Photo by Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Used with permission.
The United Church of Canada welcomes the federal government’s decision of August 7 to provide matching funds in support of humanitarian organizations delivering assistance to people in Africa’s Sahel region, where a lingering food security crisis threatens the lives of millions. The government will now match dollar-for-dollar donations Canadians make to charities of their choice.
"Right now, millions of women, men and children in the Sahel are suffering from hunger and severe malnutrition. This is absolutely unacceptable,” commented Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation. “With generosity from Canadians, we can do more to respond to this crisis and support people in dire need," Fantino added.
The Sahel refers to the boundary between the Sahara Desert and the dense interior jungles of Africa. It is a region of semi-arid grassland and desert along the edge of the Sahara. It marks the boundary between North African and Sub-Saharan African civilizations.
Drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, population displacement, and political insecurity are among the causes of the crisis. Sahel countries most experiencing severe food shortages are Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, and northern Cameroon.
Since the crisis emerged in early 2012, the United Church has given more than $100,000 in extra emergency funding through our Mission and Service partners ACT Alliance and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The funds have been used to provide emergency food aid and other necessities to people in most of the affected countries.
The government will match funds raised from August 7 to September 30, 2012. It will match dollar-for-dollar Canadian donations made to registered Canadian charities responding to the Sahel crisis through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund.
The government itself will make an initial contribution of $10 million to the fund. Working in partnership with established relief organizations, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will allocate these funds to support relief efforts that will benefit the people who are most affected by the crisis.
Donations can be made:
As part of the United Church’s Emergency Response Fund, 85 percent of your donation will go directly to emergency response in Sahel countries. Fifteen percent will be used to support emergencies that do not receive intense media cover and response. No administration fees will be deducted from your donation. Regular donations to the Mission and Service Fund enable the United Church to absorb staffing and administration costs of emergency response work.
Donations made by United Church members and congregations to Sahel Relief are considered “over and above” gifts to the United Church’s wider work, so they are not recorded as part of a congregation’s Mission and Service Fund giving, but they are eligible for tax receipts. Congregational treasurers may receive individual’s cheques and then forward those cheques directly to The United Church of Canada, Attention "Sahel Relief." The United Church will receipt the individual for all such donations. Matching funds from CIDA will be based on donations from identifiable individuals, not organizations. Congregations may also send one cheque and list the names and addresses of all donors so that those gifts will also qualify for matching CIDA funds.
For more information, please contact:
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