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Published on 2 March 2021

This blog post was written by Emma Sunter

In February, almost 250 Christian Aid supporters from across Scotland gathered online at the virtual Gathering. This was a chance to hear about the amazing work of our partners and for supporters to share the innovative ways they have been fundraising this past year.

Solomon Woldetsadik, Senior Programme Officer for Christian Aid in Ethiopia, gave insight into the struggles that communities are facing. He explained that the climate crisis is causing huge challenges for families in Ethiopia, where unpredictable rains, increased temperatures and prolonged droughts are causing severe food insecurity.

We heard about Christian Aid’s response to the devastating desert locust outbreak in regions of Ethiopia, where vital farmlands were damaged by locusts. Through the provision of pesticides, safety kits, training and community mobilisation, we were able to protect 169,172 hectares of crop and grazing lands from the desert locust infestation. The project enabled many farmers to replace damaged crops with maize seeds and ensure food security for their families.

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Thanks to the Scottish Government’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund, Christian Aid was able to act quickly to protect any existing crops and plant new seeds for the next harvest. But the extreme weather means that the threat of more locusts remains high.

The Gathering was also an opportunity for supporters to share creative ways of raising money and awareness during 2020. Some long-established fundraising ideas were turned into virtual events. Church families came together through keep fit challenges and Christian Aid Week services took place online. Greenbank Church of Scotland adapted their annual plant sale by selling plants online and delivering them by bicycle. Many supporters set up JustGiving pages to continue raising money without the risk of in-person collections.

Although coronavirus restrictions will curtail in-person fundraising in 2021, our supporters in Scotland plan to keep supporting Christian Aid’s work through quizzes, 300,000 step challenges and online donations. A new venture for this year - Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk – will take place on the weekend of 23-25 April. This is a great opportunity for people of all abilities to raise money easily for Christian Aid.

Even over Zoom, the energy and enthusiasm at the virtual Gathering was palpable. Inspired by the update from Ethiopia, churches will be finding creative ways to celebrate Christian Aid Week 2021 and pushing for stronger action against the climate crisis.

Despite all the difficulties of the last year, it is amazing to see supporters across Scotland continue to work together to end poverty, united in fellowship and a passion for justice.