Monday, January 27, 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

Our Voices Have Been Heard: Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs

Here is a great post from our Action Corps in the San Francisco Bay area, highlighting their work and success with the campaign!

Original post can be found at: http://sfbay-oxfamactioncorps.blogspot.com/


Our Voices Have Been Heard: 

Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs

 


Ladies and Gentlemen, our hard work is paying off! All of our hours spent volunteering, campaigning, speaking out, and signing petitions is showing fruition. Over 225,000 people called for action to prevent land grabs and Coca-Cola has heard us. The food and beverage giant Coca-Cola has agreed to respect and protect the land rights of indigenous communities from which it sources its sugar. Specifically, Coca-Cola has agreed to:

  1. A zero tolerance policy on land grabs
  2. A “know and show” policy relating to being held accountable and aware of land rights and conflicts within its supply chain
  3. To support responsible agriculture investment and to advocate for governments and others to tackle land grabbing;
Sugar production requires a vast amount of land and is currently at an all time high triggering land conflicts and abuse. Coca-Cola is the largest sugar producer in the world making this news all the more amazing. Coca-Cola is the first beverage and food company to take such a stand, but should not be the last. For more information on this breaking news visit politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org

Our mission and work does not end here. PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are some of the largest sugar producers in the world and as such we are urging them to follow in Coca-Cola’s footsteps and make a change in relation to the allowance of land grabs within their supply chains. In order to do this we need your help.
  

What Can You Do to Stop This?

Start by signing Oxfam's current petition to urge Pepsi-co and Associated British Foods to follow Coca-Cola’s example and hold themselves accountable for the land and human rights atrocities occurring in their supply chains. These huge companies have the market power to pressure their suppliers into committing to zero tolerance land grab policies and you have the power to pressure these food and beverage giants into stepping up and standing against land grabs. Make sure your voice is heard.

Then share the following messages:

Via Twitter

Tell @PepsiCo & #ABF to take action against land grabs! #BehindTheBrands

Via Facebook

Post the following message to PepsiCo's Facebook page

Stop land grabs! Tell PepsiCo and ABF—some of the biggest buyers of sugar in the world—to make sure their sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs that force poor farmers and their families off their land. #BehindTheBrands!

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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Action Corps and the Concert for the Climate

Hello Oxfam supporters! Are you looking for a way to get involved with the Kansas City Action Corps, but have some concerns about what you would be doing, the time commitment, or the work load involved? Well, we have a really awesome volunteer opportunity coming up this weekend, and it will only take as much time as you have to spare.

The KC Oxfam Action Corps will be tabling this Saturday, September 28th, at the Concert for the Climate. This event, being held at Kaw Point Riverfront Park, will feature music, workshops, and speakers. The purpose of the event is to show people the real impact of climate change and teach them how the actions of an individual can really make a difference in the environment... while having a good time, of course! The concert is sponsored by multiple organizations, including the NRDC and The Sierra Club. Even more exciting? Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the keynote speaker! The Concert for the Climate is free and open to the public; parking is free, too.

For more information on the Concert for the Climate, check out www.concertfortheclimate.org.

The Action Corps will have a table set up for the entire day-long event. Our goal is talk to as many people as possible about the work of Oxfam America and inspire people to get involved (signing a petition counts!). If you're interested in joining the Action Corps this Saturday, email us at kansascity@oxfamactioncorps.org to let us know. There's no required time commitment; simply come for as long as you're able and chat with climate-concerned citizens about Oxfam. And bring a friend... the more the merrier!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Become an Oxfam Action Corps Organizer!



Oxfam America now accepting applications for new Action Corps organizers for 2013-14. Apply now and, if chosen, get a FREE trip to Washington DC for training! Check out the message from Oxfam America below for more information.

 

Are you concerned that the people who grow the world’s food—many of whom are women—cannot afford to feed their own families? And that one in eight people goes to bed hungry every night even though the world produces enough food for everybody?

Do you want to take action in your city to achieve policies to sustainably feed a growing population and empower poor people to earn a living, feed their families and thrive?

Are you willing to reach out to others in your community to hold governments and businesses accountable for the impact of their policies and practices on the environment and global food security?

Oxfam invites you to join the Oxfam Action Corps, an exciting effort to cultivate grassroots leaders and political change.

Volunteers with the Oxfam Action Corps lead a coordinated charge to improve national legislation and business practices, and to deepen local community resources for fighting poverty and injustice.

When you volunteer with the Oxfam Action Corps, you take actions like: hold a house party or collect signatures at a concert. You can lead a delegation to a lawmaker's local office, organize a petition drive, or plan an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet. Anyone is welcome to volunteer, regardless of age or experience level—all you need is a willingness to make a difference.

Volunteers receive continuing support from Oxfam, including campaign materials, strategy tips, and advice on community organizing. Each city has two trained volunteer corps organizers who welcome and orient volunteers throughout the year.
Other responsibilities of a corps organizer:
Work with other lead organizers and volunteers on a local level
·         Help convene activities focused on Oxfam’s GROW campaign
·         Follow policy developments and messaging
·         Update blog, email announcements and social media sites with events and news
·         Create plans for local action  
·         Lead outreach at public events like concerts and conferences
·         Build relationships with like-minded organizations
·         Gather volunteers for regular planning sessions
·         Cultivate leadership in others
·         Work within budget to accomplish goals
·         Maintain strong, regular communication with Oxfam staff including tracking and reporting on activities

What volunteers have to say: “Oxfam Action Corps has really helped me professionally.  Before the training I was working as an administrative assistant and never got a chance to take charge of an event.  With Oxfam Action Corps I got to lead an event, reach out to allies.  It prepared me for a huge career change, directing a small non-profit.” - Jessica Lettween, from Minnesota.

“This is leadership in practice.  You can’t just read a book on leadership.  You have to put it into practice. You should see how I list this on my resume!” - Jill Mizell, NYC

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day of Action at Harvesters

The Action Corps had the opportunity to volunteer at Harvesters in December, and it was a wonderful experience!

Harvesters is a community food network that serves 26 counties in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. It is the only food bank/network that serves this area, and it works with 620 member agencies to acquire and distribute food to those in need. Check out this fact sheet to learn more.

While we were at Harvesters, we learned about the organization and were given a tour of their warehouse facility. Needless to say, they can and do house and move a TON of food and disaster supplies. It truly is an awe-inspiring operation, and we in Kansas City are incredibly fortunate to have such an organization in our city.

The Action Corps was put to work on assembling kits for the BackSnack program. For children that receive free and reduced-price lunches at school, getting enough to eat over the weekend can be incredibly tough. BackSnack was created to help bridge the meal gap from Friday to Monday. Each bag is packed with shelf-stable, no-cooking-required snacks and meals to get kids through Saturday and Sunday with the nourishment they need to come back to school on Monday ready to learn. Currently, BackSnack serves 19,000 children each week, and the number is anticipated to grow.

As volunteers, we worked an assembly line to put together as many kits as possible in 2 hours. We were paired up with a Girl Scout troop and their parents, and, together, we made hundreds of BackSnacks! Helping Harvesters with BackSnack was a lot of fun for us, and incredibly helpful for them. We hope to make it back soon to further help this great organization!

Hunger Banquet at Avila University

On November 19th, the Kansas City Action Corps had the privilege to attend a Hunger Banquet as the guest speakers. The Hunger Banquet was put on by the Student Social Work Association at Avila University in South Kansas City, MO.

For those who have never heard of or attended a Hunger Banquet, it can be a very powerful event. Hunger Banquets are an interactive tool that can demonstrate visually the food inequalities people live with daily around the world. As participants enter the event, they randomly draw a card assigning them to an income level. The majority of participants will be assigned to the lowest income level, and a smaller proportion to the middle income level. The smallest group of attendees will be assigned to the highest income level. Once everyone is seated, a meal is served to represent the participants' assigned incomes. Those at the highest level receive a full, balanced meal and "fancy" beverages (juice or soda), while seated at a nicely-set table. Those with the mid-level income are given rice, beans, and water while seated in chairs. Finally, those with the lowest income must sit on the floor while served only rice and a communal pitcher of water.

For our contribution, the Action Corps spoke a bit about Oxfam International and Oxfam America, as well as the GROW Method and Campaign. We also did our best to answer any questions the students and faculty had concerning Oxfam America and their work. The event hosted nearly 30 participants and, we feel, did a really great job exemplifying why Oxfam does the work they do around the world.

On a final note, we want to thank the Student Social Work Association and Avila University for hosting this event and using it as a food drive for Harvesters. We were able to contribute about 3 full boxes of food to the food bank thanks to the particpants of the Hunger Banquet. Nice work everyone!




Low Income Group

High Income Group


Middle Income Group (foreground, in chairs)



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