Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

Archive for January 2009

merrynbmp1Merryn Hellier from Hereford a long time Jubilee supporter  makes the link on how debt repayments add to the problems of climate change….

In summer 2007 I walked 1000 miles across Britain with Christian Aid’s Climate Change March. We were publicising the disastrous climate changes already devastating the most poverty stricken areas, and lobbying MPs on our route to demand a much stronger Climate Bill as it went through Parliament.

10 walkers from Britain were joined by 8 Christian Aid partners from across the world. The terrible situations our overseas walkers described had a very profound influence, both on the British walkers, but also on all who heard them at the meetings where we spoke each night on our way down. It is some of these stories that I would like to retell.

p10100061Mohammad came as a very angry young man from Northern Kenya because he knew that climate changing pollution came from the West, while the worst effects came to non-polluting areas like his own. Their weather patterns used to be predictable, but now 70% of his people’s cattle had died through drought, while crops were either washed away in torrential rain or dried up. His work was to develop water harvesting and flood control. Realising that many people were already concerned and campaigning in Britain, he redirected his anger to becoming a brilliant public speaker.

That however, was before our global financial crisis. Kenya is a poor country, over $6 billion in debt, and I know from working in a Kisumu shanty town that life on the edge is very precarious. Kenya’s debt arose in similar ways to those we are experiencing now. The difference is that Western banks received huge bail-outs while poor countries were told to sort themselves out and forced to follow highly damaging measures that made poverty even worse.

Around three decades later they’re still paying out over $200 million every year. Mohammad has every right to become very angry again.

Merryn Hellier.

Birmingham City Council often uses the catch phrase “Global city with a local heart” in a way Birmingham JDC group really live up to the phrase in its very existence.

banner-us-smallThis Jubilee Congregation banner has recently been put on display at Selly Oak Methodist Church. It is American in origin and was given to the group by Jubilee US.

The director of the American campaign Neil Watkins attended the Birmingham University conference in the summer and one of our other regular readers this blog, Paula also from the States  is writing a book about the history of Jubilee movement and often in touch with the Birmingham group.

We have lots of other links around the world many across Africa where the debt problem is particularly acute. News from a Zambian reader received recently illustrates our global links too.

“Zambia started experiencing the effects of the global financial crisis towards the end of last year. Copper, which enjoyed a boom period for almost three years, started plummeting in price from September.

From the high of $8,000 per tonne, the price is now hovering around $3,000 per tonne! The country suspended a number of capital projects in the last quarter of last year.

An unplanned presidential election on 30 October 2008 following the death of the previous President in August 2008 gobbled up a lot of money depleting an already overstretched Treasury”.

All this in Zambia whilst they struggles to tackle vulture funds and its ongoing debt repayments.

January 27th will see some JDC Birmingham supporters going to Westminster to take on MP’s about the vulture funds issue. Details on our National Office website

A new copy of Noticeboard which is the newsheet for JDC in Birmingham has just been issued. It has been emailed and posted to our regular supporters. To read it click here.

If you would like to be sent it regularly please email

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This is the blog of the local group of the UK campaign calling for cancellation of international Debt.

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January 2009