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Posts tagged ‘Oxfam’

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

International Arms Trade Treaty

Dear Gabriel,

Huge news coming out of the United Nations today: this morning, delegates from 154 nations voted to adopt the first-ever international Arms Trade Treaty!

This is a historic moment – for the first time, the world has a treaty to help monitor and control the flow of arms and ammunition across borders. It’s a strong, effective treaty that will save lives and protect human rights around the world. And it’s the result of the actions of tens of thousands of Oxfam supporters like you – people who raised their voices in support of an Arms Trade Treaty, donated to fuel this work, and spread the word about this crucial issue. Thank you for everything you did to make this victory possible.

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President Obama and his Administration played an important leadership role to ensure the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. Will you join us in thanking them? Send a message to President Obama now >>

For families in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Mali and other countries wracked with armed conflict, the Arms Trade Treaty means a safer, brighter future. Ending armed conflict in poor communities is vital to righting the wrong of poverty, and that’s why Oxfam has been working to pass this treaty for more than a decade – we couldn’t have done this without you.

History was made at the United Nations today, and you were part of it. Thank you so much for standing with us in this fight.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
Board of Directors
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

Working Hand-In-Hand

Dear Gabriel,

What would you do if your income was suddenly gone – and at the same time every single store raised its prices?

In Mauritania, many families’ crops died in the fields; then, because food was scarce, food prices skyrocketed. In Senegal, a poor harvest forced some farmers to eat their seeds simply to survive – leaving them with little left to plant.

It’s a story that repeats across the Sahel region of West Africa and around the world: when crops die, food prices go up. Families are faced with the terrible decision to sell or eat whatever they have simply to survive – even though selling their goats, plows and other resources will make rebuilding or weathering the next crisis even harder.

To make a difference in a disaster like this, we need to be there before it strikes and stay long after other groups leave. That’s what Oxfam supporters make possible – not only helping families access emergency food and water, but also restoring wells, providing veterinary support for livestock, supporting women-run small businesses and more – all to create lasting change.

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Before the year ends, we need compassionate people like you to stand with us and be counted – without you, none of this happens. Can you help now?

Your gift of $50 today will help families build a life free of poverty, hunger and injustice from the Sahel to Haiti and beyond. Please donate now.

As an Oxfam supporter, you understand that a long-term commitment is key to saving lives when the toughest times hit and righting the wrong of hunger and poverty in the first place. You get why we have to be in this fight for the long haul.

You want to fight root causes – not just symptoms. When emergency aid is what’s needed, you’re there to help. But you know that the root causes of hunger are poverty and injustice. Together, we work to empower communities, giving people the information, tools, training and help they need to change their situation – for the next harvest and the next generation.

You know the power of working with local communities. Instead of telling people what to do, we listen to their ideas. Then, together, we provide the resources and work hand-in-hand with local partners to improve their communities together.

You want charities to be careful with your money. We design all our programs to be efficient and effective, and we constantly measure results. In the years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake, as international aid slowed, Oxfam has carefully identified where we can do the most good – and focused on the critical need to boost rice agriculture so farmers can make a living and help the country better feed itself.

img_savinglivesAnd finally, when you know you can make a big difference, you don’t stand on the sidelines. There are families going hungry, mothers struggling to serve their children even flour and water. In a world as rich as ours, we all know this is wrong. And we know that together, we can do what’s right.

We need to raise $2.6 million by midnight on December 31. Can you help?

Your gift will help fight poverty, end hunger, stop injustice and change lives. I hope you’ll make a generous commitment to Oxfam before the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

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

Help Haitians Here

Dear Gabriel,

From Haiti to the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac wreaked havoc, hitting vulnerable communities the hardest. Oxfam staff in these regions are seeing the damage throughout the Gulf region, including in New Orleans where water reached areas that had never seen flooding before.

In Haiti, thousands of people faced flooding, landslides, and wind damage in the wake of the tropical storm. More than two years after the earthquake that leveled Port Au Prince, 400,000 people are still living in tents and were extremely at risk of storm damage.

Oxfam is on the ground helping Haitians in the wake of this latest crisis. We’re intensifying our work on cholera prevention to reduce the risk of deadly outbreaks from unclean drinking water and poor sanitation.

Make a contribution to support Oxfam’s efforts in Haiti.

Drought Compounded by Law

Dear Gabriel,

We’re in the middle of the worst drought in more than 50 years. American farmers are ringing warning bells: their crops are dying by the acre.

The US is the world’s largest exporter of corn, wheat and soybeans – so when our crops suffer, the world pays higher food prices and families go hungry.

What’s making matters even worse? The EPA’s mandate for corn ethanol – a rule that requires a large portion of US corn crops to be used to make ethanol. Instead of being eaten by hungry families, those crops are burning up in our gas tanks.

Higher food prices could cause severe food crises, like the current one in the Sahel, to spread to other regions of the world. We can’t wait any longer to take action! Join us in calling on the Obama Administration to waive this mandate.

We need your voice: Tell the Obama Administration to waive the mandate for corn ethanol NOW.

With a shrunken harvest this year in the United States, global food prices could skyrocket. As food prices continue to rise, people in poverty around the world – many of whom already spend a majority of their income on food – won’t be able to buy enough food to eat. Climate shocks are destroying crops simultaneously in multiple parts of the world, creating a perfect storm for hunger.

Last year, 40 percent of the corn produced in the US was made into ethanol because of this mandate. We’re burning up millions of bushels of corn for fuel – and what’s left over to meet demand is so expensive that millions of poor families can no longer afford to feed themselves. That’s just plain wrong.

By waiving the mandate for corn ethanol to allow more of this year’s harvest to be used as food, we can take some of the pressure off the global food market and stop food prices from rising out of control. Will you ask the Obama Administration to stop a global food crisis?

Send a message to The White House: Tell President Obama to waive the mandate for corn ethanol now so the world can afford to eat.

Thank you for standing with Oxfam’s GROW campaign. Together, we’re helping to fix our broken food system to ensure that everyone on the planet has enough to eat, always.

Sincerely,

Vicky Rateau, GROW Campaign
Oxfam America

1 Million Children

Dear Friends,

My name is Baaba Maal, and I’m a Senegalese musician writing with a personal plea for help. I live in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel region where 18 million people are on the brink of disaster, including 1 million children at risk of starvation. But our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly.

The UN says millions of lives could be destroyed unless $1.5 billion in aid is channeled in immediately, but governments have pledged less than half the required sum. The countries who can make all the difference are the US, Japan, France and Germany, but they’re stalling — that’s why I started a petition on Avaaz’s Community Petitions website to appeal to the world for help.

In days, world leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss the Sahel — if they decide right there and then to pledge their fair share, we can avert disaster. Sign this urgent petition now — Avaaz, Africans Act 4 Africa, and Oxfam will deliver it in a coordinated stunt when we reach 1 million signatures:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_grain_sacks_are_empty/?bMPbqab&v=15205

Terrible drought, political unrest, and sky high food prices have wreaked havoc on an area the size of the US, stretching from Senegal in the west all the way to Sudan in the east. People here are doing everything they can to survive, but the crisis has hit so hard that it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I’ve seen women and children trying to grow food in patches of land that are bone dry. They know that people are talking about what is happening in the Sahel, but they don’t know if aid will ever arrive.

The UN has only received 43 percent of the $1.5 billion needed — it’s a shortfall of gargantuan proportions. But this gap must be filled, and can be filled by the world’s richest countries, if there’s political will. We don’t have much time to avert mass suffering, and I’m determined to speak on behalf of the people here until they get the help they need.

The world has turned a blind eye to crises like this before, but this time we can make the difference between life and death by forcing our governments to respond. Sign this urgent petition now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_grain_sacks_are_empty/?bMPbqab&v=15205

Avaaz members have come together time and time again to respond to natural disasters, saving thousands of lives by ensuring that crucial aid was delivered to Burma, Haiti, Somalia and Pakistan. We have the power to force our leaders to stop idling away in the face of a crisis we can prevent. Let’s stand together now to demand that the world respond to the pleas of the millions living in the vast Sahel region.

With hope and determination,

Baaba Maal, with the Avaaz team

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

Death Threats In Guatemala

From Oxfam – 9/2/11

Dear Gabriel,

Oxfam partners in Guatemala have recently received death threats – and we need your voice, now, to ensure that these threats don’t come to fruition.

As an Oxfam supporter, you already know that the work we do affects people’s lives daily – but the work is often dangerous, and sometimes when our partners speak up in defense of poor communities, they are putting their lives on the line.

Two of Oxfam’s outspoken partners at CALAS (Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action) who work daily on mining and oil issues, received death threats three days ago – and we need to get the public eye on this case immediately, so that they have a level of protection.

Please send a message to the President of Guatemala – we must do everything we can, NOW, to protect our Oxfam partners.

Violence and tensions in Guatemala have intensified in the run-up to the country’s presidential elections on September 11. Our partners at CALAS have been working to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and to expose corruption in a natural gas project.

The Executive Director of CALAS, Yuri Melini, was seriously wounded in 2008 during an assassination attempt.

Large-scale mining operations have been the source of protest, violence, and human rights violations since the early 2000s. Oxfam partner CALAS has sought to promote informed debate about the costs and benefits of oil and mining in the country and to promote greater respect for the rights of indigenous communities – and now they are under threat for their stand.

Get these threats in the public eye and protect Yuri Melini and Rafael Maldonado.

Here at Oxfam, we are in awe of the strong and steadfast stand taken by these human rights activists – but now, more than ever, they need our support. “I won’t be intimidated by these threats,” Melini said in a statement. “I will continue the struggle to defend human rights and protect Guatemala’s environment.”

Please don’t let their work be in vain.

Tell the President of Guatemala, we will not stand by while our partners are threatened.

We can save lives. Please don’t stay silent.

Judy Beals, Campaigns Director
Oxfam America

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