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.

  • Can you measure happiness?

    Posted by Amanda

    6 February, 2012

    Ever since the economic crisis, people have been questioning whether money = happiness. For years we were told that economic growth was vital for our well-being and the best way to help keep the economic engine healthy was to spend. Japan, with economic growth of 1% pa (or less) was like a spluttering 4-door sedan compared with India and China's turbo-charged growth of over 8%. You just need to look at some recent headlines from Bloomberg's Business Week to get the picture – "What's New for China's Miracle", "A Thousand Desires Bloom" and "India's New Worldly Women". More was good and happiness was shopping, as confirmed in a blog from the Economist. But times change. It's OK to save, to enjoy simple pleasures and to be content with less. Of course, Christians should applaud this trend as it echoes the biblical truth that pursuing wealth at the expense of others is unwise, greedy and even, ungodly. Some economists and politicians now talk of national well-being in terms broader and deeper than… read more

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  • 50% of mums saved in Ethiopia

    Posted by John

    2 February, 2012

    [Australian Aid] "will increase the number of trained midwives from 2002 to 8635, and increase the number of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants from 18 to 62 per cent.” - Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Kevin Rudd MP, 26 January 2012. You could feel the buzz of excitement in the Micah Challenge Australia office last year when the Government’s response to the aid review boldly proclaimed that “saving the lives of poor women and children through greater access to quality maternal and child health services” would be a key development objective. This statement was coupled with positive rumblings from Mr Rudd’s office and from the halls of AusAID about the priority of health spending, which came partly in response to our calls for 20% of all aid dollars to be directed to this vital area. But the buzz of excitement was coupled with frustration. In the process of analysing the aid budget, it became clear that the rhetoric about health being a growing priority didn’t seem to match the reality. Far from seeing a… read more

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  • Why we 'like' the aid advisors review.

    Posted by Ben

    31 January, 2012

    AusAID's recently completed Aid Advisor Review just barely made a dent in a media landscape dominated by cricketing comebacks, tennis marathons, lost Prime Ministerial shoes and the like, but it's a small, good thing, and another step in the right direction for Australia's aid program. Advisors can be tremendous for building capacity, transferring skills and knowledge, and filling critical human resource gaps in developing countries. However, as previously discussed on this blog, they can be pricey and it's not always the most cost-effective way, or the most strategic way to build national ownership for development priorities and deliver results that help the poor. Continuing to reduce our reliance on advisors and contractors to deliver our aid program is a good way to manage a growing aid budget well and build on trends towards greater partner country ownership of agreed development priorities. Australia still has more to do in meeting our commitment to lifting aid to 0.5% of national income by 2015 (let alone setting a timetable to meet our… read more

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  • Finding meaning on a cruise ship

    Posted by Matt

    25 January, 2012

    My good mate Morgan has spent half of last year aboard five-star cruise ships plying the well-worn route between some of Europe and America's most glitzy and touristy coastal destinations, entertaining giddy and sun-stroked passengers with his music. Sounds tough, doesn’t it?! Morgan is quite a character and the experience has given him some fantastic material—his emails regale those of us at home with a litany of hilarious anecdotes and analysis of the situations and people he encounters. His recent update began with the usual banter but shifted tone when he began, in his words, to “go on a rant” about tourists and their never-ending travel stories. “I'll tell you what really drives me crazy: listening to every man and his dog tell you how 'ah-ma-zing' everywhere they have been is. It doesn’t matter what country they are from, they all use the word “amazing”! People say tourism is good because it brings money to the country, but it can also turn places into tacky tourist dumps. That kind of travel… read more

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