Blog

Nov 22, 2012

Nov Linking together for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

22
2012

“My husband was very abusive towards me and my children.”

There are many facing the same situation as Emilia Chuma. One in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her life. 
 
In Tanzania, where Emilia lives, violence against women is widespread. One study found that over half of women are beaten regularly by their partners. Why? Because there is a long-standing belief among men and women that such behaviour is acceptable. In 2009, a survey of women in Tanzania found that 56% agreed it was important for a man to “show his wife who was the boss” and 61% believed that a “good wife” obeys her husband regardless of the situation. 
 
But these attitudes are changing. The Oxfam-supported We Can! campaign has seen more 350,000 men and women across Tanzania pledge to become change-makers in their communities, promising to recruit at least 10 others who sign the same pledge to stand up to domestic violence. 
 
 
TOP LEFT: Emiliani Dionis in Mgeta village, Tanzania. He used to beat his wife and five children but is now a change-maker thanks to the Oxfam-supported We Can! campaign. TOP CENTRE: Change-maker Emilia Chuma in Mgeta says the We Can! campaign convinced her husband to end his violence towards her and the children. TOP RIGHT and ABOVE: People in Mgeta watch a dramatic performance that shows the impact of violence against women on the local communities. Events like this one encourage people to change the attitudes that permit domestic violence. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam
 
This unique approach asks people to acknowledge that violence is happening within their midst, to commit to not tolerating violence in their personal lives and to take proactive steps to encourage others in their communities to pledge to follow their examples. 
 
“I became a change-maker because I wanted to change my life,” explains Emilia who spoke to us in her village of Mgeta. “The Morogoro Paralegal Centre [an Oxfam partner] showed me the change-maker form and I signed it.
 
“I convinced my husband to change. Now we have a great relationship and our children are much happier.”
 
Emilia was one of the inspirational women met by our ambassador Sharon Corr who travelled to Tanzania earlier this year. See her meeting Emilia and others empowered by the We Can! campaign in our video below.
 

 

We are joining with thousands of individuals and organisations worldwide to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25th – December 10th).

 
The international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign calling for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
 
You can show solidarity with the men and women taking action around the world by showcasing our specially designed paper chains which highlight the devastating extent of violence against women and girls. Displayed in villages, towns and cities throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, join us to demand that the chain of violence is broken once and for all.
 
Get involved by printing off the one-in-three paper chain and hanging it at home, in work or school, in your car or a prominent place in your community.  Email us a picture at campaigns@oxfamireland.org and we’ll share it with fellow activists in our Facebook group.
 
One-by-one, we can make change happen. Download our paper chain today.

 

Nov 12, 2012

Nov Sharon Corr travels to Tanzania with us

12
2012

As part of our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign, our ambassador Sharon Corr and acclaimed photographer Barry McCall travelled to Tanzania to see how we’re helping women to stand up for their rights. Oxfam's own Communications and Marketing Executive Clare Quinlan travelled with Sharon to see how your donations are making a difference.  Here's her account of the trip.

A chorus of singers welcomed us as we arrived. Their voices filled the air, creating a sense of celebration and excitement.

The reason for our visit to Lyenge village – part of a week-long trip to Tanzania – was to meet Ester Jerome Mtegule and other inspirational women who are shaping the future of their communities.

TOP LEFT: Our ambassador Sharon Corr meets Female Food Heroes winner Ester Jerome Mtegule at her home in Lyenge village. TOP RIGHT: Rice farmer Halima Shida shares a moment with Sharon Corr outside her home in Kimamba village. ABOVE: Sharon Corr meets last year’s finalists (from left to right) Mwandiwe Makame, Anna Oloshiro and the winner Ester Jerome Mtegule, along with Oxfam Ireland’s Monica Gorman, at the launch of the 2012 Female Food Heroes competition. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam

Ester was the winner of our Female Food Heroes competition in 2011. It reached around 25 million Tanzanians – more than half the country’s population – through television, radio and newspapers. This year’s contest was being launched on her home turf, and Sharon was invited to Lyenge as the guest of honour.

The reason why Female Food Heroes is so important is because it celebrates the role played by women who farm and produce food.

Women are at the heart of Oxfam’s work – they make up 43 per cent of the agricultural workforce in the countries where we work, but often face discrimination when trying to get ownership of the land they farm.

Our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign is calling for better support for women food producers so that they can become leaders in their own communities.

Because of widespread media coverage in Tanzania, the Female Food Heroes competition brought important issues to national attention.

Ester and her fellow finalists – whittled down to 10 from 7,000 entrants by a panel of expert judges and a public vote by 10,000 people – participated in a week-long X Factor-style ‘boot camp’ where they received training to enhance their existing skills in farming and food production.


 
TOP: Sharon Corr attends an event in Mgeta village organised as part of our We Can campaign to combat domestic violence. This social movement recruits ‘change-makers’, people who pledge to change their attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women. ABOVE LEFT: Sharon gets ready to play traditional Irish music for locals in Kimamba village. ABOVE RIGHT: Sharon wears a traditional African headscarf presented to her by local women from Iyenge village. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam

Following a public vote, Ester was awarded first place. She proudly showed us the tractor that she won and also the grain store that she now manages on behalf of her community.

During the time we spent with Ester she warmly welcomed us into her home, where she wrapped Sharon’s hair into a traditional African headscarf and showed her how to grind maize, one of the staple foods in Tanzania.

The impact of the Female Food Heroes competition on Ester's life has been remarkable and she's now become the farmers’ representative on her local district council.

She's also using her prize of a tractor to help others in her community and so far, 10 other farmers have benefited from use of the machine.

Ester says that farming, “like anything worthwhile in life, takes discipline and hard work. Discipline is everything. We need more discipline in agriculture if we are really determined to end food insecurity.”

She has become a beacon of hope for all in her community.

We also met the two runners-up of the 2011 competition, Anna Oloshuro Kalaita and Mwandiwe Makame, each of whom won solar panels. They told us how their lives have changed as a result. They are using their prizes to benefit other women in their communities in a number of ways, such as charging household lamps.

TOP: Sharon Corr dances with local women and men in Kimamba village. Your donations help us to support many female rice farmers from the village to get title deeds to their land so they can farm their land securely and free from outside threats. ABOVE LEFT: Sharon watches a dramatisation of domestic violence as part of the We Can campaign with Furaha Kimaro, our Gender Programme Officer. ABOVE RIGHT: Sharon meets a young girl as she arrives at the home of Ester Jerome Mtegule, last year’s winner of the Female Food Heroes competition. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam

Throughout the visit, Sharon showed great compassion and empathy towards everyone she met. You can see her meeting Ester and other Female Food Heroes in the video below.

In Lyenge, we had arrived to the sounds of women singing in harmony. We left with an insight into how much is achieved when women can be empowered to come together and build a better future for their communities.

To add your voice to our call for increased government support for projects that empower women and combat gender-based violence, sign up today.

Nov 6, 2012

Nov Which Christmas gift will you pick?

6
2012

‘Never work with children or animals’ or so the showbiz saying goes, but we’ve done just that to launch our new-look Oxfam Ireland Unwrapped range of Christmas gifts you’ll just love to give. Some of Santa’s little helpers were on hand as furry friends from Wooly Ward’s farm showcased gifts like chicks (€13/£10), goats (€38/£31) and pigs (€35/£28).
 


 

TOP LEFT: Ruby McGing (3) perches on a sofa from Oxfam Home with a baby chick. TOP RIGHT: Ella O’Kelly (4) eyes up a llama outside our shop on South King Street shop in Dublin. CENTRE LEFT: Aisling Ó Moráin (2), Ella O’Kelly and Ruby McGing say hi to a hen. ABOVE LEFT: Aisling Ó Moráin (2) cuddles up to a piglet. ABOVE RIGHT: Ruby McGing and Laoise Ó Moráin (4) introduce the piglet to our South King Street shop.

And it’s not only our locally-sourced Unwrapped animals that transform the lives of people affected by poverty – our huge range has everything from schoolbooks (€18/£15) to seeds (€7/£6) and solar panels (€32/£26), so you’ll find a special something for every special someone.

We’ve also teamed up with The Body Shop and Divine chocolates to create gorgeous gift sets, such as our Care for mums with Shea body butter gift (£35/€43). It combines our Care for mums gift – helping make sure thousands of mums and mums-to-be get the help, expertise and support they deserve in Ghana – and The Body Shop’s sensual Shea body butter.

It’s never been easier to pick up an Oxfam Unwrapped gift – our new shopping cart is much faster and easier to use, and we’ve also added Paypal as a payment option.

With something for everyone, the range includes seven new options - breakfast for a child (€10/£8), baby kit (€10/£8), care for mums (€20/£16), solar panels (€32/£26), literacy classes (€49/£40), and a small loan (€70/£57), along with the gift of girl power (€14/£11) that supports projects helping women to assert their rights, tying in with our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign.

No matter which ones you choose, each gift you buy supports our vital work from emergency responses to advocacy projects. And you’ll also receive a free 2013 calendar to show how your support is making a real difference around the world.

Since our Oxfam Unwrapped gifts launched 10 years ago, people across the island of Ireland have given more than 140,000 life-changing gifts and at the same time helped to improve the lives of over half a million people affected by poverty in countries like Tanzania and Malawi.

Unwrapped gifts can be purchased online, in your local Oxfam shop, by post and by phone (1850 30 40 55 in the Republic of Ireland or 0800 0 30 40 55 in Northern Ireland).

So how does it all work?

When you buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, you’re creating a better future for people like Fatimata in Mali.

In her village of Intadeynen, lack of rain is making food and water scarce – and keeping kids out of school. But by working with mums like Fatimata, we are tackling all three of these problems together thanks to your support. Providing a good meal in school (€10/£8) is a great incentive to get kids into class.

So we helped Fatimata’s village school to plant drought-resistant vegetables (€7/£6) such as cabbages, onions, potatoes and beetroot. The vegetables are grown specifically for school meals and the surplus is sold to buy rice and books (€18/£15).
 

ABOVE: Fatimata at work in her garden.
 

Many children miss school in order to fetch water for their family. So we helped build new water pumps (€25/£20) to save travelling time and effort. Plus having water on tap means the school has plenty for irrigating their allotment. Fatimata and the other mums know how important education is. And the success of their garden in providing meals and having clean water has meant more parents can send their children to school.

“We knew that without one decent meal a day, some children would not be able to come to school. We are proud that we have made a success of our vegetable garden.”

Thanks for supporting Unwrapped gifts. You make it happen.

Posted In:
Oct 22, 2012

Oct How you're helping in West Africa

22
2012

Widow Adoaga Ousmane (45) is responsible for finding food for her six children as well as caring for three grandchildren. Like many people caught up in the current West Africa food crisis, she finds food by picking tree leaves and digging up anthills to find wild grass seeds.

Even then, there is little to feed her family. “(At night time) I think a lot... about my family – what will they eat, what will I find for them, will I be able to feed them today, I make calculations for tomorrow,” she worries.

TOP LEFT: Adoaga looks for seeds in anthills in the hope of finding something for her family to eat. TOP RIGHT: Adoaga holds a bowl of leaves, which are used to make a ‘sauce’ to accompany traditional maize dish called la boule. Families grind the maize they receive at Oxfam’s food distributions to make the dish. ABOVE: Adoaga at home with her children. Your generous donations are providing emergency food aid for many families like Adoaga’s. All photos by Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

“I always think about how I’m going to find food for my children, wishing that my husband was still alive to help me provide for the children, because I don’t really have anyone I can turn to for help. If my friends have nothing to give me, we won’t eat anything.

“I let the children eat first until they are full and then I eat whatever is left, I need to build up enough strength so that I have the energy to find food for my children when this runs out so I have to make sure I keep some of the food for myself.”

Thanks to your response to our West Africa appeal, we’re providing food to families like Adoaga’s in the Guéra region of Chad.

TOP: Adoaga’s child licks her spoon clean after eating. ABOVE LEFT: The little girl with Adoaga. ABOVE RIGHT: Adoaga at home with her children. All photos by Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

On the day of our food distribution, Adoaga is clearly relieved to be able to feed her family. “All my worries have now left me and I am much calmer. I can find sleep more easily. If I eat like this more often then my stomach will be full and I will begin to grow stronger.

I feel well today. Much better and calmer than before the food distribution and I have less worries now that we have enough food for a while. “We are eating bigger portions and with more nutrition so my children and I can sleep much more easily.”

Oxfam distributed food to 61,326 people in the Guéra region between May and September 2012. Each family receives 34 kilos of maize, 4-5 kilos of beans, 2.25 litres of oil and 0.37 grams of salt, enough food to feed an average family for one month. Your generosity is making a huge difference.

We aim to reach a total of 1.8 million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and the Gambia with emergency aid. But we need to raise more money in order to do so.

Oct 22, 2012

Oct Water is life

22
2012

It’s finally here. Helen Ewoton, her husband and her five children in Nawoyatir in Turkana, northern Kenya, have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Today, thanks to your support, Oxfam will dig a new borehole to provide clean water.

“There is water here and Oxfam knew the water was here,” says Helen (48). “When I saw the drillers I felt very happy. We were all very happy when we saw the water spurting out.”

TOP: The borehole means Helen can access water locally, ending her daily three-hour round trip. ABOVE LEFT: Helen says the borehole will improve the health of kids like her grandchild Kaisa. ABOVE RIGHT: The women of Nawoyatir village sing and dance to celebrate the arrival of clean water. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam.

Not only will it end their daily three-hour round trip to fetch water, but the arrival of this source of safe, clean drinking water has huge health benefits for the community of Nawoyatir. Previously, locals were forced to drink water from hand-dug wells sometimes contaminated by faeces. Serious water-related illnesses, such as cholera, are common in Turkana, an area that was badly hit by the East Africa food crisis in 2011.

This incredible video captures Helen and her community's delight as Oxfam builds them a borehole, bringing desperately needed fresh water to this village in northern Kenya. Thanks to everyone who donated to our appeal – your generosity has enabled us to implement projects like this.

“People get diseases drinking contaminated water,” Helen explains. “Some children from the neighbourhood became ill. One child lost their life. “The goodness of the borehole is that it provides clean water. It will bring hygiene at home. It will bring good health and will help the school children to bathe quickly and go to school. It will reduce the diarrhoea diseases in households.”

TOP LEFT: Engineers prepare the rig by putting the drill bit into place. TOP RIGHT: Drilling engineer Henry Kaisa (34). ABOVE: Pipes are laid out ready to line the borehole. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Helen’s livestock will also benefit from the new water supply. “It will help the goat not to catch any diseases. Those goats will multiply and become many in the household.” Helen and her community have celebrated the new borehole by writing a song:

“This song says Oxfam is good for coming to drill for us clean water. To me this is a good day, it’s a big event that they have drilled clean water. When there is no water there is no life. Water is life.”

ABOVE LEFT: Ipoo Ngachara (55) collects fresh water from the new water supply. TOP RIGHT: Children play in the borehole as fresh water is sprayed from a pipe. ABOVE RIGHT: Ipoo joins in the celebrations. All photos by Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Only 15 per cent of the largely nomadic population of Turkana has a reliable water supply. Serious water-related illnesses, such as cholera, are common in this part of northern Kenya. We drilled and installed six boreholes with hand pumps between February and April 2012. At least 12,500 people are using them.

Thanks to your support, we are changing lives forever. To help us implement more projects like this, please give what you can today.

Pages