Charities MADE in Europe and Oxfam recently launched the first ever Muslim campaign toolkit in the House of Commons.
Available online, the toolkit will help and support young Muslims in the UK to get involved in global poverty campaigns.
The launch, which took place at the House of Commons, was attended by representatives from leading Muslim community and youth organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain and Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) as well as UK Government representatives from the Department for International Development and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Flyde who hosted the event, congratulated the initiative and said: “I wish both MADE in Europe and Oxfam great success, it is so encouraging to see two organisations coming together.”
Paul Hilder, Director of Campaigns at Oxfam said: “We are looking forward to developing our work with MADE in Europe. The joint challenge of making issues such as maternal mortality relevant to communities offering those pathways for empowerment and change in the service of social justice is our shared challenge and responsibility.”
Khalid Sofi, Chair of MADE in Europe said of the toolkit: “We have seen the generosity of Muslim communities when it comes to fundraising helping those in need. Asking communities to campaign on issues and be a voice can also bring change. Campaigning works. Petitions and signatures have cancelled Haiti’s debt after the earthquake of 2010 and have brought free healthcare to Sierra Leone. It’s not just money that can make significant differences. My hope now with the toolkit is to see a surge of campaigners coming forward to alleviate poverty and bring the lasting change that is desperately needed.”
Over the summer a group of young people used the campaign toolkit to take part in a campaigning programme with MADE in Europe. They tackled issues including global food insecurity and maternal health.
The 18-year-old Hanna Abdi from South London used the toolkit to run a campaign to raise awareness among UK Somali women, about the number of women who die in Somalia during childbirth.
“The campaign was something that I really wanted to get involved in but I never knew how to get involved. You don’t see many maternal health campaigns especially within our community,” said Hanna. “I want to raise awareness about the risk of one in 14 women dying during childbirth in Somalia. It is crucial to campaign and raise awareness on these issues and I want to help every mother who is at risk as though they were my own.”
Hanna said that the toolkit is a booklet that’s easy to read. “It’s not something that’s just full of information. It’s really quite helpful; it tells you how to actually run your campaign, how to write letters to your MP, how to even do stunts, like campaign stunts and how to get people’s attention. There are examples and inspirational quotes from the Qur’an, and it’s got advice on how to solve problems that you may encounter during your campaign,” she said.
Asked what she’s going to do with the acquired knowledge now that she has finished her campaign, Hanna said: “I’m hoping to be trained by MADE in Europe so that I can train other people how to use the toolkit and how to start their own campaigns.”
To find out more about the toolkit and how to access it, please log on to the MADE in Europe’s website: www.madeineurope.org.uk.
By Chinwe Ojielo