Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You know Oxfam, you love Oxfam, now lead Oxfam in your hometown

Leadership opportunity:  Organize in your community to end global hunger – join the Oxfam Action Corps! 

Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, invites you to play a leading role in the Oxfam Action Corps, an exciting grassroots effort to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world – starting right in your community.  The Oxfam Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in fifteen US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change.  It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants. You will gain leadership skills, have fun, and change the world!

Sign-up by February 14 to apply for Oxfam’s free four-day leadership training in Washington D.C. April 5-8, 2014.  

"This is leadership in practice. You can't just read a book on leadership. You have to put it into practice." - Jill Mizell, Researcher, New York

“Oxfam Action Corps has given me a ton of confidence… Gaining knowledge and being able to speak to people about the issues.”  - Amy L., Business Operations Analyst, Des Moines

"This has become one of the best parts of my life… I can't express enough how satisfying it is to be organizing with people who are just as committed and dependable and passionate. It is so great to have the support from the Oxfam America staff, and I've been really impressed by their accessibility, competency and friendliness." – Isaac E., Educator, New York City

View and share the short video below, highlighting the great work done by the Action Corps.

Sign up at www.oxfamactioncorps.org by February 14

Our Voices Have Been Heard: Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs

Here is a great post from the Action Corps in the San Francisco Bay area, highlighting our work and success with the campaign!

Original post can be found at: http://sfbay-oxfamactioncorps.blogspot.com/

Our Voices Have Been Heard: 

Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs


Ladies and Gentlemen, our hard work is paying off! All of our hours spent volunteering, campaigning, speaking out, and signing petitions is showing fruition. Over 225,000 people called for action to prevent land grabs and Coca-Cola has heard us. The food and beverage giant Coca-Cola has agreed to respect and protect the land rights of indigenous communities from which it sources its sugar. Specifically, Coca-Cola has agreed to:

  1. A zero tolerance policy on land grabs
  2. A “know and show” policy relating to being held accountable and aware of land rights and conflicts within its supply chain
  3. To support responsible agriculture investment and to advocate for governments and others to tackle land grabbing;
Sugar production requires a vast amount of land and is currently at an all time high triggering land conflicts and abuse. Coca-Cola is the largest sugar producer in the world making this news all the more amazing. Coca-Cola is the first beverage and food company to take such a stand, but should not be the last. For more information on this breaking news visit politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org

Our mission and work does not end here. PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are some of the largest sugar producers in the world and as such we are urging them to follow in Coca-Cola’s footsteps and make a change in relation to the allowance of land grabs within their supply chains. In order to do this we need your help.

What Can You Do to Stop This?

Start by signing Oxfam's current petition to urge Pepsi-co and Associated British Foods to follow Coca-Cola’s example and hold themselves accountable for the land and human rights atrocities occurring in their supply chains. These huge companies have the market power to pressure their suppliers into committing to zero tolerance land grab policies and you have the power to pressure these food and beverage giants into stepping up and standing against land grabs. Make sure your voice is heard.

Then share the following messages:

Via Twitter

Tell @PepsiCo & #ABF to take action against land grabs! #BehindTheBrands

Via Facebook

Post the following message to PepsiCo's Facebook page

Stop land grabs! Tell PepsiCo and ABF—some of the biggest buyers of sugar in the world—to make sure their sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs that force poor farmers and their families off their land. #BehindTheBrands!

Typhoon Haiyan: Relief and Rehabilitation

This week, we are sharing a post from Oxfam Action Corps NYC volunteer Nikko Viquiera. Read on for his personal take on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan and the steps towards recovery.

When news of a super typhoon about to hit central Philippines started coming out last month, many Filipinos, including me, shrugged it off and went on with our regular schedule, knowing that country gets an average of 22 typhoons annually. A day after the typhoon came; news outlets reported less than a hundred dead people. People thought it could have been worse and were glad that it wasn’t as big of a tragedy as other major typhoons have been in the past.

Days later, nothing could have prepared us for the breadth and depth of the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan. To date, over 5,000 people and counting are dead and 10 million other Filipinos have been affected in one way or another.

As a former Program Officer for Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP), I used to visit volunteers in Samar, one of the hardest hit regions by the typhoon. JVP sends volunteers to marginalized communities around the country to serve as educators, youth formators and community organizers. One such community is Lawaan in Eastern Samar. It was a small, quiet town by the sea, where many fish and farmed for a living. I would visit the parish school where volunteers where assigned as educators for high school students. The community would always be very welcoming, serving me the best food and accommodation they had to offer when they did not have much.

One afternoon, I remember some of the students in the Parish school invited me to ring the 6:00 pm bell. We climbed the bell tower beside the Church, just as the sun was beginning to set. As I rang the bells that echoed through the town, the sun began to set on the people going home after a day’s work, on the children playing in the streets and the coconut trees that stood as tall as the bell tower.

Today, most of the town has been destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. The once mighty coconut trees have fallen, along with many houses, the school and the church. A more recent picture shows that only the bell tower remains standing amidst a sea of debris and destruction.

And so it is for many other towns ravaged by the typhoon in Eastern Samar, Palawan and Cebu. Dead bodies are everywhere, waiting for surviving relatives to recognize and claim them. Just this week, 120 bodies were discovered under the San Juanico Bridge, the longest one in the country. Reports describe residents walking around aimlessly like zombies. They are dazed and confused, with no work to do and no house to go home to. As such, many have flown to cities such as Manila in search of jobs, anything to get away from the rubble of their previous lives, only to find themselves homeless and jobless in a city that can be as unkind and apathetic as a typhoon.

Yet in the darkness of the devastation shines the generosity of people. More developed countries such as the US, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom have pledged millions of dollars in relief. Relief agencies such as Oxfam, Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services were quick to respond and have been present in the region since Day 1.Oxfam Pilipinas, in particular, through the generous donations of people all over the world, has been working to provide clean water and sanitation to victims of the typhoon. Individuals and small groups have organized themselves and made efforts to raise funds for the victims of the typhoon. In Manila, people have offered to take turns feeding and keeping those, who left their homes in search of livelihood, stranded in the airports company.

But as news of the typhoon and its deadly effects begin to fade in the news, the more difficult task of rebuilding and rehabilitation is just starting. How does one rebuild thousands of houses, roads and structures from the ground up, all at the same time? How do we bring back livelihood to towns where even trees no longer stand? How do we begin to bring back hope to those who are still counting their dead and their losses? How do we begin anew?

A month has passed since the typhoon killed thousands of people and left survivors hungry, homeless and jobless. And yet many groups and individuals continue to work in the Haiyan areas, this time with a focus on rehabilitation. Oxfam, for example, has distributed rice seeds to rural areas to help farmers earn income again.

Many have pointed to the resilience of the Filipino people to withstand any tragedy as the main key to rehabilitation. But as Christmas nears, and the tenuous task of rehabilitation unfolds before us, we realize that resilience is not enough. We also need critical minds, calm spirits and skilled, tireless hands that move together like waves in strength and unison.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The big land rush

In today's world, we have a plethora of sources for obtaining our news - television, newspaper, mobile applications, social media, text messages, et cetera. These sources often condense the relevant information into an article, 2 minute news segment, or-in the case of Twitter-140 characters! It's usually enough to relay the main message with a few details. But, that's about it.

That's why I love documentaries! Sometimes to really get at the heart of a story, you have to delve into the world that's just beyond the article. For an hour or so, documentaries transport you into the world of experts, opinions, facts, etc. Sometimes they make you happy. Many times they make you furious. The very best ones inspire you to change yourself or call for change in others.

As Oxfam supporters all over the globe gear up for awareness activities surrounding World Food Day 2013, it's important that we take a look at the issues that surround hunger. One such and often misunderstood issue is land grabs. I bet you can see where I'm going with this...

Why Poverty? has a great 1 hour documentary on their website (for free) that helps to explain the complicated issue of land grabs through the eyes of an American sugar farmer looking to acquire 200 square km of land for development in a partnership with the Mali government. That is, until a military coup takes place...

So, for World Food Day 2013...please share this film and encourage people to ask tough questions about poverty and why nearly 1 in 8 people is trapped in a cycle of constant hunger.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How will you jam with Oxfam?

What do these musical groups all have in common?

Apart from their totally awesome music – these groups, along with many others, support Oxfam’s work around the globe to help “Right the Wrong” of hunger, poverty, and injustice. By raising awareness and leveraging their “fandom” to use their voices for change, the movement grows ever stronger. This summer, add your voice to the growing community of people who believe: women deserve fairer treatment, farmers shouldn't lose their livelihoods to big corporations stealing their land, and that no person deserves to go without food. Changing the world isn't easy and that's why we need your help. From tabling at concerts, to meeting with congressional staff, volunteering at food banks, and raising awareness about the plight of poverty - the big question of the summer is: How will you jam with Oxfam?

Click here to show your support for the Behind the Brands campaign - it's quick and simple or click here to email the Iowa Oxfam Action Corps to find out how you can get involved.

Click here to download the Oxfam Summer Jams 2013 soundtrack (17 tracks) – completely free.

Jam on!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oxfam at 80/35

The Iowa Oxfam Action Corps is gearing up for the big holiday weekend! As part of our ongoing music outreach, we will be mingling with the community at this weekend’s 80/35 music festival right here in downtown Des Moines! We had such a great time last year at 80/35 that we decided to do it again.

This Saturday, the Action Corps will be collecting signatures, interacting with festival goers and spreading awareness about Oxfam. Our booth will be located in the YPC Do More Village. The Do More Village will be showcasing all things Des Moines, featuring interactive exhibits and unique demonstrations, all provided by local organizations and non-profits on Locust St. In addition to visiting our booth, you can check out the more than 40 musical acts on three stages (two of which are FREE!), including David Byrne & St. Vincent, Wu Tang Clan and local favorites H.D. Harmsen. For more information on 80/35, click here.

Interested in volunteering with Oxfam at 80/35? There are still spots available! You can contact us at iowa@oxfamactioncorps.org.

Swing by the Oxfam table at 80/35 this Saturday, and say hi! Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nothing Loco about being a Locavore.

Hello Iowans! This is Aaron blogging today so prepare yourself for links... links are fun!

Our local Farmers' Markets are back in business and now is a great opportunity to discuss Oxfam's Grow Method. These neighborhood markets allow local farmers to sell their meat & produce directly to consumers. Doing some of your grocery shopping at your local Farmers' Market is directly in-line with 3 Grow Method principles.

  • SUPPORT - You're supporting small-scale food producers close to home.
  • SEASONAL - We waste lots of energy trying to grow food in the wrong place, at the wrong time of year. The produce available at your local Farmers' Market reflects the growing season in your area.
  • SAVE FOOD - About a third of the food produced for people's plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork. Sometimes cutting the distance between farm & fork can cut food waste too!
Here are some additional resources for finding out what is in season where you live.
For more information on where to find the closest market to you, Iowa Oxfam Action Corps has put together a Foursquare list of Farmer's Markets in the greater Des Moines area. Enjoy!

If you're looking for recipes I've got a link for that. Oxfam America has a great Pinterest where you can follow & pin delicious Grow Method Recipes.  Check it out!

And if you've got a fully stocked kitchen but you're stumped on what to make for dinner, there's another kind of online resource that you can use to SAVE FOOD. You can find several different special recipe websites online by searching for "what to cook with ingredients you have" - on these sites you tell them some of the ingredients you have available and they will search for recipes that you'll be able to use them with. We are living in the future and it is amazing. I can personally recommend My Fridge Food for having saved a few dinners in my household through its ease of use. 

Enjoy your Summer, Iowa!