KAIROS aim­ing to con­tinue so­cial jus­tice man­date

The Southwest Booster - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Edi­tor: The or­ga­ni­za­tion, KAIROS, has been in the news a lot lately, af­ter the con­tro­versy be­hind cuts to its gov­ern­ment fund­ing hit the head­lines. The mem­bers of our lo­cal KAIROS group want to let peo­ple know what the group’s man­date is and what the CIDA fund­ing was do­ing for our global part­ners in Africa, Asia, Latin Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East.

The Global Part­ner­ships Pro­gram of Kairos works with more than 20 part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions, fo­cus­ing on eco­nomic jus­tice, eco­log­i­cal sus­tain­abil­ity, hu­man rights, and peace-build­ing. Much work is con­cen­trated in con­flict zones, tar­get­ing the most im­pov­er­ished and marginal­ized pop­u­la­tions, reach­ing an es­ti­mated five mil­lion peo­ple.

KAIROS is the so­cial jus­tice arm of 11 faith-based groups in Canada with about 80 lo­cal chap­ters. KAIROS has en­joyed a good re­la­tion­ship with the Cana­dian In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Agency (CIDA) for the 35 years of its ex­is­tence (the orig­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion was founded in 1973). CIDA has con­sis­tently given KAIROS pos­i­tive eval­u­a­tions of its work to pro­tect hu­man rights and re­duce poverty world­wide and, as it has now come to light, the 2009 fund­ing pro­posal also met with ap­proval by CIDA of­fi­cials.

The new de­vel­op­ment of Min­is­ter Bev Oda tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for in­sert­ing a hand­writ­ten “not” into the ap­proval state­ment is very trou­bling be­cause the gov­ern­ment’s line all along had been that Kairos’ pro­posal didn’t meet CIDA’s pri­or­i­ties. (our lo­cal group also was told this upon meet­ing with MP, David An­der­son).

Left hang­ing in the air is the unan­swered ques­tion of why the gov­ern­ment would over­ride CIDA’s ap­proval, and refuse to sup­port KAIROS’ long­stand­ing work through in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment dol­lars.

KAIROS Canada also sup­ports ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and ad­vo­cacy projects, which pro­vide im­por­tant back­ground in­for­ma­tion to our lo­cal groups. KAIROS mem­bers are or­di­nary Cana­di­ans, of faith and con­science, work­ing to­gether for ex­tra­or­di­nary change.

The Swift Cur­rent KAIROS group started five years ago, with a fo­cus on ed­u­cat­ing our­selves and oth­ers on cur­rent is­sues and tak­ing ac­tion for jus­tice. Our in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity has in­cluded: par­tic­i­pat­ing in En­vi­ro­fo­rum 2008 on the topic of “Re-En­er­gize Our­selves”, cam­paign­ing to re­duce the use of bot­tled wa­ter, start­ing a pe­ti­tion for the Liv­ing Sky Casino to be en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious in their use of ex­te­rior light­ing, host­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on Dark Sky Preser­va­tion, stand­ing against the UDP re­port’s pro­mo­tion of nu­clear de­vel­op­ment as a “Green” so­lu­tion, host­ing a KAIROS con­fer­ence with Peter Preb­ble speak­ing on Re­new­able En­ergy Op­tions for our prov­ince, meet­ing with civic gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives to re­quest the En­vi­ron­men­tal Ad­vi­sory Board be re­newed, and to dis­cuss waste min­i­miza­tion plans for our city.

The cur­rent KAIROS cam­paign is fo­cused on in­dige­nous rights, and specif­i­cally looks at the UN Dec­la­ra­tion of Rights of In­dige­nous Peo­ples, of which Canada was one of four coun­tries to refuse sign­ing in 2007, and was the last hold-out un­til De­cem­ber 2010.

We are a small, com­mit­ted group of peo­ple con­cerned with so­cial jus­tice and we wel­come any­one who res­onates with the is­sues listed above to join us in our ef­forts. For more in­for­ma­tion on KAIROS’ work, and up­dates on the progress of its cur­rent CIDA pro­posal, go to kairoscana­da.org. If in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing lo­cally, we meet on the first Tues­day of each month at 7:30 p.m. at St. Olaf Church (main doors, in the up­stairs area).

Joyce Ole­sen and Kathryn Scott - on be­half of

Kairos Swift Cur­rent

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