Why are we changing our support, weren’t the AIDS CARE campaigns having a positive impact?
Thank you for all the time, energy, and resources you have given MCC during our AIDS CARE campaigns over the past eight years. Throughout the campaign, we have raised over $2 million, collected 7000 kits, and kidmax and Underground have collected tons of soap to support our partnerships in southern Africa through MCC.
The impact of AIDS CARE was huge! There were medical home visits to HIV/AIDS patients, children and adults received medical attention, antenatal clinics received education about HIV/AIDS, babies were delivered from at-risk pregnancies, children received regular nutrition assistance, vulnerable and orphaned children received educational assistance and vocational training. In addition, households experienced income growth through improved agricultural practices and small business opportunities.
If the AIDS CARE campaigns were having an impact why are we changing our support now? Isn’t it better to continue in one direction?
We believe in actively listening and responding to the needs of our partners, respecting their insights to the reality of their work. With their guidance we can be confident we are partnering in the best possible way. At this time MCC is no longer receiving partner requests for AIDS CARE Kits. In order to continue partnering together we asked MCC how we could best serve them and they identified both a tremendous need and opportunity to partner together towards peacebuilding. We’ve prayed about it and learned about their peace programs, and are very excited for what lies ahead!
If MCC’s partners were requesting less AIDS CARE Kits why did we still collect them last year?
Each year before the campaign we connected with MCC in order to update the contents in the AIDS CARE Kits to reflect the specific needs of their partners. In the recent years our AIDS CARE goals shifted to reflect an increasing number of CARE Cards and less Kits, reflecting their greater needs. While MCC is not receiving partner requests for AIDS CARE Kits at this time, they have shared about needs in other areas and that is where we will focus our efforts and energy.
What will happen to the partners and programs we were supporting through AIDS CARE?
We have been working with MCC to develop a way that intentionally cares for and respects all of the partners we’ve been working with—even those which are now beyond the scope of the partnership. A multi-year phase out plan has been created for and communicated to each partner outside the new project scope. Demonstrating care to each of these partners has been a key priority for both The Meeting House and MCC. That said, many partners remain within the new partnership scope.
I understand why we are changing our support, however, why are we deciding to focus our support on peace?
When we asked MCC how we could more effectively support their partners they proposed that we focus our support on peacebuilding efforts. Peace is at the core of MCC’s vision, who they are, what they do, and how they approach their work. In fact, their original partnerships focused on peacebuilding and these programs remain some of their most impactful initiatives. MCC approached us with this tremendous opportunity and need. After much prayer, critical thinking and many dialogues, we are excited to follow their leadership into this area! They have so much experience in the area of peace, including provision of conflict prevention (such as education), support for displaced people, and provision of post-conflict trauma and healing. Motivated to live by Jesus’ example, we at The Meeting House and MCC, desire to see peace for all of God’s creation—within the church, between religious factions, and among nations. What better way for us to say we believe in pacifism, than to support tangible acts of peace!
I understand why peace is important, but isn’t moving from a focus on HIV/AIDS to peace too big a jump?
Many of MCC’s HIV & AIDS partnerships moved beyond just the medical field. For example, we were also supporting anti-stigma education. Much of this evolved to include supporting the education of students, community leaders and officials in practical steps in conflict resolution and why its important to respect those who are different than us. Over the years these have stood out as some of MCC’s strongest programming. During previous AIDS CARE campaigns we have highlighted MCC’s Peace Clubs, and this past Spring we sent the Africa Learning Team: Peace Exchange—which came home impressed by all they had seen! In the past year our partnership has also provided support to MCC’s international efforts by caring for people displaced by conflict, and helping resettle refugee families to Canada.
Are we still focusing our support in South Africa?
By supporting peacebuilding initiatives, we will continue to fund the peace-related projects in southern Africa we have committed to, but will also expand our support to peace-related projects elsewhere—including right here in Canada. We are currently in further conversations with MCC on this topic.