International Women’s Day: Working together for equality in Ethiopia

Yadviga Clark is CAFOD’s Gender Coordinator. Today, on International Women’s Day, she shares the story of Dawi from Ethiopia whose community is coming together to tackle challenges faced by women and girls.

Today is a day to honour the achievements of women and girls across the world. Very often I think how privileged I am to be born and live in a society where as a woman I feel safe, protected and have an opportunity to develop my full potential. I can freely exercise my rights to education, family life and a career. At the same time, on this particular day my thoughts are with thousands of women and girls who are deprived of their childhood, have no voice, no rights, are hungry, exhausted from hard work and are physically and emotionally abused.

Our Lent Appeal this year tells the story of Proscovia, a 14 year old girl who nearly had to stop going to school because she had to spend so much of her day collecting water. Our partners in Uganda repaired her village borehole and now Proscovia is able to continue with her education.

Please support our Lent Appeal today

For CAFOD, International Women’s Day  is a chance to celebrate the vision and bravery of women who are fighting for equality, their human rights and an end to poverty. The women we work with are trying to overcome the social, economic and political barriers which stop them reaching their full potential. In Ethiopia, our partner organisation HUNDEE is working with women, men and local leaders to empower women at home and in the community, with the aim of reducing harmful traditional practices and achieving greater gender equality in the community. The project supports women’s self-help groups and has set up community conversation forums to engage with the wider community.

Continue reading “International Women’s Day: Working together for equality in Ethiopia”

Step into the Gap Peru – Advocacy at the local level

Alice and Michelle are currently in Peru, visiting communities CAFOD works with as part of the Step into the Gap programme. This is their first blog about their stay and some of the people they have spent time with so far.

Luz first came into contact with CAFOD partner Warmi Huasi as a mother when they were running a child nutrition programme. Now she works for Warmi Huasi and continues to support parents and children to live with dignity, know their rights, and be treated fairly.

Michelle

CAFOD's Step into the Gap volunteers in Peru
CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers in Peru

It was so impromptu. I can’t even remember what we were talking to Luz about before. But then she started to tell us about the time she found out that a school in her area was mistreating its students. Luz wanted to campaign for a better learning environment for the students so she asked others for their help and support. At first, they were worried about the consequences and didn’t want anything to do with it – but with a little bit of encouragement, the campaign began. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Peru – Advocacy at the local level”

Joyfully Live in Fellowship with Creation

Julie Cox and Sr Annette
Julie reunited with Sr Annette in Cameroon

Last month Julie Cox from St John Fisher Parish, Rochester, travelled to Cameroon to visit Sr Annette, who shares her deep conviction to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor. Here she shares her experience of “ecological conversion”.

In 2011, when the livesimply Parish Award Scheme was launched by CAFOD, I heard Fr. Sean McDonagh SSC speak passionately about the integrity of Creation and the impacts of climate change.  A seed was sown and I continued to attend subsequent livesimply meetings, learning more about the connection between our Christian faith and human-ecology.

During a Creation-focused meeting at the Franciscan Study Centre, Canterbury, I had the good fortune to meet a Franciscan Sister from Cameroon, Sr Annette Tangwa TSSF. We became close friends, sharing a passion to restore Creation.

Find out more about becoming a liveSimply parish

I had the great privilege of reconnecting with my dear friend Sr Annette last November when I travelled to Cameroon. What struck me when I first arrived in this central African country was the warmth, openness and receptivity of the Cameroonian people. It was a truly wonderful experience to be among a rural community centred on the parish of the Sacred Heart, Shisong.

Continue reading “Joyfully Live in Fellowship with Creation”

Show Your Love and Share Your Heart for Valentine’s Day

Libby Abbott, Campaigns Coalition Manager at CAFOD, tells us how witnessing an act of kindness from a supporter on the Paris metro has inspired her to Show the Love and tackle climate change.

Crafted Green Hearts for Show the Love campaign
Green Hearts for Show the Love

In December, I had the privilege to travel with 21 CAFOD campaigners to Paris as part of the UN COP21 – where world leaders met and agreed a binding deal to tackle climate change. We had an incredible time bearing witness and participating in mass mobilisations around the Eiffel Tower.

We also had some very meaningful exchanges with Parisians. On the Paris metro, one campaigner, Jane, noticed a woman staring at a badge she was wearing. The badge was a heart made of green felt with the word ‘families’ embroidered across the front.

Jane explained to the Parisian that it represented families all over the world who would be affected by climate change. She then unpinned the green heart from her coat and gave it to the woman to keep. Looking back to me she said, ‘I guess I’ll just have to make another one for myself!’

Unbeknownst to Jane, she had just participated in a campaign action. CAFOD is teaming up with the Climate Coalition this Valentine’s Day to #ShowTheLove for all the things we hold dear that could be affected by climate change, from our families in the UK to the world’s poorest overseas. Continue reading “Show Your Love and Share Your Heart for Valentine’s Day”

Youth leaders: The People’s Climate March

Leah Fox is a volunteer at Youth Ministry Team in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Here she reflects on her first experience of campaigning with CAFOD. In March Leah will be continuing her journey with CAFOD’s campaigning in a visit to Parliament with other youth leaders from across the country.

At the end of November I was asked to go and join CAFOD at the People’s Climate March in London. This was a peaceful demonstration to voice the opinion to world leaders that they need to act against climate change, just before they met in Paris to make some very important decisions. Climate change affects so many people across the world, but especially those living in poverty, so I was very excited to be joining others to help encourage world leaders to recognise and act on this issue.

SAMSUNG CSC
Leah (left) campaigning with other youth leaders at the climate march.

Get crafty and make, wear and share a green heart this Valentine’s Day

When I was asked to go, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had never been on any sort of march so I naively thought that there might be a few hundred people marching through London, interrupting people’s busy lives. So I was very surprised to join over 50,000 people walking from Hyde Park to Whitehall!

When we first arrived at the meeting point for the entire march we made our way to the section which had people from different faith groups marching together, towards the front. CAFOD was one of many faith-based charities that were marching. There were more people there already than I could ever have imagined. Soon we all had a CAFOD placard and a few others and myself drew green hearts on our faces to represent CAFOD. The energy from the march was amazing, with cheering, music and people talking over speakers. Politicians from every major political party spoke before the march to show what their party would do to prevent climate change.

Find out more about climate change 

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The climate march took place ahead of the Paris COP where world leaders met to discuss climate change

Throughout the march we saw people from different charities marching on behalf of different reasons (some were even dressed as polar bears or bumble bees!) but despite the many reasons for people being there, it felt amazing to be united with so many people, marching for one outcome – to stop climate change. I got to talk to many people from CAFOD and other charities over the course of the march and talk about my faith and the amazing things we can do to help raise awareness of climate change and how it’s affecting communities across the world.

At the end of the day, we were all very tired from walking, but left the walk feeling very happy and fulfilled knowing that we had helped raise awareness to people that climate change is a problem and needs to be stopped.

Join our campaign, One Climate, One World to protect our common home. 

Climate change campaign: Thank you

Sarah Hagger-Holt works in CAFOD’s campaigns team on the One Climate, One World campaign.

CAFOD campaigners at Paris climate talksLast month, I was part of something very special, a moment in history.

I was in Paris, joining hands with campaigners underneath the Eiffel Tower and praying outside the conference centre where a global climate deal was finally agreed.

At CAFOD, we know that faith groups, including Catholic campaigners, have a huge influence on politicians – including those from the 196 countries who agreed a deal to tackle climate change in December. Their dedication and tenacity often inspires and moves me.

It’s not often what they have done is publically acknowledged. But now it has been.

This letter from Christiana Figueres, who heads up the UN’s work on climate change, is addressed to you, and to everybody who took part in this campaign.

Read it, share it, print it out– this is for you. Thank you.

An open letter of gratitude to all

To those who walked, to those who prayed,
To those who sang, to those who cried,
To those who challenged, to those who supported,
To those who acted early,

To those who came with hope,
To those who came with facts,
To those who used the power of their influence,
To those who honored the public trust bestowed upon them,

To all those, the millions of people around the world
who laboured now and before,
so long and so hard, I say:
This is your success.

Individually for each of you, but more powerfully, collectively for all of us.

A critical milestone reached, a decisive turning point inscribed into history.

We have come together to address the most daunting of challenges. We have done so by respecting our differences and setting aside our enmity, by focusing on the present we share and the future we must build together.

As we celebrate this momentous step, may we remember that the journey ahead, although irreversible, will equally require our determination, our ingenuity, the best of our humanity and above all our community of purpose.

Together we can.

Christiana Figueres

Sr Karen: Why I’m travelling to Paris with CAFOD for climate change action

Sr Karen d’Artois OP is a Dominican nun from the Archdiocese of Westminster. She’s part of a delegation of CAFOD campaigners travelling to the UN ‘COP21’ meeting in Paris, calling on world leaders to agree to action on climate change to prevent people in the poorest communities being pushed deeper into poverty.

Sr Karen joined tens of thousands of people marching through London for action on climate change
Sr Karen joined tens of thousands of people marching through London for action on climate change

I learned very young, when I was aged 10, that politics isn’t a ‘spectator sport’.

Studying Politics at university, I realised the same about my Catholic faith. That belief inspired my vocation as a Dominican Sister: to bring together faith and politics in the quest for truth.

To me, the idea that ‘faith has no place in politics’ is rubbish! Faith, in some form, is the basis of every person’s thinking and acting. Jesus criticised the unjust political and social circumstances of his day and appealed for change: he called it the Kingdom of God. As a follower of Jesus, I’m called to help build that Kingdom — where justice and opportunity are within everyone’s reach.

Learn about Pope Francis’s Encyclical

The Climate Summit in Paris is a chance to speak up for planet Earth and the goodness of creation. It’s at risk from our reckless behaviour and misuse of resources. Faith and politics aren’t opposites; they depend on one another. My Catholic faith is the foundation of my politics and activism, and politics informs my faith. Continue reading “Sr Karen: Why I’m travelling to Paris with CAFOD for climate change action”

Climate change: The Laudato Si’ challenge

Paul Kelly CAFOD supporter at laudato Si' dayPaul Kelly is a CAFOD supporter in the Lancaster diocese. He will be travelling to Paris in December 2015 as part of a supporter delegation at the time of the UN climate talks.

With the UN Summit on Climate Change due to start in Paris in a week’s time, it couldn’t have been better timing for a CAFOD study day on the Encyclical letter Laudato Si’.

Sign our petition to world leaders in response to Laudato Si’

As a CAFOD supporter, and member of the Lancaster Diocese Faith and Justice Commission Environment Group, I travelled from North-West England for the event, held on Saturday 7 November in Westminster Cathedral Hall.

Journey with us

The opening prayer litany set the tone: “If you are asking questions such as: What is the purpose of my life in this world? What is the goal of my work and all my efforts, then journey with us;” “If you think we were made for love and therefore that gestures of generosity, solidarity and care can well up within us, then journey with us.” Continue reading “Climate change: The Laudato Si’ challenge”

CAFOD young climate bloggers: Emer researches link between health and the climate

Emer (right) promoting the One Climate, One World campaign
Emer (right) promoting the One Climate, One World campaign

Emer, one of our fantastic young climate bloggers from St Erconwald’s parish, has discovered an interesting effect climate change could have on our health. 

Most people know the general facts about climate change (that the ice caps are melting due to the warming temperatures) but it turns out that climate change is also acting in ways that aren’t quite so noticeable. This research I found out really surprised me about how climate change is affecting our everyday lives in ways in which we wouldn’t expect.

Hay fever is something that so many people suffer from, and although it is not always serious, it often leads to the unwanted red nose and watery eye look. And studies are now suggesting that climate change could be the cause in an increase in sufferers. This is because with the high carbon dioxide levels and hotter temperatures plants are growing faster, blooming sooner in spring and producing more and more pollen. Which in turn leads to worse hay fever symptoms and a longer hayfever season!

Call on David Cameron to act on climate change and sign CAFOD’s climate change petition

Although hay fever is an uncomfortable experience for lots of us in the UK, it is nothing compared to the huge impact on the health of those already living in poverty.  The rise in sea levels leading to flooding, triggered by climate change, is leading to water that is used for washing and drinking becoming contaminated leading to more cases of fatal diseases’ such as typhoid fever.

Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that the raise in temperatures will lead to more cases of malaria.  This is a tropical disease which is spread by mosquitos, and because other countries climates are becoming more suitable to the conditions the disease thrives in, more people globally will be at risk of contracting malaria.

Find out more about CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign using our resources for young people.

Join Pope Francis’ environment call to action