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What Tearfund is doing at the party conferences this year

Find out why we’re there, what we’ll be doing and how you can get involved through prayer and action.

Written by Rachael Adams | 09 Sep 2022

Scenery of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben in London

The Houses of Parliament building in London, United Kingdom | Image credit: Joanna Zduńczyk/Pexels

Over the next month, members of Tearfund’s Government Relations team will be attending the Labour and Conservative party conferences. Here’s everything you need to know about why we’re there, what we’ll be doing and how you can get involved through prayer and action.

Party conferences happen every year and are a way for the main political parties to meet with their members and share their vision for the year ahead. They feature a mix of speeches, events and debates.

Why are we going to the party conferences?

Tearfund engages with MPs because we want to see lasting change. This happens by not only working with those living in poverty, but by changing the circumstances, laws and systems that are stopping people from being able to reach their full potential. Working with decision-makers who have the power to make laws is fundamental to alleviating poverty.

Party conferences are an opportunity for us to engage with party members, peers and MPs. By discussing Tearfund's work with them and building relationships, we can then continue with these when they are back in Parliament.

By working with UK politicians, we can encourage the government to use its role as a leader on issues such as climate change. The government can then use its influence at global summits, international bodies and with other countries to push for vital changes.

Highlighting how UK aid continues to saves lives around the world

Tearfund works with the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (previously the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office) to help shape policies and laws. The Government listens to us because of our experience and expertise, and the party conferences help us cultivate our relationships with MPs who work in this area.

The UK Government has match funded several Tearfund appeals, including one in the Central African Republic, where 10,000 women were reached with support to lift their families out of poverty.

Over the last few years the UK Government has taken some concerning decisions regarding UK aid. This includes:

  • Merging the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign Office despite an independent report showing that DFID was found to be the most effective, transparent and accountable department for every pound of UK taxpayer’s money.
  • Breaking international commitments and slashing the UK’s foreign aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of national income in the midst of a pandemic – when lower-income countries needed our support most.

Tearfund’s presence at party conferences and the events that we’ll be co hosting there will highlight how UK aid continues to transform lives around the world – and why the UK Government should restore aid spending to its original levels as soon as possible.

Smiling woman teaching a child to sew

In the Central African Republic, UK aid has transformed lives. Sarah’s husband abandoned her and her eight children when Sarah was 32, leaving her living in poverty. Now, she works with Tearfund’s local partner to teach sewing and literacy to local women and children and has helped many others to lift themselves out of poverty | Image credit: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund

What are we focusing on this year?

The importance of climate finance

People living in poverty are the ones suffering the most from the devastating effects of the climate crisis, despite being thes ones who have done the least to cause it.

Many of the countries Tearfund works in are forced to divert funds away from public services to try to protect themselves against the effects of the climate crisis. In Africa, our Dying to Adapt report found that countries can face costs of adapting to global heating up to five times more than they spend on healthcare.

The UK Government – along with other wealthier countries – made a pledge at previous UN climate talks to help lower-income countries adapt to the climate crisis. Yet this promise has not been fulfilled – and poorer countries are paying the price. We’ll be highlighting why the UK Government should lead the way in honouring this pledge – and ensuring other countries follow suit.

East Africa hunger crisis

The people of East Africa are facing a food crisis on an unimaginable scale. Four successive seasons of failed harvests has led to more than 22 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda going hungry each day. And forecasts for October’s harvest are dire.

The hunger crisis has had little attention from the media and from world leaders, and this needs to change. Elizabeth Myendo, our Disasters Emergency Lead who is based in Kenya, will be joining us at the Conservative Party conference to highlight this crucial issue.

Freedom of religious belief

Around the world, people of faith – including many Christians – are persecuted and attacked for their beliefs.

Tearfund is part of the Joint Initiative for Strategic Religious Action (JISRA), which promotes freedom of religion or belief in Iraq, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Our local partners in Nigeria will be sharing via a video link how they have directly experienced violence based on religion or belief and how they are working to promote religious tolerance and peace across communities.

Woman standing with barren landscape behind her

In Ethiopia, a woman stands in front of the barren landscape, caused by the worst drought in decades. Tearfund’s local partners are doing all they can to reach people in need | Image credit: Leonilo Endoso/Tearfund

Here are the events that we’ll be at:

  • Labour Party Conference, 24-28 September: Tearfund will be part of a panel event looking at Labour’s foreign policy vision in a time of global crises on 26 September.
  • Conservative Party Conference, 2-5 October: Tearfund will be taking part in an event on climate change and gender on 4 October. We will also be hosting a prayer breakfast on 4 October with the Conservative Christian Fellowship looking at peacebuilding and freedom of religious belief.

How you can get involved

Pray with us

  • Lift up our Government Relations team, who have been planning these events and will be going to the party conferences. Pray for the logistics of the events and for energy, strength and wisdom for our team. Pray for our relationships with MPs; that we will be able to deepen our current relationships and build new ones too.
  • Pray for good attendance at our events by MPs, their staff and decision-makers, and that they will be spurred to take action to tackle these global challenges.
  • Keep in your prayers people living in poverty whose voices and concerns we are amplifying at these events. Pray for provision for their immediate needs and that they will be able to lift themselves out of poverty for good.

Take action

You can also tell your MP that Tearfund will be at their party conference this year. You can email them and invite them to one of our events. If you do not know who your local MP is, it’s easy to find out. If your MP wants to know more, you can tell them to email our team at

Written by

Written by  Rachael Adams

This article has been updated after the Liberal Democrat Party conference was cancelled. Tearfund was due to attend and host a prayer breakfast with the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum on 18 September.

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