REPORT ON 17TH OCTOBER
Micah Challenge Zambia on October 17, joined with other people from all around the world to STAND UP and SPEAK OUT against poverty. This event is an initiative started by the UN Millennium Campaign and Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) with the aim bringing together people and organizations around the world to fight poverty. This event is designed to enable citizens to demand that their governments honor their commitments. In 2000, world leaders made a commitment through the UN Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty by 2015. Micah Challenge Zambia’s theme was, “access to quality education and equality”.
Thirty eight Ndola based private, government and community schools took part in this event. We had community schools in Mapalo and Chifubu, a government school in Mapalo. We had private schools around town centre, Kansenshi, Northrise and Itawa participating in this event.
Students at the theological College of Central Africa also had special Chapel set aside for this event. Mr. Gehani Ntaimo, former Jubilee Centre Volunteer, also organized 70 students at The National College for Development and Business Studies in Kabwe. In the evening over a hundred people gathered for a debate Government efforts in meeting the MDGs.Officially we had a total of 8,621 people taking part in this event.
World wide over 43.7 million people, in 127 countries broke the Guinness World Record – set last year at 23.5 million – for the largest number of people to “STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY” in 24 hours. The “Stand Up and Speak Out” record attempt took place over 16th and 17th October and was jointly organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) with a wide range of other partners. The challenge saw millions of people physically and intentionally standing up against poverty, inequality and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. They spoke out to demand a more urgent political response to the growing crisis of global poverty. United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon when he led a stand up action at UN Headquarters in New York, said “Today tens of millions of people are making their voices heard by standing up and speaking out against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. They are sending messages that call on their leaders to keep their promises. They are calling for the actions of citizens to be matched by the actions of Governments, in developing and developed countries alike, to demonstrate the political will required to end the scourge of poverty once and for all.”
THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH
A prayer meeting dubbed the Stand Up and Speak Out prayer gathering took place on the 8th of October at the Bread of Life Church, Green Village, Ndola for pray for the stand up and speak event.
- Rev George Chanda of Bread of Life Ndola shared from Psalms 41: 1-3 and prayed for Government’s To bring poverty down in Zambia
- Bishop Ng’ona of Christ Gospel Church read Isaiah 58 and led in prayers For the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Zambia
- Rev Chilombo from the United Church of Zambia gave a presentation on the need for gender equality in Zambian society including the church prayed for Gender equality in Zambia
Rev Charles Mwila of Kanini House of Prayer shared from Romans 13 and prayed for the Zambian Government to the keep the Promise of halving poverty by 2015
During this prayer meeting there was a special presentation in form of Songs & +Poems on poverty by the Mapalo Bread of Life Community School, where at least a hundred churches took part.
WHY STAND UP?
Stand Up and Speak Out against Poverty and inequality campaign is an exiting and innovative challenge aimed at setting an official Guinness World record for the most number of people to STAND UP against poverty. The physical act of standing up against poverty is in itself a strong symbolic statement by the citizens of the world that we will not sit by and watch billions of people going hungry amidst all the riches of the world. Micah Challenge Zambia has taken up this opportunity to bring organize this prayer gathering so that Christians can meet to pray together to bring poverty situation in our country before God.
Micah Challenge Zambia ’s involvement in the stand Up against poverty campaign is a response to the biblical “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8). We strongly believe at Micah Challenge Zambia that our God is a God of Justice and He defends the cause of the weak and vulnerable in our society. Therefore, God is interested in our situation in Zambia, He would like the church to stand in the gap by being a moral force as we campaign for the MDGs.
Furthermore, at Micah Challenge we are concerned that midway through the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Zambia and other African countries are way below achieving most goals and targets in spite of significant progress made since the onset of the MDGs in 2000.
What is most worrying is that Zambia is off track in achieving most of the goals, despite the positive indicators with regard to the economic growth. In Zambia we have realized accelerated economic growth and working towards poverty reduction. However, our greatest challenges are: tackling the HIV AIDS pandemic and other diseases, fostering good governance, reducing poverty, provision of quality education for all and achieving gender equality.
The 17th of October was full of activities. We targeted school children from Nursery schools to post secondary institutions. Most children were eager to participate. As a result we had various activities raging from drama, poems, discussions, songs and sports. At one nursery school, the children had a public discussion on the causes of poverty.
One small girl aged 5 years argued that poverty is caused by beer drinking. She told a story of how her father misuses the money for food on beers and as a result the family remains without food. She went on to say that this results in mother fight with father in the home. Other children shared similar story stories and the children where of the opinion that if beer drinking was banned in Zambia there could be no hunger in most homes. It was heartening to see that children in nursery schools able to take part in this world wide event. By2015 the children in nursery and primary schools will be their teens and this is the right time engage with them. At St Andrews High School we had a football game between grade eights and grade nines. The march was symbolic of kicking out poverty.
The Stand Up Speak out event was made possible with the support from Micah Challenge international, Tear Australia, Tear Fund UK, The 2015 Millennium Campaign and the Support of Staff from jubilee Centre and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia.
The Stand Up and Speak Out event was organised within a period of two weeks. This gave us a u number of organisation hurdles which needed to be overcome due to time constraints. For next year’s event we need to put in place the following measures:
· Seek permission from the Ministry of Education to organise the vents in Government schools
· Train event facilitators. These could be pastors, teachers and other church members
· Extend the event to other urban towns on the Copper belt
· Plan for events like a music concert, sports activities, community leaders escorting their respective Members of Parliament to the local Market to buy breakfast, lunch and supper using the equivalent of one US Dollar.
· prepare in advance relevant materials
· have a strong media presence
MCZ Campaign Coordinator
Pastor Lawrence Temfwe the National Facilitator of Micah Challenge in Zambia and Bishop Paul Mususu a Board Member of Micah Challenge International and a member of the Steering Committee of Micah Challenge Zambia where part of the nine member team from the Global South who were invited to a Leadership Forum that was co-hosted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NEA) and the Micah Challenge USA.
Photo: Pastor Temfwe second from left & Bishop Mususu second from right with Ban Ki-moon in Washington.
The two days Leaders Forum was officially opened by the U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In his opening remarks he highlighted the common social concerns of the UN and the Christian church community. He also informed the 400 Christians of the progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). He assured the participants that, like Christians “who contribute so much to the causes close to our hearts-peace, good works and prosperity for all- … I believe in moral passion grounded in concrete action.”
The NEA’s president, Leith Anderson emphasized that the focus of the gathering was on the teaching of the Gospel. Fedelis Gathoni Wainaina a Kenyan and a member of the Micah Challenge International encouraged leaders from the Global North to listen carefully to needs and effective strategies the Global South was engaging to respond.
During the session dialogues Pastor Lawrence Temfwe led the discussion on “Holding Nations Accountable to the Millennium Development Goals.” He shared on how churches and communities are holding their elected leaders accountable by having them sign a declaration to address the stated needs of the community. Bishop Mususu and Andy Atkins of Tearfund UK led a discussion on “Global Climate Change”
Later in the week Bishop Mususu traveled to New York where he told the church and the community gatherings that “Our advocacy on MDG was rooted in our understanding of biblical justice.” Lawrence spoke at a large church in Michigan and encouraged them to be a church where people who live in the community are sincerely thankful for your presence. Lawrence also spoke at Calvin College Chapel and reminded the students of Isaiah 42 which calls us to be servants of God by being concerned with things that are not right in our communities and in our world. He called on the students to serve those in need with humility and with joy of the Lord.
Lawrence then traveled to Las Vegas where he was joined By Rev. Adam Phillips Chair of Micah Challenge USA. In Las Vegas Lawrence addressed volunteers from the One Campaign at a Luncheon that was attended by church leaders and community leaders. He shared on why Micah Challenge was mobilizing Christians to engage politicians on the MDGs. He was quoting from Mt 9:35-38 he said, “The kingdom of God is in part about relieving suffering: recognizing people’s mental or physical pain. And in part helping people see their own contribution to the suffering and pain through their own personal or social sin.”
Lawrence and Rev. Phillips attended the Barack Obama campaign and had an opportunity to pass him the bracelet with “Make Poverty History” written on it. Rev. Phillips asked Obama on what he was going to do about world poverty. Obama responded that he was first going to start by addressing USA poverty. Lawrence concluded the trips with interviews on the state of poverty in Africa. He was interviewed on Radio and Television stations at different times.
Photo: Pastor Temfwe with Barack Obama USA presidential candidate.
The trip was fruitful in that it helped the church from Global North hear from Christian leaders from the South about the challenges of poverty and HIV/AIDS and what the church was doing about these issues.