Why is everyone talking about the Department for International Development?

In 2017, CAFOD supporters spoke to MPs

Last week, the government announced that it was planning to merge the Department for International development and the Foreign Office.

Faith charities and international development aid agencies alike were saddened by the decision, calling it ‘seriously misguided’.

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This is our planet and we all have the responsibility to fix it – A sense of hope

Our CAFOD campaigns team recently requested to hear from some young campaign activists. Below is the inspiring and encouraging response from Maeve McGovern about her experiences of being part of the Climate Change Marches in Manchester.

As a young person unable to vote about matters of great importance to me, I have been attending the Extinction Rebellion organised Climate Strike Marches in central Manchester. These marches have not only been great experiences that have demonstrated incredible community spirit and unity, but also have been the perfect outlet to get young voices heard where previously they have been ignored.

As a child, I’d always been told the importance of taking care of yourself and others. Throughout education I was told that God put humans on the earth to take on the role of stewards. I believe we have the capability to resolve issues when they really mean something to us, so why have issues such as Climate Change only just started being recognised as a global threat? Recent political activity not only left me baffled as to the priorities of those in power, but also left me frustrated with my inability to do anything to contribute to positive change. When I attended my first Strike for Climate March, I was swept away immediately by the momentum and the energy and stopped feeling useless instantaneously. It was an event organised by people of similar ages to me and attended by so many others who felt the same as myself and who until then, hadn’t been able to impact the decisions being made about our future. And yet there we all were. Signs waving, voices blaring in unison. People in offices in surrounding buildings would come to the windows and watch, taking time out of their routine to give us a wave from floor seven or to just witness history happening. Students would show up in their uniforms, frustrated with the idea of having to sacrifice their education, but understanding that the only future they’re going to be capable of having is one that they speak up for themselves.

However, not only were there young people there. I was so chuffed to realise that people from older generations were coming out and showing their support for the movement, chanting alongside.  A beautiful moment also involved turning to my left to realise I was standing right by our Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, showing his solidarity and reassuring us that he understands our upset and lack of representation, and ensuring his support following the march. Representation that was overflowing into any social media platform, with pictures and messages of support from politicians, celebrities and influencers of all demographics. 

So, within the space of a day I’d gone from having a minimal amount of hope for a cause I’d felt nobody was listening to, to feeling empowered, proud and ready to continue campaigning for our planet; God’s creation, that we were left to care for, and for which now must act to save. Granted, there is still a long way to go before ensuring some form of a positive outcome, but if you have the chance, attend a march, post it on social media, spread the word, because this is our planet and we have all the responsibility to fix it.

Maeve McGovern

To campaign with CAFOD and get involved in the preparations for the global UN COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow during November of this year, then read all about “Generations Unite“, the very latest campaign action for parishes and individuals.

Bishop John presents Todmorden pupils with CAFOD’s Livesimply award

Bishop John Arnold presents the Livesimply award to St Joseph pupils

Congratulations St Joseph’s! On 1 July, the pupils of Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Todmorden, were presented with CAFOD’s Livesimply award. Our own Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, presented the award and commended the pupils, staff and parents for their efforts to live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor.

For the past twelve months, the whole school, including teachers and parents, have committed to reduce, reuse and recycle, while also thinking of ways to care for communities, both close to home and around the world. 

This has included everything from selling bird or bat (BOB) boxes – which help to develop local biodiversity – to holding collections for the local food bank and speaking to members of the public at Todmorden market about sustainable living.

Assistant Headteacher, Mr Carr, said: “We were visited in May to be assessed for the award. The assessors were particularly impressed with the energy and enthusiasm shown by the pupils, as well as their commitment to live out the positive change they want to see, and how they have encouraged and inspired others.

“The school were delighted that Bishop John Arnold was able to visit the school, speak to the pupils and present the award.

“We would like to say thank you to both the parish priest, Father Peter McGiveron, and governor, Briege Sivills, for their support and guidance in the school’s desire to live simply.”

Pupils and staff at St Joseph’s celebrate on receiving their Livesimply award

For many at St Joseph’s, the Livesimply award is only the beginning of their journey to live more sustainable lifestyles.

The school is now looking forward to planning more activities and are committed to responding positively to the challenges – such as avoiding single-use plastic and thinking of alternative ways to travel, such as using public transport – that come with living simply.

CAFOD in Salford representative for West Yorkshire, Simon Holleron, said:

“What an amazing achievement – St Joseph’s are one of the few Livesimply schools in the country. The work of both the pupils, teachers and parents over the past twelve months has really made a difference both here at home and around the world.”

If you want to follow St Joseph’s lead and become a Livesimply school or parish then just visit the CAFOD website for more details.