Under the banner of Micah Challenge, now Micah Australia, we have helped Australia Christians and churches live out the biblical mandate to ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God’ (Micah 6:8) through empowering them to become advocates for the poorest people in our world.
Following the year 2000, when Australia joined 188 nations in a historic and inspirational commitment to “spare no effort” to free men, women and children from abject poverty and achieve eight Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015, Micah Challenge began mobilising Christians to hold our government to account for its promise to contribute our nation’s fair share towards these goals.
Dubbed the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history” by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, these eight goals have achieved amazing progress in part as a result of campaigns like Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History. Compared with 20 years ago, 17,000 fewer children die every single day from preventable diseases, 2.6 billion more people have gained access to clean water and the global number of women dying in pregnancy or childbirth has almost halved.
Over the past decade we have mobilised churches and Christian leaders together, trained and supported thousands of advocates to implement campaign actions in every electorate in the nation, and coordinated engagement with more than one hundred Federal Ministers, MPs and Senators each year.
Through all of this, we raise a clear and consistent Christian voice in public, to influence our nation for good.
Church groups and Micah Challenge were cited by Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott as significant constituencies whose campaigning led to Prime Ministers Howard and Rudd pledging to increase aid (in Howard’s case to double it, and in Rudd’s case to increase it towards 0.5% GNI). Although recently reversed, these increases led to an additional $16 billion aid above long-term aid budget trend being directed towards our poorest neighbours over the decade 2005 – 2015.
Micah campaigning with Jubilee Australia secured $75 million debt forgiveness for Indonesia to invest in tuberculosis treatment and prevention programs.
Working with WaterAid & others, our campaigning on the importance of water and sanitation (with the help of a giant toilet) contributed to the Government investing an additional $100 million annually in water, sanitation and hygiene programs.
Our campaigning on multinational tax dodging in the lead up to the 2014 G20 gathering in Brisbane contributed to greater transparency and information sharing that will help developing countries in their efforts to generate greater domestic revenue for development.
One of the activities Micah is most known for is our annual worship and lobbying event in Canberra – Voices for Justice. By inspiring, training and equipping ordinary Christians to speak with federal politicians on pertinent issues of global poverty, Voices for Justice has provided a catalyst for building long-term relationships between Australian Christians and their local MPs
In 2015, corresponding with the Millennium Development Goals deadline, Micah Challenge became 'Micah Australia' - a renewed advocacy coalition of church and Christian organisations raising a powerful voice for global justice and a world free from poverty.
Our formidable movement of Australian Christians advocating God’s heart for the world’s poor, returned to the national scene in 2018 with Tim Costello at our helm as Micah’s new Executive Director and Matt Darvas as Campaign Director. From here, we seek to put the needs of the world’s poor back on the agenda of our politicians and leaders, and advocating the rebuilding of a strong and effective foreign aid program.
This is about much more than a foreign aid budget, it’s about the soul of our nation. Our hope is that this unique point in time becomes the Church’s ‘Micah moment’, and we will be looking for Christians and leaders from all walks to join us.