Charities model partnership for action in new study pack for churches

Two national overseas development charities have worked togetherto produce a new study pack for churches.

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) and HarvestHelp have jointly produced Our Common Ground, a freeresource for congregations and small groups. The pack offersresources to encourage learning, praying, giving and practicalaction in support of some of the world's poorest people.

Kevin Fray, from MRDF, explained why the two charities wereworking together: "Harvest Help and MRDF work closely together inAfrica, jointly supporting a number of projects and sharing commonaims and objectives.  We felt we should also model this in ourwork in the UK, celebrating our common ground in this pack."

Our Common Ground illustrates MRDF and Harvest Help'swork in Uganda and Zambia. It contains the stories of people, suchas Josephine Nakanwagi in Uganda, who depend on the land for alivelihood.  Changes in the local economy could have speltdisaster for Josephine, but led to new opportunities once women inher village began to work together to solve their problems. Training and support from her local women's group has meant thatJosephine can now not only grow plants for food and medicine, buthas new confidence to share her skills with others.

As well as inspiring stories, the pack also includes Biblestudies, posters, prayers and suggestions for practical action thata church or group could respond to. Kevin Lawrence, from HarvestHelp, explained how Our Common Ground might be used: "Thepack would be particularly suitable for a Lent course in a churchor group, but it can be used at any time of the year.  Thestories and studies are designed to highlight everyday life forfarmers living in poverty, but also to illustrate thetransformation that is possible with the support of UKcongregations."

The free packs will be sent out to all churches that currentlysupport the two charities early in 2005.  Free copies are alsoavailable from Harvest Help and MRDF. 

 Established in 1985, Harvest Help provides practicalsupport to rural communities in southern Africa, helping them toimprove their livelihoods through sustainable farming and increasedself-reliance.  The charity enjoys significant support fromchurches from across the denominations and supports them throughthe production of free resources and newsletters

Contact details: Kevin Lawrence, Harvest Help, 3 - 4 Old BakeryRow, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 1PS Email:kevin@harvesthelp.org