Peace is key to poverty alleviation: launch of online initiative

Peace is key to poverty alleviation: launch of online initiative

Australians will stop to consider the debilitating effect conflict is having on the world’s poorest people by taking part in the relaunched Simply Sharing — an ecumenical initiative of several of the nation’s most prominent Christian aid and development organisations.

Twenty per cent of the world’s people control 86 per cent of its wealth and since 1989 there have been 103 armed conflicts worldwide.

Conflicts have produced 31 million refugees and other displaced persons and killed an estimated two million children in the past 20 years.

The relaunched Simply Sharing — with a new app and online resource centre — is an interactive and informative resource about the role of peace and the improvement of livelihoods for impoverished communities around the globe.

It is the initiative of aid and development agencies Caritas Australia, Anglican Board of Mission, UnitingWorld, Anglican Overseas Aid and Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

“Poverty and inequality are an injustice and are also the most common causes of conflict. Peace cannot be achieved without justice,” Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot, said.

“Simply Sharing is about coming together as a community to stand in solidarity with those who are often born into injustice and have little say in the circumstances they are confronted with. This year we invite you to engage directly on the issue of achieving justice which forms the foundation of how we attempt to address poverty everywhere.”

Simply Sharing 2012 will help Australians in parish and school communities to:

  • Understand that conflict is often about inequality.
  • Understand that peace is not just about an absence of violence, but living in a just society.
  • Understand that effective development can address some of the causes of conflict and explore development as a way of reinforcing peace.
  • Understand that in response to our faith, peace-building is an active process that we can and should engage in.

Participants will not only learn about these realities but be given the tools to act on these issues. The website will feature the photos and reflections of participants who can also take action by advocating government leaders to declare a ceasefire on the International Day for Peace, September 21.

All the usual features including case studies, prayers and reflections and a selection of toolkits to utilise in schools and parish groups, are available via the website.

“Simply Sharing is an opportunity to celebrate our Christian unity, learn how faith-based organisations are effectively working in partnership with people in Australia and overseas to address poverty and ultimately, it is about sharing our passion for justice,” said UnitingWorld National Director the Rev. Dr Kerry Enright.

“The resources help people understand and work for peace and development.

“This is not easy. It needs care, thought, courage and collaboration. That’s why we work with other Churches, participating together in what God is doing in the world; promoting the value and dignity of all people,” he said.

For more information on Simply Sharing and to download the new app, go to www.simplysharing.org.au.

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