A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Boundaries become seamless on 8 March – International Women's Day. Millions of women, men, boys, girls, from across over 30 countries, in different time zones, from diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural and economic backgrounds are coming together to celebrate, to show solidarity, and to recognize the rights, the dreams, the aspirations and empowerment of small-scale women farmers and producers.
Over the next few days, Oxfam is joining this international celebration of women's achievements – we will be inspired by many courageous journeys:
From Tanzania we learn how 6,000 small-scale women farmers who participated in the Female Food Hero project proved to a nation that real super-heroes are not found in the sky, but ploughing the earth each day, to produce crops that feed stomachs. The Female Food Hero project is now changing the lives of small-scale women farmers and producers, their families and communities in 11 other countries. A few examples:
To celebrate IWD 2011, Oxfam in Bangladesh organised a mime show to demand rights for female farmers.
- In Nigeria, the project is focusing on women farmers’ access to markets.
- In Bangladesh, the Female Food Hero project aims to ensure that women have the right to own and inherit land equally as men.
- Russia adds further testimony that women farmers are loudly breaking down barriers to ensure that their voices are heard and their skills and expertise acknowledged at government meetings – as we hear of examples of women farmers in decision making positions.
In the United States, we will feel the vibrations as more than 60 leading American women, political and social activists march to Washington DC to reform US food aid to better serve women farmers and producers.
In Bolivia, we see the ripple effects when social activists transport the rural heartland to La Paz by setting up video screens (for 12 hours) in busy public areas across the city to share the victories, challenges and daily realities of rural women farmers – the resilient backbone of food security efforts.
Celebrations in northern countries such as the UK and Ireland include music concerts to generate new conversations and creative ideas to increase solidarity with small-scale women farmers and producers.
From Germany we find out the actions being taken by small-scale women farmers and how these connect to the lives of women farmers in the South.
These stories will be part of the many inspiring anecdotes, narratives, quotes and life stories that will be shared over the next few days; detailing all that is possible, all that is taking place in places not always visible on our maps, encapsulated not just through words but also photographs and film. We aim to bring life to the words: claiming ‘human dignity’ for small-scale women farmers and producers.