The Spring and Summer 2011 edition of ‘The Herald’ featured an article written by Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. Derek invited the Unitarian Christian Association to remind the denomination of its historical association with Christian Aid. The UCA officer group accepted this challenge by entering into the Christian Aid partnership scheme.
The partnership schemes commit an organisation to raising £5000 over a period of approximately three years. This figure is usually match-funded by organisations such as the European Union, by three or four times the amount.
We chose a scheme in the West African state of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in Africa. Our partnership project was match- funded by the EU. Every £1 we raised was matched by £3 from the EU. Our fund raising of £5000 would amount to £20,000!
The fund-raising for the Sierra Leone project was officially launched at our gathering in the Memorial Church, Cambridge in October 2011. The UCA had pledged to raise £5000 by January 2014 to improve health care for mothers and babies in the Kailahun Province in the far East of Sierra Leone. We were very pleased to welcome three representatives from Christian Aid who gave us first-hand information about the project.
Members of the UCA will know that we achieved our target of £5000 on 30 April 2012, less than a year since the launch! The project seemed to strike a chord with our members, who gave generous donations from individuals and congregations. The officer group is extremely grateful for such wonderful support. The Maternal Health unit is making exciting progress with improvements in water and energy supply. For up-to-date information, please visit the Christian Aid website link below and click on any links to Maternal Health, Kailahun.www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/fundraise/church-partnerships/resources/updates.aspx?Page=3
The success of our fund-raising for Kailahun meant that the officer group had a problem! We understood that other fund-raising events for Kailahun had already been organised, and we needed to find another project to support. A look at the Christian Aid website solved the problem! Christian Aid is funding another project in the East of Sierra Leone. This project deals with malaria, one of the major killers in this area, particularly among children. Five hundred pounds supports the training of a malaria control agent, and their work, for one year. These local volunteers provide advice on how to use a mosquito net and how to access treatment. Since May 2012 we have raised funds to support the work of two volunteers. We hope to continue with this fund-raising in 2013. For more information about this project, please visit the Christian Aid website link below.www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/fundraise/church-malaria-scheme/index.aspx
Since May 2012 until January 2013 we raised enough funds to support the work of three volunteers......a total of £1500!
Thank you to all our supporters for their wonderful efforts in fund raising for both the Kailahun Maternal Health Unit and the malaria scheme.
Read below the blog posted by Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, congratulating the Unitarian Christian Association on its achievement.
Monday, 16 July 2012
Unitarian Christian Association supports Maternal Health Project in Sierra Leone
Congratulations to the Unitarian Christian Association (UCA), an affiliated society of the General Assembly, for reaching their target of raising £5000 for the Kailahun maternal health project in Sierra Leone. This £5000 will become £20000 with European Union funding.
Christian Aid launched this project in April 2011 and the UCA agreed to support it with fund-raising in October 2011 with a target of reaching £5000 by January 2014. Infact, they have done so in just one year!
In their latest newsletter Cathy Fozard writes: "In the latest news from Christian Aid it's clear that exciting progress is being made. The government hospital in Kailahun that we are supporting has a restored water system and a new solar power system. So now there is a constant supply of water and electricity to the hospital which is having a very positive impact on the health care provided there."
As £5000 is the maximum to be raised for this particular project, due to European Union restrictions on matching, the UCA will be continuing to fund-raise for Sierra Leone and have chosen a new Christian Aid project in the east that is combating malaria in Kenema, a city of £170,000 people close to the Liberia border.
In March 2011 I wrote in "The Herald", the UCA magazine, about the longstanding links between British Unitarians and Free Christian and Christian Aid; not least our status as a founding sponsor. I suggested that we could do more to make this link real. The UCA have responded to this call for action in a remarkable way. Well done.