Proving it

Apr 4, 2013

Apr The sweet benefits of pineapples

4
2013

Fresh pineapple is rich in vitamins and minerals. In Rwanda, its benefits are even sweeter for women farmers.

 
The home of Godelive Nyirabakobwa (58) in Nyakigandu village is neat and clean but sparse. The house has good walls and comfortable chairs with a single electric bulb hanging from a wire. To have electricity and a water tap at home is a sign that things are going well.
 
Life wasn’t always this way, however.
 
 
Clockwise from top: Godelive Nyirabakobwa in her pineapple field. Godelive Nyirabakobua says her pineapple suckers are sought-after as they’re locally grown rather than imported. Xaverine Mukarunyana (left), Godelive Nyirabakobua (middle) and Daphrose Nyirankundabanyanga (right) all grow and sell pineapple ‘suckers’ – high quality planting material needed by pineapple farmers. Photos: Simon Rawles/Oxfam.
 
“I’ve always been a farmer,” Godelive says. “Before now I was a beans and maize farmer until I learnt about pineapples. I moved here two years ago after living very far away in a rural place. I used to live a very bad life in the bush but today we are better off in this village. I had malaria all the time, actually so did my children and my husband. I could get a good harvest but we had no access to healthcare or good water.” 
 
Thanks to an Oxfam-supported project, Godelive and 800 other women have set themselves up as pineapple sucker growers and sellers. Pineapple suckers are what pineapple plants, and eventually the fruit, grow from. They are the starting point for any pineapple product.
 
“In the training I learnt how to multiply the suckers, how to care for them and the new technique. We’re using it as the new way to make the suckers. In the old way we just planted all the crops up together but now we grow bananas and pineapples separately. It means it’s a lot better to farm and they grow well. Now I can weed and harvest easily.”
 
In the past, pineapple farmers in Rwanda have been reliant on buying suckers from other neighbouring countries such as Uganda. Due to the distances travelled the quality was unreliable, it raised their costs and plant disease was common.
 
With growing national demand for suckers as more people move into pineapple production due to government agricultural support, we spotted a new work opportunity for farmers living in poverty, particularly women. Instead of families trying to grow crops on small areas of land and getting very small yields, a different use of the same land could bring much higher returns. 
 
“People come to me to buy suckers because they know they are free from disease and are good. Sometimes we use products to protect the suckers from disease and I’m vigilant; if I see suckers which are infected I remove them and throw them away so they aren’t among the others which aren’t affected.
 
“For me, I think soon I will be calm, as all my life will be resolved. In my heart I’ll be happy because I will be eating pineapple and drinking the juice. Personally I tell any woman not to be afraid. Start growing pineapples and I’ll show you how to do it and how to open your own bank account.”
 
Godelive is firmly focused on developing her business plans and improving life for her family.
 
“I feel like an entrepreneur because one day I sat and thought: ‘what if I get pineapple suckers, multiply them and try to generate income from them?’, and I got pineapple plants, divided each into four suckers and grew them.”
 
The success of Godelive and her fellow female farmers has had a wider impact beyond their fields.
 
“Now the women in Rwanda today are more open,” she explains. “In the past it used to be that if you wanted to start something you had to wait for your husband’s approval to start. Today any of us can just start something.”
 
Supporters across the island of Ireland are helping to support this project and others like it in Rwanda. Thank you for making a positive difference.
Mar 6, 2013

Mar Voice of female farmers loud and clear this International Women’s Day

6
2013

TV talent show The Voice is attracting a huge audience here at home but none quite so big as our Female Food Heroes competition, as Voice judge and Oxfam ambassador Sharon Corr discovered on her recent trip to Tanzania. 

Using reality TV, radio, newspapers and text voting, the initiative has reached 25 million people – more than half of Tanzania’s population – and plays a vital role in strengthening the status of female farmers.

The 2012 competition – which Sharon Corr helped to launch – partnered with popular show Maisha Plus and saw 14 finalists selected from thousands of entries.

Clockwise from top:  Previous winner Ester Jerome Mtegule and Oxfam Ireland’s Mwanahamis Salimu present our ambassador Sharon Corr with a traditional African headscarf at the launch of last year’s Female Food Heroes competition in Tanzania. Barry McCall/Oxfam. The Female Food Hero 2012 competition tours a village in the Lushoto Mountains region in northeastern Tanzania. Thousands of female farmers entered. Oxfam/MaishaPlus. 2012 winner Sister Martha Waziri transformed unwanted wasteland into a successful farm that feeds her local community, including 12 orphaned children. Oxfam/MaishaPlus.

Selected by public vote for the ways they’ve helped their communities, the finalists moved into a reality TV village and shared  their skills with young people from urban areas on the show, which also helps to highlight the struggle women can face surrounding the ownership of land.

With International Women’s Day taking place this week and lots of our amazing supporters getting ready to host Get Together events to celebrate, we’d like to introduce  the eventual winner, Sister Martha Waziri (45) from Dodoma.

As a 17-year-old she found some barren unused land that none of the local men wanted. But when she asked the local authorities if she could use it, they laughed at her. “I became an object of ridicule,” she recalls. 

Eventually, she fought and got her way. She has since turned 18 acres of unwanted wasteland into a thriving farm, growing sugarcane, sweet potatoes, bananas and more. 

In doing so she has become a beacon of change for other local women, many of whom have now followed her example. The profits from her farm have allowed Sister Martha to support 12 local orphaned children, providing them with food and shelter. 

Thanks to your support, we can help incredible women like Sister Waziri to overcome the challenges they face and continue to feed their families and their communities.

Clockwise from top left: As 2011 finalist Mwandiwe Makame won a solar panel which she shares with other women in her community; 2011 winner Ester Jerome Mtegule shows others how to replicate her innovative farming techniques and (top left) 2011 finalist Anna Oloshiro is a fellow trailblazer for women’s rights: “I believe that providing women with access to information will empower them more, make them aware of their rights and, in the process, they will change or improve their lives.” All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam

Last year’s winner was Esther Jerome Mtegule from Iyenge in central Tanzania. She was one of the inspirational women who our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign ambassador Sharon Corr met in Tanzania.

Ester had managed to increase the yield of one of her crops from five to 75 bags a year by growing a drought-resistant variety instead of using the traditional one favoured by most farmers. This helped feed her whole village.

Her achievement received mass-media coverage and led to her travelling internationally to talk about the vital role of small-scale women farmers.

"I will do everything to support women food producers. They bring peace and harmony in their families and a nation at large," Ester explains. "And they bring freedom. I assure you that a food insecure family is not a free family."

Your support is helping women to empower themselves and become decision-makers in their communities. Thank you.

Feb 20, 2013

Feb Let’s Get Together to celebrate International Women’s Day

20
2013

Coffee and cupcakes, curry nights, style swops, jewellery-making classes, fashion shows and even a gospel choir performance – anything goes as our amazing supporters get ready to host their Get Together events.

We’re hoping you’ll be able to join us in celebrating International Women’s Day (Friday March 8th) by organising something simple and something fun with friends, family or colleagues – whatever and whenever you choose.

As part of our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign, your Get Together will help raise vital funds for our work, which puts women’s rights at its heart. 

 

CAPTIONS: Top: People across the island of Ireland are getting ready to host Get Together events and raise vital funds for Oxfam. Top-left: Oxfam is helping to provide legal advice and training to rice farmers like Halima Shida so she can maintain ownership of her land, one of the biggest issues facing women farmers in Tanzania. Barry McCall/Oxfam. Top-right: Dolores Benitez outside a radio station in Honduras where an Oxfam partner broadcasts a show educating women in the area about their rights. Gilvan Barreto/Oxfam. Bottom-left: By forming an Oxfam-supported cooperative for honey harvesting in Ethiopia, these women can earn an income. Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam. Bottom-right: Oxfam ambassador Sharon Corr meets Ester Jerome Mtegule, a Tanzanian farmer who shares her innovative farming methods for the benefit of her entire community. Barry McCall/Oxfam

Women are more likely to be poor, go hungry and be kept out of school. Despite working two-thirds of the world’s hours, women earn only 10% of the world’s income and own only 1% of its property.

We know that poverty has a female face – but so does the solution. If women farmers had the same access to land, tools, seeds and credit as men, they could grow enough food to feed more than 100 million of the world’s hungriest people.

Our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign ambassador Sharon Corr has travelled to Tanzania to see first-hand how your support can change the lives of women for the better.

"Meeting some of the women who have benefited from Oxfam’s work in Tanzania was truly inspiring,” she explains. “The majority of people living in poverty are women. It’s fantastic to see how Oxfam can help women reclaim their rights and make their voices heard; from supporting female farmers to tackling domestic violence."

"An Oxfam Get Together is simple. Just organise something fun with the people you love spending time with – and help raise vital funds that will transform the lives of women affected by poverty and injustice around the world.”

Feb 5, 2013

Feb Share the love this Valentine’s with Chicks & Chocolates

5
2013

We can do without the wilting roses, overpriced menus and cheesy rhymes on St. Valentine’s Day.

But chocolate is always welcome, especially when it comes in the form of Fair Trade milk chocolate hearts by Divine made with the finest cocoa, smooth cocoa butter and real vanilla.

And it’s even sweeter when coupled with our gift of life-changing chicks to make the perfect Valentine's Day gift - straight from the Oxfam Unwrapped range!

A Clutch of Chicks and Chocolates (€20/£16) funds projects in Zimbabwe – helping to provide nutritious eggs and other support for families living in poverty –  while you get a card and a lovely box of Divine chocolates to give to your special someone on February 14th.
 
 
CAPTIONS: Left: Janak and Sundari Singh stand next to the water pump Oxfam helped to build in their village in India. Once an arid yellow, their field is now green with crops all year round. “We would like our children to stay in our village when they are grown up. We don’t think they will have to move away now.” Rajendra Shaw/Oxfam. Right: Masumbuko and Grace have been through a lot. They live in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, where Oxfam is helping people forced to flee their homes because of the fighting. “I fell in love with my wife the first time I saw her. There was just something about her – the way she was talking, the way she was walking, her nose and her ears. When I saw her I thought she was very, very beautiful. I can’t explain it. Some people may not think she is beautiful, but to me she is perfect.” Rankin/Oxfam
 
So to get your gift of Chicks & Chocs in time for Valentine's Day, simply order before Tuesday February 12th online.  Prefer to order by phone? Call 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland) between 9am - 5pm  Monday to Friday.
 
If you’re looking for other lovely gifts, choose from our extensive Oxfam Unwrapped range. Say ‘I love you’ by supporting women’s rights with Girl Power (€14/£11), sharing a passion for reading with School Books (€18/15), swapping the bubbly for Drinking Water for 3 Families (€25/£20) or making the future brighter with a Solar Panel (€32/£26).
 
Whichever gift you choose from our incredible Oxfam Unwrapped range, you’ll be helping to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Order by 3pm, Tuesday February 12th to guarantee delivery.
 
Jan 22, 2013

Jan Take a step towards ending poverty with Trailtrekker 2013

22
2013
Want to achieve something incredible this year? Walk in solidarity with people affected by poverty and injustice around the world by taking part in Trailtrekker 2013.
 
You’ll be raising vital funds in the new and improved event through the stunning Mourne Mountains on Saturday June 15th, changing lives for the better.
 
Every step you take in the new 25km route or the popular 50km event will make a positive difference, from helping the Maasai community in Tanzania ensure their land rights are protected to supporting girls and women in learning the skills to make a living in Rwanda, along with our response to emergencies such as the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
 
CAPTIONS: Top-left: Two Maasai men walk home in Malambo village in Tanzania. We’re supporting Maasai communities so that they are equipped to take part in a national discussion about the new Tanzanian constitution and can put forward their case for new guarantees that they won’t be moved from their land. Aubrey Wade/Oxfam. Middle-left: Girls walk to Endulen primary school in Tanzania. Children may have to trek 20km or more to get to school and back, which impacts particularly on girls’ attendance. Helping girls and women access education is part of our work to strengthen the voice of women in their communities. Ami Vitale/Oxfam. Bottom-left: On the move, families flee ongoing fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are currently providing water, sanitation, food and cash transfer to local communities and those who have fled their homes to escape the terrible conflict. Kate Holt/Oxfam. Right: One of last year's Trailtrekker teams walk in solidarity with people affected by poverty.
 
Join hundreds of people from all walks of life including complete novices and seasoned hill-walkers in this inspirational event.
 
Simply get your team of between three and six people together and we’ll look after you and your teammates on every step of your Trailtrekker journey.
 
Sign up before the end of February to avail of our early bird rate with 50 per cent off the registration fee.
 
The ultimate team event is back. Will you take the first steps towards ending poverty today?

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