On 31 July 2019 Christian Aid outlined the steps it plans to take to deliver greater impact in the communities with which it works, and to deepen levels of support in Britain and Ireland.
Motivated by a new global strategy Standing Together, Chief Executive Amanda Mukwashi announced the beginning of a process to streamline Christian Aid’s work, to be more focused and deepen its interventions in fewer countries, and to do so as good stewards living within its means.
Amanda Mukwashi said: “The external challenges are great. The world is waking up to the climate emergency that is hitting the poorest first and hardest, and at least 800 million people will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030 if the Sustainable Development Goals are not delivered. We live in a time of political and social intolerance, added to which there is uncertainty in the political and development funding spheres, changes in church membership, an increase in INGO regulation and a more competitive fundraising environment.
“All of this we must respond to as a Christian organisation with an unshakeable faith and commitment that will help to restore healing in a world that has been assaulted by relentless economic, political and social trauma.
“Christian Aid’s new global strategy, Standing Together, calls us to focus our work so that every programme reflects our commitment to the very poorest, speaking truth to power and working, as we always have, with and through very local organisations. This will help to amplify the voice and agency of local partners and ensure long-lasting resilient communities able to stand in the face of multiple challenges.
“We do not know all the answers yet, but today we begin a process of streamlining our work, to be more focused and to deepen our interventions in fewer countries and to do so as good stewards living within our means. We will therefore aim to have on-going conversations with all our key stakeholders to help us sharpen our solutions, grateful that they stand in solidarity with us as we are inspired into being bold and brave when it comes to exercising our prophetic voice in the face of a hostile environment.
“The transition plan - to a Christian Aid fit for the future - is based on us planning to do a few key things well, supported by systems and structures that are streamlined and efficient.”
Christian Aid’s plans include being more effective in church relationships in Britain – including those with its 41 sponsoring denominations - and to reduce its regional offices, despite retaining a local presence through home-based regional co-ordinators.
Globally, the organisation will continue its humanitarian programme with capacity and mandate to respond to emergencies in close collaboration with our wider ACT Alliance family and our local partnerships, where the most marginalised are so often the worst affected.
Ms Mukwashi added: “Christian Aid’s strategy is based on delivering a portfolio of activities that can deliver all three pillars of our poverty, power and prophetic voice analytical framework. To increase our prophetic voice to speak truth to power, Christian Aid will focus on two or three themes where our advocacy, campaigning and policy work can have the most impact globally, linked with its development and humanitarian work.
“Following careful consideration of every piece of work Christian Aid does, the senior leadership and trustees have made the difficult decision to exit from some countries, and instead in some cases working regionally to have greater impact. The decisions have been tested against the new strategy and global poverty, vulnerabilities and inequality indices.
“We announced to staff today that we will start the process of exiting our programmes in Angola, Egypt, Zambia, Mali, South Africa, Ghana, the Philippines, Nepal, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador. Our work in Latin America will be managed as a regional programme from our office in Brazil, and our work in the Middle East will be run as a regional programme from London. A process of consultation with staff will be started to establish the best way of managing each transition and staff in each of the countries where our presence will be changing.
“Through the 15 country programmes we will retain [Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, India, Israel and OPT, Myanmar, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zimbabwe]; our two regional programmes [Latin America and the Middle East], our national, regional and global partnerships and coalitions, and our work with churches and supporters in Britain and Ireland, Christian Aid remains committed to standing with the very poorest, to tackling the root causes of their poverty and to using our voice, alongside the voices of others, to call for justice.
“All this will be done while reducing Christian Aid’s unrestricted spend of £47m down to £40m over the next 12 months. This will, unfortunately, require that up to 200 staff are at risk of redundancy, in a process that will begin with a formal consultation in early September.”
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