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CWS Update March 2015

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For your Diary

Seven Weeks for Water

22 March World Water Day

1 April Fast for the Climate

4 April International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

5 April Easter Sunday

7 April World Health Day—Food Safety

17 April Global Day of Action on Military Spending

22 April Earth Day

Vanuatu after the Cyclone

CWS launched an appeal for Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam  caused widespread damage 13/14 March.  Tragically 16 people were killed.  Working with Australian colleagues and Vanuatu churches, the CWS Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal is funding food, water and medical needs in the short term.  More funds will help rebuild schools, clinics and livelihoods lost in the category 5 storm.  The health of vulnerable people without sufficient food, water, shelter and sanitation remains a real concern.

Communities showed their resilience by burying food and fresh water before taking shelter in schools and churches.  This will keep them going for a few more days, but many will soon be dependent on relief supplies until mid-June at the earliest.  ACT Alliance members in Vanuatu report widespread devastation—the government says 166,000 have been affected.  Please give generously to the Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal.

Syria: Four Years and No Talk of Peace
On the eve of the fourth anniversary, Church leaders issued an open letter asking for prayer and support for Syrians.  The humanitarian response has not kept pace with the needs of 12.2 million Syrians.  The leaders asked the government to increase funding for relief in Syria and Iraq while encouraging support to their agencies: Christian World Service and Caritas.  The urgency of renewed peace negotiations was also highlighted. CWS encourages support for the campaigns: What does it Take and Turn the Lights Back On.  DSPR has helped over 70,000 people with food and much more in Jordan and Lebanon over the last year.  The needs remain enormous.  Please support the Syria and Iraq Appeals.

Uganda celebrates Safe Water
On World Water Day March 22, the Centre for Community Solidarity celebrates clean water made possible with your gifts. Now 25 more households of HIV and AIDS orphans and their caregivers, often a grandmother, can turn on a tap for water.  They have paid half the cost of the tank and are trained in its maintenance.  The water is poured into a bucket and through a simple clay filter coated with silver nitrate to eliminate impurities.  CCS has supplied 240 piglets, set up 25 self sustaining groups of caregivers, distributed plants, and trained people to grow more diverse crops, earn income and in HIV and AIDS prevention.  Give thanks for your water and help CCS build more tanks.  Choose water in Gifted to share safe water and help people out of misery.

Talk Water
Considerable gains have been made in providing access to water driven in part by the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.  Now 748 million people need access to improved sources of drinking water.  However, 2.5 billion do not use an improved sanitation facility. According to UNWater, the return on investment of attaining universal access to improved sanitation has been estimated at 5.5 to 1, whereas for universal access of improved drinking-water sources the ratio is estimated to be 2 to 1.  Pressure on water resources is intensifying—one in two people on the planet now live in a city.  

Sierra Leone: Ebola
Our partner the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone is looking forward to breaking the chain of the Ebola virus as the number of new infections fall.  They are distributing food and other goods to desperate Ebola survivors under the scrutiny of a local association. Find out more about the Ebola Appeal.  

Disasters Minus the Poor
ACT Alliance expressed disappointment at the outcome of the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held 14-16 March in Sendai, Japan.  The framework will guide work on disaster risk reduction at all levels.  “We fear that the final outcome is very much weaker than what vulnerable communities deserve,” says Jeroen Jurriens, a member of the ACT Alliance Community of Practice on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Sri Lanka: Int’l Women’s Day
The Women’s Centre in Sri Lanka celebrated International Women’s Day with speeches, song and dance.  Uniting Tamil and Sinhala workers they called for a living wage, hostels for apparel workers, the right to organise and respect for women.  When only 5.8% of MPs and 1.9% of local councillors are women, they demanded greater representation.

Fair Trade Eggstravaganza
In association with Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, CWS is offering a fairtrade quiz, ideas for an Easter Egg hunt with a difference and two chances to win a Fairtrade Easter  Egg to hold an event at your church.  For more information contact David at (09) 571 9150. 

31 March: Receipts
Making a donation that we receive on or before 31 March entitles you to claim a tax credit this year.  Download an IR526 form to make a claim.  CWS will  send out annual receipts to Regular Givers shortly.  Please consider giving all or part of your tax refund to help our partners.

About Update
Update provides news, information and stories.  Reproduction of items is encouraged with attribution to CWS.  Current and back issues are available.