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CWS Update July 2015

A monthly news bulletin that takes a look at development issues, provides analysis of global justice issues and keeps you updated with the work of CWS. An alternative to mainstream media sources. Past issues can be read here

Young children learn to breathe deeply as part of a psychosocial class in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.   Photo: ACT  P Jeffrey

July 2015

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For Your Diary
1 August  Fast for the Climate
6 August Hiroshima Day
9 August Nagasaki Day—Peace Sunday Worship Resources available.
10 August Pray with Korean churches for Peace and the Reunification of the Korea Peninsula
19 August  World Humanitarian Day
1 September—4 October Time for Creation

Give Gaza a Break

Last year’s 51day conflict in Gaza was the most deadly of three wars since 2008.  It has left the territory shattered and people resigned to a grim future.  No destroyed homes have been rebuilt and services are limited -more than 70% of households have piped water for only 6 – 8 hours every 2-4 days.  The blockade stopping the importation of 99% of building materials is crippling the territory and making recovery almost impossible.  In May the World Bank reported unemployment averaged 43% and the economy was on the verge of collapse.  Nearly 80% of Gaza’s residents receive some form of international aid.

Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) in Gaza continues to respond through its three centres providing humanitarian assistance, primary medical care, vocational training and psychosocial care.  In 2014 staff supported over 10,000 mothers and children in psychosocial sessions and counselling.  Mothers said they were able to deal with some of their stress.  Children enjoyed group sessions, fun activities and recreational trips that helped them cope with the trauma of losing family, friends and homes. Thanks for your gifts. Please support the Gaza Appeal.

Peace Sunday Resources: “Out of the Depths”
In this year’s worship resources for August 9, we remember the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  There is further material on the psychosocial programmes run by DSPR Gaza.  A new leaflet for the Gaza Appeal is available.  A gift of $40 pays for art materials for 5 children or $200 for a group counselling session for mothers.

Nepal: Recovery PhaseACT Alliance Nepal is struggling to provide resilient housing for homeless families. Photo: LWF L. deVries
ACT Alliance Nepal reported they reached 57,737 households with food in the first phase of relief as well as providing other assistance.  Now they are distributing corrugated iron and making cash grants through the “Hello Paisa” app to purchase shelter materials.  Shelter is the highest priority.  Plans have been approved for replacing water and sanitation systems as well as schools.  Psychosocial programmes are underway.  Gifts to the Nepal Appeal will help more.

Picture: ACT Alliance Nepal is struggling to provide resilient housing for homeless families. Photo: LWF L. deVries

Vanuatu: ACT Alliance Goal Reached
CWS is grateful to those who gave so generously to the Vanuatu Appeal. Your gifts helped ACT Alliance meet the almost US$1 million goal for emergency response.  The rebuild is continuing.  CWS is discussing follow-up with the Vanuatu Christian Council. 

Sierra Leone: Frustrated
The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone is maintaining a vigilant campaign against the Ebola virus which has claimed 3,583 lives.  They are running workshops for survivors.  One said, "stress is finding out that all your family members have died when you are discharged from the hospital and you have no place to go".  Some of those infected have escaped quarantine keeping the virus active.
 
South Sudan: Maridi attacked
July 9 marked the fourth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence but there is little to celebrate.  Much of the country is torn apart in a 19 month conflict leaving more than 2 million people displaced and 4.6 million severely short of food according to the UN.

In the west, Maridi Service Agency said a major conflict in June left 14 people killed including a boy from the High School they run.  30,000 people fled the town as the conflict between cattle keepers and locals wanting to protect their crops intensified.  Shops and the hospital were looted and 196 houses burned.    

MSA reported they closed 1 of the 3 preschools they run because of the lack of land.  Retention at the High School was much improved—207 sat final exams of which 74 were female—a great achievement when girls are more likely to miss out on education.  Scholarships were awarded to 10 girls— in part thanks to those who bought girls education through Gifted.  CWS funded the purchase of a replacement for the broken radio transmitter to run Maridi FM. MSA helped 22 young people begin farming and set up small businesses through a loan scheme.

Refugee Figures
On World Refugee Day CWS joined calls to increase the refugee quota from current level of 750 per year plus 300 through family reunification.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released figures for 2014 stating 59.5 million people had fled their homes, up 8.3 million from 2013.  One in every 122 persons on the planet is a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.

New UN Development Goals
In September the UN is expected to sign up to17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including to eradicate poverty and hunger by 2030.  According to UN this would cost 0.3% of global output in 2014.  More debate is needed in NZ before September’s Assembly.

Global Sanitation: Failed
In 2015, 91% of people are now able to drink improved drinking water thanks to support mobilised to meet UN Millennium Development Goals, but sanitation has lagged.  Only 68% are using improved sanitation leaving 1 in 3 without toilets, including 946 million who go outside.  Addressing the fact that poorest countries get access last needs to be addressed in the SDGs.

OECD DAC Peer Review
The annual report on government aid was released last month.  According to NZADDS, there is much that is good but the Partnership for International Development funding scheme needs reviewing—CWS agrees.

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