March 24 is the official launch day for ACT Alliance, the global partner for Christian World Service.
The new ACT Alliance is one of the world’s largest humanitarian bodies working in 125 countries with a combined budget of $US1.5 Billion.
ACT stands for Action by Churches Together, while the Alliance refers to the just over 100 organisations in the global group. These 100 organisations provide emergency food aid, shelter, water and sanitation facilities, plus poverty reduction programmes in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Formed in January 1 the new organisation has been deeply involved through its member groups in supplying emergency aid and support in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake of January 12.
On that day nine ACT Alliance organisations already operating in Haiti were able to swing into action and immediately start on the relief work.
ACT Alliance was also able to assist survivors of the Chile earthquake six weeks later. Donations from New Zealanders to the CWS Haiti Appeal have been given to the ACT Alliance fund for Haiti relief.
CWS media officer, Greg Jackson, went to Haiti with ACT Alliance General Secretary, John Nduna in early March.
The official ACT Alliance launch will take place in Geneva, Switzerland on March 24.
Christian World Service national director, Pauline McKay, said that the new group provided CWS with both highly placed global aid and development connections and also a “fast track” mechanism for providing emergency aid where it was needed most.
“Joining the ACT Alliance strengthens our global networks enormously by giving us a way into a huge collection of skills, connections and practical advice,’’ said Pauline McKay.
CWS was in the unusual position of having supplied key ACT Alliance secretariat members in the form of former CWS director, Jill Hawkey, who is now deputy Secretary General and Sandra Cox, former CWS media officer who is now a communications officer for ACT Alliance.
“We are in the happy position of having both close personal and professional connections with the new group,’’ she said.
The new ACT Alliance structure was effectively the service arm of the World Council of Churches .It provided Protestant faith based aid and development agencies with a global structure to meet present and future emergencies.
The increasing pace of natural disasters, economic and political instability and the unfolding effects of climate change all made the need for such a group imperative.
ACT Alliance general Secretary, John Nduna, said that the creation of the alliance of church-based organisations means that ACT’s humanitarian and development work will reach every corner of the globe.
“The membership of ACT is wide with members everywhere in the world. Our members are grounded in local civil society in all parts of the world. Almost everywhere there are churches, we have ACT Alliance.”
“We are big and we will continue to make a big impact for good on the lives of the poorest in societies around the world,’’ said John Nduna.
24 March 2010