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Our relief work enables grassroots Mothers’ Union members to be a source of hope in their local communities when emergencies strike, wherever they find themselves in the world.

One of the aims of Mothers’ Union is ‘to help those whose family life has met with adversity’. The Mothers’ Union Relief Fund is founded upon this principle. When an emergency situation suddenly destabilises family life – either natural disaster or man-made conflict – local Mothers’ Union groups can receive a grant from the Relief Fund which helps them provide support to meet the most urgent needs facing communities. Grants are sent quickly to equip local members to respond as fast as possible to meet these needs, using local resources. By equipping our members to respond right at the heart of the affected region, we are often one of the first agencies to deliver effective relief.

Mothers’ Union as a grassroots organisation is based in communities and remains present before and after disasters happen. Therefore, the Relief Fund supports communities for the long-term.

Preparing: Mothers’ Union works with communities that are vulnerable to either conflict or climate change to prepare for potential disasters. In South Sudan, prior to the outbreak of conflict in 2013, Mothers’ Union and the Church were trained in disaster preparedness. When the conflict broke out, many congregations on the Ethiopian border mobilised their members and together, they walked to Ethiopia to safety.

Proactive: Often our Relief Funding is small in comparison to other agencies, but due to our extensive grassroots networks, we can be more aware of circumstances unfolding and respond early. For emerging relief situations, we believe that this makes the funds we have available more effective. A Provincial President in Africa noted that “we need to change the nature of the Relief Fund towards helping slow-onset disasters as well. Communities recognise where disasters are likely to occur, but lack the means to stop disasters from happening. We need to support communities to protect themselves from disasters.”

Post-relief: In Tanzania, following the third Relief Fund request in six years to alleviate hunger and localised famine, we had the opportunity to go further. We provided a small funding pot with which members trained 33 diocesan Community Development Coordinators in food security, which is enabling dioceses to find local solutions. In 2015, the Diocese of Tarime helped people create kitchen gardens to ensure families can survive through drought periods, while the dioceses in the central belt of Tanzania are exploring how to compensate for the lack of rainfall that leads to poor crop growth and famine.