Today is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for Australian non-government organisations working to fight poverty in developing countries.
I have been fortunate to work alongside some of ACFID’s members – such as WorldVision, CARE and Oxfam – in the Pacific, south-east Asia and east Africa. I have seen the difference they have made in poor and disadvantaged communities to improve people’s food security, increase their livelihoods and provide access to basic services, such as education, water and sanitation, and health, particularly for women and children.
Their efforts and those of governments, civil society and the private sector worldwide have recently been refocused on eradicating poverty over the next 15 years. At its General Assembly meeting in September, the United Nations and its members launched the Sustainable Development Goals, which it describes as a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.
It’s easy to think that these issues only occur overseas, that Australia is the lucky country. However, poverty is a reality for more than 2.5 million Australians, including over 600,000 children and the same number of people with disability, according to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). The most vulnerable are women and children, sole parents, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those from families born overseas, older people, people with disabilities, and the lowest paid workers.
This week – which is dedicated as Anti-Poverty Week in Australia – ACOSS and its eight State and Territory Councils of Social Service have called for the development of a national plan to tackle growing poverty and inequality in Australia.
TMS is proud to work with many organisations, particularly in the not-for-profit sector and government that support disadvantaged communities and work to address social issues, such as health, homelessness and disability. Our work has focused on partnering with organisations to strengthen their strategic focus, leadership and capability to meet the needs of the people they serve, in a way that is respectful, inclusive and empowering.
We believe we all have a role to play in contributing to the wellbeing of our community, for all members of our community. The difference starts with each of us.