Thursday, February 21, 2013

The State of the State of the Union address

As declared in the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 3): “He [POTUS] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

On the evening of February 12th, President Barack Obama gave his 4th State of the Union (SOTU) address. Typically, the State of the Union takes the shape of a to-do list and in this case, it was a glimpse of Mr. Obama’s plan for his second term. As expected by people closely following the speech was the time and energy given to talking about the American economy. Nearly 65% of the speech was focused solely on “reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth”. It’s not the first time the President has spoken about the economy during the SOTU. It wasn't surprising. However, there was something said that may have surprised many who are working to end global hunger and poverty…it came about 46 minutes into the speech:

“We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world's children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.”

Wow! That’s a big promise – but we know we can accomplish it. We're a nation of big ideas. This isn't a Democrat or Republican issue. It's an issue of basic human integrity and it's not right that so many around the world should suffer. We know that aid works – projects like LRP can’t be allowed to expire. Programs like Feed the Future can’t be allowed to suffer as a result of the impending sequester. Oxfam has long advocated for policies and the development of institutions like LRP and Feed the Future that empower the impoverished to lift themselves to a better state. Let's get to that better state!

To watch the full State of the Union address, click here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

You're Invited!

With International Women's Day just a month away, we're beginning to build awareness around this day of celebration for the economic, political, and social gains being made by truly amazing women all over the world. But, it may have some people wondering...well, why such a large focus on women? Now, as in the past, there are wide gender inequities all over the globe that ultimately leave women (and children) without the ability to realize their full human potential. Here are a few facts taken from Oxfam America's website that detail some of the inequities:
  • Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10 percent of the world’s income.
  • In the majority of countries, women’s wages are 10 to 30 percent lower than men’s.
  • Worldwide in 2008, nearly 800 million people over the age of 15 could neither read nor write—and two-thirds of them were women.
  • In war and conflict, women typically experience the worst atrocities, including rape, forced prostitution, and mutilation.  
  • Gender-based violence kills one in three women across the world and is the biggest cause of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability among women than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war.
  • Health crises, like the HIV/AIDS outbreaks in southern Africa, can also have a disproportionate impact on women because of harmful cultural practices and unequal laws and government policies.
For those above statistics (and the many others that are not listed here), it's not a stretch of the imagination to learn that women represent 60% of the world's impoverished. Organizations like Oxfam work to empower women - providing education, resources, food, and security so that women can lift themselves (and their families and communities) out of poverty and build a better future for the coming generations.

Join us in Des Moines for our 2013 International Women's Day event being held at the Hall of Laureates on Thursday, March 7th starting at 6:30p. Speakers from Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN) and Oxfam America will present a panel discussion called "Women and a Well-Fed World: Facing the Challenge - Gaining Ground" which highlights the remarkable achievements women have made in feeding the world.

RSVP today and share the Facebook invite with your friends!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Join the Action Corps

Join the Oxfam Action Corps in Des Moines!
Free spaces are available at training April 13-16, 2013  Apply now!
    • Are you concerned that the people who grow the world’s food—many of whom are women—cannot afford to feed their own families? And that one in eight people goes to bed hungry every night even though the world produces enough food for everybody?
        • Do you want to take action in your city to achieve policies to sustainably feed a growing population and empower poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive?
          • Are you willing to reach out to others in your community to hold governments and businesses accountable for the impact of their policies and practices on the environment and global food security?
          Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, invites you to join the Oxfam Action Corps, an exciting effort to cultivate grassroots leaders and political change.

          Oxfam Action Corps volunteers work closely with Oxfam staff to engage their community and elected officials. We will provide training and support throughout a one-year time commitment. You'll meet amazing activists, build community, and drive political solutions.

          Here is what previous Oxfam Action Corps volunteers said:

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

          “I liked it, loved it, actually. I now have a better appreciation for activism and I do believe that it can really make a difference!” Debby, Graduate Student, VT

          "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." – Isaac., Educator, New York City

          Sign-up by February 14 at: