Advocacy for development

(L to R): Sally Keeble, director of Anglican Alliance, and Mahjabeen Chowdhury, PWRDF Asia-Pacific program coordinator. Photo: Marites N. Sison
(L to R): Sally Keeble, director of Anglican Alliance, and Mahjabeen Chowdhury, PWRDF Asia-Pacific program coordinator. Photo: Marites N. Sison
Published November 9, 2011

First proposed at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Alliance is an international initiative for development, relief and advocacy. Uniting partners across the Anglican Communion, its mission is to capitalize on work already under way to build capacity, co-ordinate and provide a voice for the communion in international development.

“Unlike the PWRDF, [Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund] we are not a funding agency and we do not directly run programs,” said Sally Keeble, alliance director, on a recent visit to Church House in Toronto. “But we do more than liaison. We do capacity building and bring interested parties together.”

The alliance does spend some money, however, convening consultative meetings on issues such as microfinance to help different international communities learn from each other. “Then we might work out a proposal and go to the Primate’s Fund or to the PWRDF or to the EU for funding,” said Keeble. “We do the pump-priming stuff.”

Pioneered by a steering group from across the communion, the alliance appointed Keeble as its first director in January 2011. The London-based Keeble, a former journalist, has also served as a Labour MP and international development minister. “I feel that all the things I’ve done in my life have led up to what I’m doing today,” said Keeble, who also holds a theology degree and has worked in Africa.

The three-employee alliance is currently operating on three years’ worth of start-up funding from the Lambeth Partners, a group of private donors who support the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ministry. “But we are starting right away to look for other financing so that the work we do can be self-sustaining,” she said.

The alliance has three pillars—development, relief and advocacy—and focuses on four geographic regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia (including Southeast Asia) and the Pacific (including Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands). Through consultation, representatives from each area decide on their specific development priorities. So far, these include, variously, economic empowerment and microfinance, environmental protection, food security, migrants and refugees and women’s empowerment.

“We were surprised that nobody selected drugs, health or education,” Keeble said. One recent success, however, did focus on education. Last month, the alliance secured funding from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for a fellowship program four education administrators from across the communion.

Representing the Caribbean, Nigeria, Ghana and the Solomon Islands, the first four fellows will spend eight weeks visiting U.K. educational institutions to see what lessons they can learn for delivering education services at home. “This is a groundbreaking scheme,” said Keeble. “Education is the biggest driver of development, and the church is a major provider of education in developing countries.”

In February, the alliance will bring people together for a workshop on microfinance in Nairobi and then perhaps approach potential funding partners such as Five Talents or the EU to support specific projects.

Acknowledging that relief is the most difficult area of operation, Keeble referred to involvement with flood relief efforts in the Pacific Islands and in Pakistan, where the churches are very small and it is difficult to operate.

The alliance is perhaps better placed to be a catalyst in global advocacy. “There’s a strong Anglican presence in 13 of the G20 countries,” Keeble said, and the alliance can use the grassroots connections of the churches to identify what’s most of concern in specific countries. Recently, food security was named a priority, especially in Africa, and the alliance has helped frame sample letters to G20 agriculture ministers in advance of their November meeting and other political and community leaders.

It also sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to support stepped-up food security efforts. Sample letters can be seen online at

For more information, email [email protected].


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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