Tag Archives: Oxfam

You’ve Seen the News. Want to Help Nepal? Send Cash!

W10001533_W260-0025-051A 7.9 earthquake hit Central Nepal today. Over 1394 people are reported thus far to have lost their lives in this natural disaster that unfortunately has been predicted by many. Much of Kathmandu’s infrastructure is in ruins, temples have been lost, electricity is out, and thousands are without shelter.

The best way to help in this disaster situation is to donate money to international NGOs that are well-versed in disaster relief. They have entire teams who are trained how to start, ask the right questions, and can deploy emergency shelter, food, water, and everyday necessities. They also know how to provide medical relief and aid and in the long run can help families with work in order to earn money in an environment that has been reduced to rubble.

I saw the wide-sweeping and effective relief efforts of international NGOs  after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines when I visited with a World Vision USA team for the one year anniversary in 2014. I know that because of large NGOs’ experience and coordinated efforts they can help disaster relief rapidly and in tandem with the Nepalese government. In fact, the UN has a coordinated system already in place called Cluster Coordination so that NGOs work together and not in vacuous sylos.

Continue reading You’ve Seen the News. Want to Help Nepal? Send Cash!

Why Oxfam Can Hold Brands Accountable for Land Grabbing

Oxfam scored big in March when it announced that Pepsico, the second largest food and beverage brand, agreed to cease land grabbing in its supply chain.

“Consumer power just got a little bit stronger,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. The second biggest food and beverage company in the world has committed to put its full weight behind preventing land grabs in its supply chain. Suppliers who want their ingredients to be used in everything from Pepsi Cola and Doritos to Gatorade and Mountain Dew must now ensure their land is acquired responsibly.

In consultation with Oxfam, Pepsico revised its land policy to reflect zero tolerance for illegal activities in its supply chain and for land displacements of any legitimate land tenure holders, per its statement. Displacement of legitimate land tenure holders is particularly critical. Landesa, a global land rights organization, says 75% of the world’s population relies on land for their living.  The question remains: if multinational corporations gobble up the vast majority of the most fertile and arable land, where can these people go and how can they make a living?

Last year Oxfam launched its Behind the Brands campaign in which it holds the world’s largest food brands accountable on such topics as its land use, treatment of women, farmers, and workers as well as how the brands affects water and climate and how they score on transparency. How can Oxfam hold companies like Pepsico, Mars, General Mills and Unilever accountable for their affect on the world? Two words: its funding.

According to Oxfam’s financial reports, it only receives 1.8% of its funding from corporations. The rest is from individuals, foundations, bequests and legacies, investments and events. While the pace is quickening for many iNGOs to move towards increased public-private partnerships, Oxfam remains a maverick in this regard and is able to be a watchdog for the global food industry and other public-private partnerships. For example, Oxfam expressed concern about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and recently published a piece on the detrimental affects of public-private partnerships in Lesotho’s healthcare system.

In full disclosure, I am a member of Oxfam America’s Sisters on the Planet, however, I have been personally interested in how Oxfam has been able to challenge the status quo on many fronts and wanted to explore it.

Despite Oxfam’s campaign to hold food brands accountable what clearly remains to be seen is whether the brands are simply providing lip service to placate their consumers or whether they are ready to be held to account for their business practices.

Monday Morning Reads: January 20

Happy Martin Luther King Day! To honor his legacy we support Save the Children’s The Real Awards that honors health workers around the world.

Today we have several foreign policy as well as global health and development news stories that we found of great interest. If you have read any compelling pieces lately that you think we would enjoy reading please leave them in the comments.

Ukraine

If you haven’t been following the riots in Kiev read this piece in this ABC News article as a quick primer about what is happening in the Ukraine. Drill down on some of the details about the protests in these articles:

Flashbangs, molotov cocktails and pepper gas in the air. Kiev is in full-blown revolt

A video posted by Alexey Yaroshevsky (@yaro_rt) on

Central African Republic

Of note, the European Union agreed to send 1000 EU troops to the Central African Republic to help stabilize the country. In all honesty, we’re not sure 1000 more troops will be enough. We’ll have to wait and see, especially as the country seems ripe for genocide amid sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. Also, the very first woman interim president was elected in Central African Republic today.

India 

In the most bizarre news we’ve read in quite some time an Indian minister’s wife was found dead in a 5-star Delhi hotel just days after she publicly accused him on Twitter of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.

Global Health and Development 

Oxfam

Oxfam released a report that the says the top 85 richest people own as much wealth as half the world’s population. Read the report.

Gates Letter

Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letter will be released this week. Read a sneak preview in the Wall Street Journal: Three Myths of the World’s Poor.

Chad Comes in Last in New Global Food Index

Yesterday Oxfam released its new Global Food Index that shows the best and worst places to eat. Across all indicators Chad came in dead last in the index. The indicators to rank the countries include having enough food to eat, food affordability, diabetes and overweight citizens, and food quality. In fact, along with Chad, eighteen of the last twenty countries in the index are sub-Saharan African countries save for Yemen and Lao’s People Democratic Republic. Conversely, the top country in the index is the Netherlands followed by fellow European countries France and Switzerland. The top ranking sub-Saharan country is South Africa, to be expected, followed closely by Botswana.

Global Food Index    Oxfam

Parsing the data by indicator the best country for food quality is Iceland and the worst is Madagascar. The best country for food affordability is the Netherlands and Guinea is the worst. South Africa is the best sub-Saharan country based on the food affordability indicator. I am happy to see this data as this is the experience I have had while spending time in South Africa. Food is quite affordable there.

See the full interactive data on the Oxfam web site.

“Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Across the globe, particularly in developing countries, far too many people are consuming more and more unhealthy food.  Paradoxically, more than 800 million people cannot get enough nutritious food to eat. Governments and the food industry are failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthfully, despite there being more than enough food to go around.”

According to FAO’s The State of Food Insecurity in the World (2103 edition) 1 in 8 people around the world experience chronic hunger. Undernourishment decreased by 17% since 1990-1992. However, 12% of the world’s population was not able to meet all of its daily dietary needs and most of those people live in Southern Asia (295 million) followed by sub-Saharan Africa (223 million).

FAO Data

Based on data from the UN, Millennium Development Goal 1 that states hunger should be halved by 2015 is in reach. FAO believes MDG 1 can be met, but many countries will not reach the target reduction in hunger. Countries that have experienced conflict within the last twenty days and landlocked countries with unfavorable trade laws have the least chance of improving hunger rates.

How much would it cost to feed all hungry children the world over? The World Food Program estimates that $3.2 billion would be needed annually to feed all hungry children. Of course, that doesn’t take into account all of the adults, particularly women who are expecting, who do not have enough food to eat.