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.

  • Joining together for and with the world's poor

    Posted by Paul

    30 April, 2012

    For years now Micah Challenge has been advocating for and with the global poor - to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and address some of the worst aspects of global poverty by 2015. One of the reasons I feel honoured to be chair of Micah Challenge Australia is the amazing progress we have seen. Just twenty years ago, more than twelve million children died every year from preventable causes. Last year, that number was fewer than eight million. An additional 40 million children each year have been able to receive a basic education since 2000. Of course, behind every statistic like this, there are countless local and personal stories of transformation and hope. Australian aid has played its part. Former Prime Minister Howard began the process, promising to double the aid budget, and Labor have built on that by promising to increase aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income. This is now a promise that both the ALP and the Liberal-National Coalition have made. I have been impressed, and sometimes amazed, at how responsive politicians have been to Micah… read more

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  • Why The 0.5% Commitment Matters

    Posted by Ben

    19 April, 2012

    "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). As many have noted, budgets are moral documents. To be sure they are political documents, and represent the outcome of a drawn-out, and sometimes bitter, process of contest and compromise. But they also reflect deep-rooted convictions and beliefs about what is necessary, what is good, what is worthy of investment. The budget is the Government's commitment of our shared resources to projects aimed at supporting the common good. In 2007, from Opposition, the Australian Labor Party made a historic commitment to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015–16. This commitment was affirmed when Labor took office in 2007, and reaffirmed in 2010. It has become Coalition policy as well – so it is a bipartisan commitment. By the way, this bipartisan commitment amounts to investing just 50 cents of every $100 of national income in aid to the poor. Looked at that way, it's certainly not an overly generous… read more

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  • Confessions of a first time letter writer

    Posted by Laura

    11 April, 2012

    I think the last time I went to Canberra was back in 2002, for a Year 6 excursion. Back then, the highlight was, undoubtedly, Questacon. I love that place! A few weeks ago, I spent two days in Canberra, but this time I was at Parliament House with the WASH Reference Group - representing 26 water and sanitation NGOs and academic research institutions. We met with politicians, and government agencies, with the specific purpose of talking about water, sanitation and hygiene. I'm far from being an expert at water and sanitation. But the more I'm learning about the impact that simple sanitation measures can have on the lives and well-being of people in the developing world, the more I'm becoming a fan of focusing our attention and aid dollars on that sector. The WASH Reference Group includes a huge range of expertise - engineers, public health practitioners and researchers, with specialties and experiences a number of different of countries, contexts and program types. The overwhelming feeling is that money spent on water and sanitation, is money well… read more

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  • On the to-do list and bookshelf of our new Foreign Minister

    Posted by Ben

    28 March, 2012

    It no longer really counts as news that Australia's Foreign Minister is former NSW Premier, Senator Bob Carr. But it's worth reflecting for a moment on what we are hoping and praying for from our new Foreign Minister. Aid is only one part of the Foreign Minister's portfolio, but it's a significant and growing part of the Federal budget, and it is probably the policy area in which the Australian Government has the most direct contribution to make in the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and end extreme poverty. The Australian aid program has been expanding in recent years and, by and large, has been becoming more transparent and increasingly focused on measuring its effectiveness. Senator Carr, in a recent radio interview, said that our aid program is "something that we can all be proud of". I couldn't agree more. On that basis, I think that our new Foreign Minister should build on the bipartisan commitment to lift aid spending to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015, and pursue lifting aid to… read more

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