Monthly Archives: October 2010

Campaign Win: Obiang prize SUSPENDED

Over the past 6 months my loyal Superbadger followers using my app on Facebook and iPhone have sent over 1500 emails to different UN employees.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) created a prize for “scientific achievements” sponsored to the tune of $3million (£2million) by Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea.  Obiang has been accused of rigging elections, rights abuses and corruption by several human rights groups who have called for UNESCO to end their association with him.

Some of these emails went to the UNESCO board director, others to Executive Board members and they, alongside other campaigning organisations, have had an impact.

UNESCO HAS SUSPENDED THE OBIANG PRIZE.

This follows a postponement of the prize in June; my friends we should be greatly encouraged.

Thank you to all who took action, your voices were heard and have shown President Obiang and the world that we will not sit idly by in the face of corruption and poor governance.

If you would like to join the ranks of Superbadger users visit http://bit.ly/bxKS7s or download Superbadger from iPhone’s AppStore.

Lords’ love for Carbon Fast

I was busy reading the Hansard scripts of the House of Lords in bed last night and I came across some news about Tearfund’s Carbon Fast and the Church’s role in society for cutting the UK’s emissions.

Asked By The Lord Bishop of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they will table at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.

20 Oct 2010 : Column 824
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): My Lords, the Government are committed to working for an ambitious global deal to tackle climate change. At Cancun, we want to see substantive progress made on a politically balanced package of decisions that help to re-establish momentum towards that goal.

The Lord Bishop of Liverpool: I thank the Minister for that encouraging Answer. At Copenhagen there was an international agreement to set up a fund to assist the developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate. Can the Minister confirm that Her Majesty’s Government will honour that commitment? If so, will they at Cancun encourage other nations not to renege on their commitments?

Lord Marland: I thank the right reverend Prelate for his question. I also thank him for the work that he has done with the Tearfund and Carbon Fast, and for the leadership that the Church of England has shown with Shrinking the Footprint, which will produce a 42 per cent reduction in its carbon emissions by 2020. The leadership by all Churches is very important to this subject. I am rather delaying the great opportunity that the right reverend Prelate has given me: to be able to announce that the pledge made by the Labour Government to fast start finance of £1.5 billion between 2010 and 2013 is, I am happy to say, now a reality.

I think that’s pretty exciting…the Church has an opportunity to speak out on behalf of poor people around the world who are already being affected by the impacts of climate change and can speak into our carbon hungry lifestyles .

Carbon Fast is an initiative organised by Tearfund to help Christians to give up carbon during Lent.  Running again between 9 March and 23 April 2011 Carbon Fast aims to help lighten our global neighbours’ load and care for God’s creation with a carbon detox.

For more information visit  http://www.tearfund.org/Campaigning/Carbon+Fast.htm

Comprehensive Spending Review Response

Today saw George Osborne set out exactly where, when and how the Coalition Government will reduce the budget deficit.

Among the many and various cuts Tearfund is pleased that the Government has listened to us and our supporters who have campaigned and prayed for the UK to maintain its commitment to increase investment to tackle global poverty.

This is clearly a moral obligation, especially at this time of global economic hardship, and we hope that the rest of the world will follow the UK’s lead.

In particular Tearfund is pleased that the Department for International Development (DfID) will lead the drive to tackle global poverty and will continue to be responsible for the majority of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). We hope that the increased money for development will be spent effectively on issues like water and sanitation, HIV and giving people in developing countries an opportunity to participate in the decisions which affect them. We recognise that there is a particular challenge to support development in conflict-affected states but urge DfID not to forget those living in extreme poverty in other more peaceful parts of the world.

Climate change is already having devastating effects in some of the poorest parts of the world, and we welcome the UK’s drive to support low carbon growth and adaptation. If we do not take urgent action by committing additional long-term funding to help countries adapt to the effects of climate change, we could see vast areas of the world become uninhabitable within our lifetimes. The international development money committed through the Comprehensive Spending Review for tackling poverty is welcome but we must also find further funds to tackle climate change. The Government must now press for agreement on innovative sources like a Robin Hood Tax to raise more than $100bn internationally by 2020, in addition to overseas aid, for tackling climate change.

Following the Comprehensive Spending Review Tearfund is asking you to write to David Cameron through the Superbadger app, thanking him for protecting the aid budget and calling on George Osborne to not give up on finding long-term funding for climate change.

Click here to take action.

UNESC-Heaveho!

At the start of the summer we badgered the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to stop them from awarding a prize funded by the corrupt dictator Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea.  Over 600 emails were sent challenging the ethics of this prize and UNESCO postponed the award (previous blog post).  Now there is a chance to cancel this prize completely.

The United States have put forward a resolution calling for the withdrawal of this lavish prize at the executive board meeting that is happening right now.

I have two badgers ready and waiting for you at  http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger one is to the US representative, David Kellion, encouraging him to stand strong and speak out against corruption, the other to the Ghanaian representative, Naana Opoku-Agyemang,

who has spoken out historically about slavery and human rights issues, but supports this prize.
Please take action now by clicking http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger and let’s give Obiang the UNESC-heaveho for good.
Superbadger

Blog Action Day

It’s Blog Action Day today and the theme this year is WATER…I was invited to guest-write for Church Mouse’s blog…here’s a link and below is my post!

Hello everyone, Superbadger here, guest writing as part of Blog Action Day 2010 which this year focuses on water.  Allow me to introduce myself, 3 years ago Tearfund asked me to help them with their campaigning and since then an army of Superbadgers has risen up from within the church, passionate about speaking up on behalf of poor people around the world using digital media, social networks and smart phones to get access to decision makers around the world.  My friends we’ve used Facebook to badger Obama, Tweeted the UN Secretary General and multinational corporations and we even challenged David Cameron on his first day as Prime Minister to use his term of office to ensure that the promises within the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015 are achieved.

Today is Blog Action Day but it is also Global Handwashing Day…a celebration of a tiny act, so often overlooked, which has an immense impact.

Today more children will die due to diarrhoeal disease caused by dirty water and poor sanitation than AIDS, measles and malaria combined.  This is an issue forgotten by those in power but the Church can be the voice of so many, calling out for justice, calling out for access to clean, safe drinking water and decent sanitation for all.

This is 13 year old Stidia, she lives in a village in Uganda called Kigazi.  In Kigazi the women do the lion share of the work, water collection or growing crops are not part of a man’s role, and twice a day Stidia goes down a steep mountain to collect water and travel back up.  Sometimes it takes up to 2 hours meaning she misses vital school classes.

However working with Tearfund’s church partners these women are trained in construction and plumbing and are now able to build rainwater tanks, pit latrines and promote the benefits of good hygiene.

In the village church Pastor Jackson is also building people’s self-esteem and confidence.  He speaks out publicly and preaches against attacks which happen at the spring against girls of Stidia’s age.  And, he reports that the church has doubled in size since Tearfund’s partner enabled the installation of water tanks.  He is keenly aware that for girls like Stidia they need both material change and spiritual transformation – they need Jesus.  And through his church, both are happening.

‘People want to give thanks’, says Pastor Jackson. And the clean water has reduced the number of funerals he holds.  ‘Before the intervention of the project there were so many people dying as compared to the present.  Some deaths were caused by sanitation related diseases, some caused by drinking dirty water.  There is a tremendous improvement.’

So today as part of the global church will you use your voice and help us to mark Global Handwashing Day by putting your hands up for water, sanitation and hygiene.  Help us build a huge creative petition to pass onto Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development calling on him not to overlook this vital issue over the coming months.  Click here to learn more.

Superbadger blogs at https://besuperbadger.wordpress.com/ and is on Twitter @Superbadger