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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 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.
 
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.
 

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