Climate Change Act turns 10 – will the teenage years be troubled?

Solar panel outside mud hut.

Solar can be one of the most cost effective ways to get electricity to villages.

 

This blog was previously published on Christian Today. 

I once made Ed Miliband wince. I persisted with a question at a public meeting, asking him to do more about climate change, and he wasn’t pleased. But looking back he had already made a great achievement – getting the UK’s Climate Change Act passed, which happened ten years ago.

The regal figures of Prince Charles and David Attenborough are both speaking up this week about how urgent it is to take action on climate. They’re worth listening to, but the people who influence me most aren’t famous, they’re farmers in the world’s poorest countries, and I’ve heard from so many that life’s getting harder; there are more floods, more droughts, and less rain when the crops need it. I particularly remember one grandmother from Malawi saying that when she was young, each home in her village had a grain store to keep their maize harvest in, but her grandchildren don’t know what a grain store looks like because nobody harvests enough maize to need one any more.

[Read more…]

International Day of Peace: the role of local-level peacebuilding to sustain peace in South Sudan

 

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Women representatives of United Church Women’s Association in Maar celebrate the success of their peacebuilding and agricultural training projects in 2017. Photo Credit:Tom Price/Tearfund

 

On International Day of Peace, Sini Maria Heikkila (Tearfund’s Humanitarian Policy Officer) discusses the role of local-level peacebuilding for delivering sustained peace in South Sudan.  

On Wednesday 12th September, parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa. The agreement provides a new opportunity to end an armed conflict which has devastated the lives of millions since its eruption in December 2013.

In addition to the implementation of the high-level peace agreement, grassroot peacebuilding remains critical; it can create political and social space within communities which helps to create fertile ground for lasting peace. Despite this, support for grassroots peacebuilding is often lacking and much of the funding allocated to support local level peacebuilding initiatives tends to be short-term.

[Read more…]

DFID comes of age: what next for the 21 year-old?

rawpixel-1048301-unsplashPhoto by rawpixel on Unsplash

The UK’s Department for International Development has just turned 21.  What does this coming of age mean for the Department?

DFID certainly has plenty of happy moments to toast – helping create the Millenium Development Goals, playing a prominent role in the formation of the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation (which has saved 10 million lives), and meeting the international aid target of 0.7% of GNI, to name but three.  The Department might also wince at a few embarrassing moments – staff here remember Hilary Benn being greeted in one African country with a ‘Welcome Mrs Hilary Benn’ banner; and more seriously, few will quickly forget Priti Patel’s unsanctioned visit to the occupied Golan Heights.   

But will this high-achiever now be able to shoulder the responsibilities of adulthood? [Read more…]

Are these heatwaves the shape of things to come?

Image result for tomato plantsThese past weeks of heat and sun have evoked different emotions in me. Enjoyment, of being able to pad about barefoot in the garden long into each evening. Trepidation, about our thirsty tomato plants when we left them for two scalding weeks. And intrigue, as the dry weeks parched the UK’s soil of moisture, and revealed ancient places where people lived and farmed, worshipped and were buried. This heatwave has shown us something of our past, the shape of things that were there all along. We just didn’t know it.

And the question that left me unnerved during these hot, rainless weeks has been this: are these heatwaves also showing us the shape of things to come? [Read more…]

Supporting local aid workers this World Humanitarian Day

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A local humanitarian aid worker from the Anglican Diocese of Matana, a Tearfund local partner, records information about the villagers’ health and nutritional status as part of a food security and nutrition project in Songa, Burundi in February 2018

 

Asha Kurien, Tearfund’s Humanitarian Policy Officer, shares why supporting local humanitarian workers is key this World Humanitarian Day.

This Sunday – 19 August – we remember the lives and contribution of individuals who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid. World Humanitarian Day was established by the UN after the attack on their headquarters on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. 22 humanitarian aid workers died that day.

And sadly, year after year, attacks on aid workers and civilians in humanitarian contexts have continued to escalate. In 2017, at least 313 aid workers were victims of violent acts. Of these, 154 worked for local or national organisations. Tearfund is committed to enabling a more locally led humanitarian response worldwide and is a signatory to the Charter for Change. The Charter for Change is a series of eight commitments to enable local humanitarian actors to play an increased and more prominent role in humanitarian response. To date, 34 International NGOs have signed up to and over 200 local and national organisations have endorsed these commitments, seeking to improve the capacity of local humanitarian workers to operate safely and securely in their contexts. [Read more…]

Sustainable energy for all goal is woefully off track. Here’s how we fix it

 

Barefoot solar engineers

Just 1% of funding for energy access goes to decentralised energy, but it’s the only hope for delivering the UN goal to bring energy to all by 2030.

Over the next ten days, 47 countries are gathered at the UN in New York to review several of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) – and the lack of progress on energy access for the world’s poorest makes for grim reading.

Governments, donors and multilateral development banks must step up the pace and increase investments in renewable energy for people in poverty, living off the grid.

The world is woefully off track on SDG7 – ensuring that everyone has affordable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030 – despite the fact that this would transform the lives of one billion people currently without electricity and three billion people without clean cooking. On the current path, almost 700 million people still won’t have electricity by 2030. The gap between the goal and the delivery is huge. [Read more…]

Ahead of Synod vote, Tearfund welcomes Diocese of Oxford proposed amendment on divestment

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Photo by Antonio Garcia on Unsplash

 

This Sunday (8th July), the Church of England’s (CofE) General Synod – their formal decision-making body – is meeting. A key amendment to a motion being proposed by the CofE National Investing Bodies (NIBs) is due to be discussed, calling for stronger action on divestment from fossil fuels. The Bishop of Oxford is calling for this amendment and explains it well in his blog, but the key point is strengthening the language to put pressure on fossil fuel companies to adopt business plans in line with the Paris Agreement by 2020. If companies don’t do this, then divestment would begin to take place. [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan part III: Solomon Khurrum, an NGO worker who sees the potential

In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan.

In part 1 of this series, we heard the perspective of Rashid Hammeed*, who lives in a slum that currently lacks waste collection, causing ill health, environmental damage and social isolation.  Part 2 shared the story of Hameed Gul, who works at a community-based recycling hub in another area of Islamabad; this job and the centre have transformed his family’s income and health.

In this post, we hear more about the approach that Tearfund and the Pakistan Mission Society are using to extend waste collection to other communities across Pakistan.  By establishing social enterprises for community-based waste collection and recycling (or ‘Integrated Resource Recovery Centres’), we are creating jobs, improving people’s health and protecting the environment.  These enterprises are designed to become financially self-sustaining after 2-3 years, enabling poor communities to turn trash into opportunity. [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan Part II: Hameed Gul, a waste picker employed in Islamabad

 

 

 In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan. In part two, we hear how a community recycling centre transformed the life of one family.

Hameed Gul is 45 year old, owns a house and lives at Ali Bakash Town, Islamabad. He has been working with the Integrated Resource Recovery Center (IRRC) for the last three years. He is married with seven children – two sons and five daughters. Both of his sons and one daughter are married. Both sons are working and support him financially. One of his daughters is studying at school.   [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan Part I: Rashid Hameed*, a sanitation worker living in a slum

 

 

This World Environment Day sees a global call to beat plastic pollution. In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan. In part one, we hear what life is like for a sanitation worker living in a slum.

Rashid Hameed is 51 years old and lives in one of Islamabad’s 34 urban slums. Islamabad – Pakistan’s capital city – had an estimated population of 1.74 million in 2009. Over a third of these residents live in illegal slums with no civic facilities.

The slums are mostly inhabited by religious minorities (often Christians) who have migrated from Punjab and other provinces to Islamabad in search of a better future. Mr Hameed migrated with his family from his village to Islamabad in the 1980s. He has lived in the slum with his wife, daughter and three sons ever since.

Rashid shares his experience of life there: [Read more…]