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Today is the last day before the G8 summit begins and I am once again faced with the eternal wisdom: “When you’re doing a public performance, do not use animals, children or balloons”.

At first it seemed like a good idea to have a thousand balloons on the square in front of the Sapporo Convention Center, representing one million wishes sent from people around the world asking for an end to poverty, as part of the Japanese tanabata festival. As we soon found out: concrete and balloons don’t mix.

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Today, I’m in Sapporo, Japan, where I can see helicopters circling the area. Policemen and reporters are everywhere: the G8 leaders must be coming to town!

G8 countries are trying to cope with increasing oil prices, food inflation and a slowdown of their economies, but the poor are worse off. As the G8 leaders meet from 7-9 July, Oxfam will be calling on them to make poverty issuescentral to their discussions. But to reach that goal, we need to do some campaigning!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OfOj2IeTeY]

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One of the most important things about campaigning is making sure that our voices get heard by the people making decisions.

On June 18, Oxfam made sure that the Japanese leader Prime Minister Fukuda heard our G8 campaign wishes at a meeting held with GCAP, Japanese organisations and Oxfam International’s Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.

It’s my first time driving on the right side of the road, I’m in a city I don’t know at all, and I’m lost. The things we do when campaigning for health for all.

I’m in the picturesque city of Geneva at the World Health Assembly.

For the next week, Oxfam will be campaigning to make sure Ministers of Health, their policy staff, the media and the World Health Organisation remember that every day 2 billion people don’t have the medicines they need, 1400 women will die in childbirth and 4,000 children die of diarrhoea.

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Jean Pierre Buledi
Program Officer/Research and Documentation, The Centre for Documentation and Civic Education (CEDAC)
Johan Verburg
Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)
Private Sector Program Coordinator