Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why socially progressive Christians should actively support MakePovertyHistory

With the upcoming meeting of G8 leaders in Edinburgh on July 6-8, it is absolutely crucial that socially progressive Christians start to make their voices heard on the agenda. We need to make clear that people matter to God and as God's people, they matter to us. It is up to us to push our democratically elected leaders to the tipping point of forgiving of debts, improving trade justice and increasing aid to Africa.

Below are a few points about why our actions are crucial.

WAR - In Africa, the most extreme breakdown of governance is war. Action by the G8 would allow African regional organisations and the UN to prevent and resolve conflict when tensions cannot be managed at the national level, through, for example, effective early warning, mediation and peacekeeping. Donor aid from the G8 could help the co-ordination and financing of postconflict peacebuilding and improving development to prevent states emerging from violent conflict from sliding back into it.

EDUCATION - Properly funding the international community’s commitment to Education for All will provide all girls and boys in sub-Saharan Africa with access to basic educationto equip them with skills for contemporary Africa. Secondary, higher and vocational education, adult learning, and teacher training should also be supported within a balanced overall education system. A reduction in debt payments will allow African countries to remove primary school fees, the single biggest barrier to universal education in Africa.

HEALTH - The elimination of preventable diseases in Africa depends above all on rebuilding systems to deliver public health servicesin order to tackle diseases such as TB and malaria effectively. This will involve major investment in staff, training, the development of new medicines, better sexual and reproductive health services and the removal of fees paid by patients, until countries can afford it. Funding for water supply and sanitation should be immediately increased, reversing years of decline. Top priority must be given to scaling up the services needed to deal with the catastrophe of HIV and AIDS, where 25 million people are infected, but do not have access to anti-viral drugs. That means two million people will die of AIDS this year. In Zambia, by 2010 every third child will be an orphan.

Convinced? Use the points provided to e-mail or call your Congressman, Senators and the White House. If you believe, like I do, that our men and women in public service are good people that want to do the right thing, let them know they won't pay a political price for supporting lifting millions of Africans out of poverty. Take the time to call or write. Then let others know. We must show our political representatives this intiative has popular support.

Want to do more? See MakePovertyHistory to see what else you can do