* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
NEWS: IMPROVING LIVELIHOODS IN SOUTH SUDAN
South Sudan continues to face a number of significant challenges. Decades of civil war, insecurity and ongoing conflict have resulted in a collapse of its local economy and of essential basic services such as health, education, water, and sanitation. What’s more, food and income insecurity is leading to hunger, disease, and migration.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in South Sudan is working to improve livelihoods through food production training and income generation opportunities for returned refugees and host communities in Mugwo and Kenyi Payams of Yei and Lainya counties. Vulnerable women, orphans, and people living with disabilities also will benefit from this livelihoods program.
Through a series of activities, including seed fairs, where tools and seeds are provided to men and women farmers; honey production training; and rice and vegetable production, about 950 people will benefit from improved income, increased food production, business ownership, and more.
You can support this work with your gifts to World Hunger and Poverty, Advance # 982920, which helps address the root causes of hunger and poverty.
PRAYER: EAST DARFUR
In East Darfur State in Sudan, please pray for tensions to cease between the Maalia and Rezegat tribes. Last August, disputes over land access and competition for resources turned into a large-scale conflict. Although, a ceasefire agreement was reached, fighting resumed in September, resulting in the displacement of approximately 144,000 people.
UMCOR is providing basic supplies to support 1,000 of the most vulnerable displaced families In Adilla and Abu Karinka. The families, which include the elderly, physically challenged, children under five years of age, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, will receive jerry cans, mats, plastic sheeting, soap, a cooking pot, utensils, and mosquito nets to meet daily needs.
RESOURCE: CONTEST AND FUNDRAISING
UMCOR’s partner Equal Exchange is hosting “A Sweet Exchange,” a Valentine’s Day contest where you have an opportunity to share with Equal Exchange why your special sweetheart deserves to win Equal Exchange chocolate for a year!
You can creatively share this information via a photo, a poem, or a short video. The contest ends on Feb. 13. Click here for official rules and details.
Resources on fundraising using Equal Exchange products are available for church or individual use. Remember, when you purchase fair-trade products through the UMCOR Coffee Project, a portion goes to support UMCOR’s Sustainable Agriculture and Development Program in Africa through the Small Farmer Fund.
MEET UMCOR STAFF: PIPER CRISOVAN, MPH, PHD
Piper Crisovan is UMCOR’s technical officer for Community-Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC). Crisovan is responsible for working with integrated community health programs that utilize participatory, rights-based approaches.
Crisovan says that highlighting the importance of maternal and child health is the most rewarding part of her work. She quotes Mahmoud Fathalla, the former chair of the World Health Organization’s Advisory Committee on Health Research, who said, “Women are not dying because of untreatable diseases. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.”
Crisovan’s PhD research on cultural constructions of HIV in Indonesia, her extensive overseas experiences in more than 20 countries, and her Peace Corps experience in South Africa, have primed her for her current role with UMCOR. Her favorite UMCOR story is that she moved to New York City on September 4, started working with UMCOR on September 5, and was sent to Ghana on September 6.
MEDIA: ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
One Great Hour of Sharing helps underwrite UMCOR’s cost of doing business every day. It ensures that 100% of all other contributions you make go directly to the projects you specify, instead of covering administrative or fundraising costs.
Watch this promotional video to learn more, and click here for additional resources such as sermon starters, bulletin inserts, and posters. One Great Hour of Sharing is March 30, but contributions to this offering can be made all year around.