Thursday, January 23, 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

Action Corps keeps the pressure on Pepsi during Week of Action!

Since Coca-Cola committed to make sure the sugar in its products doesn’t lead to land grabs, it’s time for PepsiCo to follow Coca-Cola’s lead! 

(post originally from Oxfam Action Corps national blog. For original post go to http://oxfamactioncorpsamerica.blogspot.com/)

In an effort to drive PepsiCo's commitment, during the week of November 18th Oxfam's supporters across the U.S. drove to Pepsi bottling plants and corporate offices to deliver petitions, take stunt photos and tell Pepsi staff that over 250,000 people stand with farmers.


Oxfam Action Corps San Francisco
Our San Francisco volunteers outside of a Pepsi site

Action Corps Albuquerque, right before delivering some petition signatures!

Action Corps volunteers in Kansas City, MO

Action Corps & CHANGE made deliveries in over 20 states! See more pictures and see if your state is represented in the full  report of the deliveries here!

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.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The GROW Method: How YOU Can Help Fix the Food System



Every night, 1 in 8 people goes to bed hungry. Many Americans want to help, but they often don’t know where to begin. Oxfam America implements many policies and supports projects that help alleviate poverty, hunger, and social injustice in over 90 countries around the world. The GROW campaign is Oxfam’s initiative to build a better food system. These are some simple steps you can take at home to contribute to a sustainable food system:

1. Support farmers – this can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can purchase fair trade products such as tea, coffee, and chocolate at your favorite grocery store; if you shop at a farmer’s market, such as HOPE Farmer's Market, this is a great way to contribute to local, small-scale farmers.
  • Did you know? Farmers in poor countries rarely see substantial profit from the food they produce. Look for brands that ensure those farmers are paid fairly.

2. Shop seasonally – check out a community garden or chat up a farmer at the market to find out what fruits and veggies are in season. You can also find a list of what’s in season near you on Oxfam America’s site.
  • Did you know? Growing fruits and vegetables out of season uses extra energy and wastes valuable natural resources. 
3. Eat less meat and dairy – make a vegetarian meal once a week and join the Meatless Monday movement! Another tip is to try substituting nondairy foods in place of dairy products you normally eat.
  • Did you know? A family of four can save the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water by switching to lentils instead of beef just once per week.

4. Cook smart – simple tweaks to the way you cook at home can make a big difference in the amount of energy consumed. Put the lid on your pot of water, then turn down the heat once it begins to boil. Use your oven to bake more than one thing at a time.
  • Did you know? If only 6 countries with urban households cooked more efficiently, the energy benefit would be the same as planting 540 million trees and letting them grow for 10 years.
5. Save food – meal planning is great way to decrease the amount of food waste your household produces. Another way to reduce food waste is to take home leftovers when you eat at restaurants and reusing leftovers at home.
  • Did you know? U.S. households throw away more than 2.7 million apples every year, and approximately 1/3 of all food produced goes to waste.

Want to find other ways to make a positive impact on the food system? Join the Austin Oxfam Action Corps at our next monthly meeting! We’ll be at Austin Java on 12th & Lamar on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. Find us on Facebook to keep up with current events and future activities, or send us an email if you'd like to receive email updates!