Relief Work Update
In 2016, Mothers’ Union is proud that we have been able to work in partnership with other organisations in order to release funds for Relief grants and help those most in need. These partnerships are especially significant as Mothers’ Union across the world plays an active role in their local Anglican Churches and Dioceses and thus this move symbolises a joined-up ‘whole Church’ approach to “supporting families facing adversity” and forms the very basis of our relief approach.
In 2016, there have been two situations that have lead to multiple relief grants;
1.The ongoing protracted conflict in South Sudan
2.The El Niño effect in Southern Africa which has led to a climate change induced food crisis.
In South Sudan, Mothers’ Union has been supporting Relief efforts since the conflict broke out in December 2013. In the early stages of the conflict, most of the violence was confined to the Northern regions however over the last 18 months the conflict has moved further south and is now throughout South Sudan. Since the failed attempt by the President and Vice President to sign a peace agreement in Juba, the capital, violence has become out of control. Looting has become the norm and guns have become a means to survive, many people are displaced many feel as though their situations are hopeless.
Despite this incredibly chaotic and dangerous climate The Church continues to be present and has provided support and basic food supplies to at least 15,000 people. The Mothers’ Union were pleased to be able to contribute $10,000 to South Sudan this year, but we know that there is still great need in the country and we continue to prayerfully consider how to support this crisis.
In early 2016, we called on our members to pray for the situation in Ethiopia; The Gambella region is currently receiving 20,000 refugees per month from South Sudan. The Church has become a host for many of the refugees, especially those who have not yet been registered or those that wish to live in the town rather than a refugee camp. The Church has had to become a school, a home and even, a maternity ward! Mothers’ Union has contributed £5,000 towards helping the Church support and host the new refugees who often come with nothing except what they could carry and the clothes they are wearing.
Climate Change and the El Nino phenomenon in Southern Africa has had a huge impact in many communities and beyond the grants that we have currently sent out, we are continuing to monitor situations in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
On 12th April, the President of Malawi declared a State of National Disaster given prolonged dry spells during 2015/16 leading to approximately 2.8 million people being food insecure. Initially, the Anglican response intended to support people towards the end of the hunger season, when the situation would be most desperate. However, following conversations with the Bishops, they asked that the wider Communion sent funds earlier as the situation was worsening day by day. We are very pleased that thanks to the generosity of our members donating to out relief fund, Mothers’ Union has contributed £9,000 towards the Anglican response. Already two dioceses have had to start to relief effort due to the dire situation on the ground. The Anglican Council of Malawi has also requested food relief to support 1200 vulnerable severely food insecure households so the money will be put to work immediately.