I was intrigued by the sight of blue water bottles lined up in front of many houses and small shops as I traveled to Cheutiel Phlous Krom village, Kanchor commune, Chhlong district, Kraite Province in Cambodia. This little town is located on the banks of the majestic Mekong River. These bottles are kept to be refilled with clean drinking water from the water purification plant established in the village, a team member informed me. The plant is managed and operated by the village women who look after the business with some support from the Commune Council.
Today leading international experts on climate change, the IPCC, presented their latest report on the impacts of climate change on humanity, and what we can do about it. It’s a lengthy report, so we’ve shrunk it down to Oxfam’s five key takeaways on climate change and hunger.
“We stood on the highway and stopped vehicles to collect money for the establishment of our village health post. Men in the village ridiculed us when we sought their support for the health post building”. Narbada Oli explained to me. She is a women’s group member of Chhinchu village in Surkhet district of Nepal. Men in the village challenged us that if we were an empowered women’s group then why we couldn’t mobilise resources for the health post.
There was a heavy downpour in Tacloban when Oxfam just started its hygiene kit distribution. There were around 500 people who had had been identified and given prior tokens for distribution. Unlike in rural areas where often there are public place like school campuses etc to deliver aid, the relief operations are complex in areas like Tacloban city which are heavily populated.
The relief truck was parked on the side of a busy road. There were community volunteers who managed the traffic and made sure that there was enough space for distribution. I checked with one of my colleagues whether we needed to stop the distribution for a while. “Rain or sunshine we will continue the distribution. Once it’s started we will not stop. The communities will cooperate with us.” He quipped. In that heavy rain, people queued up patiently as the Oxfam staff / volunteers continued the distribution. In a matter of one hour, they finished the distribution. My colleague was right. I was amazed by the perseverance and understanding of both the communities and staff.
This was my second visit to Typhoon ravaged areas just before Christmas. My previous visit was to the northern part of Cebu province and Bantayan Island. As soon as I landed at the Tacloban airport, I could witness the extent of the devastation. With the tireless work of airport authorities and airline staff, commercial flights were operational. Roads had been cleared of debris and markets had revived. A major mall just reopened. Electricity and water supply had been restored. More »
Across the Philippines, Christmas celebrations are uncharacteristically subdued this year as people reflect on the devastation wrought by typhoon Haiyan and of the long task ahead to rebuild their lives. More than 6,000 people died and more than 1,700 people are still missing after the Nov 8 storm, known locally as Yolanda.
But even in those areas worst affected by the typhoon, people like 25 year-old Rowan are determined to do what they can to mark the occasion. “We found some Christmas decorations in the debris so we washed them and put them up,” he said, pointing to a makeshift Santa Claus complete with bearded mask. “We wanted to celebrate Christmas in some way”. More »
Unilever continues partnership with Oxfam in Thailand to help women in the deep South gain food security and incomeDecember 17th, 2013 Posted in Thailand | No Comments »
Unilever signed a contract on 11 December 2013 with Oxfam and Deep South Coordination Centre (DSCC) of Prince of Songkhla University, to continue the second year of the partnership project to Scale up Women Leadership and Market Development in Deep South of Thailand.
The project aims to increase food security and income of 1,300 poor women who are affected by the unrest in the Deep South provinces by 2016. The project runs from 2013 – 2016 and covers the areas of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwas and Songkhla Provinces.
Unilever has shared its expertise in business planning and marketing with the local women who struggle to understand business and raised public awareness promoting corporate social responsibility and investment to reduce poverty at the national level. Over the last year, the project has helped 375 women to increase food security and earning more income through growing and selling organic vegetables and fruits, training in small business development, marketing and selling skills. More »