What do we do with Africa? (#4)

This is the 4th post on how we respond to the crisis in West Africa. It was prompted by a well written article in last Saturdays SMH A Tragedy in Niger.

What else do we do with Africa?

The article mentioned above prompted me to make an immediate response. A friend of mine on reading the article picked up his iphone, went to his banking app and sent money to World Vision.

Step 4: Respond in both an immediate and long term way

The immediate response is essential. Marketing guru’s aim for this response. They appeal to the hearts of humans and want that to overflow into lots of immediate donations. This method works well on major crisis (Haiti, Tsunami, Japan 2011 etc). It works less well with a long term problem like West Africa.

There are times when it is right and good to respond generously irrespective of our budget plans. It is a good thing when our hearts overflow with compassion. However, the problems need Long term Response. The people in Africa need rich wealthy westerners to care for decades not just for a week.

The most common Long Term Response is  sponsoring Children. This is a wonderful way to lives permanently. My preferred group is Compassion. They do a wonderful job helping young people grow. They also provide culturally appropriate Christian input and community to the children in their program. There are other great organizations who care for the physical, emotional and educational needs of children around the world. If you don’t sponsor a child then start today. It is one easy way to help West Africans.

Another interesting way is through a Church partnership program. In 2011/12 The Point Community Church has begun a partnership with the Open Evangelistic Church in Msaranga Tanzania. our first project was to finance the building of a Child Development Centre (Schooling/Health) which will aid 200-300 children per year. Now that we have completed that project we will partner the centre and the church into the future. The Centre is run by local Compassion Workers. It is a long term response to the needs in Africa.

4 Categories that help us work out how to respond to this crisis of epic proportions happening right now: Macro response, Micro response, Immediate response, Long Term Response.

Please respond with mercy.

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4 thoughts on “What do we do with Africa? (#4)

  1. Ed, thanks for your helpful thoughts on how to respond to this crisis. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and then do nothing, but your posts have helped me to think more practically and realistically about what my little family can do. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for this little series. Some helpful reflections and suggestions that indeed begin with attention (which is crucial, looking away because it is too hard is probably the main barrier).

    One thought: increasingly, African social, political and economic problems cannot be divorced from ecological issues. Africa is at the front line of:
    • climate impacts (particularly through disruption to the hydrological cycle: the drought with which you started in your first post is consistent with the kind of thing climate models have been predicting to become more common)
    • water stress (related both to climate change and a variety of other factors)
    • fisheries collapse (West African fisheries are being plundered, especially by EU boats), deforestation (esp in Madagascar)
    • desertification (the Sahara continues to expand southwards at more than ten km per year)
    • biodiversity loss (the last continent to have retained most of its prehistoric megafauna, the iconic big animals are dwindling rapidly – and that is the tip of the iceberg)
    • sea level rise (esp in Egypt)

    Each of these issues is highly complex and involves drivers at local, regional and global levels, but one of the major contributors to many of them are the patterns of consumption in the rich world (i.e. us). Australian lifestyles are at the forefront of per capita ecological impact and so we contribute far more than our fair share of multiplying Africa’s many problems through a too heavy burden on the living systems of the planet.

    Thus, I’d suggest that part (perhaps only a small one) of a responsible care for Africa is attention to the cultural, political and economic systems and assumptions that lead us to always want more, more, more. Let us live simply so that others may simply live.

    Thanks again for a great series!

    • Yes, I am slowly grasping the link between my choices and the effect on the world. Theoretically I have seen this through studies in globilisation. The practical response of living simply is totally wise. Sometimes why I wonder why this has not caught the heart of more Christians committed to not being caught in the grip of materialism.

      Thanks for the helpful reply.

      • “Sometimes why I wonder why this has not caught the heart of more Christians committed to not being caught in the grip of materialism.”

        Absolutely! This is the obvious win-win to me on two of the great issues of the day: idolatrous consumerism and love for our ecological neighbour.

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