On 4th October everyone on our team at Canonical will work for a solid 24 hours period and stream it live to the internet. It will be hard, but it will also be lots of fun and we do it to raise money for charities. We all picked different ones and you can get more info about each of us on the Marathon page.
So a few friends already asked me: “Why Oxfam?” and there are obviously many many fantastic charities to choose from, but I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about why I love the work they’re doing.
Oxfam’s mission statement is “We believe we can end poverty and injustice, as part of a global movement for change.”, which is something I very much identify with.
I have very early memories of my life in which I had seen reports of injustice, poverty or hunger in the news and asked my mom why we let something like that happen. I was appalled, why isn’t everyone having a good life as I did? Even nowadays I find it hard to explain this to kids, which in my mind is the best way to test how much sense you are making.
Learning about organisations which helped to solve some of these problems reinstated my hope in humanity and I’m glad it did, because you’d probably all know a much less cheerful Daniel if that hope wasn’t reinstated back in my early days.
Oxfam makes long-term commitments to areas, so even when the reporters are gone, they stay and help to make these region less prone to catastrophes. They form local partnerships because they know that locals often know best how to address issues – there is no self-righteous sense of mission involved here.
A common garden
Watershed in Balandougou, Mali
Take the Sahel region for example. Life is hard there, rainfall is minimal and with climate change life gets a lot harder. Infrastructure and the medical situation can be problems too. So when there’s a drought hunger relief is important, but it’s not everything. You need to invest into education, you need to make sure people can sustain themselves and can find other venues of supporting themselves and others.
Oxfam’s help and support comes in all the forms mentioned above and many more, which is what I love about them. Sometimes it is seemingly small things like “an oven which needs less wood”, which in turn leads to less deforestation (which is a huge problem anyway) and girls (who do most of the wood collecting) having more time for their studies.
While this is all great work already, Oxfam doesn’t stop there. They deeply understand that some of the world’s problems are not made locally, but globally. So they campaign for policy change in lots of relevant areas, be it related to climate change, speculation on food prices, saving energy, issues related to biofuel and many other issues. Demonstrating against a coal power plant in Germany is connected to problems in the Sahel region. Oxfam get this. We’re in this world together.
Oxfam is also creative and fun. Their Unwrapped Store is a great opportunity to give presents and also make the world a better place. What I love most is the pair of goats (picture below) – there were a few weddings where this was part of my gift.
Pair of goats
Also have Oxfam been around since 1942 and they picked two very important points: poverty and injustice, which if granted to everyone would put them into a position where they can “exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives.”
This got more lengthy than I expected, but as you can see I really like what they’re doing. I have been supporting them for a while, getting their quarterly reports and a few of my friends volunteered from them. I’m quite sure you don’t do anything wrong if you support them.
If you want to support Oxfam and think working for 24h for Oxfam is a good idea, please donate here. Thanks in advance, you’re a hero!
See you all on http://marathon.ubuntuonair.com/ on 4th October.