When thinking about a greener, fairer future, where better place to start than the Amazon rainforest? Home to one in ten of known species, it’s also a sink for climate-change-causing CO2 and inhabited by around 800,000 indigenous people - made up of 238 different indigenous ethnicities.
But its survival is under threat. The people who live there and depend on its future feel that their voices are not being heard by politicians or land-owners.
So, in the run-up to the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development, we spoke to three CAFOD partners in Brazil, about their involvement in the parallel People’s summit and their hopes for the future of the Amazon.
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Filed under Brazil, CAFOD
How do you imagine heaven? For me, heaven is a wide, open landscape full of trees and green grass. This is what I saw when I arrived in England.
Where I come from, Adigrat in northern Ethiopia, the landscape is dry and rocky. When the rain comes, it is heavy and destructive, so we rarely see the bright green landscape I have experienced here.
One of the reasons I am so interested in the topography of different areas is because I am a water and sanitation engineer. In Ethiopia, the topography of an area directly affects a community’s access to water. This is where I contribute; by looking at what the landscape has to offer, and building reservoirs, canals and springs to bring water to people, animals and crops.
As an example of what can be achieved in water engineering, I often tell people the story of a young girl called Rigiaet. Before I built a spring in Rigiaet’s village, this six-year-old had to walk a long way each morning to collect water for her family. Rigiaet told me, “I wake up at 6am to fetch water before I go to class. Sometimes I am late to school. I fetch water three times a day with my ten-litre container. The water is not clean.”
Although Rigiaet now has access to a clean water spring, the same is not true for many young girls in Ethiopia. Seeing how my input in developing irrigation and water supplies is improving the lives of people living in dry areas is what makes me happiest in my job.
It is these stories that I have been sharing over the past three weeks as part of CAFOD’s Thirst for change campaign. I have travelled all over England, talking in schools, colleges and parishes about water and sanitation in Ethiopia. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Ethiopia
CAFOD’s Laura Donkin explains some of the different ways agencies like CAFOD distribute food.
Bernard, Assistant Logistician for CAFOD partner the Catholic Diocese of Tambura-Yambio weighs a month’s ration of mixed beans for one person.
In situations like last year’s drought in East Africa, there are several ways in which we assist people who need food.
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Food AidWhere possible, we try to get hold of food supplied by the World Food Programme, who are the specialist UN food agency and who have huge warehouses of food. We then distribute it through our local partners.
The World Food Programme usually try to buy food in the country or region where it’s needed, as shipping food from overseas is costly, time-consuming and can cause problems for the local economy. The standard ration they supply is 2,100 kcal per person per day. However, in practice there is often not enough food to go round, so people sometimes receive less.
If we can’t get food from the World Food Programme or other organisations, we buy food locally through our partners.
The organisations we work with try to distribute the food as close to people’s homes as possible - the guideline is within a day’s walk. However, this is not always possible in remote areas with bad roads.
Filed under CAFOD, Emergency
This week I turned 28, and am beginning to feel that I’m at a crossroads in my life. I’m not old, obviously, but I’m not that young either.
It’s a good age to look back at what I have done so far (growing up in Paris, going to university, starting my professional life, getting familiar with the British culture etc.) and to start thinking about the future.
In a month the Rio+20 summit will start in Brazil. Also known as the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, it marks 20 years since the first Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Like for me, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved for our planet and to discuss the future we want to see.
Ask your MP to support a greener, fairer world > Continue reading
Filed under Brazil, CAFOD
Total miles walked: 155
Total action cards collected: 1,939 (plus one parish still uncounted) This exceeds my target of 1,550 by 389.
Number of talks given: 15
Total sponsorship received or pledged: £1,459.50 (to be doubled by UKAid match)
Number of blisters: 3
On the day before the campaign hand-in, my pilgrimage ended. But perhaps the most significant part of the walk was still to come: the walk along Downing Street to No.10.
After enjoying a celebratory pint with CAFOD Director Chris Bain and my parish priest Eddie Clare, I was welcomed to CAFOD’s offices at Romero House with a tea and cake reception.
My feeling were mixed: elation because it was over; satisfaction because I achieved what I set out to do; and expectation that the campaign would actually achieve something significant.
Read more about the hand-in and watch a slideshow of photos >