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Commitment for Life

Commitment for Life is the URC's “corporate” world church programme and it works with Christian Aid and the World Development Movement to support particular development projects and campaigns. As the URC website says:

Commitment for Life encourages all United Reformed and Local Ecumenical Partnership churches to take action, pray and give for people across the world. It works with both Christian Aid and The World Development Movement. Last year we raised over £550,000 to help alleviate the root causes of poverty. 75% goes to Christian Aid to be divided equally among four partner countries, 10% to the World Development Movement and 15% for administration, resources and grant giving. It is the recommended way for all United Reformed Churches to give to Christian Aid.

Money raised through Commitment for Life supports Christian Aid and its partners working in four specific countries - Bangladesh, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamaica and Zimbabwe. The money is divided equally between the four partner countries.

The URC in Cheltenham is one of the 40% of URC churches supporting Commitment for Life. We have always had a focus on a single country during any given year – over the years we have cycled through all four partner countries, inviting speakers and running articles in In Touch.

Christian Aid in Bangladesh works with the poor, women, children, marginalised indigenous groups and communities vulnerable to natural disasters. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity so our partners build communities resilience to floods and cyclones and help them to adapt to the changing climate. We also promote women's empowerment by supporting programmes that improve women's confidence, leadership skills and participation in decision making.

In Jamaica the poorest people are helped by tackling the things that keep them poor: HIV, violence, unfair trade rules and natural disasters. In inner-city communities, vulnerable young people are helped to find work, and to bring an end to gang violence. We help communities protect themselves against the increasing threat of hurricanes.

One of the areas where Christian Aid has been working  is among poor farmers in Matabeleland in the south of Zimbabwe. Aid is given directly in this area through Christian Aid Partners, not through the Zimbabwean Government agencies.

 Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory – the  most recent focus partner country. In the past decade, Palestinian poverty levels have trebled and violence on both sides has escalated due to the ongoing conflict and Israeli occupation. They are working with more than 25 Israeli and Palestinian organisations to protect human rights, access to services and resources, and to build a peace based on justice for all.

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