CAFOD Campaign Energiser in York

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Around 50 people from as far as Nottingham, Birmingham and Salford travelled to a sunny York on Saturday 7th July to take part in CAFOD’s Campaign Energiser Day at the Bar Convent, where we were warmly greeted by the Congragation of Jesus community and their lovely staff team – who were very helpful during the whole event!

Katy Harris and Rachel McCarthy from CAFOD’s Campaigns Team updated them on the success of the recent Thirst for Change campaign and the outcomes from the G8 meeting of world leaders held in May.

David Cameron missed a crucial opportunity at the G8 to raise the water and sanitation crisis with other leaders. There were no new commitments that would help end water poverty once and for all. But in April, the UK government announced increased support to benefit over 60 million people – the equivalent of the entire UK population – over the next three years. Your actions lent weight and influence around this issue at a vital time and show that the government has listened and taken action.

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Katy then outlined the new food campaign, which will be the focus of Harvest Fast Day and will be launched in January 2012.

Geoffrey Chongo, who works for CAFOD partner the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection. (JCTR) spoke about the issues surrounding access to food in Zambia. He also highlighted the impact of Chinese investments in the country and how it was undermining local producers.

After a delightful lunch in the sunny garden, we were joined by Central York MP, Hugh Bailey who spoke about some of the experiences he has gained during his 30 years as a politician, as a Minister in the last government and within DFID. He then went on to explain how useful it could be to develop a relationship with your local MP. He said that usually, campaigners would know considerably more about an issue than the MP and that we should be confident in approaching them either by writing a letter or visiting them at one of their surgeries. He encouraged people to visit their MP and advised that if you felt nervous about doing so, to take along a friend. He stayed to take part in a question and answer session following his talk.

Workshops followed Hugh’s input and the day ended with reflection and prayer, followed by tea and cake!

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