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, October 27, 2013

Who Owns the World's Land?

In honor of this year's World Food Day, the Action Corps in Boston hosted a film screening of Land Rush.  Land Rush was one of eight films in the Why Poverty? documentary series, which won a Peabody Award this year for Excellence in Journalism. Over 50 attendees gathered to learn more about global land grabs and their connection to sugar production. You might think hunger is about too many people and too little food, but this isn’t the case. Hunger is about power. Its roots lie in inequalities in access to resources, like fertile land and water. The power to control these resources doesn't sit with the billion-plus farmers who produce food.  Instead, companies and governments control the global food system—and they often determine who eats and who doesn’t.

Worldwide demand for sugar is set to rise by 25 percent by 2020. This growing demand for sugar will propel even greater competition for land. Three companies in particular—Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Associated British Foods (ABF)—buy and produce huge amounts of sugar around the world and hold significant influence over the industry. Right now, though, they are not doing enough to ensure that their suppliers and operations respect land rights.

At this event, the Action Corps was also honored to host the Land Rush's Producer, Eli Cane. Eli Cane is the Creative Director of Normal Life Pictures, a New York and London-based production company.

Joining Eli was Irit Tamir, the Senior Advisor of Policy and Campaigns of Oxfam America's Private Sector Department.  Speaking about Oxfam's Behind the Brands Initiative and it's new direction, Irit explained the plan to hold corporations accountable for stopping land grabs. Take action now, sign the petition, and make your consumer voice heard! No company is too big to listen to it's buyers, not we all act as one.
Irit Tamir speaks to the audience regarding Oxfam's stance on small farmers rights


Sign the petition HERE today, and share on your social media:

On Twitter: Tell @CocaColaCo and @PepsiCo to take action against land grabs! Sign the petition at behindthebrands.org #BehindTheBrands

On Facebook: Stop land grabs! Tell Coca-Cola, 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

Interested in joining us? Like us on facebook, or email to find out how you can get involved in actions that create real change in global poverty.

**Photography credit: Sapana Thomas

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fitz and the Tantrums Help Food Aid Reform

June 28th, Oxfam Action Corps volunteers had the exciting opportunity to collect petition signatures for Oxfam's Reform Food Aid Campaign.  Did you know it takes on average 4 to 6 months for lifesaving foodstuffs to make it to countries with starving populations? Half a year is a long time to wait for basic necessities.  Luckily Oxfam is working to raise awareness and change the way the United States gives food aid to countries around the world. By growing crops locally we can empower native farmers and double the amount of food that gets to people who need it. Fitz and the Tantrums understand the importance of food justice, and their fans are big supporters as well!

We arrived at the Paradise Rock Club right at 6 PM and met some of Fitz's bandmates and his tour manager, Kenny.  Some of the biggest Fitz and the Tantrums fans had been there since 1 PM! Before the show began, people in line outside and having drinks at the venue were already excited to sign the Food Aid petition! We had about 30 signatures before the bands played their first song.  Two of our supporters were already huge fans of Oxfam - instead of a wedding registry, they had friends and family donate to Oxfam using our Oxfam Unwrapped wedding gift ideas (and you can too)!  Once the show started, we set up our Oxfam table by the merchandise area and greeted the concert goers!  People who were waiting in line for merchandise from the awesome opening act, Ivy Levan were excited to hear more about food aid and sign the petition. 

At 10 PM, Fitz and the Tantrums came on and they were definitely a crowd-pleaser.  They played hits off their new album, More Than Just a Dream, and mixed in some of their best songs from Pickin' Up the Pieces.  Everyone danced along to Out of My League and Rich Girls.  The band was so great that the audience got them to come back out for a 3-song encore and everyone sang along to my favorite song, MoneyGrabber.  As the band started finishing up, people lined up again to get signatures and photos.  We used this line once again to our advantage and even got Fitz and the Tantrums to sign! We collected 90 signatures at the concert, listened to some great music, and handed out lots of Oxfam information.  It was a great concert and we are so happy to have Fitz and the Tantrums support Oxfam's amazing mission!

Our biggest tip to future concert liasons is to use LINES to your advantage. People waiting to get into the concert, to buy a t-shirt, or to meet the band, are just future petition-signers you haven't met yet!.

Francesca Villa
Oxfam Action Corps Volunteer

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Act Local, Think Global!

Support Women Farmers
Fight Global Hunger 
Build a Better Food System

Join the Oxfam Action Corps!

Advocate in your community on behalf of millions worldwide
Free spaces are available at training April 13-16, 2013  – Apply now!

ð  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?

ð  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?
ð  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.

We are recruiting for the Oxfam Action Corps in these cities:

Albuquerque, NM
Columbus, OH
Minn./St Paul, MN
Austin, TX
Des Moines, IA
New York City, NY
Boston, MA
Indianapolis, IN
Philadelphia, PA
Burlington, VT
Kansas City, MO
San Francisco, CA
Chicago, IL
Madison, WI
Seattle, WA

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:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fight world hunger from your kitchen table: Celebrate World Food Day with Oxfam

by Sarah Kalloch

Credit: Oxfam America Action Corps and  Grazioso Pictures Inc.
Last week, I managed an (almost) zero mile meal. My backyard chickens provided eggs for a crustless quiche, flavored by garden-grown cherry tomatoes and basil, with freshly dug roasted potatoes on the side. The food was all local—almost. You need olive oil, salt and pepper to flavor, well, everything. And for dessert there was coffee and chocolate, wonderful foods that don’t grow so well in Massachusetts—but that do come in fair trade varieties that ensure small-scale farmers and farm workers around the world get a fair deal.

The meal was a reminder that “Eating Local” is just one part of the food justice equation. Buying fair trade is another. And there are many more. As Oxfam prepares to mark World Food Day on October 16, we’re thinking a lot about all the components of food justice. We hope you’ll do the same by holding a World Food Day meal and talking about how you can fight world hunger from your kitchen table.
Oxfam’s GROW Campaign recently released a report, Food Transformations, which detailed the power of consumers to contribute to global food security. For instance, meat production alone takes up eight percent of the world’s water supply. If a family of four substituted lentil burgers for beef burgers for just one night, they would save the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water. That is a small change with a powerful impact. To help consumers harness this power,Oxfam has launched the GROW Method, five easy ways to feed your family healthy and delicious meals while ensuring everyone on the planet has enough to eat, always.
The steps seem simple and straightforward: waste less food, eat local and seasonal, support small farmers worldwide, eat less meat, and cook smart. But nothing is simple when it comes to the politics of  the plate. When the USDA raised the idea of employees participating in Meatless Monday this summer, it sparked a political firestorm. Meanwhile, a stalled Farm Bill threatens to harm food security from Michigan to Mali, and ethanol mandates are requiring much needed food to be used as fuel. As food prices rise and Oxfam and other organizations warn of a potential global food crisis, the price of political and personal inaction also rises. Order our free World Food Day 2012 resources, and consider holding a World Food Day Meal to celebrate the culture and community, power and politics of food.