Entitled Forecast: Hope! the Appeal highlights some of the world’s poorest communities and focuses on the serious impact that climate change is already having on their lives and livelihoods.
Rev. Dr. Katherine Meyer, Minister of Christ Church Sandymount in Dublin and Convener of the World Development Committee, explained that this year’s Appeal concentrates on some of the initiatives that are already helping individuals and communities in parts of Bangladesh and Ethiopia to adapt the way they live and work in line with the affects of changing climate patterns.
“The Appeal also highlights the need for our own commitment to climate justice, which is a shouldering of responsibility by those whose lifestyles have contributed most to climate change,” she said.
“As Christians, I believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that the world’s poorest communities have the resources they will need in order to continue to adapt to the changes that they are already facing due to climate change. We can also support them in preparing, as best they can, for the uncertainties of the future. That so many vulnerable communities are already doing this with energy and courage should surely be an inspiration to us.”
Bangladesh, with its tropical monsoon climate and low-lying coastal region, is a country in which climate change is already having a severe impact through storm surges and flooding, which lead to increased salt content in agricultural soil and fresh water rivers, affecting traditional sources of food, water quality and people’s overall health.
Dr. Meyer continued, “Our partner, the Bangladesh Nazarene Mission (BNM), is working through its network of churches in some of the areas most at risk close to the Bay of Bengal, helping local communities and women in particular, to become more resilient in the face of climate change. Through its Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change Adaption Programme, training is offered, self-help groups formed and micro-credit funds accessed for the development of new farming and small business ventures.
“As a result of BNM’s programmes the forecast for people’s lives has changed and they now dare to ‘forecast hope’. It is our privilege to be able to support them through the 2015 World Development Appeal.
Momota Balla lost her home and livelihood in May 2009 when Cyclone Aila devastated the low-lying coastal region of Bangladesh, displacing over a million people. Through the work of our partner, the Bangladesh Nazarene Mission, her life and that of her husband Uttam has been turned round. Watch her story here.
Last year Presbyterian Church in Ireland congregations raised over £560,000 (€763,000) for 2014’s World Development Appeal, which focused on partners in Haiti and Burma/Myanmar.
This year’s Appeal will also support the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus – Development and Social Service Commission. The Church is developing a new agricultural base for the women of Chewaka district through support and training programmes. These are aimed at increasing the return that small farmers receive and tackling high levels of poverty and marginalization among women, where the majority of households living below the poverty line are headed by women.
Welcoming the launch of the 2015 Appeal, Presbyterian Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Ian McNie said, “I thank God for my Presbyterian brothers and sisters across Ireland and for their continuing generosity and support for the annual World Development Appeal.
“We are a caring fellowship and a generous Church and working with Tearfund, Christian Aid, and our own partner churches, we can be assured of the difference that our giving will make to many communities and countless families in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and elsewhere.”
Funds raised will be distributed through Tearfund, Christian Aid and partner churches. Further information on this year’s World Development Appeal and Appeal resources can be found at www.presbyterianireland.org/world-development.
(L-R) Rev. Uel Marrs, Secretary of Council for Global Mission, Rev. Dr. Katherine Meyer, Convener of World Development Committee, and Rev. Liz Hughes, Convener of Council for Global Mission.