Tag Archives: Oxfam

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.


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.


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 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.

Gift Animals from Oxfam to Those in Need

You are what you give and Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation is “being” a goat this year. You can “be” a goat or another one of Oxfam’s charity gifts at OxfamGifts.com.

Giving an animal to a family in need in a developing country can mean the difference between living in poverty and being self-sustaining. Here’s how animal gifts work.

What You Can Do to Celebrate World Food Day

Global food instability is a complex issue. Factors such as poverty, food prices, climate change, food distribution, smallholder farmers, women farmers, crude oil, fertilizers, plant varieties, pest management, irrigation, and even armed conflicts affect people’s access to food. That is why even in 2012 one billion people still go to bed hungry every night. That is one in every seven people according to Oxfam.

Untangling the world’s food system is complex. Even the world’s most seasoned experts have a difficult time solving this global issue, but there are simple steps you can make to help change things for the better.

Today is World Food Day and Oxfam is asking you to celebrate by discussing their GROW Method with your family at dinner tonight.

Oxfam America is calling for people to discuss their GROW Method, a surprisingly simple method of eating that will put more food in people’s bellies. It calls for simple changes such as not wasting food by eating leftovers, eating less meat, using less water to cook with, buying foods in season and supporting small farmers. All of these tips are doable for an individual or family. Oxfam has created an easy dinner discussion guide you can use tonight and share with your family.

For the past few weeks members of the Global Team of 200, a specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on global hunger, women and girls, children, and maternal health, have been sharing Oxfam’s GROW Method and World Food Day with their readers.

Here are a few featured moms who have shared the GROW Method with their readers and families.

Julia Gibson from Mom on the Run x 2 showcased Oxfam’s free GROW Method banner.

Source: momontherunx2.net via Social Good on Pinterest

Vanessa at Desumama.com shared a delicious acorn squash recipe.


Lisa from About Proximity shared the GROW Method with her children. Be sure to watch.

Want to get involved in World Food Day today? Here’s how: 

  • Have a dinner discussion about food and how you and your family can take part in reducing food waste and increase food availability.
  • Take a photo of your dinner tonight and post it on Instagram with the #WFD2012 tag. Then visit Oxfam’s site. Your post may be featured alongside others.
  • Use Oxfam’s Pinterest cookbook for meal ideas using the GROW Method.
  • Also follow @OxfamAmerica to stay abreast of how you can help throughout the year.

Join Kristin Davis and Djimon Hounsou on Sahel Relief

Much has been written here about the crisis in the Sahel region of western Africa. While there is no famine like we saw last year in the Horn of Africa, there are entire countries that are in desperate need of food relief. Due to failed crops and rising food prices and in some countries government instability there are currently 18 million people are at risk of hunger unless the global community steps up and lends a hand to this region in crisis.

Actors Kristin Davis and Djimon Hounsou are working to raise awareness and funds to help people of the Sahel and Oxfam is aiming to help 1.2 million people across seven countries with programs that include providing clean water, improving access to food, supporting the health of livestock, and providing aid to refugees.

Want to help? Donate to Kristin Davis’ fundraising page and/ or Djimon Hounsou’s fundraising page. Or start your own page.

“Sadly, there are still those who are not aware of the dire need that West Africa is in right now,” wrote Hounsou on his fund-raising page. “The people there are facing drought and a severe food crisis. To some of us, this problem is a world away and is easy to ignore, but I implore you to pay attention.”

“If I sell some of the vegetables, I can buy millet, which is the staple part of our diet,” said Ramata Zore, chairwoman of a garden cooperative in Taffoga. “I’d also like to keep up the vegetable plot for five years. Then, if I manage to find something else to do which will enable me to supplement my income, I’ll be able to start a small business. I want to carry on with the vegetable plot and earn money to help my children.” (Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam)

Davis, who’s traveled with Oxfam to countries like Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, said she wanted her fundraising page to help call attention to a crisis that hasn’t been covered in the news. “One of my main goals with working and traveling with Oxfam is to get the truth,” she wrote. “The truth of what’s really happening to people around the world—the truth that doesn’t seem to make headlines.”

Want to help? Donate to Kristin Davis’ fundraising page and/ or Djimon Hounsou’s fundraising page. Or start your own page.

Will the G20 Ignore the Developing World During Euro Crisis?

While the Earth Summit takes place in Rio this week the G20 will take place in Los Cabos, Mexico. What’s on the agenda? Figuring out what to do about the Eurozone primarily.

“Everybody knows that this meeting is coming at an absolutely critical time,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick. “We’re waiting for Europe to tell us what it is going to do. Markets can manage and hedge risks that they are generally aware of. The danger we’re creating is that the pattern of policymaking is increasing uncertainty.”

Quite simply, or maybe not so, according to the G20 web site it’s objectives include:

1. Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;
2. To promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and
3. To create a a new international financial architecture.

Annually there is a big push to remind G20 nations to not forget developing countries. This year, however, it’s some of the wealthiest nations in the world that are undergoing an economic crisis.

“The situation is not that we’re dealing with impoverished countries here … We’re dealing with some of the wealthiest countries in the world, which is quite different than the situation that the IMF normally deals with,” said Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to Global Television.

“The reality is that we have non-European G20 countries that have a lot of hesitation in dedicating resources to the wealthy European countries.”

Despite the Euro crisis the world’s poorest countries cannot be left off the agenda. Oxfam International says:

The ONE campaign says:

Thousand Days says:

World Vision USA says:

If you would like to get involved in the G20 via social media and activism follow this thorough G20 guide provided by Oxfam America.


Photo: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Mexican Officials Brief on Upcoming G20 in Los Cabos

Roberto Marino (left), Special Representative of the Mexican Presidency for the G20, briefs journalists on preparations for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in mid-June, which will be hosted by Mexico in Los Cabos.

Next to Mr. Marino is Lourdes Aranda, Mexican Sherpa for the G20.

It Makes Sense to Source Food Aid From Local Areas

Oxfam America has launched a brilliant video showing how wasteful we are with food aid. The United States gives a lot of money to food relief agencies, which is a mere drop in the bucket (.05%) when looking at our budget as a whole.

Oxfam says that we can feed more people (17 million more!)  if we buy food aid locally in developing countries. Learn more at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/foodaid.