25 November 2020 I Binfield, UK [Michael and Helen Pearson] For its final lecture of 2020, the Newbold Diversity Centre was delighted to welcome Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the CEO of Christian Aid, on Tuesday, 10th November. The fact that she so clearly identifies as a Seventh-day Adventist added an extra dimension to the event. She framed her topic as a question: ‘Does poverty have a colour?’ The subtitle added an extra dimension to her subject: ‘How the Church can restore dignity, justice and equality for all’. As she surveyed the Church universal and her own Adventist community, her answer to her own question was a resounding ‘yes’.
Though she has only been in her current post for two years, Amanda has 25 years of experience in relief and humanitarian aid organisations like the United Nations and Voluntary Service Overseas. She has seen poverty and its devastating effects at close quarters. Part of the power of her lecture was her stories about places and people that she had visited in the course of her work. She opened with an account of her work with a women’s group in Ethiopia, a country which has witnessed drought more and more frequently in recent years. Vast areas have become infertile and people’s lives have been put at severe risk.
She pointed out that the primary driver of much poverty in this case and many others is climate change, which has disrupted centuries-old cultural patterns and ways of survival. While people in the West debate the causes of climate change, millions elsewhere feel it in their stomachs. “Those who suffer the worst consequences of environmental disaster are those outside the developed areas,” said Mukwashi. Those who are the greatest culprits when it comes to carbon emissions – the USA, Europe, Russia, China – experience the least impact on their daily life.