MICAH Women Leaders urge Australian Government to "Help Fight Famine"

Caritas HERO350Last week Sandhurst Caritas/Justice Coordinator, Kerry Stone joined Caritas Australia CEO, Kirsty Robertson, and 40 Christian women leaders as part of the Micah Women Leaders Delegation, to urge Australia's political leaders to prevent impending humanitarian crisis.  
 
The delegation of 40 women from faith-based aid and development agencies as well as different Christian denominations, made the case for Help Fight Famine, Micah Australia’s campaign lobbying the Australian government for a $150 million urgent response to the hunger crisis threatening almost 50 million lives in 45 countries, as well as looking for longer-term preventative action.  
 
The combined threats of conflict, COVID-19, climate shocks and now the war in Ukraine, have created the perfect storm for an unprecedented global hunger crisis. In communities where people were already facing hunger, this conflict has pushed them to the breaking point.
 
Kerry and Kirsty joined the Micah Women Leaders delegation to meet with senior government ministers, key opposition figures, crossbench MPs and minor party representatives in Canberra on Wednesday to make the case for Help Fight Famine, a coalition of Australia's leading aid and development organisations campaigning for Treasurer Jim Chalmers to spend $150 million on the hunger crisis. 
 
“On a recent trip to Ethiopia I met communities already on the brink of starvation, with almost no options left to feed themselves and their families. I met women who walk over 18 hours to get water, knowing that they have very little or even nothing to feed their children once they return,” said Ms Robertson.  
 
“These horrifying conditions are some of the worst I have seen in over 20 years in this sector. Indeed, this impending hunger crisis is shaping up to be the worst we have seen in our lifetime. The time to act is now.”  
 
“It was a real privilege to be asked to represent Caritas for this event”, says Kerry. “The first day we were put into teams of four, given our five allocated MPs and a briefing on how to lobby, then sent to practise our routines! Next day was full-on at Parliament House. It began with a Breakfast Meeting for all with Senator Pat Conroy, Minister responsible for Australian Aid. His speech was very impressive, explaining why giving aid actually benefits Australia, for security, economic and international reasons – apart from it being the “right thing to do”. Then on to our MP appointments. I had two of the new ‘teals’, Monique Ryan and Zoe Daniels as well as Labor MPs, Julian Hill and Kate Thwaites, and finally NSW Senator Deborah O’Neill. All listened empathetically. During the day and since, we’ve all enjoyed seeing photos of various MPs putting up our posters, speaking in parliament and sharing Instagram posts in support. It’s inspiring to see how powerful such a delegation can be.”
 
The Help Fight Famine campaign calls for the Albanese Government to deliver an urgent $150 million Famine Prevention Package to stop a catastrophe in the worst-affected hunger hotspots in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Help Fight Famine also calls out the need to invest in a long-term, targeted Global Food Security Strategy, and include measures to strengthen resilience of the Asia Pacific region to climate change, disasters, and economic shocks.  
  
Image Above: Ms Robertson is joined by Caritas Australia Diocesan Director for Adelaide, Tracey Tessitore, and Caritas Australia Diocesan Coordinator for Sandhurst, Kerry Stone.  
 
Supporters can email their local MP and ask them to Help Fight Famine at https://www.caritas.org.au/act/help-fight-famine/ 
 Micah Women Delegation outside Parliament House 860