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.

  • More Aid

    Posted by Micah

    10 January, 2011

    Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History began campaigning around aid in 2004. At this point in time the Australian aid budget was just 0.25% of Australia's national income. Not only was this one of the lowest levels among richer nations, but it was Australia's lowest level ever. Since then a massive scale-up has begun. The aid budget in 2008-09 stands at 0.32% of Australia's national income and the Government has promised to increase this to 0.5% GNI by 2015. In 2007 dollar terms aid has risen from $2.3 billion in 2004 to $3.4 billion in 2009. Assuming the Government maintains its commitment to reach 0.5% by 2015, Australian aid will rise further, to around $6.6 billion (2007 prices). Compared to 2004 that means an additonal $1.1 billion in aid in 2009 increasing incrementally until it reaches an additional $4.3 billion delivered every year from 2015 on. Increased Autralian aid means more roads built; more schools and teachers and resources for them; more hospitals, health clinics and community health workers; more clean water and sanitation;… read more

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  • Lobbying MPs in Canberra

    Posted by Micah

    16 November, 2010

    This week Caritas Australia's Campaigns Coordinator Alex Engel travelled to Canberra with members of the Micah Challenge coalition to lobby newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) about issues of global poverty and the Millennium Development Goals. In short, the message was to increase both the quantity and quality of Australia's aid program. Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, the group met with over 30 different MPs from variety of different political parties to discuss key issues, including healthcare, climate change and improved governance of the aid budget. Alex attended nine of these meetings, including one with an advisor to the Prime Minister Julia Gilliard."The meetings were extremely positive and we found most of the MPs were very receptive to our message," said Alex. "Trips like these are really at the heart of Caritas' work - that is, bringing the voice and needs of the poor to those that have the power to influence change." Caritas has been engaged with Micah Challenge network since 2007, in particular with the annual Voice for Justice lobbying… read more

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  • Theology and good development

    Posted by Micah

    1 November, 2010

    By Steve Bevis, TEAR Australia's NSW Educator What can theology contribute to thinking about good development? What can theology contribute to the task of speaking out about the injustices of our world? Both pursuits have their own secular raison d'etre and long histories of critical reflection that have shaped the tools they use and the goals they aim for. Much of that critical reflection is helpful. Yet, as Christians, we first seek inspiration and guidance from God. Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden pointed out in the 1980s that the way we think and act on issues of development is related both to our theology and to our worldview. On this issue, as with many others, our theology and worldview can really make a difference. As an example, Samuel and Sugden point out that Luther's extraordinary theological insight into salvation - that it is not the goal of life but its presupposition - led him to radically re-shape his worldview and to act in new ways. They relate that:Luther and his colleague Karlsdat made provision in Wittenberg for the city council to provide… read more

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  • Natural disasters and the poor

    Posted by Micah

    1 November, 2010

    By Deborah Storie. Disasters are rarely "natural". Disasters occur when communities are affected by hazards that exceed their capacity to cope. Hazards that are disastrous for some may merely inconvenience, or even benefit, others. For instance, floods which destroy the livelihoods of communities farming marginal riverbanks may minimally impact urban communities above flood plains, and be welcomed by landowners who rely on regular flooding to replenish their fields. Similarly, labour-saving innovations materially benefit factory owners, shareholders and consumers but challenge workers to adapt to changing employment opportunities, devastating those with little capacity to change. "Natural" hazards (droughts, floods, earthquakes, landslides) exact a disproportionate toll from the poor, but this does not mean that they constitute the greatest threat to poor communities. Their vulnerability results from complex arrays of forces that shape societies and individuals in profound ways. At a global level, poverty-associated disability, death and displacement far exceed… read more

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