Hungry for change- Frequently Asked Questions

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1 Hungry for change- Frequently Asked Questions Q Global hunger is a huge problem, how can CAFOD hope to solve it with one campaign? A On one level, the food system s complex, a deadly mix of different factors combine to stop communities from being able to feed themselves and we can t solve all of these overnight. But on another level, it s very simple. We all have the right to food. We all depend on others for the food we eat. We can all share our hunger for a fair food system. We want to see fundamental changes to the global food system, so that power is justly shared between rich and poor. It s a big task, so we re going to take it one bite at a time. Q Why are we targeting Prime Minister David Cameron? A This year, the UK hosts the G8, a crucial opportunity to put food high on the global agenda. Governments are also coming together to debate a new set of development goals. But the current goal to halve hunger by 2015 is way off track. It s a vital time to act - we re hungry for change, and we want to raise our voices together so the government hears our call. Q Can campaigning and signing a petition really change anything? A Yes! Campaigning really can make a powerful difference. The number of people across the world who don t have enough to eat is growing. But some countries have had remarkable success in freeing millions of people from hunger. With public pressure, political will and targeted investment, this progress could be multiplied worldwide. For example, Vietnam s investment in agriculture helped cut hunger in half over 12 years. Brazil s increased support for local farmers, community kitchens and social welfare, has already lifted millions of people out of poverty since We know it s possible. When we unite locally and internationally, we can push politicians to action. The Thirst for Change campaign added to pressure on the UK government to commit to improved water and sanitation for 60 million people over three years. There is something we can do speak out for justice.

2 Q I m not Catholic, why should I support a CAFOD Campaign? A CAFOD works with people, in the UK and internationally, of all faiths and none. We work with partners in more than 30 countries across the world to bring hope, compassion and solidarity to poor communities, standing side by side with them to end poverty and injustice. Q - We ve been giving aid for decades, but people still go hungry. Nothing ever changes. A - Aid works, when it s properly targeted. Emergency aid is vital, but aid s about far more than food relief. Empowering aid which helps people in poverty speak up for their own needs is transforming lives. We re calling for it to be a global priority. The majority of small-scale farmers are women, yet agricultural aid and support fails to target them effectively. So we need aid which invests in women. By working together, farmers can boost their bargaining power and gain a strong collective voice. So we need aid which supports initiatives like co-operatives. When local markets work well, consumers can buy affordable healthy food and farmers can earn a living. So we need aid and advice which supports developing country governments to ensure that local markets benefit local communities. Q - We don t have enough food to feed everyone, don t we need to increase the amount we produce? A - Right now, there s enough food to feed everyone in the world. But, because it s not shared fairly, not everyone has enough to eat. God created an abundant world. If we use the earth s resources with care and share what we have been given, we will have enough for everyone s needs. But our food system concentrates power in the hands of global companies, investors and governments, and sidelines small-scale producers and consumers across the world. With supply chains stretching across national boundaries, it s hard to know the real impact that global companies have on workers, farmers and consumers, and the influence they hold behind closed doors. This system isn t working: it leaves almost a billion people worldwide without enough food. So if we simply produce more food, without changing the way the system works, how can we solve global hunger?

3 Q Isn t the main thing that charities like CAFOD do is give out food? A No. In emergencies, we do provide life-saving food aid. Where we can, we buy food locally to boost local markets. But our main focus is empowering people to escape poverty so that they can buy or grow healthy, nutritious food in the long term. No one wants to be dependent on food aid forever. We work in more than 30 of the world s poorest countries through local partner organisations often church groups - supporting each community to meet its own needs. This could be with a cash-transfer project, which enables people to prioritise their own needs, make their choices and act on their own decisions. Or by providing seed banks to help crops last longer, agricultural training to improve yields, or support for co-operatives and women s groups to increase their bargaining power. The possibilities are endless, but the ultimate goal is the same: people able to feed themselves, today, tomorrow and long into the future. Q Why isn t CAFOD targeting specific companies in this campaign, and why aren t we calling for boycotts? A We aren t targeting any specific companies in this campaign, and for this reason would ask you not to include any corporate logos or advocate boycotts during the campaign. Boycotts can be successful, but we are looking at how we can bring out long term change to the food system, not individual companies. Food and agriculture multi-nationals include a wide variety of companies. Some of these companies such as Coca-cola or McDonalds are household names, known to literally billions of people on the planet. Others are far less well-known for example Cargill, a privately owned US company, which controls much of the world s grain market. World famous or anonymous, these enormous businesses have a significant impact on the food that we eat and how much we pay for it. The balance this, workers, communities and consumers need a full picture of their activities and impacts. that s why we re calling for checks on the power of global food companies, requiring them to report on their lobbying and their impacts on human rights we need to change the way all companies act, not simply single out a few. Q In 2011, CAFOD s Get Down to Business campaign, called for the UK government to put small businesses in developing countries at the heart of aid and policy making. Isn t Hungry for change asking for something similar for small-scale farmers? A In 2011 we called on the UK government to harness the potential of small businesses and producers, by putting them at the heart of the government s wealth creation strategy and focusing on their needs when deciding spending priorities.

4 Your pressure as part of this campaign helped change the rhetoric at the Department for International Development (DFID), so that it started to include small businesses. Following the campaign, we received a letter from Andrew Mitchell, former Secretary of State for International Development, agreeing about how important small businesses were. As a result, small businesses were mentioned in the government s Private Sector Development Strategy. We have also seen as recognition of their importance in other forums, like the G20 and UNCTAD (the UN Conference on Trade and Development. We have taken a lead in research and have broken new ground in this area of thinking. We have been thinking small ever since, both in terms of the policy changes we advocate to government, but also in terms of how we directly support small businesses and producers through our work in overseas. This continuing research led in part to Hungry for change, which focuses on the potential and importance of small-holder agriculture. Our programmes and partners told us that in order to tackle hunger, farmers need to be able to make a living for themselves and their families. Small-scale farmers already produce 50% of the world s food. There is evidence that with the right support (note, not just any support) they can support themselves and more. Empowering aid, that supports small-scale farmers to lift themselves out of poverty, is a step in the right direction to tackling the power imbalances that lie within our broken food system. It s not a coincidence that we are asking for similar things in both campaigns. We hope that Hungry for change will build and consolidate our work in this area. It s a vitally important issue, so we need to keep up the pressure up. As we know, change doesn t happen overnight. As the International Fund for Agricultural Development says It is time to look at poor smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in a completely new way not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities and greater food security to the world. Q As a Catholic agency, how does CAFOD respond to those who say we need to limit population sizes to deal with the global food crisis? A Currently there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, so over-population is not a sufficient reason for anyone to lack nutritious food. Hunger is a question of distribution, justice and an imbalance of power. As the population of the world increases, it is even more urgent that we deal with the structural causes that stop everyone having access to nutritious food, regardless of how many people there are in the world. In line with other development agencies, we believe that the main cause of high birth rates is poverty and the particular disadvantages faced by women, which we work with our overseas partner organisations to overcome. Balanced, sustainable growth and poverty reduction are likely to reduce rates of population growth because, if maintained, they influence people s perceptions about their own and their children s futures. Children are less likely to be seen as extra hands for the family

5 farm and more as a gift and an asset to be nurtured with family support, education and health care. Wherever such development has taken place, all the evidence suggests that people choose for themselves to have fewer children. CAFOD supports the basic and inalienable human right to marry, conceive and form a family where the decision as to the number of children should be the free, informed and responsible choice of both parents. Papal encyclical Populorum Progressio upheld the rights of families to decide for themselves: Finally, it is for parents to take a thorough look at the matter and decide upon the number of their children. This is an obligation they take upon themselves, before their children already born, and before the community to which they belong following the dictates of their own consciences informed by God's law authentically interpreted, and bolstered by their trust in Him. Family planning education should take place within the cultural and religious context of people s understanding of sexuality and the family. In line with Church Teaching CAFOD does not support the use of artificial methods of family planning and is utterly opposed to abortion.

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