Adelaide and Australian Aid
Written by engage on May 14, 2019
On Wednesday 15 May at University of Adelaide is the forum Adelaide and Australian Aid, an event hosted by Campaign for Australian Aid, VGen-World Vision and RESULTS International Australia.
This event will be focusing on how the electorate can play a role in the broader scheme of international trade and development, and will give a chance for local constituents to engage and ask questions in the lead up to the Federal Election on the 18th May.
1079 Life spoke to one of the event organisers, Will Mezner who is World Vision’s VGen Facilitator and Youth Engagement Lead.
Will, tell us about the Adelaide and Australian Aid event – what is it, why are you co-presenting it?
Adelaide and Australian Aid is a candidates forum for the seat of Adelaide. Ordinary voters can come and ask their candidates questions about their plans for Australia’s aid budget, including discussions of refugees and climate change.
Why is it important for Aussies to be interested in overseas aid?
Extreme poverty has been more than halved since 1990, due in no small part to the generosity of aid donor countries. Australia has been a generous country, and our aid has touched the lives of millions of people in the majority world through improving access to clean drinking water, vaccinations, schooling for both boys and girls, and countless other projects.
Sadly, we’ve seen six aid cuts in six years, taking billions of dollars in support from the world’s poorest. Those cuts have come at the very moment we face the twin challenges of climate change and the largest refugee and migrant safety crisis since World War Two. Our international reputation has suffered, and so have the poor. What should Australia do next? Opinions will differ, but voters deserve to hear the plans of all sides.
What part does World Vision Australia play in overseas aid?
As the world’s largest child rights organisation. World Vision works in two main areas: transformational development and humanitarian and emergency relief. We’ve partnered with Australian Aid on everything from food distribution to displaced people in Syria to clean drinking water projects in Cambodia and business loans and training for women in Myanmar. Recently, we’ve worked with the government on programs that assist with the development of small businesses and other livelihood strategies as part of its ‘aid for trade’ priorities.
Tell us about Vgen
VGen is World Vision’s youth movement. We help young people who are passionate about global justice to take actions that make a real difference. It’s a national network of groups in high schools, Universities and churches that take action on global challenges like child labour, refugee safety, climate change and vulnerability. You can learn more at VGen and start a group at your school at www.vgen.org
What is your background Will?
I grew up in Adelaide and studied law at Flinders, but my life changed when I visited a 40 Hour Famine funded nutrition project in East Timor and met people living under poverty.
I met Jaoa, a man living with Tuberculosis who’d lost his wife as she gave birth to his daughter Marcella 18 months previously. Lily, an 8 year old girl who was teased at school for her shabby clothes after losing her parents to violence.
An 8 year old boy named Adriano who had to stay home from school and become the man of the house after his father left the family. I realised that we Australians have so much, and so much to give. Now, I lead for World Vision’s youth movement VGen, helping high school and University students understand and take action to end poverty.