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 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.

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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

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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)

“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.

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How Coronavirus is affecting the indigenous people of the Amazon

A few weeks ago, we shared the story of Dario Kopenawa Yanomami, an indigenous leader from the Amazon rainforest, and the effect that Coronavirus is having on his community.

He shared how the virus has unfortunately already reached his community and forced some members to leave the village, retreating further into the forest for protection.

Learn more about CAFOD’s projects across Brazil

Dario said: “Today, the Yanomami people are very sad and worried. But we’re going to keep fighting this important battle against Coronavirus in our territories.”

Please join us on 11 am-12 noon, Thursday 2 July, where Cecilia Ilorio, CAFOD’s Country representative for Brazil, will be sharing updates on the situation in the Amazon.

She will speak about how we are working alongside communities to help them prepare for and respond to the threat of the Coronavirus pandemic, while also working alongside these communities to help them to safeguard their indigenous lands.

Together, we are working to improve indigenous peoples living conditions, health access and education so they cannot only survive the Coronavirus crisis but begin to rebuild and heal.

Register to join us.

Catholics across the country invited to take part in Holy Island ‘virtual’ pilgrimage (1-11 July)

Caption: Pilgrims making their way to the Holy Island

Many pilgrimages have been cancelled due to lockdown, but that does not mean that you can’t take part in a virtual pilgrimage.

From 1-11 July, everyone is invited to take part in a virtual pilgrimage to the Holy Island, Lindisfarne, as part of CAFOD’s Summer of Hope.

Join the pilgrimage now

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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?

 

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

Volunteer prayer reflection & virtual coffee morning this Thursday at 11 am

After such a delightful gathering of people at last week’s Mass in celebration of Volunteers’ Week, we would like to invite you all to join us this Thursday 11 June, 11 am-12 noon, for prayer and reflection.

This will be a great opportunity to meet with other volunteers from around the country, enjoy a short reflection and prayer.

 

 

It would be lovely if you could have a candle ready to light when you join the prayer.

After the reflection, there will be time to stay on the call for a virtual coffee morning, where you will have the chance to join a wider conversation.

Register to join us.

All welcome.