together to survive, rebuild, and heal.”

Register to join us now

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