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.

  • Live simply, that others may simply live

    Posted by Eliza

    27 July, 2011

    Last Thursday, while most of us were finishing our lunch, famine was declared in two southern regions of Somalia. With a belly full of Thai food and a half eaten piece of cake sitting beside my desk I read the headline 'Millions at risk as famine declared'. My stomach twisted- 11 million people are facing starvation and I can't remember the last time I finished everything on my plate. The food crisis sweeping the Horn of Africa has created a 'triangle of hunger' between Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Of the regions affected, Somalia has been hit hardest with a combined force of 20 years of unwavering political unrest and the worst drought the nation has seen in 60 years. The United Nations has estimated that 3.7 million - nearly half the country's population - are currently facing severe food shortages. The UN will not declare famine lightly. Technically, at least 20 per cent of households must be facing extreme food shortages, 30 per cent of people must be suffering from severe malnutrition and there must be at least two deaths per 10 000 people each day.… read more

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  • Opinion is divided - does Australia need a carbon tax, or don't we?

    Posted by Phil

    13 July, 2011

    I, for one, think we do. I'm a long time supporter of Micah Challenge and I'm just finishing off a PhD that looks at the impacts of human caused climate change on people in the developing world. Climate change is already impacting poor communities around the globe. For example, in Nepal the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with increasing extremes like floods and droughts. It is the poor who are being hit first and hit the hardest. You may or may not know that as part of their Share the Earth: MDG7 campaign this year, Micah Challenge has been asking the government to take a leadership position in international efforts to address climate change. I've sat at tables where Micah Challenge coalition partners have discussed and debated whether to engage supporters in the climate change debate. Micah Challenge is very wary of the potential for the debate to distract people from their purpose of halving poverty and achieving the MDGs. The Micah Challenge coalition has chosen to engage through necessity - because climate change represents a serious… read more

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  • Aid consultants earning more than the Prime Minister!

    Posted by John

    4 July, 2011

    Over the weekend, the newspapers once again highlighted the issue of technical consultants being paid enormous amounts of money to contribute their expertise to Australian funded aid programs. The figures are striking, and should prompt us to ask serious questions. Is this the most effective way that we can be spending our aid dollars? The frustrating thing in these kinds of media reports is that there is nothing constructive about the commentary. These wages seem ridiculous to me and it is a problem that the government needs to continue to address, but once again, our attention is directed away from the actual problem at hand - poverty! That's the problem we need to fix. It angers me that while we talk about consultant salaries, we forget to talk about any of the good news stories. We forget to talk about finding real solutions. We forget to be constructive. The media articles refer to the recently completed Independent Aid Review. Hopefully that review, soon to be released by the government, will prompt us to discuss both the quantity and the quality of… read more

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  • Public aid perceptions and Lowy's latest poll

    Posted by Steve

    30 June, 2011

    A quick scan of today's headlines reveals that European economies are struggling while the Australian dollar remains strong, Google is taking on Facebook, the Pope's on Twitter, and McCain's 500g Family Cheese and Bacon pizza has been recalled from supermarket shelves. But that doesn't really give us an accurate picture of what is going on around the world. Does it? Sometimes it's hard to know what is really going on in the world, and this is certainly true for Australia's aid budget as much as anything else. Do Australian's really know how much money is being spent on overseas aid, or is this story also being lost in the newsreel? A recent poll by the Lowy Institute reported that on average, Australian's think we spend about 16% of our budget on overseas aid. In reality, just 1.3% of the 2011-12 budget will be spent on aid (or just 0.35% of our Gross National Income). This demonstrates a drastic overestimation by those polled of how much Australia is contributing to the fight against poverty and efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by… read more

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