Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Partners in Missions

I was reading some magazines today regarding third world missions and supporting ventures to improve the lives of others. In particular it was The Salvationist. The reason for reading was the announcement that the ingathering was going to be the end of the month. So this got me reading and thinking about third world needs. As we all know, because we can't get away from it, is that there is a global financial problem. We are inundated with the statistics and they show things are still not going well with the developed world. In some cities the unemployment rate is pushing double digits or has now entered that area. There seems to be a major de-industrialization of communities that were once heavy into manufacturing. It is said we are living in the post-industrial world, well, that's hard to believe since we will always need some sort of industry. We still need things that are to be manufactured. A better description is that the centres of manufacturing are now moving from the west to the second and third world.

Still that is not the subject, although it could be said it is, my point is support for missions. The developing world is being affected by the recent meltdown as much if not more then the first world. This fact was recognized during the recent G20 Summit. In the communique which followed this point was made:
25. We are determined not only to restore growth but to lay the foundation for a fair and sustainable world economy. We recognise that the current crisis has a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable in the poorest countries and recognise our collective responsibility to mitigate the social impact of the crisis to minimise long-lasting damage to global potential. To this end:

we reaffirm our historic commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and to achieving our respective ODA pledges, including commitments on Aid for Trade, debt relief, and the Gleneagles commitments, especially to sub-Saharan Africa;

the actions and decisions we have taken today will provide $50 billion to support social protection, boost trade and safeguard development in low income countries, as part of the significant increase in crisis support for these and other developing countries and emerging markets; we are making available resources for social protection for the poorest countries, including through investing in long-term food security and through voluntary bilateral contributions to the World Bank’s Vulnerability Framework, including the Infrastructure Crisis Facility, and the Rapid Social Response Fund; we have committed, consistent with the new income model, that additional resources from agreed sales of IMF gold will be used, together with surplus income, to provide $6 billion additional concessional and flexible finance for the poorest countries over the next 2 to 3 years. We call on the IMF to come forward with concrete proposals at the Spring Meetings; we have agreed to review the flexibility of the Debt Sustainability Framework and call on the IMF and World Bank to report to the IMFC and Development Committee at the Annual Meetings; and we call on the UN, working with other global institutions, to establish an effective mechanism to monitor the impact of the crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable.

Yet for the words,there is concern that for all the words, it is nothing more then empty rhetoric. The promises to the World Bank is for more funds, nothing is said about ending the crippling debt and the demands the World Bank puts on debtor nations as part of the promises of loans for development. Will these nations still be expect to privatize everything and open all markets to investors? These are good points which the Jamaica Observer makes is something we all need to think.

What about Partners in Missions? If anything there is a greater demand for this; if the third world is in a bad way, then we of the west, even if we are in a financial crisis, and trust in comparison to the third and fourth world, we're sailing along, we can afford to support missions. Tanzania is a country that has been made a partner for this year. This nation faces many needs, such as the need for clean water, to give one example.

The challenge is also dealing with a nation where the average income is less then a dollar a day. To bring about change, some of the strategies are the use of microcredit and goat banking. The latter is described in this manner:
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many of its people live on less than $1 USD per day, so there are few options available for those living in rural communities to escape poverty. Goat banks provide a unique opportunity for families to become self-supporting. A pair of young goats is provided for a family to raise and breed. Training is provided on how to care for them and once kids are born, they are passed on to another family. The original family continues to breed their goats. Goats breed easily, are easy to care for and can provide milk and meat for families.

The need is there, our challenge is to help the third world, not with a hand out but the means to lift themselves up. Through the provision of microcredit, goats and education, we can help them lift themselves up. Other needs are the continuing HIV/AIDS epidemic:
HIV/AIDS has reached pandemic levels in Africa. A 2005 survey showed there are 1.1 million orphans in Tanzania alone. Older siblings are often left with the responsibility of raising their brothers and sisters. The Salvation Army is actively involved in caring for orphans by providing kids’ clubs to meet the psychosocial and emotional needs of children who have suffered loss. Salvation Army support teams visit those living with HIV/AIDS, providing counsel and practical help and working to ensure that no one is facing life alone. The support teams also link those living with HIV/AIDS with medical clinics so people in rural communities can receive necessary medication. They also provide opportunities for those in rural villages to become aware of the issues concerning HIV/AIDS.

The goal in Canada is 2.2 Million dollars. Contact your local Salvation Army and ask how to make a donation to help. Here in Brantford, call the office at 519-752-7813

You'll do your part to make the world a better place.

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