Report to UN highlights Anglicans' work towards hitting poverty targets

Anglicans from across the world have contributed to a report to the United Nations about church-supported projects that are working to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Between the 20 and 22 September global leaders are meeting in New York for the UN’s review of its Millennium Development Goals. The Anglican Observer at the UN Ms Hellen Wangusa has compiled a report on what Anglicans are doing to contribute towards the global effort to halve poverty by the UN’s 2015 deadline.

Ms Francisca Bawayan of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines reported that the construction of post-harvest facilities and provision of a micro hydropower supply are just two of the ways in which the Community Based Development Program (CBDP) of her Province has responded to MDGs 1 (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability).

“A solar drying pavement and warehousing for crops in the Diocese of Northern Luzon have benefitted rural communities by reducing drying times for palay rice and limiting crop spoilage,” she said. “An affordable supply of electricity has meant that residents of Tulgao and Dananao, two mountain communities in the Diocese of Northern Philippines, no longer need to use kerosene to light their homes or cut wood for cooking. Household chores such as rice milling can be undertaken much more quickly so that time is freed for income-generating activities.

“Children can now do their homework in the evening. Both initiatives have brought communities together in a common endeavour, encouraged them to work ecumenically and in collaboration with local government, and have improved local managerial and leadership skills which will serve well in the future.”

The Revd Catherine Dawkins, assistant Chaplain at Christchurch, Aden, in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East, described how the work of the church’s clinic relates to MDGs 5 (Improve maternal health) and 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases).

“The Ras Morbat Clinic has two departments,” explained Revd Dawkins, “The General Department serves the local community, one of the poorer areas of Aden. It has a small laboratory for rapid, on site testing for malaria and other diseases and a pharmacy providing treatments to patients free of charge. A recently arrived Korean obstetrician/gynaecologist advises and treats pregnant women who come to the clinic. Eye problems in Yemen are common and the Eye Department, staffed by optometrists and ophthalmologists, treats patients from all over the country. Mrs Dawkins adds that in 2009 “the Clinic became an Implementing Partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and is engaged to provide eye health care to the large Somali refugee population in Aden”.

For MDGs 1 and 3 (Promote gender equality and empower women), Mrs Josie Tengatenga described how micro loans, adult literacy programmes and training in good practice in permaculture, agriculture and animal husbandry have made a major difference to hundreds of women and their communities in the Diocese of Southern Malawi of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. Agricultural methods such as inter cropping, use of organic manure, and growing nitrogen fixing and drought resistant crops, increase both the abundance and quality of food and the economic strength of village communities. As Mrs Tengatenga pointed out, “this project has a far-reaching effect as drought, flooding and other effects of climate change continue to become more evident in Malawi and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Both Canon Habacuc Ramos-Huerta of the Iglesia Anglicana de México (Anglican Church of Mexico) and the Bishop of Muyinga in the Anglican Church of Burundi, the Rt Revd Eraste Bigirimana, reported their Provinces’ efforts in respect of MDG 7. In Mexico, the church’s National Synod has formally adopted Anglican Consultative Council resolution 14.15 concerning the environment, the global economy and the support of vulnerable people and communities, and has created a National Environment Commission which will work with the dioceses to promote such issues as water care and recycling, waste separation and energy saving measures. Over the past three years, with the support of The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Southeastern Mexico has installed eight water purification plants for rural indigenous populations. In recent programmes in Burundi, the church has planted 4,222 hectares of trees and agro forestry, installed 27 water wells and 13 rainwater collection and treatment reservoirs, and is running environmental clubs in twelve primary and secondary schools in order to raise awareness among the young.

Bishop Bigirimana also reported on his Province’s efforts in relation to MDG 2 (Achieve universal primary education). These have focussed on the construction and refurbishment of primary and secondary schools: “The Anglican Church of Burundi has already built five elementary schools and two secondary schools and has also refurbished a school. The proportion of girls now exceeds the proportion of boys attending these schools”.

The MDGs are as follows:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

For more reports of the ways the Anglican Communion is working to reduce poverty visit in particular the network pages here or contact [email protected]. To learn more about the Anglican Communion’s role at the U.N. both in New York and Geneva visit here.

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