Welcome to CENFACS’ Online Diary!
01 January 2020
Post No. 124
The New Year’s Week Contents
• Year 2019 in Review
• Consumption that Reduces Poverty and Enhances Sustainable Development in 2020
• The New Year’s and Next Issue of FACS (The 66th Issue): Energy for the Poor
… and much more!
The New Year’s Key Messages
New Year, New Hope & New Relief
Happy New Year and Welcome back to Poverty Relief and Sustainable Development in 2020 and in the 2020s!
~ Year 2019 in Review
At the start of every year, the recurring question one can ask is: what is the best way to start the year? There is no a classic answer to this question.
Perhaps, the best way to start the year with CENFACS is look back on what happened the previous year; that is 2019. Possibly, we may or may not learn something about it. But, it is still worth reviewing 2019. This is our 2019 in Review.
2019 in Review is a poverty-relieving story of what work CENFACS did from January to December 2019. This story is given under the Main Development section of this post.
~ Consumption that Reduces Poverty and Enhances Sustainable Development in 2020
In focus for 2020: Reduction of Wasteful Consumption
As we are already in January, this month is our month of Responsible Consumption following CENFACS development calendar. It means that the theme for January is Sustainable Consumption and the monthly project carrying this theme is Consume to Reduce Poverty.
It is the month we act against consumption-based poverty and we deal with measures of poverty through consumption. It is also an opportunity to act to preserve a good relationship between the way and products we consume on the one hand and the reduction of climate change on the other. In particular, January is a climate reminder month as it is the month in which we raise awareness of the relationships between humans and the nature through sustainable consumption; that is consumption that does not destroy the nature.
Consume to Reduce Poverty (CRP) is our users’ New Year supporting information and accompanying booster that focuses on Buying and Consumption elements conducive to the reduction of poverty and hardships. It is indeed a complimentary support to our Autumn Festive Income Boost resource.
The Festive Income Boost is an income-generating resource while CRP brings in a consumption-led look in our fight against poverty. The next issue (issue no. 8) of CRP will be on the Reduction of Wasteful Consumption.
Indeed, in 2019 our focus was on Anti-pollution consumption. We were and continue to be against any buy and consumption that create harmful effects on the environment and the nature. This January 2020, we are prolonging our work on harmful effects by including harmful waste. Emitting carbon is in itself a negative example of waste from a by-product of hydrocarbon combustion. This is why there is a need to reduce this kind of negative wasteful consumption.
We will be working on various alternatives to negative wasteful way of consumption. We will be dealing with ways of fixing, reusing, reducing and saving resources. January 2020 Reduction of Wasteful Consumption is a Zero Waste campaign of the month within CENFACS.
For further details about CRP project, go to http://cenfacs.org.uk/services-activities/
~ The New Year’s and Next Issue of FACS: The 66th Issue
Coming this Winter is the 66th Issue of FACS which will be entitled as:
Energy for the Poor –
How to meet poor people’s sustainable energy needs in a changing climate.
The problem of renewable and sustainable energy is one of the burning subjects to watch in the New Year and New Decade. Energy is not only about production, consumption and price (or market). It is also about transition and changes of habits and behaviour that humans may be forced or need to agree to embrace in order to reduce negative energy waste. We have already seen in some parts of the affluent world the overreaction against energy transition in order to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. What about the poorest world?
The problem that energy poses is even serious when it comes to meeting life-sustaining needs of energy by the poor in this particular era of changing climate, which continues to affect the way consumption decisions are made and their reactions. The 66th Issue deals with this problem of energy for the poor if we put it like this in simple terms. Particularly, it raises the issue of the systematic impacts of low carbon energy transition on poor people. In this respect, the Issue will treat the question of sustainable energy not only as a market product or service; but also as a livelihood or way of life and living.
Under the Main Development section of this post, we have provided the abstract about the 66th Issue of FACS.
The New Year’s Extra Messages
~ The UK Economy in the 2020s Era and Africa in the 2020s
=> The UK Economy in the Era of Post-European Economic Integration and CENFACS
Much of what we do depends on the health of the UK economy and its direction. This year, if we are allowed to say it, the UK economy is now virtually in the process of exiting the European Union. This means that the UK economy will be entering a transitional phase of Post-European Economic Integration; what we called Post-Regional Economic Integration Era.
To take into account the circumstances in which the UK is in and the probable effects of its positioning on work, our ABCD project will be the sustainable development initiative that will help us to deal with some of the unpredictable situations of this era, at least for the start of the year 2020.
A great deal of our work is as well linked to what is happening and may happen in Africa. As such we need to look at beyond our lenses and sometimes to speculate about the future or simply the months or even years ahead. This is why we have identified some challenging trends for a better change in Africa in 2020, the Various Challenges That Africa Faces In 2020 To Change. Some of them are the usual ones (like poverty); others are new ones (like energy transition). We have brought these challenges under the same pot in what we call Africa in 2020.
=> Africa and CENFACS in the 2020s
Africa 2020 is the one which will manage to deal with many of the challenges that poor people are suffering or will suffer from in their daily lives. This is not about saying that one is undermining some of the big projects like Africa’s Agenda 2063.
For small and poor people, it is their daily problems that can help to make those giant leaps that many are thinking of like an African single market. What are those daily challenges poor people are facing in 2020. We could for example include:
=> Insecurity and lack of protection like in the recent event we saw in Burkina Faso where poor and defenceless civilians have been killed without mercy
=> Data poverty: the lack of data (both qualitative and quantitative) about people, people living in poor conditions poses an enormous barrier to the reduction of poverty, to the extent there is a bridge gap in data
=> Demographics: the population of the poor people continues to grow, however the distribution of income towards this population is not growing accordingly, as well as there is a problem of long-term economic growth to support this population trend
=> Life-threatening impacts of climate change and changing climate: Like anybody else, poor people are trying to be resilient to the distributional negative effects of climate change and changing climate; but they have very limited choices in what they can do to adapt and mitigate these impacts or effects in their daily lives
=> The relationships between political democratisation and poverty reduction or between political democratisation and sustainable development: even in countries that have already embraced political democratisation processes, it is difficult to spot some clear signs of an improvement of these relationships
=> Environmental challenges notably land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity, loss and extreme vulnerability to climate change.
We can continue to list and discuss a number of challenges that Africa faces in 2020 and in the 2020s. That is not the point here. What is important is to expect Africa to improve on the reduction of poverty and in tackling these challenges.
If anyone wants to discuss the challenges that Africa faces in 2020 and the 2020s, they can contact CENFACS’ be.Africa, which is a forum for discussions, ideas and actions on matters pertaining to Africa.
The New Year’s Main Developments
• CENFACS’ 2019 Year in Review
CENFACS’ Year in Review tells a story of poverty relief and sustainable development in 2019 in our own words and numbers on a monthly-based development calendar. It shines a light into CENFACS’ work over the last twelve months from the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2019. It is presented to you as an informal summary of voted initiatives that made 2019. We have deliberately chosen to omit pictures and images in the presentation of this factual review. The selected initiatives are the ones that had the most votes in terms of their influence on work in general.
2019: A Year in Review
We started together 2019 with anti-pollution consumption as a focus of our Consume to Reduce Poverty project. As some of you (our users) were experienced IT and online security issues; we stepped up our digital and social media campaign to help overcome these issues. Getting accurate data (both quantitative and qualitative) about people living in poverty in Africa is still a challenge. Thanks to the help of supporters, we asked and searched for new forms of data in the context of our children project known as African Children, Climate and Sustainable Development Goals (or Generation Global Goals).
2019 was not an easier one for some parts of Africa making our area of work. As natural disasters struck in places like Central African Republic, we were able together to appeal for the reduction of the impacts of torrential rains in that country.
2019 as a “Quadranscentennial” or “Q” Year
Some of you know that every year we dedicate the year in course to a particular theme or remembrance. 2019 did not miss this CENFACS tradition. 2019 was indeed dedicated as a “Q” year, as an historical year of the legacy of CENFACS for the 25 years of the existence of the idea of CENFACS. To mark this legacy, we set up a “Q” project to deliver all the aspects, activities and plans for it.
2019 as an electoral and electioneering year in Africa
A quite significant number of countries held elections in Africa, with some hopes that these elections would further up poverty reduction work. Having watched what was happening in countries like Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in terms of fragile democratic processes with a risk of social backlash, we launched together an appeal so that peace and wisdom could prevail in these political liberalisation processes or democratic transitions in these countries so that poor people were not left behind.
2019 as of the need for a multi-dimensional protection
The issue of protection resurfaced in 2019 in various forms and shapes at many places for those living in poverty and having hardships. To respond to this remerging phenomenon, together we featured it and raised awareness about it, particularly but not exclusively for women and children living in places of wars and natural disasters such as in Congo-Brazzaville (where women were raped during wars) and in Togo (where children faced the challenge of getting safe drinking water).
2019 was as well a year of insecurity and displacement for poor and defenceless people in Africa in countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. And this insecure situation continues as we write this review. As a result, we expanded our advocacy to include the protection of the hungry and insecure people in these parts of Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger). To express our solidarity with them, together we launched the 3-frontier area appeal; so lighting a blaze of hope that sent a message to them that they are not alone.
We continued our fight for protection by following the global climate talks which were held in Madrid this December 2019. We did it through Climate Protection and Stake for African Children, the 3rd phase of our Climate Talks Follow up project.
2019 as a year of uncertainty and of wait-until-they-decide
Uncertain and transitional times like of exiting economies until they decide, require bold action against poverty and hardships. That is why we undertook to create and innovate ways of dealing with poverty and hardships differently. During this kind of times, one needed to be a bit innovative to help reduce poverty. Our project design and art for poverty relief and sustainable development was also instrumental in finding those ingenious imaginations of expressing our skills and pushing poverty away from our users in these difficult times.
2019 as a year of changing climate and of life-threatening impacts of climate change
In a year through which the climate continued to change, our perception of happiness could be affected as well. This led us to make humanitarian appeal to Africa in a changing climate. Appealing for happiness for the victims of Ebola virus in the DRC was one of the health-enhancing ways to respond to changing climate.
In the context of life-threatening impacts of climate change, it is difficult to do poverty relief work as usual. We had to adapt our Autumn Fresh Start Help so that we could meet the needs of the community in this particular context.
Besides these particularities or features of the year 2019, we did as well carry out other works. Amongst these works, there was our finances resource. Indeed, not all our users felt confident in dealing with their finances in difficult times of economic uncertainty. So, providing them with the financial information and skills helped to empower them with financial skills and knowledge.
Furthermore, there are always lots of expectations on what transitional democracy can achieve for people, especially for the poor ones. Our summer festival of thoughts gave us an opportunity to test the ideals or capacity of transitional democracy to transform poor people’s lives in Africa.
Poverty is not reduced at the same level, rate, speed and pace everywhere. There is a problem of reduction in quantity and quality between different places and different people. In this respect, together we argued to make these inequalities of poverty reduction disappear.
However, to be able to effectively and efficiently reduce poverty and hardships, it requires not only descriptive or generic skills and knowledge, but also analytical tools, techniques and methods. This is why we put together CENFACS’ Analytics Dashboard to assist us and our Africa-based Sister Organisations (ASOs). Thanks to our volunteers, we were able to imporve CENFACS’ Analytics Dashboard; so creating an additional impactful way of working together with our users and ASOs.
We convened our Development Day as usual. Thanks to the support that we received including space to hold it, we were able to give back to the community in the forms of re-communicating our anti-poverty message, interaction with the members of the public about our work and by giving away clothes to support other deserving causes and those in need of clothes in the community.
At the heart of all our campaigns, projects and programmes; there is an unforgettable piece, which is an underlying poverty-relieving value. So, examining how this value is created and distributed is important for us. This importance of poverty-relieving value has led us to look at together the extent to which micro-industrial activities by ASOs could help to integrate the voluntary economy into regional value chains.
Our poverty relief action did not stop there. Indeed, everybody seems to agree to enable poor people and organisations to meet the climate goals, there could be a need to invest in climate projects. However, many of our African associates do not simply have the capacity to absorb a certain level of climate investment. To support these organisations lacking this kind of capacity or having a weak capacity in the matter, we advocated together for the development of capacity for absorbing climate investment. In doing so, the goals and targets set through this investment could be well reached.
We can conclude that at the start of 2019, we dedicated 2019 as a “Q” year. While keeping it “quadranscentennial”; throughout and in the end 2019 seemed to reveal many features: a year of uncertainty, of life-threatening impacts of climate change, of changing climate, of multi-dimensional protection, of wait-and-see economic exit factors, etc.
Despite this range of exogenous factors, we tried to keep 2019 as a “Q” year as possible as we could while responding to the needs of users in the proportion of these exogenous factors. Briefly, we stayed focused and resilient to our chief goal for the year 2019 and managed to deliver on what we planned together despite these external conditions.
We could only do it, thanks to the many supports we received. Therefore, we would like to say thank you to all our Year 2019 Makers and Enablers!
• The New Year’s and Next Issue of FACS (The 66th Issue)
Energy for the Poor –
How to meet poor people’s sustainable energy needs in a changing climate
Until recently, it was easy for the poor people, especially for those living in rural areas where there is forest to get woods or buy coal and create fire for cooking or heating their homes or for just catering for other energy needs.
Today, because of the global obligations or demands of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions; even a small community of the world that emits only a tiny fraction of carbon emissions has been appealed to make an effort to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change through for example the use of energy from renewable sources as well as promote energy efficiency and conservation.
Everybody has been asked to use renewables (such as solar, winds, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, etc.) instead of using fossil fuels (like oil, coal and gas). This demand is to such an extent that people have been sometimes forced or expected to transit to non-polluting or inexhaustible energy. Yet, some of these people are already using renewable energy or even renewable energy is their way of life.
This could mean their energy needs have to be met in a different way in a new setting of changing climate and life-threatening impacts of climate change. This new setting puts further pressure on finding the means, especially financial and infrastructural, if this type of energy and transition are beyond their earning power.
So, the 66th Issue of FACS will deal with the way in which those needs of energy, especially the pressing and acute ones, can be satisfied in the context of non-polluting environment. In other words, the Issue will take us to the thorny debate over energy transition that poor people also are part of. The Issue goes far in considering that energy is more than just a market product or service that has a price and cost. It is as well a way of living or culture. Therefore, transiting to a new method of energy consumption could mean as well changing someone his/her way of living.
This is a short presentation of the 66th Issue of FACS. To enquire or place an order about or even to get further details about this 66th Issue of FACS, please contact CENFACS.
Help CENFACS keep the Poverty Relief work going in 2020.
We do our work on a very small budget and on a voluntary basis. Making a donation will show us you value our work and support CENFACS’ work, which is currently offered as a free service.
One could consider a recurring donation to CENFACS as a New Year’s resolution.
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Thank you for visiting CENFACS website and reading this post.
Thank you as well to those who made or make comments about our weekly posts.
We look forward to receiving your regular visits and continuing support in the New Year and New Decade as well.
With many thanks.