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On 26 February 2018, an earthquake measuring 7.5Mw hit the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. It was the largest earthquake recorded in the region since 1922. The earthquake and aftershocks affected approximately 544,000 people and 270,000 needed emergency assistance.

Thanks to generous donations, UnitingWorld has been able to support our partners, the United Church in Papua New Guinea (UCPNG), to provide emergency water, sanitation and shelter kits to communities most at need.

UCPNG has also partnered with other churches in Papua New Guinea to install new water tanks and latrines, as well as providing trauma counselling and peacebuilding workshops in impacted communities. These recovery efforts have been supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Bali is well known as a holiday destination, however, in rural areas away from the tourist spots there is considerable poverty. Local governments receive limited funding to assist poorer people with housing, electricity, water and other basic services, however, the voices of the poorest, especially women, are often not heard.

We support our local partners MBM to advocate for the rights of women and the poor to participate in village decision-making processes and provides women and poor families with vocational skills training so they can generate an income through activities such as basket weaving and raising livestock. We also support rural communities with health and hygiene services and education.

You can help! And thanks to our partnership with the Australian Government, your donation can go up to five times as far (find out more).

 

 

 

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together; lifting families out of poverty and helping people improve their lives.

Check out the impact we’re making together…

 

Our impact 

Every year since 2010, we have provided micro enterprise training and support for 300 families, and WASH training, toilets or clean water for 100 families.

Last year, 28 villages received access to better water and sanitation facilities through the WASH program.

 

COVID-19 Pandemic response (2020)

As a result of COVID-19, MBM put activities on hold and all staff worked from home. They contacted village leaders in the communities they work in to set up information alerts and check that vulnerable people had access to handwashing stations. They supported additional families to build toilets in their own homes and supported messages by the Ministry of Health about COVID-19, physical distancing and where to get help. Bali was hit hard by the impact of the virus as many people will lost their jobs, especially those in the tourism industry.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE

The Indian Government prevented schools taking fees from March to June due to COVID-19 school closures. While this helped families, it also had an impact on teachers’ incomes, despite their continued teaching efforts.

The Principle of the school has expressed her deep gratitude that UnitingWorld continues to support the school financially, especially at this time.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, education moved to at-home learning and Project activities adapted so 193 students could continue to learn. School exams for class 10 and 12 showed that students have been performing really well during COVID-19.

If families are vulnerable during COVID-19 then children’s education and well-being will greatly suffer. So our partners made sure students received food and hygiene kits (including masks and hand sanitisers) to reduce community transmissions of COVID-19.

The foothills of the Eastern Himalayas are steep jungle-covered terrain, with families mostly eking out a subsistence livelihood. To get to school, children may have to walk up to four hours through jungle tracks. The dropout rate is very high, especially among girls, and contributes significantly to human trafficking.

We supported our partner church to build a small school in a remote mountain village, enabling boys and girls from neighbouring hills to access good, affordable education. We continue to support this school to provide affordable education to families, train teachers and pursue government accreditation.

In 2020, we support 193 children between Grades 5 to 12 and provide funding for teacher training.

In addition to a global pandemic, challenges this school community face include a staggering remoteness, lack of access to health services and facilities and an aching poverty. Children still need to walk long distances to school along challenging terrain, increasing the potential for child trafficking due to vulnerability. Natural disasters and monsoonal weather during the wet season led to a very large landslide 150 metres from the edge of the school.

Together, we are helping our partners address these issues by strengthening the school and local services.

Our Impact

Since this project started, attendance at the school has increased from 117 to 193. Thirteen teachers have been employed and classes have increased to Grade 12.

We also helped develop a Diocese-wide child protection policy that applies to churches, youth groups, Sunday schools and schools. School staff have been involved in regional workshops that enhance the school’s understanding of child protection, disability inclusion, education and project management.

 

During the struggle for independence, a generation of people in Timor-Leste (East Timor) missed out on basic education. This gap is now manifesting itself as a shortage of leaders and teachers in the church, particularly in rural areas.

Almost 20% of primary school age children are not attending school and over a quarter of secondary school teachers are absent on any given day (World Bank, 2015). Furthermore, nearly 70% of the population of Timor-Leste is under 30 years old, meaning the provision of quality education and care is incredibly important for ensuring a stable and prosperous future for the country and its people.

We support our partners in providing skills and child protection training for Sunday School teachers, particularly in rural areas. This partnership is helping provide children with quality teaching and care.

 

Last Year…

37 church leaders received training in leadership and child protection

 

RESOURCES

Child Protection and Care: Bible studies by Siera Bird (2019)

(Click picture to download)

 

COVID-19 Pandemic response

Our partners have been speeding up the dissemination of messaging on COVID-19, including health awareness, prevention measures and response to families connected to this project. Because of the restrictions on travel and spatial distancing project staff have been running check in’s to houses of families connected to the project (after lock-down). Through working closely with the government, project staff are working to speed up access to medicines for people in the rural areas who have no or limited access to transport to urban areas.

The Diocese of Eastern Himalayas serves a large area, which includes 28 pastorates and 300 congregations with more than 15,000 members. Despite this large commission, there are only 22 pastors and 7 evangelists leaving a significant gap in trained leaders.

We support the training of existing and new pastors and lay leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to run the church and provide pastoral support and care to their large constituency.

Our Impact

As child trafficking is a major local issue, we helped develop a child protection policy and training for church leaders. Further, over 150 church leaders have been trained in financial management, budgeting, prudent spending, account keeping, auditing and bank account creation and management.

18 pastors attended a training on theology and Christian teaching, including how to respond to people’s social, physical and psychological needs.

 

Papua New Guinea has faced considerable governance and development challenges for decades, with poor education and health outcomes and community violence impacting all.

Knowing that churches were the strongest civil society structures in PNG, the Church Partnership Program brings together seven churches and their Australian faith based NGO counterparts together with support from the Australian government to deliver health and education services, covering the vast majority of the country in doing so.

Our partners, the United Church in PNG continue to be part of this program to build peace, reduce disaster risk and impact, and more recently to address gender inequality and work towards social inclusion nationally.

We have also been supporting a network of Pacific theologians to create theological resources for gender equality (Bible studies, workshop materials etc) and work with the Church Partnership Program and our partners to lead a dialogue in gender equality across PNG.

Use our resources on gender equality theology in your church or Bible study group! Download them here.

Click to download

 

Bible Studies on Human Dignity and Equality

-Rev Dr Cliff Bird and UnitingWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to download

 

The Theology of Gender Equality

-Church Partnership Program

“The Theology of Gender Equality is built upon ten, theological principles that enable participation and inclusion of both men and women in creating and sustaining communities that reaffirm, respect, and celebrate that being female and male are divine gifts.”

 

 

 

 

 

Our Impact

Brought seven denominations together to adopt gender equality as their doctrinal position, and created a community of practice to advance this understanding throughout their communities.

Created a co-ordinated approach to preparing for and responding to natural disasters, leading to a highly effective recovery from the El Nino famine in 2015 and now for the earthquakes in 2018.

Provided health services and education services right across PNG, particularly to remote areas where neither private nor government services are available.

Since 2016, our partners have provided training to 300 leaders in their professional areas of education, health and women’s empowerment.

 

In 2013, with underlying trauma and ethnic tensions going unaddressed,  South Sudan exploded into civil war only two years after becoming the world’s newest nation. The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) recognises the importance of peacebuilding, trauma healing, and reconciliation in an effort to achieve long-lasting peace in South Sudan. UnitingWorld supports PCOSS to train ministers and lay leaders and equip them with the tools they will need to teach reconciliation and peace building skills in families and between tribal groups throughout South Sudan.

Our Impact

Since 2015, we have trained 141 ministers and lay leaders in peacebuilding and trauma healing; one group of ministers went on to train 12 other leaders in their home town.


Uploaded on Vimeo in Feb 2017. Download this video or Click here for more videos.

COVID-19 Pandemic response

As of Friday 3 April Zimbabwe had 3 positive COVID-19 cases and 1 death. COVID-19 comes at a terrible time for Zimbabwe, exacerbating already incredibly difficult conditions. In February 2020 Zimbabwe’s annual inflation soared to more than 500 percent, the unemployment rate is over 90 percent, medicines are scarce, and over half of the population are food insecure, a product of inflation and poor harvests owing to droughts, poor rain and erratic weather.

This is the context our partner MeDRA is working within and the enormous challenges being faced in Zimbabwe’s efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. The lockdown requirements mean that MeDRA is unable to continue some of their scheduled activities. However, these funds will instead be used to support MeDRA to produce posters and fliers about COVID-19 in English and local languages for the communities that we work with. MeDRA also plans to raise awareness using loud speaker systems, which will help ensure that people who can’t read are also receiving this important information. MeDRA will be tracking potential cases in the communities they work within and collaborating with the Ministry of Health to ensure that health clinic services are provided where needed.

As is also the case in Australia, rates of domestic violence can increase under times of economic and other stress and when men are spending more time at home due to disruptions in their normal work. To support women at risk of experiencing violence during this difficult period, MeDRA’s posters and fliers will also include hotline numbers for gender based violence and information on local clinics. And probably urge women to seek clinic services during the lockdown period.

 

Zimbabwe has estimated unemployment of 90% and an extremely youthful population, with 60% of the country under the age of 25.

This project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the church to support and protect vulnerable people by equipping church leaders with the knowledge and skills relating to child protection, gender-based violence (including sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment), disability inclusion and human trafficking, and developing church-wide policies and reporting mechanisms.

84% of people in Zimbabwe are Christian and churches and church leaders are central to community life. Church leaders will be able to share their knowledge and skills with the community members they serve, approximately 300 people per church leader. This will lead to attitudinal and behavioural changes at the community level that result in more vulnerable people experiencing greater safety and inclusion.

Our Impact

Since 2015, we have provided training to over 800 youth, on topics including HIV and AIDs prevention, peacebuilding, financial literacy and community organising

 


Uploaded on Vimeo in Mar 2014. Download this video or Click here for more videos.

Tonga is the second most vulnerable country in the world to natural disasters. Cyclones, earthquakes, tsunami risk all make the country vulnerable. On 12 February, Tonga was hit by Tropical Cyclone Gita, the strongest the nation had seen in 60 years. The damage toll was massive, affecting at least 70% of the population.

In its initial response UnitingWorld supported the established Disaster Chaplaincy Network by leading debriefing sessions, training more ministers in disaster trauma counselling and supplying them with vest to make them easily identifiable in communities.

UnitingWorld is now partnering with the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWCT)  to support the recovery of communities and to establish policies, protocols and resources which can be mobilised rapidly in the event of any future disasters. This will assist the FWCT to be able to more quickly repair or rebuild any damaged schools and church/community centres in future, which helps in reducing the impact of disasters on affected communities, for example in reducing the time that families are living within damaged buildings, children are out of school and helping people to return to a sense of normality more quickly.

 

Our Impact

TBC

 

Across the Pacific, churches are central to family and community, but leadership is predominantly male. The voices and representation of women are often excluded in decision-making, teaching and leadership, which reinforces gender power-imbalances in society.

We support women to study theology and seek ordination, equipping them for leadership in the Church and community.

Click here to support this project through Everything in Common

Our Impact

  • Since the project began in 2014, we have supported more than 30 women from five countries (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu) through their theological studies. We support women in a range of degrees including Diploma, Bachelor, Masters and PhD.
  • Many of these women have received college awards (e.g. Dux) at the end of their studies.
  • Past graduates are now serving as ordained Ministers, Deaconesses and leaders in their communities, gender equality theology staff and lecturers (and even Deans) in theological colleges in the Pacific. They are often the first women to hold such roles.
  • A new aspect of this project (in partnership with Pacific Theological College) is to support women to attain higher theological education (e.g. PhD) with the goal of being eligible to hold lecturing positions in theological institutions. In 2022, one student is being supported as part of this strategy.

This project is proudly supported by the Alan Walker College of Evangelism.


Uploaded on Vimeo in Mar 2017. Download this video or Click here for more videos.