Supporting Global Neighbours– Voice Your Support for International Assistance!
When we come together and speak out about an issue that we care about, our voices make a difference by influencing decision-makers to take action.
One of the ways Canadian Foodgrains Bank works to end global hunger is by influencing public policies. Canadian citizens are important to realizing policy change, by voicing their support and sending personal, handwritten letters or emails to their Members of Parliament.
As a result of engagement with the government by people like you through our Good Soil campaign, our call to increase support for small-scale farmers was heard. However, while many MPs and Ministers have voiced their support, they don’t believe that international assistance is important to Canadian voters. We need to show them that Canadians do care about our global neighbours!
Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version Harvest of Letters guide and sample letter.
Click here to order copies of the Harvest of Letters resource.
There are many values that we share as Canadians that motivate us to end global hunger, including compassion for others, generosity, equality and justice for the oppressed, fostering a culture of peace and security, and upholding human dignity and rights. But values alone do not create change. Take action to hold governments and decision-makers accountable on these issues.
International assistance has flattened while global needs are growing
While we have made considerable progress, hunger -caused by poverty, natural disasters, conflict, inequality, and poor governance- still requires our attention. In the past, Canada has been a leader in responding to the needs of people in the developing world. More recently, our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) has declined.
Canada only contributes 0.26% of its Gross National Income (GNI) to helping the world’s poorest citizens- below what similar countries give (0.54%) and well below the accepted global target of 0.7% of GNI.
Currently, there are numerous complex, protracted crises, resulting from conflict, drought, and natural disasters, including famine-like conditions in parts of Africa and Yemen. Canada, as a rich country that prides itself in equality and diversity, should be doing more to help those who are most in need.
What can you do?
Use your voice. Below are some effective ways of influencing this decision to benefit people around the world who face hunger and food insecurity.
1. Write to your Member of Parliament
Send a personal letter to your Member of Parliament encouraging the Canadian government to increase its commitment to international assistance, so that more people can enjoy full, peaceful and productive lives.
Alternatively, write an email to your Member of Parliament. A well-written, personal email can also be effective in reaching your MP. Use the subject line “Increased Commitment to International Assistance”, and be sure to copy the Prime Minister and the Minister of Development.
Remember to include your postal address in your letter or email.
2. Hold a Letter Writing Event
Writing letters as a group sends a powerful message to Canada’s leaders, and it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Here’s what a simple event can look like:
- Invite your friends, neighbours, or people from your church or small group to get together for an hour or two. Order copies of the Harvest of Letters guide and sample letter for everyone;
- Gather the supplies–pens, paper, envelopes, sample letters, and have a computer ready for people to look up their MPs by postal code;
- Give a short overview of the issue, and allow time for discussion. Contact us (email@example.com or call 1-800-665-0377) to help facilitate or to join your group (in-person or via Skype) in the letter writing event.
- Write the letters – people will need at least 20-25 minutes to write their letters;
- Address and gather the letters–then say a blessing over them;
- Enjoy each other’s company and perhaps some refreshments;
- Mail the letters and fill out the reporting form.
3. Meet with your Member of Parliament
Meeting with your Member of Parliament likely has the biggest impact. Here’s what to do:
- Read up on the issue:
- CCIC Update on Canadian International Development Assistance
- Canadian International Development Platform Foreign Aid Portal
- Global Canada’s Report on International Assistance
- CBC: Canada’s Foreign Aid Bucks Global Trend, Drops Under Trueau
- Huffington Post: Canadian Foreign Aid Spending So Low its a Potential Tragedy
- Talk to friends or other community members who would be supportive–a group of two or three is great for an MP visit;
- Contact us for help! We are more than willing to spend time with you by phone, Skype, or email to help get you prepared; contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-665-0377 to get started;
- Let us know about the meeting, so we can share it with the Hunger Action Network.
- Click here for a more detailed guide.
- For talking points on this issue, please email us at email@example.com
Once you’ve completed your letter, email or meeting, let us know here.