Story of Hope: Advocacy and Policy Group

Martin Coria, member of the ACT Advocacy and Policy Group from Church World Service, talks about how the work of ACT Alliance in advocacy can bring hope even in challenging times like today, as the COVID-19 situation has exacerbated issues around the world.  He encourages ACT members to look for ways to support and encourage people engaged in advocacy work around the world.


Stories of Hope: Forums and members produce illustrated guide to GBV for 16 days

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

To join the conversation the Gender Justice Programme of ACT Alliance worked with a number of ACT Forums and members to produce an “illustrated guide to GBV”.

The guide was launched on November 25 and will be promoted until December 10, the final day of the global campaign.

The reasoning behind the production of the guide is that words and definitions shape cultures, rights and social norms.
The way we define an injustice and the decision to use gender-inclusive language are political acts. Language has the ability to change the status quo and make our positions on gender justice manifest.

Gender equality in language is achieved when all genders are recognised as agents who are granted equal dignity, value and rights.Unpacking issues using a gendered lens is a step towards acting against systemic discrimination, rising fundamentalisms and gender stereotypes.

This work can only be meaningful if we recognise our responsibility as agents of change in perpetuating the problem.

Download the guide here

Stories of Hope: Bangladesh Forum Coffeetable Book

The Forum Bangladesh in September 2021 published a so-called “Coffeetable book”, telling short case stories of ACT-members, local partners, host communities and refugees living in Cox’s Bazar, experiencing one of the most complex crises in the world in recent years. Shakeb Nabi, the Bangladesh Forum Convenor, writes in his foreword: “The stories we bring to you from the host and Rohingya communities not only talk about the adversities these communities face, but also their determination to improve their situation through collective action. We are proud to bring stories of hope and aspiration, endurance and perseverance, ambition and resolve from one of the most vulnerable communities in the world right now.”

ACT Alliance – through the leadership and collaboration of the ACT Bangladesh Forum – has launched at least three humanitarian appeals since 2017 to respond to the needs of Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh over the past four years. It also has an impressive track record in several other districts of Bangladesh. The texts and photos of the Coffeetable Book were contributed by the members of the Bangladesh Forum. Please feel free to share the publication with your network!

Story of Hope: Responding to need in Armenia

ACT Alliance has been responding to the needs of those displaced by the conflict in the Nagorno Karabagh region, where 100,000 were displaced by the 44 day war.  This video highlights the work being undertaken by ACT members in Armenia, particularly the Armenia Inter-Church Charitable Round Table Foundation.

Story of Hope: WCC, ACT Alliance pilot “learning process” in Malawi and Cameroon to strengthen collaboration

This article was reprinted on April 21, 2021, with permission of the World Council of Churches. Read the original article here.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the ACT Alliance have announced the pilot of a “learning process” in Malawi and Cameroon that will lead to a model for strong collaboration in many other countries as well. 

At a meeting on 15 April, the WCC and ACT Alliance announced the new initiative, which is not a traditional research project that extracts data and issues a report, but is a dynamic study of existing and new collaborative efforts to examine each stage of collaboration, extract best practices and identify obstacles.

The WCC and ACT Alliance have a close collaboration on a global level, yet the two organizations together have realized that the quality of collaboration between churches and ACT Forums differs considerably on national levels.

WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri said that piloting an active learning process in Malawi and Cameroon is particularly timely given the challenges facing those two nations today.

The learning process is a fulfilment of one of the resolutions of the International Consultation on the Relationship between Churches and Specialized Ministries in 2014,” explained Phiri. The resolution stated that developing an environment for constructing a continuous learning community leads to learning from best practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with real opportunities for ecumenical diaconal best practices for cooperation,” she added.

Rev. Matthew Z. Ross, WCC programme executive for Diakonia and Capacity Building, explained the choice of Malawi and Cameroon as the pilot nations. “We choose two countries where collaboration has been working well, but where people involved in collaboration see opportunities for improvement,” he said.

These are local realisations of a global intent. In partnership, much can and must be done in these countries – particularly given the tragic impact of COVID-19 — including affecting progress towards achieving the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” added Ross.

Participants in the launch meeting on Zoom. Photo: ACT

Participants on the Zoom meeting to launch the learning process. Photo: ACT

The learning process is divided into three phases: initiation, implementation and finalisation, leading to the presentation at the WCC 11th Assembly in 2022 of a learning tool that will be replicable and scalable to ACT Forums and churches in other countries. 

Elizabeth Kisiigha Zimba, ACT Alliance regional representative for Africa, said: We have witnessed very good interactions and experience of the great joint work by the ACT Forums and WCC member churches in Malawi and Cameroon, with great interest and passion ready to undertake the learning process.

Dr. Thorsten Göbel, ACT Alliance director of programs, expressed his appreciation that participants already have been able to put the difficulties on the table. There is indeed fear of competition, or existence of competition, whereas there is so much potential in the collective approach,” said Göbel. From the perspective of ACT Alliance, a joint response to the global challenges, including the pandemic, is really important.  Joint efforts of churches and specialized ministries are a credible witness of our faith.

ACT members were the first agencies to bring relief supplies to villages in Nhamatanda District in Mozambique after the Cyclone Idai. ACT Alliance provided life-saving humanitarian relief after Cyclone Idai affected hundreds of thousands in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019. Photo: Photo: Alwynn Javier/ACT






ACT members were the first agencies to bring relief supplies to villages in Nhamatanda District in Mozambique after the Cyclone Idai. ACT Alliance provided life-saving humanitarian relief after Cyclone Idai affected hundreds of thousands in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019. Photo: Alwynn Javier/ACT

Story of Hope: Shrinking Space for Civil Society Task Group

Following concerns raised by several ACT members during the 2018 Assembly in Uppsala, the Alliance decided to establish a Task Group on Shrinking Space for Civil Society to respond to growing restrictions that civil society organizations face in many countries around the world. Increasing bureaucratic regimentation and red tape, combined with restrictions in the name of combating terrorism has meant that civil society and CSOs have increasingly less space in the spheres of humanitarian action, development, human rights and particularly as advocates and monitors for good, fair and transparent government actions and giving voices to the disempowered. The space for CSOs is further shrinking in national and multilateral arenas, affecting both organizations and individual human rights defenders. The Task Group is made up of 11 members representing ACT member agencies from both the South and the North.

Since mid 2020, the Task Group has been meeting to oversee the development of a sub-strategy for the ACT Alliance to address the shrinking space for civil society.  The group’s mandate has been to develop recommendations for integrated approaches to support and strengthen civic space, and to avert, minimize and address shrinking space.  To this end, the Task Group has produced a series of resources, an advocacy plan, and a guidance document for the broader membership of the alliance to consider.

Story of Hope: ACT Argentina Forum responds in ecumenical alliance to the water and sanitary emergency in the Chaco

The El Impenetrable area of ​​the Province of Chaco, Argentina, has suffered cycles of recurrent droughts and floods for the last 20 years. This year, the drought added to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has made families of small farmers and indigenous communities in the area more vulnerable.

In a solidarity response to this situation, ACT Alliance Argentina Forum members and partners CREAS, SEDI, Hora de Obrar, and CWS joined to provide a rapid response fund to support to Junta Unida de Misiones (JUM) – an institution which has accompanied indigenous peoples in the area for more than 50 years, in an humanitarian project: “Access to water as a fundamental right for the full enjoyment of life.”

“Access to water is one of the most perverse forms of inequality and the consequence of a development model based on profit and lack of care for Creation. This joint initiative of the ACT Argentina Forum with the indigenous peoples in the Chaco is a concrete testimony of ecumenical diakonia in challenging times and a sign of hope,” emphasized Mara Luz Manzoni, Regional Director of CREAS.

“It seemed important to us to unite and accompany the JUM and the Chaco in the face of the seriousness of the situation of the drought and the fires. The best way was to create a rapid response fund to alleviate the situation. The sum of the contributions of each organization can have a concrete, rapid and accurate effect,” expressed Nicolás Rosenthal, executive director of the Hora de Obrar Foundation.

The project focuses on the construction and improvement of water infrastructures, both for human consumption and for agricultural and livestock use, as well as training in its construction and maintenance for rural community leaders in the municipalities of Castelli and Miraflores, Chaco. This initiative also seeks to reactivate the production of crops for families to both eat and sell. Both the drought and pandemic have impacted crop production, destabilizing food security for the population.

María del Pilar Cancelo, Executive Director of SEDI, an organisation invited to the ACT Argentina Forum, said, “The challenge of the Alliance is precisely the joint action of the churches, which makes it possible to join efforts and resources, to have greater impact, speed, and witness. This articulation between institutions is only a starting point, a challenge that we wish to sustain and enrich from this experience and the learning that arises”

For Martín Coria, CWS Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, “This collaboration can be replicated for the benefit of more faith-based organizations such as JUM that, throughout the region of the South American Gran Chaco, accompany the struggle of indigenous peoples for their land and for water, for their dignity and rights ”

(This post was published on Dec. 7, 2020)

Climate Adaptation in Zimbabwe

ACT members in Zimbabwe work with communities to help families adapt to the reality of climate change’s impacts on their lives and livelihoods. The video is available with subtitles in Spanish and French as well as the English below.

DCA & NCA provide e-vouchers to families in Gaza

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″ global_colors_info=”{}” da_is_popup=”off” da_exit_intent=”off” da_has_close=”on” da_alt_close=”off” da_dark_close=”off” da_not_modal=”on” da_is_singular=”off” da_with_loader=”off” da_has_shadow=”on” da_disable_devices=”off|off|off”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” global_colors_info=”{}” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” global_colors_info=”{}”]DanChurchAid (DCA) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) have worked in Palestine since the early 1950s. Consequently, DCA and NCA have an intimate knowledge of political, cultural and religious components of the protracted humanitarian crisis arising from the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict.

In close partnership with local stakeholders, DCA-NCA’s Joint Country Programme (JCP) intervenes to save lives, build resilient communities and fight inequalities resulting from the situation of occupation as well as Palestinian specific socio-cultural issues. The JCP interventions are strongly grounded in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights law (IHRL) to promote a viable and just peace in the region.


Food Security in Gaza from ACT Alliance on Vimeo.

A gender-focus in the Rohingya response

ACT member The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) contributed to ACT’s appeal in Cox’s Bazar to support Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar. This story of the work being done by ACT members shows the impact of our programming, including a variety of programmes focused on women and girls, and the hope for the future that is being instilled in some of the refugees.