March 7, 2012

How you can show support on International Women’s Day


Oxfam America offers suggestions on how to honor a woman who has made a difference

JD LasicaYou might have grown up with a working mother, or a mom who postponed or chose to forgo a career to instead focus on raising a family. But whichever choice your mother made, chances are you remember her going to any lengths to keep you safe, clothed and fed.

But some moms are facing hardships that make it nearly impossible. They’re among the one in seven people who go to bed hungry every night. It’s not because there isn’t enough food to go around. It’s because there are deep imbalances in access to resources like fertile lands and water. In fact, more than 40 percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – live in poverty, and many of them are women.

Women who work hard, but can’t earn enough to feed their families. Women whose hearts break when they see their children go hungry. Women who need equal access to the resources that can help them overcome poverty.

Shocking and sad but true:

  • Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income.
  • If women were given the same level of access to resources that men have, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%.
  • Hunger and poverty are about power and inequality, and women and girls face the biggest inequalities of all.

Thursday is International Women’s Day. How about showing women everywhere you appreciate their contributions to our world? Oxfam America is giving you a couple of really easy ways to do this:

1Send an International Women’s Day eCard to a woman you know, to say thank you for all that she does. Better yet, send it to several women who’ve made the world a better place.

2Give the Oxfam America International Women’s Day 2012 award (PDF) to a woman you think has made a difference to the world. She could be a teacher, your mom, a nonprofit leader, a woman entrepreneur, the neighbor who always checks up on you when you’re ill — the possibilities are endless. Continue reading

May 3, 2011

Oxfam America invites public into fight against poverty


Interactive photobook offers way to support contributions by women

Guest post by Stacy Coleman

Oxfam America ran a photo contest for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in March. They created an interactive photo wall that enables supporters to upload photos and messages in support of women’s contributions.

We caught up with Victoria Marzilli, new media specialist of Oxfam America, to get an update about the work of Oxfam, its interactive photobook, and the nonprofit’s social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

What is distinctive about your organization?
Marzilli: Oxfam is unique because we are such a multifaceted organization. We work on the ground to implement long-lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice, but we also campaign for policies that help poor communities around the world. We not only provide emergency humanitarian response, but we create sustainable long-term development programs.

How and when was Oxfam inspired and created?

Victoria Marzilli

Marzilli: A group of volunteers founded Oxfam America in 1970 in response to the humanitarian crisis created by the fight for independence in Bangladesh. The next few years were pivotal as several key supporters made prophetic and significant decisions that defined Oxfam’s mission and principles:

1. Oxfam America decided not to accept U.S. government grants and to instead try to build broad-based, grassroots support that would remain independent of government foreign policy.

2. Appeals for support would also avoid promoting a condescending attitude toward poor people; communications would be thought-provoking rather than emotional. Grants would focus on small projects that could serve as models for others.

Last year Oxfam America celebrated its 40th anniversary. While the organization today is a very different place — one that has grown and changed to address both the times and the changing needs of developing countries — several things have remained steadfast: the commitment to addressing issues of injustice and poverty, and the set of core values that has informed our work — legacies passed down through four decades of staff and board members.

What is the overall goal of Oxfam? How do you hope to impact change?

Our overall mission is to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. We hope to do this by a combination of on-the-ground programs and advocating for global policies.

Tell us about your photo campaign for International Women’s Day.

In the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, we created a movement that will support and better the lives of women throughout the world. Check out the entries in our first-ever ACT FAST interactive photobook. Continue reading