Power to be: How lack of electricity affects everything – and what you can do about it

Hannah, CAFOD policy analyst with Sr Mathilde Mubanga in Zambia
Hannah, CAFOD policy analyst with Sr Mathilde Mubanga

Hannah Mottram works in CAFOD’s policy team. She reports from Zambia, where access to electricity can transform lives.

“The work that I do is not just work,” says Sr Mathilde Mubanga, trained nurse and national health co-ordinator for the Zambian Bishops conference. “It is a service to the people of God, so I make sure that I do the very best that I can. I am not just there to give an injection, but to embrace patients as people, as fellow human beings.”

Sr Mathilde has been in her current role for nine years: travelling across Zambia to train staff, inspect health facilities and liaise with the national department of health.

She knows first-hand about the many challenges faced by health services in developing countries. When we met in Zambia recently, we discussed one challenge which is sometimes overlooked: lack of access to electricity.

Sign our Power to be petition, calling for more support for local, renewable energy

Continue reading “Power to be: How lack of electricity affects everything – and what you can do about it”

Climate Coalition: How to organise a week of action event to remember

Chloe and neighbours meeting their MP during the Climate Coalition week of action in 2016
Chloe and neighbours meeting their MP during the week of action in 2016

Hundreds of events will be springing up between 1-9 July as part of the Climate Coalition’s week of action. We asked Chloe, Jane and Bernard who organised events for last year’s week of action to tell us what they did and how it worked.

The thought of organising an event and inviting your MP can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Students, faith groups, union members and many more will unite to meet their newly-elected MPs and talk about what we can do to tackle climate change.

Find out what’s happening near you during the Climate Coalition week of action

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Our common future: Putting general election candidates on the spot

Susan Atkinson, CAFOD volunteer Deanery Co-ordinator for Hartlepool in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle reports on a local hustings event.

Susan (right) asks a CAFOD question to local candidates
Susan (right) asks a CAFOD question to local candidates

Hartlepool is a rock-solid Labour seat. Always has been, always will be…though maybe not this time! At the last election, UKIP ran them close and, with our sitting MP stepping down and a new and largely unknown Labour candidate, anything might happen!

So my local hustings, for candidates standing for election in Hartlepool, had the potential to be interesting.

Email your candidates – call for action on poverty and climate change 

Continue reading “Our common future: Putting general election candidates on the spot”

How young people are speaking up: A lesson from Zimbabwe

Nyarai Mutongwiza, CAFOD Zimbabwe
Nyarai Mutongwiza, CAFOD Zimbabwe

Nyarai Mutongwiza works with local partners in Zimbabwe to help young people use story-telling to get their voices heard. She reflects on how we can all speak up to influence decision-makers.

 

In every culture, stories are regarded as crucial. When I grew up, during evenings sitting around the fire, elders would begin: “Once upon a time…” and the story would go on.

These stories were fairy tales, but at the end of each session, the elders would each take a moment to reflect on the emotions in the story and the lessons learned.

Through this I began to understand that stories could bring a group together – evoking in every person sitting round that fire certain emotions, and sometimes tears.

Make your voice heard with CAFOD during this election period

Continue reading “How young people are speaking up: A lesson from Zimbabwe”

Our common future: What to ask your general election candidates

CAFOD’s director Chris Bain outlines three crucial questions to ask your candidates – on aid, climate change and Britain’s role in the world. He explains in three short clips why these issues matter to CAFOD during the UK general election 2017.

CAFOD Director Chris Bain
CAFOD Director, Chris Bain

As Catholics, Pope Francis reminds us that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and calls us to join a new dialogue about the future.

This election must look to the kind of society we wish to create for ourselves and to pass on to our children. It’s also about the world we want to see for our brothers and sisters worldwide, especially those who are poorest and most vulnerable.

Email your local candidates today

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I’m dreaming of a livesimply Christmas…

Livesimply sign at Our Lady and St Edward's church, Lancaster diocese
Livesimply sign at Our Lady and St Edward’s church, Lancaster diocese

This year, CAFOD supporter Stephen Garsed is encouraging fellow parishioners at Our Lady and St Edward’s parish in Preston, to think about living simply and loving abundantly this Christmas. Here are his top six suggestions…

The word we hear so often in the weeks before Christmas is ‘tradition’. It is particularly promoted by the glossy magazines who like to sell us the concept of ‘the perfect Christmas’.

But do we want Christmas to be about things or about family? As the TV adverts encourage us to spend more, my mind turns to thinking of ways we can celebrate Christmas in a simple, more environmentally-friendly and loving way. Continue reading “I’m dreaming of a livesimply Christmas…”

Refugee march: Bravery, compassion and hope

Chris Bird was a volunteer at Youth Ministry Team in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle as part of the Step into the Gap programme. Here he reflects on his first experience of campaigning and marching with CAFOD to show his support for welcoming refugees.

Chris Bird (far left) and friends march in London in solidarity with refugees.
Chris Bird (far left) and friends march in London in solidarity with refugees.

As our group of CAFOD representatives walked around the corner of what seemed to be just another generic grey building in London, in front of us opened up a flood of people and noise.

Thousands of people marching, chanting, singing, playing drums and holding placards. The atmosphere of humdrum London had changed into an energized, passionate movement.

Send your message of hope for refugees

What surprised me most was the diversity in the crowd, our group of mixed-aged CAFOD supporters with placards, immediately dispersed into the plethora of people of different backgrounds, age, race, class, faith and no faith. Yet all these people were here for one reason, to be part of a voice standing in solidarity welcoming refugees. It was quite something to behold. Continue reading “Refugee march: Bravery, compassion and hope”

Power to the People: An easy way to cut your carbon footprint

Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham.
Construction of the Ecotricity wind turbine at Swaffham. Photo credit: Brian Harris

In a climate week of action from 8-16 October, hundreds of people across the UK will be meeting their MPs to talk about what they can do together to tackle climate change. One way we can each play our part is by using renewable energy.

We invited Andy Parker, from renewable energy company Ecotricity, to share what they do to support green energy and how you can get involved.

Ecotricity and CAFOD have been working together since 2013. We supply 100% green electricity to some of CAFOD’s offices, including its HQ, and we’ve donated £10,000 to the charity through a special energy switch offer over the last three years.

We only partner with organisations whose principles we believe in – and that was pretty easy with CAFOD. Their mission aligns neatly with our own.

We introduced green electricity back in 1996. We work to change the way energy is made and used in Britain – to create a Green Britain.

That mission has become more relevant and more urgent than ever. When world leaders gathered in Paris last year, they agreed to limit the Earth’s average temperature rise to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Support renewable energy. Join the week of action on climate change

Continue reading “Power to the People: An easy way to cut your carbon footprint”

Climate campaign: Five reasons to be hopeful

CAFOD campaigns manager Sarah Croft (write) celebrating campaigning on climate
CAFOD campaigns manager Sarah Croft (right) celebrating campaigning on climate

What do recent political changes and reshuffles mean for campaigning on climate change? What’s been achieved so far? What difference can we make now?

CAFOD campaigns manager Sarah Croft has been glued to the news. This is her personal letter, offering her reasons for hope, to everyone who’s taken action with CAFOD.

Dear campaigners,

When Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics I don’t think even he could have predicted the events that have happened over the last month. Every day a new story has trumped the one the day before.

After a lot of negativity and uncertainty, I am in need of a bit of nourishment to keep going. Not the kind that I snack on when I am tired (hobnobs and curly wurlys). The kind that comes from my faith and ultimately from hope.

Now more than ever, we need to keep speaking out on climate change. We have a new opportunity to shape the world we wish to see and to show politicians that we care.

Join us in speaking out on climate change this autumn

Please be encouraged by good news.  For the first three months of 2016, more than 25% of electricity in the UK came from renewables. 16 out of 22 Catholic dioceses are now buying electricity from 100% renewable tariffs. Despite the political turmoil, the government has announced a new carbon budget to help to tackle climate change. We are making progress.

Continue reading “Climate campaign: Five reasons to be hopeful”

Refugee Week: Five ways your parish can help

Writing messages of hope
Some parishes have responded by writing messages of hope for refugees

By Daniel Hale, CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns

This week we heard that there are a record 65 million people displaced around the world. The European crisis is mirrored across the planet: in Colombia, in Central America, in the Middle East and many more places, including many of the countries where CAFOD works.

Fleeing war, poverty and persecution, people are moving in search of peace and prosperity – a better life for their families. A few find their way to the UK. There are likely to be refugees living in your parish.

It can seem like these global issues are far beyond what we as individuals and families can do to help. But in this Year of Mercy, we are reminded that we should welcome the stranger. We’ve already been moved and encouraged by the number of schools, parishes and individuals who are showing solidarity with refugees.

There are countless ways to help. These are five ideas to get you started. What could you do, starting this week, to welcome the stranger? Continue reading “Refugee Week: Five ways your parish can help”