Our Story

For the last 10 years Micah Challenge has been working to achieve change for the poorest people in our world. We have dared to imagine a world where extreme poverty doesn't exist and where all people enjoy the fullness of life that God intends.

Our vision has been to see Christians in Australia transformed into advocates for and with the poor in order to see Australia doing its fair share to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and halve poverty by 2015.

Through much prayer, and by working together with our many supporters and our friends at Make Poverty History, we made real impact that changed politics in Australia and made people’s lives better in poor communities around the world.

Check out the video below which captures and celebrates the 10 journey of Micah Challenge.

Our Motivation

As Christians, living in one of the richest countries in the world, at the most advanced time in history, blessed with an unprecedented number of opportunities and options, the responsibility and possibility of our lives is enormous. We live in a democratic nation, our voices can be heard, and our opinions valued by the parliamentarians we elect to represent us in Canberra. 

If our lives are to be characterised by God's command in Micah 6:8 "to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God", then we must consider what we will do with the opportunities God has placed before us.

At Micah Challenge, we have always believed in the biblical mandate we have been given to use the voice that God has given us to speak on behalf of poor, vulnerable, oppressed and voiceless people.

But even more than an action or a pursuit, we have always believed that 'justice' is an identity and a way of life for disciples of Jesus Christ. As we truly pursue Jesus, and follow his ways, we will have no choice but to be agents for change in a broken world.
 

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

In September 2000, all 189 member states of the United Nations signed on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of eight measurable targets which aim to halve world poverty by 2015. If achieved, these goals would see the world well on the way to being one in which all people could enjoy wellbeing.

Micah Challenge International was formed soon after with the vision of a world without extreme poverty. This was a global movement of Christians committed to the poor and holding governments accountable to their pledge within the MDGs. As a local expression to the international movement, Micah Challenge Australia started in 2004 – a coalition campaign comprised of major Christian aid agencies, churches and grassroots supporters speaking out against poverty and injustice.

View our online presentation for a summary of the incredible global progress which has been made towards achieving the MDGs.
 

Campaigns and Actions

Since 2004, Micah Challenge (alongside sister campaign Make Poverty History) has consistently mobilised grassroots supporters to keep the Government accountable to its international commitments and campaigned for the Australian Government to give 0.7% of its national income to overseas aid (the internationally agreed target amount).

In addition to calling for more and better aid, Micah Challenge has campaigned on the following specific issues over the past 10 years - maternal health; child health; water, sanitation and hygiene; climate change and environmental sustainability; and multinational tax dodging and corruption.

Voices for Justice, Micah Challenge annual gathering and lobbying trip to Canberra, has formed an integral and iconic element to the campaign and equipped hundreds of Christians across Australia with the confidence and opportunity to advocate for the rights of the global poor.
 

Impact & Achievements

What genuine impact can many Christians speaking out together for justice have on the world? Check out some of our achievements from our collective campaiging over the past decade below:

  • As a result of public campaigning and growing international support for the MDGs, Australia contributed around $10 billion additional dollars of aid which would not have been spent if aid had stayed at the low levels it was at before our campaigning started.

  • The additional Australian aid that our campaigning contributed to has helped save millions of lives, ensure that millions more children were enrolled in school and had access to a higher-quality education, provide life-saving emergency assistance to more than 100 million people, supported hundreds of thousands of women through the dangers and difficulties of childbirth and pregnancy, provided more than 10 million children with vaccinations and immunisations, and helped build the capacity of communities and governments in our region and beyond in their fight against poverty.

  • We have helped ensure that Australia will provide the automatic exchange of information about tax with other countries – ensuring that the wealthiest people and companies can’t hide their wealth in offshore accounts and investments, which steals resources from everyone else, particularly the poorest people.

  • We negotiated a “debt-for-development swap” between Australia and Indonesia – in which Australia forgave $150 million of debt in return for Indonesia investing the savings into new anti-malaria programs.

  • We trained over 2,000 Australian Christians to be advocates for the poor through Voices for Justice and other training programs.

  • All together, Micah Challenge advocates have conducted more than 1,000 lobbying meetings with politicians from all parties, calling on them to be advocates for and with the poor.

For further reflections on the impact of the campaign, read the final reflections of our National Coordinator John Beckett via our blog here.
 

The Next Phase

After 10 years of helping Christians campaign towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty by 2015, the first phase of the Micah Challenge campaign concluded in Dec 2014.

The same partners who were the driving force behind the Micah Challenge campaign will be working on launching a new campaigning coalition in 2015, which will be dedicated to the same central commitment of ensuring Christians are advocating for and with the global poor.

During this transition phase Micah Challenge will not be actively campaigning, however we invite you to browse and use the information and resources available on this website.

We are thankful to the many supporters who have joined us along the way and we hope you will join with us as we launch the new campaign in 2015. 

To ensure you hear from us in 2015, please subscribe to our mailing list.