The hard road out of darkness
Fresh eruptions of violence in the Middle East. A lack of decisive political action on climate change. Underfunded health services that could not cope when Ebola struck. Tax dodging that deprives developing countries of the revenues to fight poverty.
This year we saw yet again how humanity undermines its own desire for progress, how so often we choose to remain in the darkness rather than emerge into the light.
Poverty persists because we continue to make that choice. It is not a natural and inevitable state of affairs. It is a consequence of what we do, or what we fail to do.
Poverty is not a natural and inevitable state of affairs
This, of course, is only half of the story. Millions of people around the world are united in the shared belief that it does not have to be this way. That positive change is possible.
Christian Aid, with our partners and supporters, is part of that movement. We stand alongside poor communities who work tirelessly to lift themselves out of poverty. Together, in 2014/15, we:
- reached millions of people caught up in the Ebola crisis and conflict in the Middle East
- came together in our tens of thousands to demand urgent action on climate change
- played a key role in bringing about ground-breaking legislation that makes it harder for big corporations to avoid paying tax
- helped hundreds of thousands of people get access to better services, and prepare for climate extremes and disasters
- tackled discrimination against women and marginalised groups
- strived to make markets work for poor communities so they can become financially self-sufficient.
In this Global Progress Review, and the Annual Report and Accounts that accompanies it, you can read about these and other key successes. You can also take an in-depth look at our newest priority, tackling violence, building peace – one of our five strategic change objectives (see box) and the theme of last year’s Christian Aid Week.
Violence – perhaps more than any other aspect of the human experience – can fatally undermine poor communities as they struggle to survive and to thrive. Until we end violence, we cannot end poverty.
Moments that define a year
Stepping up our climate change campaign, unmasking the tax dodgers, making the market work for poor communities – just some of the ways we made a difference in 2014/15.
How we spent your money
In 2014/15, our total income was £99.9m, down 4% from £103.6m the previous year. Our total expenditure also fell by 6% – to £94.3m – mainly because of the completion of two high-profile donor-funded programmes.
But the lifetime value of the grants and contracts we were awarded during the year shot up to £47.4m – £18.7m higher than in 2013/14. It showed the confidence donors have in our ability to deliver large-scale programmes that make a real impact.
You can find more details in our Annual Report and Accounts.
Where we spent it
Christian Aid works with and through local partner organisations, who know their communities and how best to help them lift themselves out of poverty. In 2014/15, in addition to our own programme activities, we gave grants worth £38.3m to 568 partners in 39 countries.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Hover over a country to see more information
|Bolivia (office in La Paz)||£798,000|
|Brazil (office in São Paulo)||£919,000|
|Colombia (office in Bogotá)||£635,000|
(office in Santo Domingo)
|Haiti (office in Port-au-Prince)||£913,000|
|Nicaragua (office in Managua)||£478,000|
|Peru (office in Lima, closed in 2014)||£46,000|
|Grants to Latin America and Caribbean regional programmes||298|
Hover over a country to see more information
|Burkina Faso (office in Ouagadougou)||£252,000|
|Burundi (office in Bujumbura)||£635,000|
|Democratic Republic of Congo
(offices in Kinshasa, Goma and Kindu)
|Ethiopia (office in Addis Ababa)||£1,089,000|
|Ghana (office in Accra)||£379,000|
|Kenya (office in Nairobi)||£2,108,000|
|Malawi (office in Lilongwe)||£2,987,000|
|Mali (office in Bamako)||£978,000|
|Nigeria (office in Abuja)||£1,017,000|
|Sierra Leone (office in Freetown)||£1,213,000|
|South Africa (office in Pretoria)||£584,000|
|South Sudan (office in Juba)||£789,000|
|Zambia (office in Lusaka, joint programme with Norwegian Church Aid and Dan Church Aid)||£354,000|
|Zimbabwe (office in Harare)||£890,000|
|Grants to Africa regional programmes||539|
Asia and the Middle East
Hover over a country to see more information
|Afghanistan (offices in Herat and Kabul)||£625,000|
|Bangladesh (office in Dhaka)||£954,000|
|Cambodia (office in Phnom Penh, jointly with Dan Church Aid)||£348,000|
|India (office in Delhi)||£4,528,000|
|Israel / occupied Palestinian territories||£838,000|
|Myanmar (office in Yangon)||£832,000|
|Philippines (office in Manila)||£3,992,000|
|Grants to Asia and Middle East regional programmes||2,302|
70 years ago, Christian Aid was born out of war.
In 1945, in the aftermath of the most catastrophic conflict in history, church leaders in Britain and Ireland reached out to people in continental Europe left hungry, destitute and homeless. Christian Aid, as it would soon become known, was forged.
Over the decades that followed, our work expanded across the globe: we delivered humanitarian aid to people in urgent need, we supported some of the world’s poorest communities as they walked the long hard road out of poverty. We did not, however, work directly to tackle violence and build peace.
But in 2012, in the growing realisation that we can only end poverty if we end violence, we made it one of our key objectives.
Breaking an iniquitous circle
70 years on, war still blights the lives of millions of people – from South Sudan to Syria, from Somalia to Iraq. But violence is present in our world in many other forms: gang warfare, police brutality, domestic abuse, forced eviction from land or property, to name but a few. It pervades many countries and poor communities, even though they are not at war. It destroys the fabric of society and undermines the painstaking work of long-term development.
We have become increasingly convinced that to end poverty we need to end violence.
What good is education if girls can be assaulted or raped on their way to school?
For what good is increased access to education if girls can be assaulted or raped on their way to school? How can a poor farmer make enough money to support his family if that money is repeatedly seized by armed men at checkpoints or extorted by criminal organisations? What use is working to increase women’s status in society when no system of law enforcement exists to prevent a husband beating his wife with impunity?
Violence is both a cause, and a consequence, of poverty. It is this iniquitous circle that Christian Aid’s work to tackle violence and build peace aims to break.
How we work
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling violence; it depends entirely on the context, and every violent situation is different. That said, there are key principles that guide our work:
Tackle the root causes Repressive and unaccountable government, concentrations of wealth and power, communities forced to the margins, an absence of effective law enforcement. These are just some of the root causes of violence – our work aims to tackle them. We give poor people a voice so they can claim rights they’ve been denied. We create dialogue between communities divided by conflict so they can rebuild trust and work together towards a peaceful future. We challenge the culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape justice.
Do no harm We seek to be impartial, but intervention makes us part of the context, therefore potentially part of the conflict. Even with the best of intentions, aid can inadvertently exacerbate a conflict. And speaking out against one kind of violent society could see it replaced by something equally bad or worse. In Central America, for example, societies run by criminal gangs might on balance be less violent and more secure than if they were left to abusive government authorities. Before we decide to intervene, then, the first rule we need to obey is: do no harm.
Know the context To that end, it is essential we analyse and understand the local context. This is where our approach of working through partners really comes into its own. As part of the community, they are ideally placed to know what the risks are, what local people need, and how best to provide it. With their insight, and through our joint analysis, we can make informed choices on how to do no harm and have the maximum impact.
What we do
Building peace is not simply a matter of ending physical violence. It is a complex, holistic and continuous process involving a whole range of solutions.
In 2014/15, working through our partners, we used special ‘humanitarian zones’ to protect people forced from their land in Colombia. We fostered open and honest dialogue between communities divided by conflict in the Middle East. And we helped children recover from their terrible experiences of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe.
Here are some examples of our work to tackle violence and build peace across the world:
Where we go from here
Tackling violence, building peace is now a priority for our programmes in ten of the 39 countries in which we work, but we are still at the start of this journey.
We need to make sure our staff and partners stay free from harm in some of the toughest places on the planet. We aim to provide them with the best available security training and carefully monitor any risks so they can remain safe as they carry out their crucial work.
We will continue to build on our expertise in the coming year, and make sure that our peace-building is joined up with the rest of our work so that our efforts to end poverty and end violence reinforce each other.