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.

  • Cheap vaccines make good business sense

    Posted by Amanda

    9 June, 2011

    Global pharmaceutical companies don't often get a great press. They are usually known for their huge profits and their desire to direct research dollars into solving potentially profitable western medical issues, like hair and weight loss. But this week, Andrew Witty, the head of the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world, Glaxo Smith Kline, gave us a different picture. He announced that "GSK will cut 95 percent off the price of a diarrhoea vaccine for the world's poorest nations, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives." Witty said the rotavirus vaccine price cut was an effort to be "in step with society" and he encouraged other drug companies to do the same. Under the new pricing arrangement, the poorest nations will be able to buy a dose of GSK's vaccine for US$2.50, just five percent of the $50 western price. The company has guaranteed sales of its drug at cost price under the deal. It aims to use profits generated in wealthier countries to subsidise the provision of drugs to poorer countries at a price that will just cover the cost of… read more

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  • Christians and climate change - What would MLK do?

    Posted by Jarrod

    2 June, 2011

    The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and the reality of climate change are both victims of western culture's remarkable capacity to accommodate and neutralise that which is most critical of it. Early in the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin said to King, "I have a feeling that the Lord had laid his hand upon you. And that is a dangerous, dangerous thing." Similarly, the FBI once described Martin King as the "most dangerous man in America" - and yet, when we hear about this man, we are often presented with a figure that seems more like a cheerleader for the status quo rather than a prophetic challenge to it. Somehow, it seems we have made this dangerous figure very safe. For instance, in a speech at the Pentagon commemorating King's legacy, the Defense Department's general counsel Jeh C. Johnson remarked, "I believe that if Dr King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack." But to claim that Dr… read more

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  • Our crucial task

    Posted by Joel

    23 May, 2011

    I have just returned from three days meetings in Malaysia with some of our Micah Challenge National Coordinators from across the world. It's been both moving and encouraging to hear the stories of commitment and determination which flow so easily in settings like these. One National Coodinator told us how important it was for them to spend limited resources to travel to Malaysia, simply because their recent involvement with the campaign was crucial to their nation. Another Coordinator spends alternate weeks between his home and his office hundreds of miles away in order to stay involved in the campaign without uprooting his family and derailing his wife's profession... And we also heard about the struggles of campaigns: limited cash and capacity to do a big job; the potential for feeling alone; the uphill climb to convince churches that God takes advocacy for the poor really seriously; and the challenges of reminding governments of their promises. 

But I will particularly remember the creative icebreaker that happened on the first morning we met.… read more

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  • A date with Rudd, AusAid and passionate advocates

    Posted by Simon

    11 May, 2011

    Yesterday, on a cool winter's evening at AusAid headquarters in Canberra, Gershon, Eliza and I had the good fortune of attending the foreign aid budget briefing. As we walked into a large room, full of people; there was a feeling of anticipation. How would Swan's ‘tough' budget affect the world's poorest and most vulnerable people? The foreign aid briefing began almost right on time with The Hon Kevin Rudd providing the opening statement. With his usual air of confidence, Mr. Rudd explained that the Australian Government was still completely committed to raising Australia's foreign aid program to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015-16. Mr Rudd went on to say that the foreign aid program had been effectively ‘quarantined' to ensure it reached this target. In a challenging and uncertain economic climate, we applaud the Federal Government's actions, which highlight the effective advocacy over a number of years by groups including Micah Challenge. However, this 0.5 per cent commitment is still well short of the… read more

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