Category: Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Save the Children
The British public has once again showed its generosity by helping to raise £50 million in 22 days for East Africa. The money will be used to enable aid agencies to step up their efforts to deliver food and assistance to millions of people who are on the brink of starvation. The total amount raised by the UK to help with food shortage in Yemen and East Africa is £72 million when you include the £15 million the UK government has also contributed.
Helping to save lives
This means the British people are already helping to save lives says Saleh Saeed CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Mr Saeed says the £50 million raised for East Africa will provide millions of people living in the drought afflicted areas with food, water and access to medical care for more than two years. The Yemen appeal which was launched back in December last year has so far raised £22 million.
Assistance being delivered despite of obstacles
More assistance is already being delivered to those in need in spite of the fact that there are many challenges. For example, as a result of the conflict in Yemen the cranes in the port of Hodeida have been destroyed. In South Sudan fighting is taking place and in Somalia vast swathes of the country are controlled by terror groups who have blocked access to aid. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and in Somalia people face the prospect of starvation with roughly 20 million people affected.
All the leading charities are contributing
The DEC is made up of the UK’s leading charities and is lending its support in East Africa where food shortages are most acute. According to Mr Saeed there have been reports that the delivery of aid has had an immediate impact to the lives of people affected by the crisis. Concern Worldwide has set up a nutrition centre just outside Mogadishu the capital of Somalia. Save the Children is also working with about 40 drought affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia and providing them with food, water, and medical care. Oxfam is delivering water and providing sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya.
Still lots more to be done
Mr Saeed said whilst the he was very grateful for what has been provided so far, there is still far more to be done as the crisis get worse. He added that the UK can be proud of its response to the East Africa and Yemen appeal. A lot of money has been raised and the UK government and the British public are leading the charge.
Oxfam said ahead of the recent Climate Change March on Washington, that global warming is responsible for making drought and humanitarian disasters worse. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that roughly 12 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are at risk of starvation due to recurring droughts. The agency believes that Somalia in particular is at risk of entering into a state of famine for the second time in six years.
Climate change a real threat
Nigel Tricks, regional director for Oxfam said in an interview that in East Africa, climate change is a very real problem that poses a threat today in East Africa. Mr Tricks added that what were once previously thought to be once in a lifetime droughts now seem to be routine. According to Mr Tricks, for the first-time camels and donkeys which are typically resistant to lack of water are dying by the score and this is causing havoc in the lives of pastoralists.
Thousands of people participated in the March
Thousands of people took part in the People’s Climate Change March held in Washington at the end of April. Last month President Trump signed an order to repeal climate change regulations that were enacted under the Obama administration. President Trump was keeping a promise to provide support to the coal industry and the move was provocative because it raises the question of whether the US will support an international deal in the fight against global warming.
Years of low rainfall
Oxfam says that this is the third year of very low rainfall in East Africa and this is combined with above average temperatures, which is part of trend that started in the 1980’s. One activist for an aid agency said that in the Kenyan town of Kilifi, people were going hungry and cattle were dying as a result of drought which really started to have an impact last year. Southern and Eastern Africa were hit badly by drought in 2016 which was exacerbated by El Nino which is when the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean rises. The combination of the two has wilted crops, slowed economic growth and caused food prices to rise.
If you want to spend this summer attending some of the UK’s best festivals, you should apply to Oxfam to act as a festival volunteer. The charity is looking for friendly people to be staff at festivals across the country during the summer such as Glastonbury, Shambala, Latitude, Leeds and Boardmasters. For those folks who sign up, they will have the opportunity to develop important new skills, make new life friends and enjoy the festivals free of charge. Organisers of these festivals pay Oxfam for volunteer stewards and this is one of the way Oxfam raises money to fund the important work it does fighting poverty.
A dream for music lovers
George Upcott of Oxfam says if you are a music lover then being a volunteer at festivals will be a dream come true. Each volunteer does three shifts at each event, but in between shifts volunteers are free to enjoy themselves just like any other attendee. The best thing about becoming a volunteer says Upcott is the chance to meet a great bunch of other like-minded people. Volunteering either as a campaigner, steward or at an on-site Oxfam shop is the ideal way to not only have a great time but also help Oxfam in its fight against poverty all over the world.
Help keep people safe
People who volunteer at festivals help keep people safe and offer information and advice to festival attendees. The type of jobs they carry out including welcoming attendees, checking their tickets or wristbands and controlling access to stages as well as managing crowd numbers. The stewards act as the face of the festival and take care of all areas such as campsites, gates and arenas.
The great leveller
Mark Grayson who has been a volunteer for the last 25 years says at Glastonbury there are more than 2,000 Oxfam stewards with people ranging from 18 years’ olds up to people who are in their 70’s. Grayson says it’s a great leveller. Everyone leaves their normal lives behind and it’s no longer important what car people drive, where they live or what their background is. He adds there is no pretentiousness and everyone displays a sense of warmth with the community raising money for Oxfam.
Several aid agencies are urging the UK government to alter the regulations surrounding the reuniting refugee families in order to protect people that are vulnerable. A new report authored by Oxfam in collaboration with the British Refugee Council, the British Red Cross and Amnesty International say that people who have been designated as refugees in the UK should be allowed to bring their children and spouses to Britain. This simple change would mean the UK government would be offering sanctuary to the people who need it the most.
Refugees not a burden
The report argues that refugee children would not be a burden to local authorities because they could be supported by parents, adult siblings, aunts, uncles and even grandparents. Oxfam has released a press release which suggests that the government argues that local authorities simply do not have the resources to support more unaccompanied minors who come to the UK.
All agencies united
Oxfam UK chief executive Mark Goldring said the British government initially tried to ignore Europe’s refugee crisis and then responded by trying to deter people suffering from travelling to the UK instead of providing sanctuary. Mr Goldring went on to add that all four agencies were united in their call on the British government to change their restrictive policies so that families don’t end up separated and children and other vulnerable refugees are kept safe from dangerous camps such as the one at Calais.
The four aid agencies proposed 12 recommendations to the British government which include widening the criteria for who qualifies as a family members to include siblings, parents, in-laws and young adult dependents. The recommendation also includes allowing unaccompanied children that are recognised as refugees in the UK to bring family members to the country under the family reunion policy.
UK Government not showing compassion
Maurice Wren who is Chief Executive of the British Refugee Council says that it is a hard fact that persecution and war more often than not divides refugee families and the government is showing no compassion when it keeps families separated despite the dangers they may face. Mr Wren adds that no child should be separated from their parents or make the impossible choice between spending a life time apart or putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers. The British government needs to do more to help refugees flee from danger and rebuild their lives with loved ones in the UK.
Oxfam has authored a new report that suggests that within the next 25 years Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft will become the first trillionaire in the world. Oxfam which works to put an end to global poverty and advocates against growing income inequality released a briefing paper which says that since 2015 the wealthiest 1 per cent of the world’s population is richer than the remaining 99 per cent. The paper also said that 8 men possess the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half.
The economic model is not working
Oxfam uses these statistics to illustrate the fact that the present economic model disproportionately benefits the world’s wealthiest whilst doing very little for those who are poor. According to the study, Mr. Gates wealth was predicted using the average rate of growth of his investments which grew by an average of 11 per cent since 2009. If Mr Gates fortune continues to grow at this the rate, the world’s wealthiest person valued at US$75 billion could easily become a trillionaire if he lives to 86.
Taxation needs to be fairer
Mr Gates has pledged to do good with his money and has established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is also the founder of The Giving Pledge which is committed to getting the world’s wealthiest people to dedicate the majority of their fortunes to philanthropy. Despite Mr Gates decision to donate his wealth to charity, the study did highlight the fact that his fortune has expanded from US$ 50 billion to $75 billion in the ten years since he left Microsoft. Oxfam is also in agreement with Mr Gates when they say that whilst charitable donations are a good thing, they are no substitute for fair taxation.
Oxfam the charity whose goal is to reduce poverty has a new app for the iPhone that it hopes will rejuvenate donors who have grown tired of mailers a better insight into the organisation’s global operations. This comes at a time when most UK charitable operations are looking for new ways to solicit donations from the public. Overall charitable giving in Britain has fallen from £10.1 billion in 2015 to £9.6 billion last year. The results come from a report authored by the Charities Aid Foundation which also suggests that last year overall public trust in UK charities fell to an all-time low. The results are consistent with the downward trend in public giving.
hoping to change the way people see charities
Allegations of financial misconduct in the non-profit sector combined with high salaries of charity executives and fundraising tactics which have proven to be irritating were reasons those polled by the UK Charity Commission last year said giving had stagnated. Oxfam hopes this can be changed by bringing those who give closer to the charity value chain. The organisation wants to empower donors with a more efficient way to regulate giving. As a result, Oxfam has launched the My Oxfam smartphone app which enables users to monitor their donations and track, track sponsorship funds and respond quickly when there is a humanitarian crisis by making a donation.
“Charities are striving to meet the public’s demand for a closer, more modern and responsive relationship with the charities they support,” Paul Vanag, Oxfam’s head of fundraising said in a statement. “My Oxfam provides a window on to the lives changed by our supporters’ generosity and allows users to control their giving from the palm of their hand.”
Getting a better understanding of what Oxfam does
The designers of the app wanted to give users a better understanding of the work Oxfam actually does in the field. This means including video diaries produced by aid workers as well as testimonials from those that have benefited from the work Oxfam does. The app will also provide updates on what is going on with the latest humanitarian crisis as well as track funding pledges.
Leading charity Oxfam has warned that the situation in Yemen is dire with families finding it difficult to survive airstrikes and are facing starvation. Oxfam has called the situation “a perfect storm of suffering” and the entire country is suffering as the fighting has disabled a key port which is preventing the arrival of crucial shipments of food and fuel. According to the UN the number of vessels transporting vital loads to Yemen which has been ravaged by civil war for close to two years now has declined by 50 per cent in just a couple of months.
Fall in food deliveries dramatic
The fall in food and fuel deliveries has been dramatic and means that the fuel and food imports are at just a fraction of what is necessary for the country to survive and this is prompting fears of widespread famine. Oxfam is calling on the UK government to broker a peace deal in response to the crisis. The government has been accused of selling fighter jets and bombs to Saudi Arabia which have been used against civilians.
Millions could end up starving
It is estimated that eight million people in Yemen are already suffering from malnutrition with over 20 million facing starvation. Oxfam worries that the companies which import grain into Yemen will give up on the country because of the logistical and financial issues. Oxfam says that the possibility of widespread famine is a real and imminent threat. A spokesman for the aid agency says that the situation in Yemen is effectively a blockade and is making what is already a desperate situation even worse.
“Yemen is a country where 90 per cent of food is imported. If the importation of grain and other basics is halted, the consequences could not be clearer or more worrying. The country is enduring a perfect storm of suffering.”
Britain should broker peace
So far, the conflict has claimed more than 10,000 lives, 4000 of which are civilians. Three million people have been estimated to flee their homes. Both sides in the conflict have been accused of committing war crimes, however Oxfam says the British government has a moral duty to help broker a peace agreement after selling arms to Saudi Arabia that have been alleged to have been used in war crimes against civilians. The spokesman went on to add that the UK is sending aid to Yemen to mitigate the effects of war but simultaneously selling arms used to wage that war. Oxfam says the UK should not be an arms dealer in Yemen but instead act as a peace broker.
Britain’s biggest bookseller has made a pledge that it will donate £5 of each copy sold of its book of the month to Oxfam in order to help finance the charity’s work with refugees. Waterstones has chosen The Optician of Lampedusa written by Emma Jane Kirby as its book for November. The book is a work of non-fiction and is about a BBC journalist recounting the story of a migrant rescue effort following the destruction of their boat in the Mediterranean.
Reviews for the book have been positively glowing with critics describing it as “ambitious and important” and “a moving and unusual achievement”. The hard-back costs £9.99 of which the book seller will hand over £5 to Oxfam for each copy sold. Waterstones undertook a similar project in 2015 where it raised £1 million for Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.
Hopes to raise a lot of money
A year later and with the crisis in Syria continuing to escalate, Waterstone hopes it will be able to raise a significant amount of money for Oxfam with the sale of The Optician of Lampedusa. Typically, Waterstone’s says its books of the month sell anywhere between 20 to 30 thousand copies.
“Three years on from the terrible events recounted in The Optician of Lampedusa, the refugee crisis is ongoing as millions are forced to flee conflict, disaster and extreme poverty. In Italy, Oxfam is providing people with accommodation and essentials like clothes and food – as well as health and legal support. The money generously donated by Waterstones to Oxfam from sales of this book will enable us to help many more refugees.” Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said.
The author of the book Emma Jane Kirby said when the Optician of Lampedusa first recounted his story to her, she was haunted by it. She spent several nights dreaming it was her in his position instead, scrambling in the dark just to survive. She adds that she hopes readers will identify with this ordinary person who sets out on a journey to cross a see with friends and that they stay on board with optician as he seeks to steer his vessel towards the brutal reality that will shock everyone.
According to aid agency Oxfam, the wealthiest one per cent of the UK population own as much as 20 times the wealth of the poorest 20 per cent. This statistic makes the UK one of the most unequal countries in the western world and may be a major reason behind the Brexit vote Oxfam said. The data suggests that just 634,000 UK citizens were worth more than twenty times as the poorest 13 million and in response Oxfam is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to undertake policy which will narrow the gap between those who have and those who have not.
Inequality is astonishing
Oxfam’s report looked at data which came from the investment bank Credit Suisse and found the richest 10 per cent of UK citizens owned more than half of the country’s wealth. More astonishing was the fact that the top 1 per cent owned a staggering 23 per cent of the country’s wealth. In contrast the poorest 20 per cent own just 0.8 per cent of the UK’s wealth between them. The reports claims that vast swathes of the population felt they had no access to economic opportunity.
“Whatever your views on Brexit, the referendum brought divisions within our country to a head, with many people expressing distrust and disconnection with political processes and voting for change in the hope that it would improve their economic position,” Oxfam said.
Oxfam has welcomed the fact that Mrs. May has chosen to recognise the requirement to reform corporate culture and has suggested a number of measures that Oxfam believes the government should adopt. These include:
- Ensuring that workers are given more representation on company boards.
- Providing incentives to firms that encourage them to improve worker skill sets through training and education.
- Introduce a pay ratio of no more than 20 to 1. This would mean the highest paid person at a company earns no more than 20 times the income of the lowest paid person at the company.
- Dealing with corporate tax avoidance.
Oxfam’s Rachel Orr said that inequality is a massive obstacle in the fight against poverty and has produced an economy in which not all people can benefit. Whilst executive pay continues to rise, one in five are still living beneath the poverty line and are struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills. One way to tackle this is to end unscrupulous practices which means the government needs to reform the economy.
“That means closing wage gaps, incentivising investment in companies’ staff and making sure they pay their fair share of taxes,” Ms Orr said.
A spokesperson from Downing Street says the government is responding and made changes such as introducing the National Living Wage as well as undertaking reforms of the welfare system. The spokesperson did admit however, that that much more needs to be done both to help the poorest in the country as well as those families struggling to make ends meet.
According to the latest numbers, since the tragic drowning of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, refugee and migrant deaths have increased by more than 20 per cent. More than 5700 people have died on migrant routes globally in the last year. This despite the fact there was an international outcry when Alan’s body was found washed up on a beach following an attempt by his Syrian family to cross to Europe from Turkey. In the previous year before he died, there were 4664 recorded deaths said Oxfam which is running a crisis appeal for refugees.
General awareness is growing
Research conducted by Virtual Social Media Lab found that following the death of Alan, there was intense interest worldwide on the issue. In fact, there were four times as many tweets on the subject in the year following Alan’s death. Recent images of Omran Daqneesh who was pictured being pulled from the rubble covered in blood and dust in Aleppo also had a similar effect. Oxfam says this shows that the general public have some intense feelings about the violence which is forcing the refugees to flee.
Oxfam added: “Two major summits on the global refugee and migration crisis take place in New York later this month. The preliminary negotiations have been very disappointing, with many countries unwilling to do more to help, but the summits still offer the opportunity for governments to make firm commitments to improve the situation.”
Take in more refugees
Oxfam is urging the UK government to take in more refugees. Mark Goldring Oxfam chief executive said that the images which depict Alan Kurdi’s body washing up on shore were truly heart-breaking, and it was completely right for the images to induce shock and sadness amongst the general public. However, in the year since the incident took place, the situation for refugees and migrants has not improved, despite the fact they are risking everything for a better life, the routes have actually become even more deadly.
“To stop these needless deaths, we need a coordinated, global response to this crisis. The UK government has an opportunity to show it is part of the solution at the summits in New York later this month.” Mr. Goldring said.