Do you love enough to act on climate change?

By Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Campaigns

In September, CAFOD will launch a major new campaign on climate change and sustainable energy.

The reason we care about climate change is simple. It is making it even harder to end poverty. Whether it is typhoons or floods destroying entire communities’ livelihoods, or unpredictable seasons for farmers leaving millions hungry, climate change is undoing years of our work to tackle poverty and improve people’s opportunities.

Palo, Leyte Island, Philippines - devastation after Typhoon Haiyan

Devastation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan

And what’s more, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), considered the leading authority on the science behind the issue, has said it is extremely likely that humans are responsible for the majority of climate change. So we all have a part to play in protecting Creation.

We all love something that is going to be affected by climate change >>

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, spoke at St Paul’s Cathedral in London at the beginning of May. I went along, eager to hear what this global figure would have to say about the role of faith groups and faith leaders in speaking out about climate change. Continue reading

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Hands On – Water is life

Antony Mbandi, the Director of our local partner Caritas Kitui, stopped by to talk to us about Hands On – our new project in Kitui.

 

Help Antony and the community in Kitui achieve their dream of a new water supply. Get Hands On today >>

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by | July 24, 2014 · 3:09 pm

What’s water got to do with HIV?

Georgia on panel (2)Georgia Burford, CAFOD’s HIV Strategy Manager, writes:

It’s another busy day at the 20th International AIDS conference in Melbourne. Today I had the opportunity to present at a session with Water Aid on how CAFOD is linking up the different areas of work we do. Working with some of the poorest and most marginalised communities, we address HIV and we address the need for clean water and safe sanitation. But people’s lives aren’t segmented into neat little compartments so our work can’t be either.

On average, a person living with HIV needs two and a half times as much water as someone who is not HIV positive. For example, someone living with HIV requires good nutrition in order for AIDS treatment to work. This means that they need to have ready access to clean water for growing, washing and cooking food.

Yet despite this increased need, people living with HIV will often face increased barriers to accessing clean water and safe sanitation. Misconceptions of how HIV is transmitted may mean someone living with HIV faces hostility when trying to use a water pump. Continue reading

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Your valuable solidarity gives us strength when we face life’s challenges

 

Ethiopia Connect2 - Abba Solomon

Abba Solomon, parish priest at Sebeya Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ethiopia, looking at a card and wooden cross sent from a Connect2 parish in England.

 

It gives me great pleasure to receive messages of solidarity from people in England and Wales. Since we have been connected with the parishes, we have received so many messages and letters and cards, all stating the importance of walking alongside us. I am especially struck by letters from children – children who have taken the time to write amazing messages to other young people they have never met in Sebeya. These messages are encouraging and insightful for Sebeya children, who do not have any idea about life in England and Wales.

This communication through Connect2 helps us to understand each other. And your valuable solidarity gives us strength when we face life’s challenges.

Your solidarity has also supported our community practically: school children and the local community now use a renovated clean water source, and a group of women have started their own business and are keeping chickens. The training and money given to my community has been so very valuable. Hopefully lots of our challenges will be resolved with the support we receive from the people of England and Wales.

If your parish would like to sign up to Connect2, please visit: cafod.org.uk/connect2

 

 

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Jacqueline Stuyt: A life-changing legacy

By Beth Brook, Head of Legacies

Occasionally in life you experience a moment that you know you’ll remember forever. In March 2009 I had such a feeling.

I had been invited to the former flat of one of CAFOD’s founding mothers, Jacqueline Stuyt. Jacquie had sadly passed away the previous summer and alongside the gift she had so kindly left in her will to CAFOD, she had also left us two large cardboard boxes. Inside these expertly-organised boxes was her collection of materials relating to the very first Family Fast Days in 1960, ‘61 and ‘62.

Find out how to leave your own gift to CAFOD >>

The first Family Fast Days

For readers who don’t know about CAFOD’s origins, I should explain that we were born out of the compassion, generosity and commitment demonstrated by the Catholic community in response to those first Family Fast Days. They were organised by the National Board of Catholic Women to raise funds for a mother and baby clinic in Dominica. In 1962 the Bishop’s Conference set up CAFOD to focus all of the fundraising activities taking place across the dioceses.

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So imagine my delight when, on opening the first of Jacquie’s boxes, we discovered the hand-drawn originals for those first Fast Day leaflets! Then we came across the floor plans for the Infant Jesus Hospital in Dominica, letters discussing the clinic’s needs and progress, black and white photographs showed the clinic’s construction, the opening ceremony and what looked like a very important visit from the Governor General’s wife. Continue reading

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AIDS Conference: stepping up the faith

Ethiopia and post 2015

Religious leaders in Ethiopia are speaking out on HIV and AIDS

Georgia Burford, CAFOD’s HIV Strategy Manager, writes:

‘Stepping up in Faith’ is the title of the event I have just attended in Melbourne. I’m over here for the much larger International AIDS conference – but beforehand I attended a meeting specifically for faith-based organisations, faith leaders and others connected to the faith-based response to HIV.

It has been really enlightening and enriching to learn from others and feel part of such a dedicated and diverse community of people, all connected by faith.

We heard from Rev Phumzile Mabizela, an inspiring South African woman living with HIV who is head of INERELA+ – an international network of religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV. She explained how “faith is a journey and faith can be used positively”. However, she also stressed how even now, more than 30 years after the onset of AIDS, stigma and discrimination are the biggest challenges in our work: “Stigma kills people now rather than the virus,” she said. Continue reading

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