Oxfam International Blogs - campaign http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/campaign campaign en Momentum builds in the fight for land rights in Guatemala: Making us all a bit braver http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-20-momentum-builds-fight-land-rights-guatemala-making-us-all-bit-braver <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>In 2011, 769 families in the Polochic Valley in Guatemala were evicted</strong> to make way for the Chabil Utzaj sugar mill. Without land to farm and any other support, they were plunged into poverty and hunger.</p><p>Yet the evicted communities have continued to fight for land, inch by inch, year by year.</p><p>In June 2018, the government provided land to 134 evicted families because of sustained efforts by people making it altogether 355 families evicted getting land now.</p><p>Almost half of those evicted, now have land to call their own.</p><p><em>“This struggle meant overcoming hunger and thirst, but now we can ensure we have land, not just for us, but for our children.”</em> - Juana Cuz Xol</p><p><strong>Seven years ago, it was hard to imagine</strong> that hundreds of evicted rural families – in one of the most violent countries for human rights defenders – would again have land. The fight is far from over, with hundreds of families still landless, but it is clearly gaining momentum.</p><p><em>“There are still families left out and we still hope that they can be given their land and have what we have. I’m happy but I’m also sad when I think about those other families.”</em> - Catalina Cho ‘Ico<br><br><em>“Land is the first step…what we need is to develop the community itself. The most urgent need will be water. There is no running potable water. Also electricity. We need a school and a health clinic.”</em> - Hermelindo Cux<br><br><img alt="Infographic on Polochic families" title="Infographic on Polochic families" height="1000" width="1000" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/infografias-polochic-2018-ingles-2-1000.jpg" /><br>&nbsp;<br><em>“I am aware of each family’s suffering because we have suffered it together… That is how I was brave enough to participate in all the actions that we held and we still have demands that must be met.”</em> - Dominga Botzoc Pop</p><p><strong>The case is a testimony to the power of the powerless</strong> and marginalised – their steely resolve in the idea of justice, which can achieve extraordinary things. In fact, those who are most disadvantaged due to structural and systemic inequalities are the ones who provide the hope and steer us, to imagine a just society and a more equal world.</p><p><em>“I believe that the communities have played a key role in the defense of human rights. We continue to fight, we will not be silenced.”</em> - Hermelindo Cux</p><h3>The struggle for land rights</h3><p><strong>For many of us, it can be easy to forget</strong> that land is at the heart of everything – food, shelter, culture, identity and dignity. Land is life. It is critical to how we tackle climate change. It is the oldest story of inequality. Land rights struggles can also seem the hardest, the most enduring and intractable.</p><p>Across the world, communities are fighting similar mass evictions and dispossession while they stand to lose everything – just about everything. Their land is being concentrated into the hands of the wealthy and powerful, often violently and aided by financiers and governments.</p><p>The generational ties of communities to their land &amp; its resources – to its seasons, its plants, its histories (culture and economy) are deemed less legitimate than the rights of those living hundreds of kilometres away to evict them with the stroke of the pen.</p><p>Time and again, we see this justified under a flawed notion of development, the underlying premise of which is that the poor must sacrifice for the greater good – what is never made explicit is who exactly stands to gain the most by this process. The phenomena is so common it even has a name – “development-induced displacement”.</p><p><strong>The evidence is mind boggling.</strong> In 2015, an <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/world-bank/" rel="nofollow">investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists</a> found that between 2004-2013 the World Bank financed projects that physically or economically displaced 3.4 million people. In 2017, agribusiness was the most violent industry – it represented <strong><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2017/jul/13/the-defenders-tracker" rel="nofollow">46 of the 207 documented killings</a> of land rights defenders</strong> that year. Those killed are often everyday people, many are First Nations Peoples in rural areas.</p><h3>Violence and inequality</h3><p>The physical violence of forcing people from their land is embedded in a deeper system of structural violence – one which undermines the fundamental notions of equality and everyone having access to land for their basic needs, through a distorted narrative of legitimacy and entitlement that seeks to justify concentrating resources in the hands of the few.</p><p>The rules are written to favour the rich, and not infrequently accompanied by corruption and cronyism.</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mb0Szxwfn4I" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p><strong>The fight to secure land</strong> for the rest of 414 evicted families continues in Polochic Valley in Guatemala and it has gained strong ground with the allocation of land to 134 families recently. These struggles and fight back by communities such as the Polochic case, and others like it, make us all hopeful and a little braver.</p><p><strong>They give us faith</strong> that, in a world of growing restrictions on our civic and human rights, we can continue to fight for justice. We learn from the tactics and strategies these grassroots communities use.</p><p><strong>They remind us that it is important to fight</strong> the intractable, not just the achievable – and they teach us how to sustain hope and energy in dark times.</p><p><strong>They show us the power of solidarity</strong>, that every community struggle is part of a larger struggle and our ability to address worldwide inequality is rooted in the creativity, tenacity and bravery of everyday people.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 20 July 2018, by Shona Hawkes, Oxfam Land Rights Policy Lead, and Mamata Dash, Oxfam's Southern Campaign Lead.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Indigenous communities march for land rights, in Polochic, Guatemala. Credit: Diego Silva</em></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Momentum builds in the fight for land rights in Guatemala: Making us all a bit braver</h2></div> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:58:46 +0000 Guest Blogger 81652 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-07-20-momentum-builds-fight-land-rights-guatemala-making-us-all-bit-braver#comments Collective voices critical to end hunger http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-19-collective-voices-critical-end-hunger <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>As GROW Week came to a close, Dorah Ntunga from Oxfam in Uganda reflected on World Food Day as the pivotal moment for Africa’s Women.Food.Climate campaign.</em></p> <p>Last week, in the lead up to <a href="http://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2015/10/the-hottest-campaign-in-africa-this-world-food-day"><strong>World Food Day</strong></a> (Oct 16), I witnessed the true definition of power to the people. Across Africa, over twenty countries came together with a common calling to create a space for women to tell their stories and ask their governments to act on issues that are important to them.</p> <p>As we are all experiencing, the impacts of climate change are evident on our plates. This is why the <a href="http://womenfoodclimate.org/"><strong>Women Food Climate campaign</strong></a> makes so much sense regardless of where one comes from. Hunger, as a result of extreme weather - and its causes - needs to be put in the spotlight.</p> <p>Speaking to Anne, a woman from Kampala’s suburban area on why she’s supporting the campaign, she did not hesitate to say, “I no longer have a choice over what I feed my family because the prices of food have become extremely high. My mother, back in the village, can no longer send me bags of food as she used to to support the family because the harvests have been so poor. I actually need to send her money for food. She also has the same cry, things have to change to enable my mother grow enough food, that way I will have food too. This is why I am signing this petition.”</p> <p>Like Anne and many other voices of women from different countries it is evident that women are indeed feeling the impacts of climate change the most, as they have the responsibility of feeding their families. Women farmers currently account for 45-80 per cent of all food production in developing countries.</p> <p><strong>Climate change affects development</strong> and it increases already high poverty levels. The strong statements the campaign has generated particularly inspire me. In Uganda, Oxfam Country Director Peter Kamalingin noted that, “If you do not have food, it is difficult to be active in democratic processes or development.”  - a sentiment that resonates with many and could not have been articulated any better at a time when Uganda is gearing up for the next general elections in March 2016.</p> <p>True to his statement, hunger leaves people even more vulnerable and in Uganda nowhere is more affected than the Karamoja region where rain patterns have been erratic for many decades. This situation is now being seen not only in Uganda, but also across many other parts of the African continent.</p> <p><strong>Climate change is already</strong> <a href="http://Africa’s Smallholders Adapting to Climate Change The need for national governments and international climate finance to support women producers"><strong>eroding food production in Africa</strong></a> and will continue to hit the continent hardest, increasing food insecurity where it is already amongst the worst in the world. This is the time to act, the time to build resilience and strengthen communities ability to guarantee a future where we can all enjoy our rights with no insecurities of any form.</p> <p>The climate change story needs to be told, and I strongly believe our efforts in the campaign so far have gone a long way in influencing the global agenda. At the World Food Day celebrations in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged Oxfam’s work on climate change in his public address. And at national level I have witnessed great collaboration with partners and communities at all levels.  </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Kwis5o-oHHs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>It is my hope that</strong> <strong><a href="http://womenfoodclimate.org/">thousands of people</a></strong> who have signed the petitions across Africa and the rest of the world demanding our leaders to act will be listened to and their voices will count at the table where they will not be present. Leaders, particularly those from Africa, should therefore be sensitive to the needs of the people and their support of women farmers and make concrete commitments that address the impacts of climate change.</p> <p>Just like the old saying, I think Women.Food.Climate is a true stitch in time – leaders must therefore demonstrate their true leadership and act now to save the continent from adverse impacts.</p> <p>If world leaders make strong commitments towards tackling climate change at the <a href="http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en"><strong>UN climate talks in Paris</strong></a> it will be a great step towards putting us on the road towards ending hunger, achieving food security and fighting poverty.</p> <p><strong>I do hope the collective voices will make a significant difference.</strong></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Dorah Ntunga, Information, Media &amp; Communications Officer, Oxfam in Uganda, on 19 October 2015.</em></p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p><a href="http://womenfoodclimate.org/"><strong>Demand world leaders take action for Women.Food.Climate.</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Share our GROW Week 2015 Storify:</strong></p> <p> </p><div class="storify"> <iframe src="//storify.com/Oxfam/grow-week-2015/embed?header=false&amp;border=false&amp;template=slideshow" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/Oxfam/grow-week-2015.js?header=false&amp;border=false&amp;template=slideshow"></script><p></p><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/Oxfam/grow-week-2015" target="_blank">View the story "Climate Change. Poverty. Hunger. It's all the same fight." on Storify</a>]</noscript></div> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Collective voices critical to end hunger</h2></div> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 17:01:30 +0000 Dorah Ntunga 27958 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-19-collective-voices-critical-end-hunger#comments India's historic Right to Education act: Why everyone should support Haq Banta Hai http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-04-09-indias-historic-right-education-act-why-everyone-should-support-haq-banta-hai <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>Nearly 200,000 people have joined the <a href="https://act.oxfam.org/india/haq-banta-hai" rel="nofollow">'Haq Banta Hai' campaign</a> to make education a reality of every child in India. Will you?</h3> <p>India enacted the historic <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_Children_to_Free_and_Compulsory_Education_Act" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Right to Education (RTE) legislation</a> in 2009, nearly 7 years after making elementary education a fundamental right through a constitutional amendment in 2002. The RTE Act that came into force in April 2010 provides for 8 years of free and compulsory education to all the children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. Thanks to RTE Act, today 199 million children are in school and studying. However, still 6 million children between 6 and 13 years are out of school and majority (75%) of those out of school children belong to three most socially marginalized communities – Dalits (32.4%), Tribals (16.6%) and Muslims (25.7%).</p> <h3>Merely enrolling children is not enough.</h3> <p>That's why the Act has clearly laid down standards and norms to ensure that children are in school, happy and learning. The Indian Government had set a final deadline of 31st March 2015 to fully comply with all the norms and standards – infrastructure, trained teachers, evaluation method, etc of the Act. However, only 8% of the schools in the country fully comply with all RTE Act norms as of now.</p> <p>The 31st March deadline has been missed, and at the current rate of compliance, it will take India 63 more years to reach full compliance. Schools not complying fully with the RTE Act norms have a huge impact on retaining children who are already in school and the quality of education being imparted to them. This is one of the chief reasons why 2 out every 5 children drop out before completing elementary education. Early drop out from school is a major contributor to insecure employment, poor working conditions and lower wages later in life (ILO 2006).</p> <p><img alt="People take to the streets urging Education Minister Smriti Irani to chart a roadmap for full Right to Education (RTE) compliance. Credit: Oxfam India" title="People take to the streets urging Education Minister Smriti Irani to chart a roadmap for full Right to Education (RTE) compliance. Credit: Oxfam India" height="720" width="960" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/protests-for-india-rte.jpg" /></p> <p><em>People take to the streets urging Education Minister Smriti Irani to chart a roadmap for full Right to Education (RTE) compliance. Credit: Oxfam India</em></p> <h3>Inequality in India is rising at an alarming rate.</h3> <p>Education plays an important role in reducing inequality or as some say education is the biggest equalizer against inequality. Brazil, B of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">BRICS</a> has shown that ensuring basic education to all can create a more equal distribution of human capital which would eventually lead to reduction in labour market inequality (Paxton 2012). Investing in basic education certainly plays an important role in creating more equal societies. Hence, by ensuring full implementation of Right To Education Act, India can achieve two things -- (1) quality education for all children and (2) <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/223702306467437503/" rel="nofollow">reduction in inequality</a>.</p> <p>To make education a reality of every child in India, Oxfam India and its partners are calling on civil society groups and individuals to <a href="https://act.oxfam.org/india/haq-banta-hai" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">join the 'Haq Banta Hai' campaign </a>(I have the right). As part of the campaign, Oxfam India initiated an online petition asking the Education Minister to come out with a clear and accountable road-map to achieve full implementation of the RTE Act within next 3 years immediately.</p> <h3>Let's make basic education a reality for children in India.</h3> <p>Already, close to 200,000 individuals have signed this petition, and we are targeting to get at least 500,000 signatures within a month's time from across India and the world. Your support to this campaign by signing the petition will be significant in making basic education a reality of millions of children in India. You can also see how individual districts in India are performing on RTE Act through this interactive online tool created by us.</p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="https://act.oxfam.org/india/haq-banta-hai" rel="nofollow"><strong>Help make education a reality for every child in India</strong></a></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Deepak Xavier, Essential Services Lead, Oxfam India, on 9 April 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Top photo: Women signing the Haq Banta Hai petition in Delhi. Credit: Oxfam India</em></p> <p><img alt="Every child has the right to education." title="Every child has the right to education." height="1024" width="1024" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/mangalyaan_rte-1024x1024.jpg" /></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfamindia.org/10-things-rte" rel="nofollow"><strong>10 things you need to know about India's Right To Education Act</strong></a> <em>(Oxfam India)</em></p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/oxfam-reaction-unesco-global-monitoring-report-2015" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's reaction to the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2015: Education for All 2000-2015</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>India&#039;s historic Right to Education act: Why everyone should support Haq Banta Hai</h2></div> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 08:10:57 +0000 Deepak Xavier 26161 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-04-09-indias-historic-right-education-act-why-everyone-should-support-haq-banta-hai#comments People are demanding action on inequality: We are joining them http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-people-are-demanding-action-inequality-we-are-joining-them <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Over the past year, an overwhelming consensus has developed on the dangers of growing and extreme economic inequality. <strong>The gulf between the haves and the have nots has never been as large. </strong></p> <p>If the trend of rising inequality is allowed to continue, we not only risk condemning billions to poverty and exclusion, we put the stability and cohesion of our societies and the <a href="http://www.kateraworth.com/2014/10/16/doughnut-inequality/"><strong>sustainability</strong></a> of the whole planet at risk. The evidence is clear: today’s extremes of inequality are threatening to set the fight against poverty back by decades.</p> <p>In January this year, our <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few"><strong>report </strong></a>that the world’s richest 85 people control as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population caught the public imagination and made it onto the news agenda globally. The collective wealth of this tiny few increased by $668 million per day between 2013 and 2014. That’s almost half a million dollars every minute.</p> <p>People around the world are demanding action on inequality. We are joining in support of them. Today Oxfam launches a new campaign, <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/even-it-time-end-extreme-inequality"><strong>Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality</strong></a>. We want this to be a wake-up up call for all of us: governments, companies and citizens need to act now to change the status quo. </p> <p>Leaders as diverse as <strong>His Holiness Pope Francis</strong>, <strong>IMF head Christine Lagarde</strong> and <strong>President Obama</strong> have spoken out about the need for change. That there is a problem is agreed. What we need now is a shared agenda for solutions.</p> <p>We aim to show through our campaign that inequality is not inevitable. It is the result of choices - and different choices can reverse it.</p> <h3>How then to stem the growing gap between rich and poor?</h3> <ul><li><strong>We need urgent tax reform</strong>. At national, international, individual and corporate levels, tax burdens must fall fairly so that those most able to pay contribute more. There must be an end to fragmented global rules and tax loopholes which reward those who avoid their civic obligation, but leave the poorest footing the bill. Progressive tax policies are the most effective redistributive mechanism for tackling the growing gap between rich and poor.</li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><strong>We need to level the playing field by investing in universal free public services</strong>, including health care, education, and social protection. These measures can mitigate the worst impacts of today’s skewed wealth and income distribution, but also enable a healthy and educated majority to seize greater opportunity to prosper in life. </span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><strong>People must be paid a fair wage for their work.</strong> A first step to reducing inequality is by making work pay - providing living wages, decent conditions of work and protecting the rights of workers to organize.</span></span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"><strong>We need to confront inequality by backing people to claim their rights</strong> and hold their leaders to account. When the wealthiest use their financial power and the influence that comes with it to bend laws and policy choices in their favour, democracy is undermined. We need changes to the rules and systems that have led to today’s inequality explosion – governments’ primary concern must be responding to the needs of their citizens, not being unduly influenced by affluence. </span></span></span></li> </ul><p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">We are honored to have <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/report_endorsements_final_en.pdf"><strong>Kofi Annan, Graça Machel, Joseph Stiglitz and many others</strong></a> supporting our call to action. </span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">I invite you to join us:<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/governments-must-tackle-inequality-now"> <strong>let’s Even It Up</strong></a>.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" align="center"><p>$500,000 richer every 60 seconds for world's 85 wealthiest?! By our sums, it's time2 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EvenItUp?src=hash">#EvenItUp</a> <a href="http://t.co/nf5tvxFoN6">http://t.co/nf5tvxFoN6</a> <a href="http://t.co/GpP0nkTGTN">pic.twitter.com/GpP0nkTGTN</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/527921781672538112">October 30, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>People are demanding action on inequality: We are joining them</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-10-29-face-aux-in%C3%A9galit%C3%A9s-les-citoyennes-et-citoyens-exigent-des-mesures-concr%C3%A8tes" title="Face aux inégalités, les citoyennes et citoyens exigent des mesures concrètes : rejoignons-les !" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-10-29-la-gente-pide-que-se-act%C3%BAe-ante-la-desigualdad-nos-sumamos" title="La gente pide que se actúe ante la desigualdad: nos sumamos" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 23185 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-29-people-are-demanding-action-inequality-we-are-joining-them#comments Inequalities: we can all help reduce them http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-28-inequalities-we-can-all-help-reduce-them <div class="field field-name-body"><h3><img alt="Geneviève Morency" title="Geneviève Morency" height="168" width="200" style="float: right; width: 200px; height: 168px; margin: 0px 0px 10px 10px" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/genevieve-morency-200.jpg" /></h3> <p><em>This blog post was written by Geneviève Morency and is the second of three <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-10-27-united-change-blog-action-day-poem-inequality">winning blog</a></strong> posts chosen in our Blog Action Day 2014 competition. It was <a href="http://genmorency.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/les-inegalites/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>originally published</strong></a> in French. Geneviève Morency is currently working with Oxfam Quebec in Honduras as a monitoring, evaluation and learning advisor.</em></p> <p>Since 2007, the 16th of October [1] has been <a href="http://blogactionday.org/2014/07/29/oxfam-joins-blog-action-day-as-2014-key-partner/#.VE63oWdNa1g" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Blog Action Day</strong></a> – a day when bloggers, photographers and other users of social media across the world choose to get together virtually in order to create a wave of discussion on a particular subject. The topic of discussion for this year is ‘inequality’. Here are my thoughts on the subject:</p> <p>Oxfam <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few" rel="nofollow"><strong>recently published</strong></a> that “the 85 richest people on the planet own as much wealth as half of the world's poorest population”. We know that the resources are available to feed the 7 billion humans on the planet and yet 842 million people suffer from chronic hunger [2]. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that “Living standards continue to diverge within many economically advanced countries as poorer regions struggle to catch up with richer ones. Half of the 34 OECD countries have seen the income gap between their best-off and worst-off regions widen since the 2008 crisis, according to new OECD research.” [3]</p> <p>When we talk about economic inequality (the difference in wealth between the richest and the poorest) within a municipality, a country, a region or between different countries, why do these inequalities persist and increase? What can be done to change these imbalances?</p> <h3>Inequality of birth</h3> <p>In my opinion, an important element to consider when talking about inequality is the initial allocation. This quote reflects really well the concept of initial allocation: “As a child, I was extremely troubled by the complete randomness of chance that I was born in Paris to an intellectual, middle class family, when I could have just as easily been born in Chad. It’s a question of luck. It inspired in me a sense of responsibility.” – Esther Duflo, Economist, Co-founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).</p> <p>Initial allocation is defined by the initial characteristics with which we are born. These initial characteristics are, for example, the place where we are born, the gender assigned to us, the type of legalisation in place, the resources available, the health and education systems we have access to, and the social class of our parents. The initial allocation determines which circle we will grow up in. A person born into a family with an average income well above the poverty line, with access to an education system and health care, will live longer and will have all the resources required to ensure that they have a future in the same conditions and that their children have a life out of poverty. A person born in an area where incomes are very low, where access to an education system is difficult or there is little access to health care, has a low life expectancy and often, despite the person’s efforts and hard work, it will be difficult to break the cycle of poverty and to actually be able to live under better conditions. The conditions we are born in to determine to a large extent the economic class we will grow up in. Therefore, in order to reduce inequalities, we must go back to the actual source of these problems and the basic conditions for all. The Millennium Goals (MDG) signed in 2000 by the 193 Member States of the United Nations have helped to reduce some of the difficult conditions experienced by the poorest people. The Post-15 Development Agenda [4] (following the MDG) are currently being developed and should prioritise reducing inequalities under the aim of eliminating extreme poverty.</p> <h3>Inequality of resources</h3> <p>The second factor I wish to discuss here is the scarcity of resources. The scarcity of resources is a specific barrier to the objective of equality for all. Throughout time, in all ages, and in the majority of societies and models of civilisation which have evolved, inequalities have existed. Inequalities are without a doubt linked to the fact that there is a scarcity of resources - this scarcity results in a greater value being placed on the scarcest of resources. As such, particular products and services are only available to those people who are able to pay for them. A certain inequality may, therefore, exist because at the core there is a scarcity of resources and this scarcity makes it impossible to aim for total equality for all individuals, at least in the current system where we grow up. So, how can we identify the level of “acceptable” inequality and what are the products and services for which there should be no inequalities? How can we achieve at least a reduction of these inequalities in the short term?</p> <p>The problem which currently arises, and for which action must be taken, is that economic inequalities are increasing. The question which we must respond to now is how can we reduce this gap? How can we reverse the current trend and reduce inequalities? What can we as middle class citizens from a developed country do to contribute towards reducing these economic inequalities?</p> <h3>Solutions are possible</h3> <p>Several concrete solutions and actions are possible. One example which I have heard several times (by François Hollande during the presidential campaign, amongst others), is to set a maximum wage. Specifically, the head of a public company can earn no more than 10 times the wage of the employee on the lowest pay scale. Higher taxation for the rich should also reduce inequalities and generate revenue from those people with lots of wealth.</p> <p>Other solutions have been <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-07-17-opportunity-generation-ending-extreme-inequality"><strong>suggested by Winnie Byanyima</strong></a>, Executive Director of Oxfam International: ensuring a better financial system in order to prevent tax avoidance, investing in programs for access to health care and education for all, ensuring a minimum wage, respecting human rights in workplaces, increasing opportunities for women and girls to access education.</p> <p>Of course, there are no miracle solutions or quick and simple answers to this problem. However, I believe that slowly, with increased citizen participation, we can begin to establish concrete actions. First of all, we must read up on the subject and pose questions in order to evaluate whether the policies of companies, municipalities and governments encourage equality or not. We must also questions ourselves and be critical of our own words and actions.We must begin on a small scale so that our actions gain momentum. We must appeal to our leaders even if it is sometimes difficult to communicate our opinions and the changes we want in a clear way. </p> <h3>You can help</h3> <p>Slowly, one step, one action at a time, we can all, each of us, contribute towards eliminating inequalities.</p> <p><strong>Share this article</strong>, become aware of the debates and articles on inequality, and join the Oxfam International movement on the 30th of October which hopes to attract the attention of the whole world by bringing together as many people as possible on social networks to denounce extreme inequality.</p> <p>You can join the movement by going to:<strong><a href="https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/17299-end-extreme-inequality-now" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/17299-end-extreme-inequality-now</a></strong></p> <p>Read <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/1859">more blogs on inequality</a></strong></p> <p><em>This blog post was written by <strong><a href="http://genmorency.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/les-inegalites/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Geneviève Morency</a>,</strong> for Blog Action Day 2014. Geneviève Morency is currently working with Oxfam Quebec in Honduras as a monitoring, evaluation and learning advisor.</em></p> <p>[1] The 16th October also coincides with <a href="http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/home/en/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>World Food Day</strong></a></p> <p>[2] United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: <a href="http://www.fao.org/about/what-we-do/so1/fr/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>http://www.fao.org/about/what-we-do/so1/fr/</strong></a></p> <p>[3] OECD: “The poorest regions are increasingly falling behind the advanced economies”: <strong><a href="http://www.oecd.org/fr/presse/les-regions-les-plus-pauvres-sont-de-plus-en-plus-a-la-traine-dans-les-economies-avancees.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.oecd.org/fr/presse/les-regions-les-plus-pauvres-sont-de-plus-en-plus-a-la-traine-dans-les-economies-avancees.htm</a></strong></p> <p>[4] Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development: <strong><a href="http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/mdg.shtml" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/mdg.shtml</a></strong> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Inequalities: we can all help reduce them</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-10-29-inegalites-nous-pouvons-toutes-et-tous-contribuer-a-les-reduire" title="Inégalités : nous pouvons toutes et tous contribuer à les réduire" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-10-29-la-desigualdad" title="La desigualdad" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:06:51 +0000 Genevieve Morency 23133 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-10-28-inequalities-we-can-all-help-reduce-them#comments The story of GROW http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-05-31-story-of-grow <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Jeremy Hobbs, Head of Oxfam International, launches Oxfam’s global GROW campaign.</em></p> <p><strong>Soon there will be 9 billion of us on the planet. Already, almost a billion of us go to bed hungry every night. Oxfam is launching a new global campaign to grow a better future, where every one of us will always have enough to eat.</strong></p> <p>This is not a utopian dream. It is a very real plan based on the real achievements of forward thinking governments, companies and communities. But it does require a totally different approach to the way we produce and share food, the way we live our lives, the way we look after the planet’s precious resources.</p> <p>Oxfam is an organization that has a long track record of responding to food crises. It’s probably what we’re best known for. In fact <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/history" rel="nofollow">Oxfam was founded in 1942</a></strong> in response to a food crisis, caused by the second world war. 70 years on, the world is facing a food crisis that is the result of a grotesque global injustice.</p> <p><strong>People do not go hungry because there is not enough food</strong> to go round. They go hungry because the system that delivers food from the fields to our plates is broken. And now in this new age of crisis – with increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather and dwindling natural resources – getting enough to eat will get harder still.</p> <p>How did we get here? Our governments must shoulder a lot of the blame. Their policies and practices are propping up a system that benefits a few powerful companies and interest groups at the expense of the many.</p> <p>The system is failing every single person who’s faced with rocketing food prices, while financial traders gamble on the commodity markets. It’s failing every person whose crops are destroyed by floods while dirty industry lobby groups block progress on clean renewable energy. It’s failing everyone who is pushed off their land after corporations have bought it at rock bottom prices. And it’s failing every single parent who can’t think about their children’s future, because all they can think about is where to find their next meal.</p> <p><strong>The global food system is broken. But together we can fix it.</strong> There are some inspiring precedents. Between the years 2000 and 2007, the government and people of Brazil worked together to cut hunger by one third. In 2009, global investments in renewable energy overtook fossil fuel spending for the first time. In Vietnam, ambitious investment in small-scale agriculture helped the country halve hunger 5 years ahead of schedule.</p> <p>Governments – especially the powerful G20 countries – must kick start a transformation of the food system. They must invest in poor producers and provide them the support they need to adapt to a changing climate. They must regulate volatile commodity markets and put an end to the policies which reward companies for turning food into engine fuel. And they must deliver a global deal to keep climate change in check.</p> <p>You and I can also make changes in our own lives that will help put pressure on governments and companies, and will improve our wellbeing. We can buy food that is fairly and sustainably produced, reduce our carbon footprint and join a growing global conversation about food, sharing ideas and then putting them into action.</p> <p><strong>GROW starts today, and it starts with all of us. </strong>The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, but so is the prize – a sustainable future where everyone always has enough to eat; a new prosperity that will benefit all 9 billion of us.</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The story of GROW</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/11-06-01-la-historia-de-crece" title="La historia de CRECE" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/11-06-01-histoire-de-cultivons" title="L&#039;histoire de CULTIVONS" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 31 May 2011 00:01:00 +0000 Jeremy Hobbs 9477 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-05-31-story-of-grow#comments Global campaigning to tackle poverty and injustice is no longer North v South http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-04-14-global-campaigning-tackle-poverty-and-injustice-no-longer-north-v-south <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>The growing power of “emerging” economies makes them important players in future debates and plans for development</strong></em></p> <p>Does north v south still work? The public debate on development has been viewed through this prism for decades. It's been the framework for global and national campaigns against debt, trade and other northern injustices that have impoverished the south. We've won many struggles, though other injustices persist. <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/trade/rigged_rules" title="Global trade rules" rel="nofollow">Global trade rules</a></strong> and subsidies, for example, remain fundamentally unfair and are set by the north and imposed on the south at immense human cost.</p> <p>But the global response to these injustices is not just a matter for the north. It's been a long time since northern countries were in charge. The first G20 heads of state summit in 2008 was very belated recognition of the economic and political power of China, India, Brazil and other “emerging” economies. This shift has accelerated rapidly over the last two years, since the economic crisis. It looks certain to continue. It is northern countries that are struggling with fiscal deficits and slow growth. Between 2008 and 2020, the GDP ratio of industrialized and emerging members of the <strong><a href="http://www.euromonitor.com/g20-in-focus/article" title="G20 is projected" rel="nofollow">G20 is projected</a></strong> to change from 2:1 to 1:1.</p> <h3>Why “emerging” economies are important to our struggle</h3> <p>The public sees these trends of course. So the north v south story does not always ring true. But this shift in political and economic power is not a messaging issue. The implications for global campaigners are far broader. Oxfam and other global development NGOs are adapting to these trends, re-examining our campaign strategies and global distribution of our scarce resources. To do so effectively, we need to understand why the emerging powers of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa are important to the struggle against poverty and injustice. Here're three reasons. What do you think?</p> <ul><li><strong>First, these countries are increasingly wielding their political power in global processes that can help or hinder the struggle to end poverty.</strong> The climate change negotiations in Copenhagen are the most cited example of this. But they are critical players in other forums too. Their commitment to leadership and global cooperation on issues from trade and climate to food security is vital in determining the impact of these global negotiations on the world's poorest countries and people.</li> <li><strong>Second, many of these countries are themselves sites of struggle.</strong> The much-cited number-crunching by the Institute of Development Studies' Andy Sumner shows that around <strong><a href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/go/idspublication/global-poverty-and-the-new-bottom-billion-three-quarters-of-the-world-s-poor-live-in-middle-income-countries" title="three-quarters of the worlds poorest people live in middle-income countries" rel="nofollow">three-quarters of the world's poorest people live in middle-income countries</a></strong>. These are startling figures, though less important than Sumner claims. The real issue is the underlying trends, and where the poorest people will be living in the future. It's clear that there are persistent income and associated regional inequalities in many emerging economies, though Brazil stands out as a country that has made rapid progress in tackling poverty and inequality under former president Lula.</li> <li><strong>Third, these countries have direct impacts on poverty elsewhere.</strong> Is this the most important factor? This is partly about investment. The scale of this is immense, and strongly concentrated in natural resource sectors. <strong><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12098204" title="Chinese investment in Africa" rel="nofollow">Chinese investment in Africa</a></strong> is expected to exceed $110 billion in 2011. These investments are a huge driver of growth, but their impact on poverty is varied and complex. But in addition to this there are other important links between emerging economies and countries in their regions and beyond. These countries play a vital leadership and trend-setting role. New policies in emerging economies are often taken up elsewhere, as with Brazil's approach to social protection.</li> </ul><p><strong>So a long-term strategy for the emerging economies is hugely important for Oxfam and other NGOs</strong> that want to have a truly global impact through advocacy and campaigns. Oxfam has been working in these countries for some time. We have independent Oxfam affiliates in India, Mexico and Hong Kong, and national programmes in Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. The further ahead one looks, the more important it will be for our global campaigns to secure the commitment and leadership of powerful countries in both north and south. So we're developing a long-term advocacy and campaign strategy for these countries and for the G20.</p> <p>Our limited resources must be in the right places. But more important, we need to ensure that these resources make the difference. We need very different national strategies to be effective in varied political and social contexts. A recurring theme for us has been the importance of working with partners and allies, in countries with long and rich traditions of social activism. We'd love to talk more to others about their experience and plans, nationally and globally.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/feb/14/campaigning-poverty-injustice-north-emerging-economies" rel="nofollow">Originally posted on the Guardian's Poverty matters blog.</a> You can follow Stephen Hale on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/SHaleGeneva" rel="nofollow">@SHaleGeneva</a>.</em></p> <h3>Read more</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/making-seoul-development-consensus" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's 2010 paper putting forward the essential development agenda for the G20</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Global campaigning to tackle poverty and injustice is no longer North v South</h2></div> Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:15:35 +0000 Stephen Hale 9443 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blog/11-04-14-global-campaigning-tackle-poverty-and-injustice-no-longer-north-v-south#comments