Britain’s longest running door-to-door fundraising week, organised by Christian Aid, will this year receive a substantial boost in income from the Government’s UK Aid Match scheme.
The first £5 million donated to Christian Aid Week 2012 (13-19 May 2012) will be matched by the Department for International Development (DFID) pound for pound, enabling the charity to help more people in poor communities around the world work their way out of poverty.
UK Aid Match, introduced in June 2011, allows the public to have a say in how some of the existing UK aid budget is spent by match funding selected charity appeals for poverty reduction work carried out in developing countries.
The Christian Aid UK Aid Match money will be used to support poor communities in Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Africa, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Burma to improve access to healthcare and build sustainable livelihoods.
The livelihoods work will support enterprise based development, with a strong focus on small farmers and landless labourers, predominantly women, in order to help them develop profitable and resilient livelihoods and secure land and employment opportunities.
A range of assistance, such as improving the productivity of household gardens and helping to train people in vocational and professional skills such as sewing and processing food, will be offered.
People’s ability to sell their goods is vital and Christian Aid will help communities to build cooperatives, access better transport to markets and bargain more effectively, as well as advocate to local and national governments about issues that affect their ability to support themselves.
Working with the most vulnerable, especially women and girls, Christian Aid will ensure they can access quality health services and will support effective, integrated health programmes that address the priorities identified by the communities. UK Aid Match funds will allow work to be increased around reducing maternal and child mortality, decreasing the incidence of malaria and reducing stigma against people living with HIV.
All UK Aid Match money will be spent over three years.
Loretta Minghella, Director of Christian Aid, commented: "We are delighted DFID have awarded Christian Aid Week UK Aid Match funding. Christian Aid Week has been running for 55 years and this is the first time we have ever received this kind of match funding for it. It’s a major boost to our fundraising efforts in an increasingly difficult economic climate. The potential extra £5 million will make an enormous difference to our ability to help poor communities around the world live in dignity."
Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said: "For over half a century, the British public has shown its support for Christian Aid’s work to ensure people in poor communities around the world get a chance to work their own way out of poverty. In recognition of that fantastic generosity, we’re looking to match pound for pound the first £5 million donated during Christian Aid Week to help the charity reach over one million more people."
He added: "In Gbap in Sierra Leone, for example, that means working with local organisations to provide seeds and farming tools so people can grow and sell their own food, help in getting a fair price for their produce and a new school for their children. Our match funding means that Christian Aid can multiply that life changing support to reach some of the poorest people in Africa and South East Asia."