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Throughout the conference we were collecting questions from you, but were not able to answer them all, as part of the Q&A session. 

From Christian Aid Week stories to broader discussions about our partnerships and initiatives, we've compiled these questions and provided responses grouped by common themes.

Christian Aid Week stories

Can you say more about how the people are trained when receiving loans – how do they ensure they are sustainable/ helpful?

  • Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) members typically self-select to come together to support one another to save and borrow for a number of different reasons.  

  • Newly formed groups tend to comprise of around 15–25 members.  

  • Once a group is formed, Christian Aid colleagues and partners run training sessions on how to maintain a successful VSLA, manage money, and run a small business.  

  • Once trained, the group is provided with a steel savings box, which is kept by the treasurer or secretary.  

  • The box has three locks, that require three selected members to be present to open them. Normally, the box is only opened when all members are present.  

  • The members agree on how much they need to save and how often. Each member is given a book to keep a personal record of their own savings and loans.  

  • The groups agree limits for how much can be saved and loaned.  

  • Loan requests are assessed by the group, who grant them based on need and available funds.  

  • Members also make welfare contributions to support one another if they lose a loved one or face ill health. 

Is there any form of joint venture between the CA programme in Burundi and the government of Burundi?  How sustainable is this for the future of CA's programme? 

We believe partnership is the best way to create lasting change. It's at the heart of all our work to fight poverty, respond to humanitarian emergencies and create a fairer, more peaceful world.

Our partners hold deep knowledge of local contexts. They have the specialist skills and meaningful relationships with communities that allow them to build a better future. We don't just fund the work of partner organisations, we invest in them too. As their capacity grows, our network becomes stronger. This is one of the reasons we work through partners organisations and not through governments. 

Our partners in Burundi are: 

  • Network of Religious Confessions for the Promotion of Health and Integral Wellbeing of the Family (RCBIF) are a Burundian collective of faith organisations, including Christians and Muslims, founded in 2013. They’ve been supporting the people we work with to set up and maintain Village Savings and Loans Associations as a means to escape extreme poverty and build resilience.  

  • Council for Education and Development (COPED) are focussing on helping women and young people to access vocational training, and supporting community healthcare providers, ensuring access to sexual reproductive health services.  

  • Anglican Community Development Service (SADC) are supporting families living in poverty by supplying high quality seeds to cultivate crops, along with other non-food items. 

We have supported projects in Burundi and our hearts and prayers are with you… How stable is the present political situation? We know how sad it has been in the past. 

At present, it's reasonably stable, but we know that elections can change situations, and we maintain an awareness of any unrest which may affect our programmes. 

Christian Aid Week fundraising

What is the deadline for Christian Aid Week resource orders? 

Wednesday 10 April 2024. 

Christian Aid collection buckets - can we have ones that accept delivery only envelopes? The current ones won't let them fit! 

You can adapt the existing ones by snipping the small plastic tab in the slot so it accepts envelopes. 

What has happened to the handheld contactless devices? 

We can now collect contactless donations via an app on mobile phones, without the need for a contactless device. This is called Charity Go. Please contact your local CEFO or to register for this. 

When is the banking change happening? 

We're commencing the handover process now, please see the detail, which will start with this year’s Christian Aid Week!  

  • Please recycle or destroy all bank paying-in slips that you currently have. Order new bank giro/ paying-in slips for 2024 – Christian Aid Week giros will be in the treasurer’s pack. For other donations, call 020 7523 2492.
  • Please use the same OR number for your resource orders and paying in money.  
  • If you bank online you may want to use our BACS electronic bank transfer service then email with the details of your payment, church, OR number and which campaign the money is for – call 020 7523 2493 for help or account details. 

Why do you not have space for card details on the envelopes? 

This would create confidentiality issues, but you can register for a digital collection envelope and print the QR code for this on the delivery envelopes, which would give a card payment option. 

And a suggestion from Clare of Churches Together in Putney and Roehampton

An idea for fundraising with children: make a map of Burundi on a stout background (cook flooring tiles worked well before for a different appeal)... and see how many times during the week your congregations/group can surround the borders with £1 coins. 

Our wider work

How does Christian Aid advise supporters to talk to people about the situation in Israel/Gaza from a balanced perspective, when it’s potentially so contentious? 

It's a complicated situation. Please visit our Middle East Crisis Appeal webpage, which will help you understand more about the situation. Christian Aid has been working with the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Middle East for many years, working with local partners in Gaza. Since October 2023, we've also worked with an Israeli civil society organisation based in Tel Aviv. 

As Julie Mehigan shared during the Conference: 'We need a full and permanent ceasefire now. There is no military solution to this conflict. Instead, we are seeing our worst fears realised of a pause bomb pause bomb scenario. This is dehumanising, unacceptable and offers little room for hope or the conditions to achieve a lasting peace.' 

So, we are praying  

For an end to the conflict 

For all parties to abide by international law 

For dignity and value of all 

For lasting peace and justice 

Pray not for Arab or Jew, for Palestinian or Israeli, but pray rather for ourselves, that we might not divide them in our prayers but keep them both together in our hearts. 

How do you make decisions about where to fundraise for, when there are so many pressing issues (I got a letter about girls and women, when I would have thought Gaza would have been the top priority)? 

Christian Aid is working in 29 countries across the world in a variety of projects and a number of different ways. Our unrestricted fundraising supports our work and ensures we can sustain projects and also respond more flexibly to different needs as they arise.

During Christian Aid Week, we focus on one particular story from one particular project in a specific country, as an example of the work we are doing. It helps us to shine a light on our priorities of climate justice, gender awareness, and campaigning for change to fight injustice. 

Alongside this, we have our humanitarian work and have specific restricted fundraising for emergencies through appeals, such as the present Middle East Crisis Appeal. 

Other questions

What was the name of the young man who was freed from slavery who wrote the book 'Thoughts and Sentiments' referred to by Rev Lucy Winkett? 

Quobna Ottobah Cugoano 

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