As someone who has always been interested in the good work that Oxfam does, I recently decided to join their Constituency Campaigner programme. In this role I work with Oxfam to help the more than one billion people around the world who are in poverty by participating in political lobbying and campaigning. I have written letters to my MP and even had a meeting with him – after which he wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, about the IF campaign. Shortly after this, at the G8 summit the UK pleded
to work with other nations to implement stronger measures to tackle international tax dodging, which could potentially save billions of pounds that could go towards tackling poverty at home and abroad. I have no doubt that the actions of all those who worked hard to campaign on behalf of Oxfam in the run up to the 2013 G8 summit helped to inform the UK government’s decision to take further steps against global hunger.
Campaigning with Oxfam includes much more than just writing letters though – on the 8th of June 2013, 45,000 people got together at a rally in Hyde Park to speak out for the 1 in 8 people who go hungry every night. As well as the issue of global tax dodging, the day also sought to shed light on the issue of land grabs, a vulgar practice in which companies (often illegally) appropriate land from indigenous populations, such that it can no longer be used to feed hungry mouths and is instead used for corporate interests. As well as providing information about this issue, we also held stunts such as our very own land-grab of Hyde Park. It was a great day out with a host of fantastic speakers, including Bill Gates, Danny Boyle, Eddie Izzard and David Beckham. Ultimately the day resulted in 250,000 people signing a petition calling on the government to do more about global poverty, and the government’s actions at the G8 summit showed that they listened.
There’s a strong moral imperative to act on behalf of the global poor, even more so if you live comfortably and in a country such as the UK, because it is arguably responsible for much of the poverty found around the world, and at the very least, could actually work with other nations to eradicate global poverty without incurring any kind of significant loss in wealth. Oxfam’s Constituency Campaigner programme couldn’t be easier to apply for, just complete the form at www.oxfam.org.uk/ccp, and once enrolled, you receive a host of different training opportunities to help you become the most effective campaigner that you can be. So far I have been on a number of skills sessions days which help you to get to grips with a variety of Oxfam’s campaign, and get expert advice from professional campaigners. It’s also a great way to meet other people who share your passions and interests. If you feel like you’d like to make a difference, attend some amazing events and meet some great people then I couldn’t recommend it more.
N.B This entry was originally posted on Oxfam’s website.