Address by Jude Armani

Address by Jude Armani, Area Coordinator for Christian Aid in East Sussex, at the Open Meeting in Lewes for the week of Prayer for Christian Unity

At CTLA's Open meeting during the week of prayer for Christian Unity, Christian Aid Regional Co-ordinator for East Sussex, Jude Armani, set out the theme for this year's Christian Aid Week (2014) and indicated a move away from Street Collecting as the major fundraising activity of the week.

The theme for 2014 will be Conflict and how Vulnerable people Suffer. It will seek to focus attention on the results of Conflict: displacement of populations, individual trauma and the need for long-term solutions. It will take three stories as case studies: those of Columbia, South Sudan and Iraq, each with different reasons behind their conflict but all resulting in high needs. He identified three problems that had to be solved in such conflicts: all have been subject to land grabbing which requires the creation of safe spaces; issues of war and conflict which require trauma support for adults and children, continuing education for children who might miss out in a crucial area of their development and the provision of safe and secure infrastructures to provide similar mid/long term development. Internal conflict - different from war between nations, creates despair within countries.

He said that Christian Aid is so structured as to be particularly able to deal with such a situation especially in the way that it engages with local partner organisations in the countries where the need exists. Partners clearly understand the language and the cultural context in which they are working and are able to share best practice. Christian Aid are also strong advocates, lobbying governments, profiling new policies and new legislation.

He also asked the Christian Aid Group in Lewes to review its money raising strategy. They should consider whether e.g. Street collecting is as effective as it used to be. He gave an example of a group who made muffins and gave them out at a railway station between 7.30 and 8.30 in the morning together with a 5 second one-liner explanation and a request for a contribution to Christian Aid. The Group came back in the evening and collected from people they had approached in the morning. They found people willing to give generously. They also handed out leaflets which had a take up afterwards, with some people committing to long-term giving. Jude suggested that Christian Aid Coordinators should compare their collecting and other fund - raising activities and look for more popular ways of raising money where street collecting does not seem to work.