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Posts tagged ‘Oxfam America’

Stealing the Land

The Truth About Land Grabs
From Oxfam America

We all rely on the land—our common ground—and farms to put food on the table. But the world’s farmland is at risk. Here in the US, we have been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute. In developing countries, the rush for land is even more intense.

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What’s a land grab?

Imagine waking up one day to be told you’re about to be evicted from your home. Being told that you no longer have the right to remain on land that you’ve lived on for years. And then, if you refuse to leave, being forcibly removed. For many communities in developing countries, this is a familiar story.

In the past decade, more than 81 million acres of land worldwide—an area the size of Portugal–has been sold off to foreign investors. Some of these deals are what’s known as land grabs: land deals that happen without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities that often result in farmers being forced from their homes and families left hungry. The term “land grabs” was defined in the Tirana Declaration (2011) by the International Land Coalition, consisting of 116 organizations from community groups to the World Bank.

The global rush for land is leaving people hungry

The 2008 spike in food prices triggered a rush in land deals. While these large-scale land deals are supposedly being struck to grow food, the crops grown on the land rarely feed local people. Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugar cane, palm oil, and soy—often for export. In fact, more than 60 percent of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems.

Righting the wrong of land grabs

With your help, Oxfam has been campaigning on land grabs as part of our GROW campaign for food justice.

People like you successfully pushed the World Bank to commit itself to a new UN standard on how land is governed. This means they’ll work to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have their land rights respected.

In 2011, 769 families were forced out of their homes and off thier land in Polochic Valley. Their crops and homes were burned. And three people died. Over 100,000 people signed to get the Guatemala Government to declare support for the Polochic communities and, to date, 140 families have had their land returned. The campaign continues.

To send a global message about land grabs, thousands of Oxfam supporters and Coldplay fans sent photos and videos of ordinary things out of place, echoing the displacement of land grabs. These clips were edited together into a music video that helped raise the profile of land grabs during the campaign targeting the World Bank.

What’s next?

Communities are already standing up and demanding their rights. And because big food companies rely on your continued support to stay in business, you have a rare opportunity to stand with local farmers as they struggle to retain their farmland. Visit BehindtheBrands.org and see how the 10 biggest food and beverage companies score on their land policies.

– See more at: Oxfam America.

Oxfam America Advocacy

Gabriel –

Imagine that you’re pregnant, injured or gravely ill. You have no car. There’s a clinic building nearby, but no doctors or nurses – the doors are shut. The nearest hospital is 25 miles away.

Women and girls around the world face this nightmare scenario every day. Women suffer from unequal treatment in many ways: less food in crises as they feed their children first, more violence – including rape – during conflicts, inadequate care for themselves and their families when they need it most.

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We can prevent this scenario – but it’s going to take us all working together to make sure women’s voices are heard in the legislative process so we can fix the broken US aid system and keep life-changing programs off the chopping block. The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund is fighting for this day in and day out. To keep our work going in the months ahead, we need to raise $40,000 before June 6. Can you help?

Donate to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund today to join our fight for policies that help women tackle hunger, poverty and injustice at their roots.

Martha Kwataine, a health advocate in Malawi, helped end this nightmare for women in the town of Mponela. Martha brought her neighbors together to pressure the government to meet urgent needs – from convincing the government to staff an empty clinic to restarting scholarships for midwives. “We don’t ask America to do our work for us,” says Martha. “We just want America as a partner in helping us solve these problems.”

Even as we celebrate Martha’s success, we know that there’s a bigger problem here than a lack of doctors and an empty clinic. Why isn’t her government addressing these problems? How can we help communities take control of their resources and their futures? And how can we make sure that the help our government provides to communities in need around the world is making a real difference for Martha, her neighbors and her country?

The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund works to tackle problems at their roots by:

Helping communities control their resources and their futures – Without the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund, community voices – like Martha’s – are left out of important decisions about resources, leading to disastrous consequences. Oxfam works to support women’s leadership programs and make sure that local activists are heard in the legislative process.
Fixing foreign aid – We’re working to change the way food aid is delivered during food shortages so that every dollar can go to work helping people who need it most, rather than being wasted on expensive shipping restrictions or in “red tape” processes.

Fighting to keep life-changing programs fully funded – Too often, poverty-fighting aid programs – from education to food aid to health services – are the first ones cut, despite the dramatic difference they make for people in need.

It takes dedication to long-term development work plus community leadership plus changing laws and policies to truly help people lift themselves out of poverty, hunger and injustice. Martha is fighting for this change – are you?

Donate to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund to make this change – and more – possible.

There are just three days left to help us reach our goal of $40,000 to keep this work going. Please give as generously you can.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Mary Marchal
Advisor, Aid Effectiveness
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

One Plate At A Time

Dear Gabriel,

This fall, sit down for a life-changing meal.

For almost 40 years, Oxfam America Hunger Banquet® events have been changing the way people think about global hunger, one plate at a time. Around the country, these events have inspired hundreds of thousands of people to take action in the fight against hunger and poverty.

And this year, it’s your turn. Gather your friends, family, co-workers, book groups, church groups – everyone you know – and host an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet to inspire your community.

We’ll provide the materials. You provide the commitment. Our world provides the challenge.

Serve up a memorable meal and inspire change – host an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet.

The harvest season is our season of action – together, we’re tackling hunger and poverty in a variety of ways. And this fall, with 925 million people worldwide suffering from chronic hunger and food prices rising higher each day, your actions are more important than ever.

When you attend an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, your understanding of hunger and poverty will go beyond numbers to create a truly life-changing experience. If you’ve never been to one, here’s how it works: your guests are randomly assigned to play different people at different income levels, and each receives a corresponding meal. People at your event get a taste of what it’s like to be well-fed, hungry or somewhere in between – some will get a filling dinner, while others eat a simple meal or share sparse portions of rice and water.

You and your friends and family will gain unique insight into what it feels like to struggle against a cycle of poverty and how sustainable solutions can help a village feed itself for years to come. While not everyone will leave with a full stomach, your guests will come away with a greater understanding of hunger, poverty and our broken food system – and with the tools and knowledge to make a difference.

Host an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event this fall – you’ll be inspiring your community to change the global food system once and for all.

Organizers and guests alike call Oxfam America Hunger Banquets a “memorable,” “powerful” and “life-changing” experience. Host an event in your community, and see why it continues to inspire people year after year.

Sincerely,

Nancy Delaney
Oxfam America

Hunger Is Not A Game

Dear Gabriel,

Hunger is on the horizon for more than 13 million people in the Sahel region of Africa – with fields bone dry and crops ravaged by plagues of insects. Food prices are rising quickly in local markets.

In parts of Chad, villagers have resorted to raiding anthills for the tiny caches of food stored there.

This crisis isn’t just the result of dry weather or failed harvests. In some cases, up to half of US government aid that could help these struggling communities is wasted. It supports giant agribusiness firms and shipping companies. It’s shipped expensively from the US, instead of being purchased locally. It’s dumped on markets – competing directly with the small farmers it should be helping.

Farmers in the Sahel region can assist more effectively during food crises – but they urgently need your help to do it.

Make a gift to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund, and you can help people in the Sahel and beyond by pushing for reforms that allow for food aid to be purchased locally. You’ll help fix the underlying causes of this crisis – and if you give today, your donation will be matched to make TWICE the difference.

Make your gift today toward our $50,000 goal and it will be doubled to help change the laws and policies that keep people poor.

Oxfam is working in places like Niger, where our partners are rebuilding cereal banks so any surplus food can be stored for the months ahead. We’re in Mauritania, where we’re working with 1,300 women to launch a cooperative vegetable garden program, with water pumped from a nearby river. And we’re in Chad, helping farmers dig irrigation systems that will capture any rain that falls.

But we need your help to tackle the destructive policies that can turn a dry season like this into a catastrophe. Every day, we see the heart-wrenching impact of these misguided policies that lead to manipulated food prices that maximize corporate profits, or fall short on providing basic investments that could help communities prepare for disasters. Too many policies are made without consideration for how they could affect poor people.

The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund is working to turn this around, making sure aid gets to where it’s needed and is used to build long-term self-reliance. In order to continue this work, we need your support today.

Help raise $50,000 to reform aid policies – give today and your gift will be MATCHED.

We have the experience and the expertise to make systemic change – but we need your immediate support to make it possible. Thanks in advance for working toward a better future for families in West Africa and beyond.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
Board of Directors
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

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