Jan 11, 2013

Jan Haiti: three earthquake commemorations, three steps in reconstruction

11
2013

 

On January 12th, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. People across the island of Ireland made an incredible response to our emergency appeal, raising €1.1 million. Thanks to the generosity and solidarity of supporters like you, a lot of tangible progress has been made. However major challenges remain to rebuild Haiti. Three years on, hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living under tents and tarpaulins with very limited access to basic services, such as sanitation, health care and education.  
 
Urban planner Agathe Nougaret has been living and working in Haiti since December 2010. She joined Oxfam as an Urban Coordinator in August 2012. Here, she writes about finding hope as the third anniversary of the earthquake approaches.
 
I can’t believe it’s been three years already since the earthquake hit in January 2010. I wasn’t in Haiti for “le 12” (“the 12th” a local term to refer to the earthquake), I didn’t witness the mayhem and great solidarity with my own eyes. I arrived months after, when the reconstruction process was supposed to kick-off, once rescue teams and emergency settlement professionals had done their job.
 
 
 
CAPTIONS: Top-Left: “Buying drinkable water every day was not that easy for people in the neighbourhood. This is one more reason to value the Oxfam intervention,” says Andson Fils-Aimé, who helped build this protected spring-fed water-collection point in the Merger area. Photo: Anna Fawcus / Oxfam. Top-Right: A broken landmark in Croix-Desprez, Port-au-Prince. Photo: Agathe Nougaret/Oxfam. Bottom-left: This mountain of waste in Croix-Desprez, Port-au-Prince, is a daunting task for 2013. Agathe Nougaret/Oxfam Bottom-Right: Yvon Neptune (58): “I moved here in 2009, so I can tell what the difference is since Oxfam did the water captage and canalisation, and started its sensitisation campaign in 2011. This is the answer to the cholera threat and also to other waterborne diseases and malaria.” 

January, 12th, 2011

I spent the first anniversary of the earthquake on the steps of the destroyed cathedral, in downtown Port-au-Prince. In the middle of a political crisis, Haitians had stopped burning tyres to ask for their vote to be accounted for. Everyone gathered in front of this symbol of despair, dressed in white, screaming his or her pain. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t prepare for the questions. As a foreigner, many people came to me to ask why the international community was not rebuilding homes for the victims and stopping the cholera outbreak. I did my best to explain that the scale of the disaster took everyone aback, and setting up temporary settlements, camps in other words, was a complicated and tedious task. “There are less cholera victims in camps than anywhere else thanks to NGO efforts”, I said, but my voice got lost in the fervent religious clamour. What could I say, how could I justify the stalemate Haiti experienced? No available land, no government... I didn’t have words of comfort for the people suffering around me.

January 12th, 2012

Last year, I went to the Port-au-Prince cemetery for the second anniversary of the earthquake. There I met cemetery employees who had to deal with thousands of bodies days after the earthquake. Their stories sent shivers down my spine. Next to the 01/12 memorial sculpture newly built in the cemetery, I met a poet and a painter who explained to me how art helped them to cope with the trauma. They were hopeful, though. So much rubble had been cleared in the past year. The new president promised to take action for what really matters, education of Haitian kids. NGOs were starting to repair homes and even build permanent houses. Over the Christmas holiday, the camp in front of my office had been cleared by the Haitian government through a relocation programme run by international agencies. I was personally involved in this great movement, and I was proud. These first little steps were the hardest to take, as we were paving the way for an important scale-up in relocation and reconstruction efforts.
 

January 12th, 2013

I haven’t decided where I’ll spend the anniversary yet. I want to be somewhere significant, where I feel part of the Haitian community. I think I’ll choose the Villa Rosa slum, where I completed a NGO project last June, repairing and building 600 permanent homes. I don’t want to join the choir of critics who state that big land-owners will never help us rebuild the country, that the Government doesn’t have the means to do its job, that 358,000 people still live in camps. They might be right, but I want to celebrate our successes, this year. We have found ways to involve the community in planning, rebuilding and managing their neighbourhoods, and we’ve helped the government to see slums as a challenge, not as a threat. We’re working hard to convince donors to let us replicate this first set of pilot projects. The task was so daunting three years ago, but slowly, we’re getting there. That’s what I want to remember on January 12th.
 
Jan 8, 2013

Jan Join our local movement for global change in 2013

8
2013

 

Ireland will take centre stage in 2013.
 
For the first six months of the year we hold the Presidency of the European Union. In June, leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries will come to a quiet corner of Lough Erne, Fermanagh, for the G8 Summit to discuss the issues that affect us all. 
 
This is our moment to shine – a rare opportunity for this small island to set the agenda and shape international discussions. With your support, Oxfam Ireland will be working hard to ensure this moment is a catalyst for a better future for the world’s poorest people. Each and every individual here in Ireland can help to make that difference. 
 
We’re committed to responding to humanitarian emergencies and helping people cope with natural disasters, famine and war… but it’s not enough. We support long-term development to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through better farming and greater access to education and health services …but that’s still not enough.
 
For real, lasting change and a world where no one needs to die or live in poverty simply because of the circumstances they were born into, we must tackle the underlying inequalities and root causes of poverty. We need to use our voice and influence to change the way international systems and national governments see and do things. 
 
Campaigning for change is something we do here in Ireland and around the world. 
 
 

 

CAPTIONS:

Top: Dressed as Homer Simpson, campaigners from Stop Climate Chaos – a coalition of NGOs including Oxfam Ireland – protested outside government buildings in Dublin last November to show how the UN Climate Change Summit taking place a week later in Doha was more likely to be a case of ‘Doh-a’! Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland. 

Upper-left: Oxfam Ireland joins other development agencies for the Act Now 2015 appeal to the Irish government to keep its promises on overseas aid, which is supported by eight out of 10 people. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland. Upper-right: Oxfam campaigners in Belfast demonstrate how Fairtrade goes with everything during Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. Brian Thompson/Presseye. 

Lower-left: Festival-goers at last summer’s Electric Picnic show their support for our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign. Ger Murphy/Oxfam. Lower-right: Campaigners from the Stop Climate Chaos coalition of NGOs which includes Oxfam Ireland make some noise by blowing hundreds of vuvuzelas outside the Dáil in November 2011 to highlight the slow pace of political action to combat climate change. Ger Murphy/Oxfam. 

Bottom: Oxfam supporter Bel Zhong decorates the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street with a giant paper chain to mark the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign last month. Sasko Lazarov

 
Take Tanzania, for example. Not only do we support poor and marginalised communities in building a brighter future (e.g. by making a sustainable living through new farming techniques or helping those living with HIV and AIDS to access healthcare) but we are also helping to amplify their voices and ensure they are heard. 
 
For example, we’re supporting Maasai communities so that they are equipped to take part in a national discussion about the new Tanzanian constitution – ensuring that they can put forward their case for new guarantees ensuring they won’t be moved from their land and that their rights will be respected. 
 
In 2012, thousands of people joined Oxfam Ireland to campaign for change for the first time. And as the world focuses on events here throughout the year, we can’t wait for the big and bold challenge in 2013 that we are ready to rise to and eager to face. 
 
Why not join us and be part of something amazing in 2013?
Dec 24, 2012

Dec You made the difference in 2012

24
2012

Relief for those caught in crisis. Water where there was drought. Communities equipped with the skills and knowledge to help themselves. Campaigning that challenges injustice and the root causes of poverty.

Lives changed. All made possible in 2012 by supporters with big hearts and one united voice.

ABOVE: Adoaga from Chad pictured with her family.  We continue to reach people in West Africa through the work you support.

As we mark the end of 2012 and look forward to the New Year, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for what we’ve achieved together in 2012.

Operating in a difficult economic climate has meant that we must do more with less, which is why we are so grateful for your support.

In the past year, you supported our life-changing work with your time, your energy, your dedication and your money.

Regardless of how you contributed, your support has made the difference.

It’s thanks to you that we can achieve so much... from taking the lead in Ireland by responding to the West Africa food crisis to showing politicians North and South why women’s rights must be put at the heart of the international agenda through our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign.

We have also continued our work with people affected by the 2011 East Africa food crisis in Kenya and Somalia, along with responding the escalating situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 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.

AVOVE: Supporters at festivals for our campaign on women's rights.  RIGHT: Sharon Corr visits Tanzania with Oxfam to support the same campaign and to raise awareness about the issues that women face.

Our team in Tanzania is reaching hundreds of thousands of people with the We Can campaign, which tackles the attitudes and behaviours that permit violence against women and encourages ordinary people to become change-makers in their local communities, recruiting others to do the same. This is just one of many incredible initiatives taking place in the 94 countries where we work around the world.

Our success in helping people affected by poverty and injustice to change their lives for the better would be impossible without the support of people like you.

On behalf of all the team at Oxfam Ireland, we wish you a very Happy New Year.

Jim Clarken
Chief Executive
Oxfam Ireland

Dec 13, 2012

Dec Will you grant three wishes this Christmas?

13
2012

Christmas is the time of giving but when times are tough it can be hard to see past the problems at home.

Yet people across the island of Ireland are renowned for their generosity. Despite difficult economic circumstances, our supporters in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland appreciate the struggle to survive faced by millions overseas.

In fact, Ireland ranked second place in last year’s World Giving Index – up from third spot in 2010.

 

Whatever your wishes this Christmas and your hopes for the New Year, there are many around the world who have much less to look forward to in 2013. People whose wishes – and needs – will be much more basic. 
 
Mothers, for instance, caught up in a food crisis who wish they could ensure their children don’t go hungry. Or for clean water not contaminated with deadly diseases from the nearby stagnant pool. Or for a future that offers hope – a chance to provide for their family and educate their children.
 
 
TOP-LEFT: “Oxfam has really helped us. I never imagined that I’d be able to do all this.”
Rubenia Santos (pictured to the left), a female farmer in Honduras who has been taught how to grow crops on a cyclical basis so she always has enough to eat and sell at the local market. Gary Henry/Oxfam
 
TOP-RIGHT:
People gather at a water point in South Sudan. Hygiene promoter Olivia Awaya says: “We suffered a lot when we used to walk to get water. It was far and the water brought lots of disease. Now we can get clean water, fewer people are getting sick.” Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
 
BOTTOM:
Bayush Kassan (left) and Belaynesh Hussen are part of an Oxfam-supported cooperative of 31 women in Ethiopia who collectively own land on which they farm vegetables. They’ve turned their seed crops into seed oil thanks to a new seed-crushing machine. Bayush explains: “We used to harvest, carry and sell 5kgs of seeds for around 6birr (29c/23p). Now we could get twice as much.” Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam
 
This Christmas, we’d like to ask for your help in granting the three things most of us are able to take for granted this Christmas. 
 

Food

More than 18 million people in West Africa are facing desperate food shortages this Christmas.

Water

On the 25th December, 4,000 children will die of diarrhoea caused by dirty water.

A future

Today, 72 million children in the developing world are going without a basic education.

 

Together, we can provide clean water for children to drink, help hungry families grow the food they’re desperate for and offer hardworking people the change of a future free from the stranglehold of poverty.
 
If you’d like to help grant the three wishes of food, water and a future this Christmas, you can donate now, buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift  or bring the clothes and other items you no longer need to your local Oxfam shop.
 
Dec 5, 2012

Dec Oxfam Unwrapped – gifts that you’ll just love to give this Christmas

5
2012

The tree is up, the letters to Santa sent and the mince pies are in the oven, now it’s just those presents to sort out…

 

This Saturday marks the traditional Christmas shopping day of December 8th and whether you like to join the crowds in town, shop online or by telephone, it’s never been easier to pick up an Oxfam Unwrapped gift this festive season –simply call into one of our 51 shops across the island, visit our online store www.oxfamireland.org or phone 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland).

It only takes a moment to buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, but it can change a life forever.

We’ve asked some of our furry friends to explain why they should be picked as Oxfam Unwrapped gifts this Christmas (warning: this video may contain cute animals).

All our Oxfam Unwrapped animals are locally sourced in the countries where they’re needed to ensure they don’t travel long distances to get to those who receive them. They are also vaccinated and given to families who get training on how to best care for them. In fact, we source every gift locally wherever possible to help boost the economy in communities affected by poverty.

 
Along with our incredible animals including A Clutch of Chicks (€13/£10)A Donkey (€47/£38) or a Piglet (€35/£28), we have lots of other gifts to suit everyone this Christmas, from DIY fanatics (they can Fix a Well €28/£23 or set up a Solar Panel €32/£26) to teachers (School Books €18/£15 and Educate a Girl €30/£24) and foodies (Feed a Family €29/£23 and Breakfast for a Child €10/£8).
 
Whether you’re looking for a Kris Kindle present for under €10/£10 (Mosquito Net €5/£4 and Drought-resistant Seeds €7/£6) or are raising money together with your school, group, company or club to buy a large-scale gift like Water for a Community (€1,000/£809), the result is the same – lives transformed for the better.
 
You can also help the youngest member of the family when emergency strikes with the Baby Kit (€10/£8), provide Breakfast for a Child (€10/£8) for orphans in South Africa, or support the training of nurses and midwives in Ghana with the Care for Mums (€20/£16) gift to ensure thousands of mums and mums-to-be get the help, expertise and support they deserve.
 
Some of the brand new presents this Christmas include the Girl Power (€14/£11) gift funding projects empowering women to stand up for their rights and tackle domestic violence (also part our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign), Literacy Classes (€49/£40) that unlock life-changing opportunities by training adult literacy teachers and A Small Loan (€70/£57) that help start-up businesses get the investment they need to create new job opportunities.
 
 
TOP: Volunteers and customers gather in our Navan shop to celebrate the launch of the Oxfam Unwrapped Christmas gift range https://www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped. Photo: Ciarán Maguire. ABOVE LEFT: Amber Henderson (8) from Bangor showcases our Donkey https://www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped/donkey and Clutch of Chicks gifts https://www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped/chicks at Belfast City Hall. Photo: PressEye Photography. ABOVE RIGHT: Dublin mum Rosemary Lafferty with her children Declan (10) and Ailbhe (12), all Oxfam Unwrapped supporters. Rosemary says: “When a friend or relative opens an Unwrapped gift, you’re guaranteed a smile and often a big hug too.”
 
When you purchase an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, your donation will fund projects that your gift represents in countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe, the Democratic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa, helping communities to build a brighter future. Find out more about Oxfam Unwrapped here.
 
And you’ll also receive a beautiful 2013 Oxfam Ireland calendar with every purchase to remind you every day of how you’re making a difference. 
 
Our 51 shops across the island of Ireland are busy hosting events to spread some festive cheer and showcase our Oxfam Unwrapped gift range, which is available in every store. Drop in, we’d love to see you!
 
For gift card delivery before Christmas, order by Monday December 17th if buying gifts using the form attached to the Oxfam Unwrapped catalogue or by Wednesday December 19th if you’re buying online www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped or by phone (RoI: 1850 30 40 55 / NI: 0800 0 30 40 55).
 
And if you find yourself stuck at the last minute on Christmas Eve or receive an unexpected present during the festive season, you can buy an Oxfam Unwrapped ecard in a super fast time at our easy-to-use online store www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped.
 
Since we launched Oxfam Unwrapped nine years ago, people north and south have truly embraced the spirit of Christmas by giving more than 140,000 life-changing gifts and raising over €4 million/£3 million. This has helped to improve the lives of more than 500,000 people affected by poverty and injustice around the world.
 
Change a life this Christmas. Thank you.

 

Posted In:
Nov 23, 2012

Nov Violent clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo

23
2012

140,000 people have fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo since mid-November, with over half a million displaced since April.

This week, armed groups captured the strategically important city of Goma, pushing a conflict that has killed 5.4 million people since 2008, into a new and dangerous stage.

Above (top): Oliva Noalla, 6, with her younger  sister on her back, Mugunga camp. Above (left): People have built shelters out of leaves and materials they have managed to find nearby. Above (right): Forced child recruitment is on the increase across the east of the country. Above: Oxfam supplying water in Kanyaruchina.

Violent clashes between armed groups and government forces has already led to a widespread collapse of state control in large areas of the east, where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly.

Power and water is gone in the main city of Goma, which means people are taking water from the lake instead of the municipal system. There are large fears of a cholera outbreak.

Meanwhile, forced child recruitment is on the increase across the east.  Annie, 22, questions if her children will be next.

“Although they are young, I know that child recruitment is happening and I would not put it past the rebel groups to take my tiny children. I know what they are capable of” she says.

She fled her own home in August with her husband and two children and came to Goma to escape the violence in her own area.

“We have lived in a state of fear for months” she says.

She says she lives each day tormented by thoughts of what might happen to her family.

“My children know something is wrong. They react badly to things which they did not do when we were at home. Is it a surprise? They sleep without a roof over their head and eat one meal a day.”

Oxfam, which has been in the region for many years providing clean water and sanitation to tens of thousands of people, is on the ground assessing the needs of people

However the job is made difficult not just by the current security situation.

In 2002 Mount Mount Nyiragongo erupted and covered the city of Goma and its suburbs with volcanic rock. The hard terrain makes it extremely difficult to dig for water and to dig latrines. This means Oxfam has to truck water to meet the urgent needs of thousands of people.

Posted In:
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.”

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Posted In:
Oct 20, 2012

Oct A new beginning

20
2012

When drought kills your livestock or floods wipe out your business, how do you put food on the table for your children? This was the situation faced by Elisabeth and Mary. Thanks to the support we've received through our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign, hope is on the horizon.
 

Meet Mary

A life can change in the blink of an eye. Mary Atabo and her family went from being comfortably-off nomadic farmers and shopkeepers with a thriving small business to relying on food aid and the sale of charcoal to feed themselves. All because of the vagaries of the weather: first a drought claimed 90 of their 100 goats and then flash flooding destroyed their shop.

Almost one million people in Turkana, Northern Kenya, eke out a living in semi-arid conditions. But the proud people who call Turkana home are determined not to give in. They are adapting their traditional ways to cope with drought or floods – whatever the unpredictable climate throws their way.

TOP: Thanks to your donations, Mary Atabo (centre) and her family are rebuilding their lives following a devastating drought and flooding. ABOVE LEFT: Nanyiti Alkaram is one of the women who is planting vegetables using the tools, seeds and other support you provide. ABOVE RIGHT: Children in Katiko village can eat more nutritious food grown in the vegetable gardens. All photos by Alejandro Chaskielberg/Oxfam

Mary and her family are not giving up. They face a new beginning; a difficult one but one with hope for better days at the end of it.

And Oxfam is there with them; and others throughout Turkana. In Katiko village, children have more nutritious food because of our work, supported by you.

Women like Nanyiti Alkaram are improving things by planting kitchen gardens using hoes, rakes, watering cans and seeds provided through your generosity.

Life in Turkana is tough. But it doesn’t mean it can’t change for the better.
 

Meet Elisabeth

When she was widowed, Elisabeth Ekatapan was left solely responsible for caring for her eight children in the village of Natoo in Turkana, Northern Kenya.

It’s an inhospitable place. Elisabeth grew up as a pastoralist, living off the livestock that she herded from one place to another to find water and grazing. But an increase in drought over the previous decade has forced her to look at other means of making a living.

“Animals are not sustainable anymore. When there is drought your animals die and you are left with nothing. If I could make one thing happen it would be to have my own business and earn money,” she says.

TOP: Like Elisabeth Ekatapan, John Ekono Ekiman, who lives near the village of Lomekui, lost animals during the drought. He has received camels and goats as part of our project helping farmers. John says: “I remember laughing when Oxfam gave me my camels – it was the happiest day of my life. I feel really proud of having them. In the future I want to expand and grow my camels and goats.” ABOVE: Widow Elisabeth Ekatapan now grows vegetables to feed her family thanks to your donations, which have funded a vegetable allotment project for 400 familes. All photos by Alejandro Chaskielberg/Oxfam

Everyone has the right to decent work, income and freedom from hunger. So we’re working with 400 families in three villages in Turkana (Riokomor, Karebur, and Nayenaeemeyan) to develop vegetable allotments. The gardening scheme has turned a desert landscape into a green oasis of hope.

Families working on the allotments received hoes, rakes, watering cans, fencing materials and seeds to plan. The plots of land are irrigated by small water points, either wells or hand pumps, located nearby.

Elisabeth and other mums caring for families can now grow vegetables to cook and sell. They are not reliant on the animals that can’t graze and drink because the rains don’t come. Women make up almost 90 per cent of those who work on the allotments.

Ending Poverty Starts With Women. Help us support women like Elisabeth today.

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