About the theme

Be the Lifeline for Change

Tackling injustice, violence and poverty has never been an easy task but with the urgent need to intensify action on climate change, effective action is critical. Over 72 years we have learned much from our partners grappling with these issues on the frontline. They offer dynamic stories of change that can sustain us in our efforts to carve out a fairer future for our communities and the planet.

The Appeal takes its theme from partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees in Jordan who told International Programmes Coordinator Trish Murray CWS support was a lifeline to refugees. CWS is asking supporters to join the lifeline again so our 29 partners in 22 countries can continue working with vulnerable and exploited people to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice in their communities.

This year’s Christmas Appeal uses the Sustainable Development Goals as a lens to look at how we can contribute to a world where ‘no one is left behind’. Supporting local partners who are on the frontline of climate change or stopping violence against women and children is one way to contribute to this powerful global agenda. Business cannot be left to run as usual. Working together, we can join the lifeline so people have food, water and justice.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

At the global level, CWS recognises the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as one opportunity to address some of the factors that drive poverty and injustice.

In September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly world leaders signed up to seventeen ambitious goals that if achieved would transform the world as we know it. From the first goal to “End Poverty in all its forms everywhere” to the 17th requiring a strong commitment to partnership and cooperation, nations agreed to a vision ‘to leave no one behind’. Alongside the goals are 169 targets – for example free and equitable primary and secondary school education for all – and the expectation that nations will report on their achievements. Governments are collecting the relevant statistics and dates are set for reporting.

Built on the successful eight Millennium Development Goals that halved the number of people living in poverty and gave 2.6 billion people access to improved drinking water, these new goals are intended to benefit everyone. In 2000 when the MDGs came into effect, climate change and the state of the environment were not seen as strongly linked to development. By 2015, they were unavoidable. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to be led and owned by individual nations. The interconnected goals were adopted by and for all countries, including Aotearoa New Zealand.

Estimates vary markedly, but one UN agency suggests they will cost US$5-7 trillion to implement but could open up US$12 trillion of market opportunities, substantially improve health and wellbeing, and create 380 million jobs.

Far from being a nice wish list aimed at poor people, these goals are highly political. We need to find ways to forge new agreements for a shared and sustainable future rather than fight over shrinking resources. To meet the aspirations of people needing food, decent work and protection will require deliberate action. This new agenda offers a mechanism for rebalancing the global economy in the interests of the majority.

Our partners can reach communities where governments cannot go. They know that change happens when people work together, sharing knowledge and skills. Donations to the Christmas Appeal will give them the resources to help more people.

In Numbers

  • For the third year in a row, the number of hungry people increased. In 2017, 821 million people did not get enough to eat
  • Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 percent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households
  • 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced. 85% of the displaced people are in developing countries
  • Approximately 28.5 million primary school age children who are out of school live in conflict-affected areas
  • One in five women and girls, including 19 percent of women and girls aged 15 to 49, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months. Yet, 49 countries have no laws that specifically protect women from such violence.
  • Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion cost some US $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year; this amount of money could be used to lift those who are living on less than $1.25 a day above $1.25 for at least six years
  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50 percent since 1990. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades

Share with the World at Christmas

“Let your gentleness be known to everyone.  The Lord is near.”   Philippians 4:5

During Advent, churches encounter threats of violence and end times in their weekly Bible readings. The Gospel of Luke paints a picture of great fear and catastrophe – but the promise of redemption is very close.

In places like Syria and South Sudan, people have seen that level of violence. They have lost friends and family members as well as homes and livelihoods. Many like the Rohingya in Bangladesh have taken risky journeys in the hope of reaching safety. For others, it is their home or workplace that is the violent space.

With your help, we have been able to provide some of these people with food, water, education, and comfort over the last year. Your donations are life-giving – they show compassion and care for families who are struggling to keep going. They are a sign of global solidarity and a recognition of how much our lives are connected with others.

Our partners have been working in many of these places over many years. Like ICKL in Haiti, they have spent time with their communities, working out what is most needed and how to make it happen. In Haiti, small community-owned businesses meet some of the running costs of isolated rural schools. On the West Bank of Palestine, DSPR has invested in tunnel houses, a drying shed and a herbal tea business to compensate for the arable land they can no longer farm because of military activity. In Tonga, members of Ama Takiloa have learned what to do after more extreme cyclones and grow disaster resistant food.

Working together these communities are stronger and more resilient.  They are determined to create a new and better future where justice and gentleness prevail. Their stories are an inspiration to us as we share the hope of Christmas. If we want the world to be fairer, we need to take action against poverty and violence.

God’s love is for the whole world. Let us work with others to liberate our world from suffering and harm.

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