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.

  • A Response to Mr Downer

    Posted by John

    31 May, 2012

    In an article entitled ‘Aid means quality, not quantity’ published on May 20 in the Adelaide Advertiser, Alexander Downer claims that the NGO community says ‘barely a word’ about aid effectiveness and is only interested in the size of the aid budget ‘even if much of it is wasted.’ As someone who is actively involved in the NGO sector, this is my response to Mr Downer’s article. Alongside thousands of everyday Australians and NGOs, Micah Challenge has repeatedly called for more effective aid. We have called for a greater focus on inclusive development for disabled persons, more effective spending on health, water, sanitation and governance programs, as well as greater transparency and accountability. Certainly the quantity of aid becomes a focus for both the NGO sector, and the general public around budget time. This is basically because the government often seems to be looking for ways to defer increases to the aid budget. That was the case when Mr Downer was Foreign Minister and, sadly, is still the case now. That said,… read more

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  • The trouble with politics

    Posted by Amanda

    24 November, 2011

    The trouble is that politicians are always looking to the next poll, the next election, the next emergency solution rather than making brave long-term and sustainable decisions. It’s often called the 'Eisenhower Principle' after his saying: "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." So earlier this month in Cannes, when leaders of all the major economies in the world gathered for the G20, short-term interventions to fix the urgent Eurozone crisis sucked the air and media attention from innovative important ideas. Greece, a nation of 11 million people, has managed to distract and frustrate G20 leaders. I wonder if other nations of 11 million outside Europe would have the same ability to attract bailout money of €200 billion / AU$275 billion (this is the total promised by the 2010 bailout and the latest package). Chad, Guinea and Tunisia all have a similar population but their poverty, their debt and their challenges go largely ignored. Haiti, a country with a population about the same as that of… read more

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  • We said / They said - Micah Challenge response to the aid review

    Posted by John

    6 July, 2011

    Is the government's response to the aid review, released today, good news for the world's poor? We think so! Our submission to the aid review had nine recommendations. Here's a little game of We Said/They Said through the lens of those nine recommendations. 1. We said: Make poverty-reduction the central and overarching purpose of the Australian aid program. They said: 'The fundamental purpose of Australian aid is to help people overcome poverty.' This, in turn ‘serves Australia's national interests by promoting stability and prosperity both in our region and beyond.' 2. We said: On aid quantity, reach at least 0.5% GNI by 2015/16, and provide the framework for a sustainable growth path to 0.7%, if not by 2015/16 then as quickly as possible. They said: The government's commitment to reach 0.5 percent of GNI by 2015-16 will, subject to future levels of economic growth, see the aid budget almost double again, to around $8 billion. Mr Rudd suggested we can do more: ‘In 2007, both Australia's… 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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