Topic: food and agriculture

Living on a spike – how are high food prices actually experienced by people living in poverty?

The G20’s Agriculture Ministers are meeting for the first time today and tomorrow, in Paris, a sign of the rising importance of food security and related issues, following the recent chaos in global food prices (see graph). Oxfam is focussing its lobby efforts on biofuels (in many cases, a bad thing, diverting food to fuel […]

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Responding to some of the criticisms of GROW

When you launch a big campaign like GROW, you generally get both good reviews and a few attacks, and since the advent of the blogosphere, those attacks have got more virulent. This time around, we must be doing something wrong, because the handful of diatribes I’ve seen (do tell me if I’ve missed some) are […]

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Why is the new Oxfam campaign called 'GROW'? The importance of framing

What kind of a campaign calls itself ‘GROW’? Answer, a different kind. My first reaction on hearing the aural equivalent of puffs of smoke was a small jolt of surprise, and then a pleasurable ‘hey, that could be interesting.’ I’ve seen the same baffled curiosity on a few other people’s faces when they hear the […]

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The Killer Facts behind the GROW campaign

I’m a big fan of killer facts in campaigning – they summarize the issue and stick in the minds of policy makers and activists alike. So here’s a selection from yesterday’s launch of the GROW campaign, many of them ground out by ace number-crunching colleague Richard King: Extent of the problem · The poorest people spend […]

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GROW: Oxfam’s new Global Campaign

As promised, here’s the outline of the new 4 year Oxfam mega-campaign, GROW. The website is here, with the launch report ‘Growing a Better Future’ and lots of background papers and case studies. The point of departure for Grow is that the survival and flourishing of humanity in this century will be determined by its […]

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The biggest Oxfam campaign ever launches tomorrow (but it's a secret)

OK it’s imminent: fasten seat belts for the impending wonk, campaign, celeb and media fest around Oxfam’s campaign launch tomorrow. Biggest thing ever; simultaneous launches in 45 countries; bigger (at least in ambition) than Make Poverty History or Make Trade Fair, yadda yadda yadda. But due to the arcane rules of press work, I can’t tell you […]

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Random highlights of a week in Tanzania (workshop dancing, hyenas v goats, cricket attack – that kind of thing)

Any trip contains numerous golden moments that don’t fit into a neat blogpost. Here are some of them: The way a training session with activists regularly breaks into singing, dancing and general hilarity. If only all Oxfam meetings were like this. A vote on export bans: the government reintroduced a ban on exports of maize […]

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Do men and women see hunger differently?

The new campaign that Oxfam is launching next week will have a big focus on gender – almost every issue in development looks very different depending on whether you are a man or a women. I saw that in graphic form last week in Tanzania, during a training session for 40 ‘farmer animators’ – local […]

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What would it take for Tanzanian farmers' kids to stay on the land? Some views from women farmers

Bumba village in Tanzania’s deprived Shinyanga region is green, but not green enough, considering we are just at the end of what was supposed to be the rainy season. The maize is already withering on many of the small farms. But Thelezia Salula’s fields are looking pretty good – neatly planted rice paddy bending under […]

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Why sub-Saharan Africa needs Universal School Meals. Guest post from Swati Narayan

128 million children are enrolled in primary schools across Sub-Saharan Africa. But few of them get anything to eat while they’re in school. Many go to school hungry each morning without any breakfast. 13 year old Sylvester is one of them. He lives in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where children are […]

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New and harder evidence on climate change, hunger and food prices

New research published in Science magazine  shows climate change is already hitting food production, but the journos reporting it seem to have got themselves in a tangle. The Guardian reported it as saying that prices would be pushed up by ‘as much as 20%’, while the Economist put the figure at about 5%. It pains me to say it, […]

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Land grabs update: (a lot) more hectares than we thought, and definitely bad for development

This week’s Economist has an excellent update on the recent spate of ‘land grabs’. It argues that the balance of evidence against them as a development tool has shifted decisively (and negatively) over the last couple of years. The overall conclusion is damning: ‘When land deals were first proposed, they were said to offer the […]

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