Micah Challenge Australia Blog

 

The Micah Challenge blog is a space for discussion and debate about the issues of global poverty, faith, advocacy and justice and the Millennium Development Goals. This blog aims to provoke thought and challenge you to learn more about the issues discussed. We welcome your comments.

Micah Challenge is a global campaign of Christians speaking out against poverty and injustice. Click here to visit the Micah Challenge website.

  • Why we disagree with the Government

    Posted by Ben

    21 December, 2012

    So many Micah Challenge supporters are telling the Government, "Don't Divert Aid", that they are already receiving standardised email replies from some politicians or being argued with by the staff who answer the phones in the politician's office. I think that's a sign that the campaign is getting through. So, following on from my previous post, I wanted to put in one place our reasons for disagreeing with the Government's plan to divert $375 million of the aid budget towards domestic refugee costs. Sorry that this post is a little long and slightly policy wonkish. For those who want the summary version, we oppose the Government's plan and disagree with its reasons because the planned diversion of aid: 1. is a massive, sudden and poorly-considered shift in the aid program's priorities. 2. represents a cut to poverty reduction programs overseas to meet a domestic expense. 3. makes our aid program less predictable, and thus less effective. 4. is unnecessary – Australia has the resources and responsibility both to care for… read more

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  • Overseas aid and refugees in Australia

    Posted by Ben

    19 December, 2012

    The leaked report that the Government is planning to divert $375 million from the aid budget to help meet the rising costs of support for asylum-seekers and refugees at home has caused quite a stir. The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has offered some justification and precedent for the decision, which is largely driven by the political imperative to bring the budget back into surplus. But the fact is that this represents a massive reallocation of Australia's aid budget away from poverty reducing programs overseas to meet domestic refugee support costs. The way the decision has been taken also raises disturbing questions about the integrity of the aid program. The Foreign Minister says this isn't a cut to foreign aid, and in a strict sense he is right. Under Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rules (pdf), governments are allowed to report the first 12 months of in-country support costs for refugees as Official Development Assistance – the bureaucratese for "aid". The Foreign Minister even points to three donor… read more

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  • Women of Goma cry out for peace this Christmas

    Posted by Amanda

    17 December, 2012

    At the first Christmas, angels sang of peace and goodwill - comforting and hopeful promises that fit our celebrations. But for Mary and Joseph and their new baby, God's promise must have seemed elusive. We know they had to flee immediate danger because of Herod's cruel response to the prophecy of a new king. I wonder whether they had an inkling of God's peace that passes understanding – I hope they did as they sought God's protection and guidance outside Israel. If Bethlehem was a forgotten backwater of the Roman Empire, Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is a remote and forgotten place today. But a place rich in minerals like gold and coltan. A place worth fighting over. On November 20, 2012, M23 rebels seized Goma, reigniting a war that has ravaged the region for 16 years. In the midst of UN inaction and corrupt government troops, the M23, one of many rebel groups vying for power in allegiances that shift and change, was able to move swiftly. Neighbouring Rwanda was accused of supporting the M23 for ethnic and economic… read more

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  • Poverty. And a large frappuccino to go.

    Posted by Matt

    11 December, 2012

    When you think about poverty, is this the kind of image that comes to mind? For as long as most of us can remember, these types of images have been used by non-profit organisations to show us what poverty looks like for millions around the globe. But the face of poverty is changing rapidly. Though rural poverty still exists, urban growth has contributed to an increasing number of people living in urban poverty. By 2020, roughly 1.4 billion people will live in informal urban settlements and slums. In these pictures, I’m standing next to a man who has been forced to rebuild his home three times in 10 years thanks to frequent typhoons in the Philippines. That day, he told me that every home he rebuilds is smaller than the last. His current home was a 5x3m shack, made from bamboo, plywood and scrap metal. The one-bedroom shack was home to his whole family: two parents and six kids under 16. But as appalling as the condition of this home was, it was the location that was most disturbing. In my travels, I've seen people living in some of the most… read more

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