A Baroness soup kitchen and women in the Congo

PRESS RELEASE
http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

May 6th 2011

A very determined Baroness sets up a soup kitchen in the House of Lords and a new report on violence against women in the Congo goes to all MPs.

Could you cook a lunch for just 33p? Eating for £1 a day to relieve world poverty.
Baroness Anne Jenkin of Kennington, has a reputation for her work fundraising for charities. It is not surprising then that within weeks of putting on her “Red Robes and Ermine” she could be found in a small kitchen along a corridor several flights of stairs up in the Lords cooking a lunch for her fellow Peers and supporters that cost just 33p.

Baroness Jenkin, was taking up the challenge put down by the “Below the Line” charities fighting poverty around the World: RESULTS UK, Christian Aid, Think Global, Restless Development, and Salvation Army (International Development), to live off just £1 a day for food and drink. 1.4 billion people have no choice but to live their lives below the poverty line.

Anne’s “good housekeeping” 33p a day “soup kitchen” in the Lords managed to provide not just a filling soup, but pita bread, cheese and tomatoes to her “hungry” colleagues too.

Baroness Jenkin was joined by Baroness Trish Morris, Baroness Judith Jolly, helper Dorothy Tyson, and four younger supporters Guy Kirkpatrick, Mayti Navellou, Ashli Alberty, and Kathryn Llewellyn. Our intrepid ww.wpradio.co.uk reporter Linda Fairbrother went to join them and taste the soup but first she began to smell it as she found her way to that kitchen. Recipes on http://www.livebelowtheline.org.uk

Baroness Jenkin told Linda: “I think lots of Peers work in Kitchens. I have prepared lunch for all the Peers who are participating in this campaign, which was started by the Global Poverty Project and it is also a fundraising campaign for all the Charities working with them. I have raised £5,000 for Restless Development, which I am a Patron of, and I have hit my target.

“The £ a day is the World Bank’s definition of the poverty line, and it is quite a challenge for us but much more of a challenge for those who have to really do it. You spend so much time putting things in and out of your shopping basket and working it out down to the last penny.

“ Today’s lunch is a 32p lunch, and the soup is based on frozen vegetables, potatoes, onion, stock cubes, half a can of baked beans and some rice. I have spent a lot of time researching this. We also have pita bread, pate and soft cheese and yoghurt – it is quite a decent lunch. If you haven’t as much time to research it down to the last penny you are left struggling.”

The Million Women Rise coalition report on violence in the Congo.

The Million Women Rise coalition went to Westminster recently to present their findings of their recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. There will be Presidential elections in the Congo at the end of this year, and their report on their trip “Congo:..The road to Mwenga”, which has five tough recommendations, will be presented to Parliament soon by the Chair of that meeting, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice Chair of the All Party Human Rights Group (APPG).

The trip was part of the Third International Action of the World March of Women that involved women from 48 countries. The Million Women Rise coalition report and film of the trip aims to address the realities of sexual and gender-based violence for Congolese women as well as strategies for ensuring that those who commit them are brought to justice. Our Executive Producer, Boni Sones spoke to the speakers and audience.

Fact file: “The UK government effectively monitors and evaluates the impact of UK tax payers’ contribution of 1 million dollars a day spent in the DR Congo. But it “does not reach women who have been raped or improve prospects for the future”.

Jeremy Corbyn MP told Boni: “The women gave a very good account of their visit to the Congo, and they want Parliament to be more involved in holding the government to account in how money is pent by DFID and the Foreign Office and they want our MPs to be more involved. I am going to summaries their five recommendations into an Early Day Motion and ask colleagues to sign it and give public support to what the women have reported on and that puts pressure on the government to do more. This is democracy in action and pressure in action and I am pleased to be part of it.

“The rape of women in the Congo is the worst in the World, the largest number of people who have been killed in any conflict since the First World War is in the Congo. This is a catastrophe that has been going on for a very long time and the World needs to know about it. “

To sign a petition on the Congo, to be sent to Equalities Minister and international Violence Against Women champion, Lynne Featherstone MP – see http://www.congonow.org/actionpage/lynne-featherstone-sgbv-en

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

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