On Monday March 28th,Sarah Cavan and Rebecca McEvoy made presentations to a local high school in Antigonish. In two grade 12 classes, we presented the role D&P plays in Canada and what youth/students/communities and people in general can do to help with our campaign this year…WATER FOR ALL.
OUR PLAN: We wanted to give youth the opportunity to brainstorm and show them how much they can do to help D&P in the future, to show students it’s the little things such as not buying bottled water that can help, a little goes a long way!
HOW IT WENT: It went amazing at the High School. The first class was very interested and had been learning about water and the problem it is becoming in every part of our life, so it was a great way to tie it into their lesson! That class had actually prepared for us a one page summary called “The Journey of Bottled Water”. Each student had typed them up and had it ready for us, it was so cool!
We also got asked right after the second presentation if we would come back on April 20th to do another info session for an hour at the high school lunch time because they are holding an EARTH DAY at their school.
The best part was when I did the demonstration about the amount of water it takes to produce a plastic bottle of water; it takes 3 litres of water to make a 1 litre bottle. I poured 3 L of water into an empty 1 L bottle…. and the wasted water gets everywhere! The visualization of the water over spilling from the bottle shows just how much water gets wasted in just the production of the water bottle itself…
I did this for all 3 classes. They were speechless and had so many great comments after they saw this. We gave everyone action cards and pamphlets and stickers! It was very rewarding to hear them tell us what they learnt at the end of the hour!
The THINKfast game was a HIT!! We had each student be one step along the 13 step process for the “JOURNEY OF WATER”. They held the string and we showed them what happened when one part of the Journey didn’t work, how it all falls apart! And this is what we can do to STOP the privatization of water.
A Cup of Justice: The Ottawa Diocesan Council of Development and Peace will be hosting a Solidarity Visitor this week!
Come and join us for an evening of music, dance, poetry, learning, and oodles of fun as we celebrate the work of our partner, Fr. Luis Arriaga of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh) in Mexico City. An evening of joy in solidarity – not to be missed!
Wow – It’s so hard to keep track of the days now. The trip has been an amazing experience so far. Today we are with NASSA and in the diocese of Libaman.
Last night we stayed in a GAWAD KALINGA Village – What a moving experience! When we entered the community hall after having shared a beautiful meal with the leaders, the children of the community came running to us and took our hands and touched them to their foreheads. This is a sign of respect in the culture here in the Philippines to do this to people who are older then you. The evening commenced like many others with speeches and warm welcomes, but then the solidarity truly began. There was much music and dance, with people of every age. The cultural numbers they had prepared were out of this world and the talent was like nothing I’ve seen before.
The night ended with all participants going to host families to experience life with the locals. I stayed with a family whose father works with the vegetable garden as a part of his livelihood. The welcoming feeling and hospitality was great, but it wasn’t until the next morning that I got a feeling that I never got before. The father and I went for a walk through the community and he explained it all to me, from the beginning until the point they have currently reached. He introduced me to every neighbor and told me the story of the community being built. He told me about a line of a hundred people that passed the blocks to build the homes. He also could not stop from continuing to thank me for honoring him and visiting his humble abode.
He took me to the gardens where he works and makes his livelihood. He explained that each family has a section of donated land that they each plant stuff in. He was especially proud pointing out his spot – so I made sure to capture the moment and the smile on his face. We walked to where the pigs and chickens are kept. He explained to me about the organic farming they do. He showed me the chickens and explained that they are separated out and taken care of by groups. Specifically divided into 5 groups of which he is in group three and he therefore takes his turn on Thursdays to maintain them.
We walked in silence some of the way, but he kept turning back and smiling at me, sometimes continuing to say thank you so much for coming. It was not long after that we had to prepare to leave the GK Village, but the memories they made for us with their wonderful welcoming hospitality is something that will last a lifetime. The visit may have had to come to an end, but a future partnership of solidarity is sure to be shared for a lifetime!
The Philippines is a deeply religious country. About 80% of the population identifies as Catholic, and the Catholic Church is very influential in all sectors of society. Upon first hearing these facts, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’ve always found the separation of Church and State to be a really important factor in determining government policy and respecting diversity within a country’s population. But in the Philippines, the Church has intentionally taken on a very different identity than that of my typical notions of Church in the Global North.
On our first day, we visited with one of our Manila-based partners – the Urban Poor Associates (UPA). UPA works to organize and empower the poor in urban centres to fight for their land rights, to secure affordable housing and disaster relief support, and to build and strengthen community. Our first introduction to their work was a talk from Denis Murphy, one of the staff at UPA. While the context of the urban poor and the work of UPA were central to his introductory remarks, the role and inclination of the Church was explained first.
What does the Church look like in the Philippines? In 1991, the Church of the Philippines held a council in which it was decided that the Church would strive to become a ChurchOFthe poor. The Council saw poverty and its elimination as central to its work in Philippine society and re-visioned itself as an institution that would seek to serve, fight for, and live among the poor.
Since the council was held 19 years ago, the Church has been one of the poor’s foremost advocates. They’ve issued pastoral letters condemning mining abuses and calling on politicians to deliver on land rights and services for the poor. They’ve supported and led social movements calling for gender justice, sustainable agriculture, child and youth development, and skills training. The Church in the Philippines is truly one of the poor’s closest allies. While they still have a long way to go before achieving the goal of truly becoming the Church OF the poor, most would agree that they’ve made substantial progress.
We witnessed a really stunning example of liberational church in action when we visited the community of St. Bernardine, a rural parish in the Diocese of Libmanan, supported by one of D&P’s partners – NASSA, or Caritas Philippines. In the past couple of years, it has held consultations and discussions with its parishioners, as well as outside clergy and church officials, to develop a model for the intentional development of a liberational church.
It sees the traditional model of church, where the relationship between self and God is central to spiritual life – as an insufficient model for a faith community committed to gospel-inspired justice and service. Through capacity building, child and youth development, community organizing, and institutional shifts, it is working towards becoming a church where God is served in relationship with one another; where sacraments, prayer groups, and other exercises in personal spiritual reflection complement, rather than overshadow, justice work and community development. The model is still under construction, but it seems very much like something that could be replicated in parishes all over the world.
Witnessing the meaning of Church in the Philippines has truly renewed my faith in the institutional Church in Canada and around the world. As Catholics, we are called to be liberators and revolutionaries as Christ was. The Church in the Philippines takes that call to action seriously. That the Global South is leading this revolution in Church life is an exciting and hopeful prospect, and I am so grateful for this opportunity for renewal and spiritual replenishment.
“My name is Kaitlyn. I’m a youth rep at Development and Peace – the official development agency of the Catholic Church in Canada, and the Canadian member of Caritas International. Inspired by Gospel values, particularly “the preferential option for the poor,” the goals of Development and Peace are to support initiatives by people in the Global South to take control of their lives and to educate Canadians about global issues.
For the past 42 years, Development and Peace has helped support thousands of grassroots projects all over the world that are striving for peace and justice financially and through advocacy and solidarity.
Development and Peace believes the voluntary approach to corporate accountability is fundamentally flawed. Canadian extractive companies that fail to uphold international human rights and environmental standards abroad must be held accountable in Canada.
Between 2006 and 2009, over 520,000 Development and Peace action postcards were collected across Canada, and 170 meetings with MPs were held; all calling for action on making mandatory corporate social responsibility a reality.
Working in solidarity with partner organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, our goal has been to convince the Canadian government to develop legal mechanisms that would require Canadian mining companies operating in these regions to act in a manner that respects human, social and cultural rights and is environmentally responsible.
We support Bill C-300 because it is a step in the right direction towards restoring Canada’s reputation as a rights-respecting country that puts life before profit.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, assassinated in 1980 for speaking out against the injustices in his country, said “Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the…contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is a right and it is a duty.”
Our brothers and sisters in the Global South have a right to peace, free from fear, free from destruction and free from oppression. Without mandatory corporate social responsibility, we cannot uphold our duty to work towards building that dynamic and enduring peace. We call on all of our elected representatives to ensure that bill c-300 passes its third and final reading. Let this be a small step towards creating a world where life always comes before profit.”
by Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt, Eastern Ontario Youth Rep
Our Just Youth group at Carleton University in Ottawa hosted a screening of the documentary Food Inc on campus last week.
I had never seen the film before. After having familiarized myself with the D&P campaign on food sovereignty, I figured I was fairly up-to-snuff on where my food was coming from and the injustices that are perpetuated by the way we, especially in the Global North, eat. But whoa! Is there ever a lot to learn!
Even in North America, the lack of control that farmers have over their land and the way that they use it is astonishing. Seed patents prevent farmers from being able to save their seed from year to year. The incessant corporate desire to increase “efficiency” forces farmers to construct the dankest, most poisonous environments possible in which to raise their livestock.
What a world we live in. Traditional farming practises are so undervalued.
The seemingly endless web of connections between big agri-business and government agencies that regulate food policy was astonishing as well. The sheer number of people doubling as government advocates for fewer restrictions on corporate farming and higher-ups in the actual corporations is wild.
How it came to be that farming elites with virtually no connection to on-the-ground production can exert so much control over national and international food policies is beyond me. These monetary hierarchical structures need to be changed.
The consensus within the group was that the film is really calling us to take a good, hard look at the way we eat. Every day, we vote with our dollar in grocery stores and local farmers markets.
But in addition to purchasing more organic, local food, we must also advocate for political change. Because so much of big agri-business relies on subsidies from the government (especially in the United States), we must continue to advocate for change at the policy level as well as at the local level.
Finally, the film presented an interesting perspective on the affordability of food. Essentially, the cheapest food is often also the unhealthiest. This puts people with a lower income in a severely disadvantaged position, especially health wise. In North America, the highest rates of obesity are found in poorer demographics because good quality food is simply too expensive. We must be aware of and work to correct the structures of power and privilege that are present within our society and, by extension, within our food systems.
by Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikatt, Eastern Ontario Youth Rep
Justine Correia, our BC Youth Rep went with Morgan Hillis, Izzy Weber Concannon, and Cailin Correia to take a stand and meet with their local MP Colin Mayes.
They delivered almost 500 signed Fall Action cards promoting the principles of food sovereignty.
To top it off, Conservative MP Colin Mayes signed the card himself – adressed to the Prime Minister in support of the D&P Campaign.
PLUS, from January 22nd to January 24th Youth from the Nelson diocese in BC gathered together to participate in the first annual Nelson D&P Youth Rally. Youth were educated on social justice and learnt more about Development and Peace.
The weekend was a blast filled with high spirits wonderful music and food. At the Rally we also elected 2 new Diocesan Reps: Annalea Zimmer and Ollie d’Aoust who will help represent youth from the Nelson Diocese.
WOOT WOOT! The Youth Rocked the weekend – thanks everyone that came out!
I’ve been a user of social media for a while. I remember a few years back, when I got my first facebook page… all of the applications, the sharing tools and special features weren’t yet a part of the site, but at the time, it had all seemed so overwhelming!
How far we have come in such a short amount of time! Now, I think nothing of seeing my family from Alberta to New Brunswick converging for semi-regular Word Twist tournaments. Engaging in debates on social and political issues is a regular occurrence. Connecting with friends, keeping up to date on what events are going in my community, following the activity of my favourite organizations, and even building networks of professional contacts via the web is simply second nature to me now. I have a difficult time envisioning communication without it.
Social media truly has revolutionized the world and is connecting people from all over the world in ways that were completely unfathomable to the general population just under a decade ago.
Last week, Development and Peace hosted a Social Media workshop. Directors, national council members, volunteers, youth reps, and staff from across the Eastern Region converged in Toronto to engage in some meaningful discussion about how we can utilize social media platforms (such as facebook, twitter, and blogging) to better connect with our members, promote our education and fundraising campaigns, and generally increase awareness about all the awesome stuff that members of D&P are engaging in.
I was under the impression that I was fairly knowledgeable about social media and its potential for expanding our member base. But ooh man…there is so much more to it than I could have ever imagined! On the first day, speakers from various backgrounds and organizations, including Doctors without Borders, spoke to us about how social media is currently being used as a promotional tool for the non-governmental sector. They spoke about the benefits and potential risks of putting yourself completely “out there” on the web. Completely exposing yourself to the ups and downs of online support as well as criticism can be kind of a scary thought – but thus is the nature of this business! It sounds like there is a lot of divergence of opinion out there on appropriate levels of social media freedom, but it is all very interesting to say the least!
On the second day of the workshop, we all participated in an open discussion on what kind of social media policy we would envision for D&P. While there are undoubtedly a lot of different opinions within the organization, I’m thrilled that this discussion is being had. It’s so important for NGOs to go where the people are. In today’s society, the people are using the web. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.