Drop the Debt Fast gets under way
The Fast was launched in Birmingham on 12 April with a focus on Liberia, which has just this month qualified for debt cancellation, after spending two years waiting for rich countries to agree to it. However, in a perfect illustration of the need to pick up the pace, it will now have to spend several more years 'completing' the process, before any of its debts are actually written off.
Three Birmingham MPs, including Conservative Party chairman Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, and Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, came to the Bullring in central Birmingham for the launch. They were joined by the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Rev Bob Wilkes.
Most fasters are taking part by giving up food for the day. But some have decided to give up something smaller for the whole period - including cakes, biscuits or coffee.
JDC Birmingham co-ordinator Audrey Miller has given up the Today programme, while David Golding from Newcastle Make Poverty History has given up TV, wine and salted nuts.
JDC volunteer Anna Hamilton is eating only fruit and vegetables after 8 o'clock in the morning for the duration of the Fast.
"I was really tired on Sunday and desperate for a lie-in," she says.
"But I'd committed to fasting from 8, so at half past seven I dragged myself out of bed to make some porridge. Once it hit eight o'clock, I went back to sleep."
"It's worth it to help raise awareness that the debt crisis is far from over. We've dropped 20% of the debt so far, which is excellent. But it's happened far too slowly, and there are still billions of dollars of debts that need to be cancelled."
"I'm relieved we're not fasting for all 100 countries that still need more debt cancellation - otherwise by the end I'd be suffering from a serious lack of sleep!"
The Drop the Debt Fast runs from 12 April to 18 May 2008. It's not too late to take part - you can still sign up to take part on one of the remaining days.