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Tuesday, 18 October 2011 08:01

Australian churches help change lives in Zimbabwe through the Christmas Bowl

The Christmas Bowl is the annual appeal of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia. Act for Peace supports food security programs in some of the world’s poorest countries. In Zimbabwe, agriculture has been crippled by the combined effects of drought, HIV/AIDS and controversial government land reforms. As a result, more than 39 per cent of the population is undernourished.

Act for Peace’s project partners in Zimbabwe have introduced a low-cost and low-technology farming strategy, called conservation farming, which can increase a farmer’s yields by up to 200 per cent. Since adopting it, farmers have taken enormous strides towards achieving food security.

“With more funding, more farmers could be involved in the program, and we would be able to make a much bigger impact on food security across the area,” said Alistair Gee, Act for Peace’s Executive Director. “The flow-on effects are enormous. With better yields, farmers can buy clothes and school supplies for their children, and reliance on food aid is reduced.”

Conservation farming also has important social benefits. “Psychologically, if you don’t have to think about food because it’s already there, there is less strain on members of the family, and it creates security,” said Elleck Mabhena, a project assistant on the conservation farming program. “It also builds self esteem for the farmers, knowing that they can provide for their families.”

By supporting the Christmas Bowl, people in Australia can help communities in Zimbabwe to grow their own food and become self-sufficient. A gift of just $100 will provide vital training for four Zimbabwean farmers in this sustainable agriculture method, helping them produce bigger and better crops.

Funds raised can also help provide food, shelter, peace-building programs, land clearance of unexploded bombs and other assistance to people in conflict- and disaster-affected countries around the world, including Burma, Ethiopia and the new nation of South Sudan.

“The Christmas Bowl has long been helping communities in Zimbabwe and in other parts of the world where conflict and disaster have created poverty and instability. This life-saving work around the world simply would not be possible without the support of people of faith around Australia,” said Mr Gee.

“For the more than 60 years that it’s been running, the Christmas Bowl has been a shining example of how churches can work together to make a real and lasting difference for so many people around the world.”

To give today, please visit www.actforpeace.org.au or ring 1800 025 101. Christmas Bowl resources for congregations, including worship resources, activities and PowerPoint presentations, can be also be downloaded from the Act for Peace website.

Available for interview: Alistair Gee, Executive Director, Act for Peace.

Media enquiries: please contact Emma Halgren, Media & Online Coordinator on 0458 303 515 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To download high resolution images that align with this media release, please visit http://www.actforpeace.org.au/Ways_To_Give/The_Christmas_Bowl/Resources_Events/Christmas_Bowl_Media.aspx.

About Act for Peace: Act for Peace is the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia and a member of the global ACT Alliance. We empower war-torn communities to reduce poverty, protect refugees and prevent further conflict. Our project partners are currently assisting more than one million people in the world's worst conflict affected areas, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma.www.actforpeace.org.au

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