Let’s Speak Out in Solidarity

Nicole Crosbourne, a CAFOD volunteer, provides information about an upcoming CAFOD event. 

Can you help us inspire others to change to world around us? This CAFOD Essentials Day on Saturday 9th September we will be holding a workshop all about campaigning, why it is so important and how you can help spread the word.

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A CAFOD Volunteer Getting Ready to Speak at Mass

Campaigning is crucial to our work at CAFOD as our campaign volunteers speak out in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities whilst publicizing the work we do. Whether you are interested in speaking out in mass about our campaigns, or just putting up posters within your local parish, you will be able to motivate others in your community to get involved.

By speaking out we can reflect our Catholic values and show compassion for our neighbours and care for our common home. Campaigning can be a means of putting our faith into action and inspire us to recognise the power we have in our daily lives over the decisions we make.

“I campaign as a tangible way of expressing my faith. Our parish priest is supportive and sees action just as important as fundraising.” Jim Quinn, CAFOD Campaigning Volunteer, Birmingham

Power to be

Our Latest Power To Be Campaign

Our campaigning tackles a vairety of issues within our worldwide community. Our latest ‘Power To Be’ campaign speaks out about the importance of sustainable energy access and stewardship. We are also campaigning about the refugee crisis, climate change and the causes of poverty – not just the symptoms. There’s something for everyone to get involved. By speaking out for justice within our communities we can support the work we do overseas beyond fundraising.

Get involed

CAFOD Campaiging Volunteers

As a CAFOD campaigning volunteer, you will be able to communicate  and act proactively to inform others about our latest news and resources. You can even campaign online through social media, blogs and comments on posts to reach larger audiences. Your words can inspire someone else to make a difference too. You will also be invited to upcoming events for training where you will get the chance to meet other volunteers from around England and Wales.

If you are interested in working to encourage others to act, book your place now at our Essentials Day next Saturday 9th September. We will be hosting other engaging workshops, reflections and a bring and share lunch. You can also contact us on southwark@cafod.org.uk or 02084 66 99 01 for more information.

Parishioners petition for ‘Power to be’ while enjoying a walk in nature

On the 5th of  August, St. John Fisher RC supported the world’s poor communities by signing petitions to the World Bank and local MPs while enjoying the day surrounded by nature. Sidney Magdaong, a media volunteer from the US, describes the day according to CAFOD volunteer, Tony Creed:

While spending the day enjoying God’s creation, the church group from St. John Fisher demonstrated their support for the campaign “Power to be“.

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Campaigners enjoying a scenic walk out in nature

The participants who joined in this event enjoyed a lovely day out on a picnic and nature walk. According to Tony, the walk included several scenic activities, including a ‘spot the ten varieties of trees’ competition, butterfly sightings (including the Jersey Tiger Moth), wild flowers galore, historic buildings, and a pub stop (to avoid the thunderstorm, that is).

In the midst of all the outdoor fun, supporters of the campaign signed a petition, asking local MPs David Evennett and James Brokenshire to support actions to limit climate change, which harshly impacts the developing world.

As a part of the “Power to be” campaign, they also signed a petition to the World Bank, asking them to grant loans to the one sixth of the world’s poorest people who do not have electricity; therefore, they have difficulty in participating in the same quality of life as other impoverished people who do possess this valuable resource. The campaign also calls for shifting the spending towards renewable energy in order to provide impoverished communities with a safer, more reliable source of energy.

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Participants strolling through a field of wheat

Sign our petition to the World Bank to provide the poor with more accessible energy

Although I personally wasn’t able to enjoy the day, reading about the campaigns these parishioners were supporting made me think more deeply about the issues of climate and its impact on impoverished people.  They are deeply interlinked and climate change is causing more damage in developing countries than it is in the development world.  Climate change has a strong, negative impact on poor communities, and thus it is important for Catholics and non-Catholics alike to lobby MPs and the Government by asking them to stand in solidarity with creation and our brothers and sisters overseas.

Many thanks to Tony Creed, the organizer for this event, who mentions that all who joined in this outing “had the most wonderful day.”

Acclaimed Electronic Duo Inspire Greenwich Students to Act on Climate Change

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

Thanks to Hal St. John and Cherrie Anderson, founders of the electronic band ‘Ooberfuse’ from Woolwich, students from St. Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich had a musical workshop on renewable energy.

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Students showcasing their lyrics

The critically acclaimed duo visited the school on Monday 10th July, giving students the opportunity to learn about CAFOD’s latest Power To be campaign and the significance of renewable energy for the world’s poorest communities. The students wrote their own lyrics, inspired by the campaign, and even had the chance to sing and showcase their work with Ooberfuse. The school hall may have been a contrast to the band’s latest venues, the Ministry of Sound and the O2, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Both Hal and Cherrie were really pleased with how successful the day was. Hal was especially impressed by the lyrics written by the students. “It is always a tall order to make scientific problems attractive to a young audience, as usually their minds are anywhere else. But it helped that we focused it around things that they already knew about.  The real test was when they were writing their own lyrics but when they read them back and they were such powerful lyrics, it was great to see.”

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Learning about ‘Power To Be’

Ooberfuse was formed in 2010, and within just a few years their quirky and upbeat songs have been praised by many, including Boy George, The Guardian and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson. Their music has since taken them all over the world from Madrid, where they played for two million young Catholics on World Youth Day, to Iraq, where they played at a refugee camp in Erbil. Both social justice and inequality are strong themes within their music. They are also soon to release a song about the plight of refugees. Whilst promoting social justice and their Catholic faith through music, the Ooberfuse was motivated to get involved with CAFOD’s work, and run a workshop for the students at St. Ursula’s Convent School.

Cherrie was originally from the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. “Climate change was just an idea but when Typhoon Haiyan hit my hometown it became so real. That is when we decided to devote our music to social justice and raising awareness about important issues.  After the typhoon CAFOD  were one of the first aid agencies on the ground responding to the need, so it’s great to be involved with them now.”

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‘Power To Be’ display, created by students 

Through our Power To Be campaign, communities have been encouraged to lobby the World Bank to invest more in local renewable energy. Despite the fight to reduce worldwide poverty, only less than 3% of their expenditures go towards renewable energy. Through our campaign, we are asking the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to use her influence to ensure that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the planet.

Our message is reaching many people, and thanks to a fun-packed day, students were made aware of our responsibility to be stewards for our planet. “People in places like Kenya are suffering because they do not have access to electricity. Around the world, one in six people don’t have electricity; that’s equal to 1.2 billion people and we should do something about it.” (Saumu, Year 8).

School Chaplain, Susan Elderfield, was also inspired by the duo’s message, “I don’t think we should forget the message of today; how we should look after the planet. Each one of us has a responsibility – from switching off the lights to getting involved with NGOs to becoming politicians. It’s our planet and our job to look after it.”

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you can sign our petition online, order action cards at our shop to sign within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.