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Smallholder farmers facing the brunt of climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa

September 26th, 2014 by Posted in Climate change, English | No Comments »
 Water flows from trough to crop. Annie Bungeroth/Oxfam

Water flows from trough to crop. Annie Bungeroth/Oxfam

Climate-related disasters in the five years since global leaders last met to discuss climate change have cost almost half a trillion dollars (US$490 billion) – three times more than for the whole of the 1970s, international agency Oxfam said Friday.

In its observations ahead of the UN Climate Summit, called by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday in New York, Oxfam said more than 650 million people have been affected and more than 112,000 lives lost as a result of weather-related disasters since 2009.

“Since then, each year has been among the top ten most expensive on record. Poor people are being hit first and hardest by climate change. Livelihoods and crops have been destroyed, increasing food prices and leaving millions hungry. However international commitments to reverse the threat of climate change have stalled,” said the agency’s report, entitled ‘The Summit that Snoozed’.

The forthcoming gathering of world leaders, dubbed ‘The Ban Ki-moon Climate Summit’, is intended to galvanise global action to tackle climate change.

“However, despite the UN Secretary General’s initiative, world leaders are expected to bring little to the table,” Oxfam said. “There will be some promising plans announced by the private sector but, overall, Oxfam believes that the private sector initiatives lack the necessary ambition and scope to deliver a game-changing blow against climate change, offering no substitute for government action.”

Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “World leaders are behaving as if we have time to play with but they are ultimately playing with people’s lives. Climate change is happening now, claiming lives and making more people hungry. The costs are mounting and delay will only make the situation worse.”

Sub-Saharan Africa is already negatively affected by climate change and the trend will continue to worsen in the future. Rising temperatures and increasing unpredictability of rainfall is reducing the yields of smallholder farmers. Climate change disproportionately affects women and smallholder farmers, through increased competition for scarce resources and high vulnerability to disasters. Southern Africa is exceptionally susceptible given that almost 80% of national populations reside in rural areas and draw their living from agriculture, which is highly climate-dependent. An estimated 50-100 million people in Southern Africa may experience water shortages by mid-century. It is estimated that 80% of rangelands and rain-fed croplands in the region are degraded. Only 4% of the cultivated land in Southern Africa is under irrigation. Environment and natural resources management is not prioritized in policy. Overall, SADC member countries have not developed climate change policies in a coordinated manner. There are still significant policy gaps.

These challenges call for the strengthening of certain policy aspects in the SADC RAP RF, especially as they relate to youth, women and smallholder farmers.

The risks of climate change are real and demand a robust response. Therefore Member States should strive to:
• adopt the Integrated Rural Development Strategy;
• promote agro-ecological farming practices based on traditional farming knowledge and technologies and infrastructure to increase the resilience of vulnerable farmers, including systems for irrigation;
• strengthen the formation and implementation of sustainability plans and early warning systems (EWS);
• broaden EWS to cover food availability, access to food, information on staple food markets and crop and livestock pests and diseases;
• develop a cohesive and comprehensive disaster risk management/ reduction framework that goes beyond just food security;
• provide incentives for facilitating production shifts to food products; and
• develop and harmonise effective climate change adaptation actions.

 Oxfam staff and partners show their commitment to the Food & Climate Justice campaign

Oxfam staff and partners show their commitment to the Food & Climate Justice campaign

When leaders met in Copenhagen in 2009, they agreed to cut emissions but not by enough to avoid global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius.

However countries have done nothing to increase ambition since, despite plummeting costs of renewable energy. Some like Canada and Japan have backed away from their pledges altogether.

Now the world is on course to warm by almost 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, which will guarantee widespread climate destruction and hunger.

According to Byanyima, “Voluntary action by the private sector will not be enough on its own. We need strong political leadership and ambitious government regulations to catalyse the global action that both the science and a growing number of people around the world demand.”

Oxfam called for the Ban Ki-moon Climate Summit to insist that governments recommit to their 2 degrees Celsius goal, increase their near-term emissions reduction targets and agree new targets to phase out fossil fuel emissions entirely by the second half of the century.

“They must increase their climate finance to meet their target of US$100 billion a year by 2020, and provide grants to the Green Climate Fund over the next three years totalling US$15 billion,” the agency urged, insisting that by Spring 2015, they must submit ambitious initial pledges for the UN Climate Conference in Paris at the end of next year, in line with their fair share of the global effort needed to put the world back on track to avoiding runaway climate change.

Chiawa Receives Wheels Of Healing

September 25th, 2014 by Posted in Countries, English, Zambia | No Comments »

On Friday 5 September 2014, Oxfam launched an exciting health advocacy initiative at Kambale Rural Health Centre in Chiawa Chiefdom.

The launch was attended by Clinical Officers, Community Health Workers, representatives of the Kafue District Commissioner Office and Cheiftainess Chiawa as well as Kafue District Medical Officer Dr. Munga.

Speaking during the event, Oxfam’s Essential Services Coordinator Mrs. Monica Mutesa said that the new initiative will focus on improving health sensitization activities in the community by strengthening the involvement of community health workers and reinforcing maternal health. She said, “through our partner TALC (Treatment, Advocacy and Learning Campaign), we intend to train more than 20 Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs) and Neighbourhood Health Committees (NHCs) in lobbying and advocacy, conducting health service delivery monitoring and budget tracking in order to hold service providers and government accountable”.

Mrs. Mutesa also handed over 30 bicycles and 60 T-Shirts to Chiawa and Kambale Rural Health Centres to address the challenge of transportation Community Health Workers (CHWs) face in Chiawa. She said, “in the next few weeks, Oxfam will support both health centres with 2 motorcycles for medical staff and construct a mother’s shelter”.

In response, the District Administration Officer Mr. Ngoma thanked Oxfam and the Swedish Embassy for playing an important role in the fight against HIV/AIDS and reducing maternal and child health. He said,” On behalf of the District Commissioner and the Zambian government, I commend you for working on this important issue and I can assure you that we will follow the implementation of this intervention with keen interest, as it will make a big difference in the lives of the people in Chiawa particularly, women and children”.

The District Medical Officer, Dr. Munga said that bicycles will help to solve the challenge of long distances in Chiawa as the villages are far apart. He said, “these bicycles will make our work easier as we will now be able to start our sensitization programmes, encourage pregnant women to give birth at health centres not at home and also use them as transport for patients who are unable to walk to the health centres”.

Chieftainess Chiawa’s Representative Mr. Sakala thanked Oxfam for the work it has been doing over the years to improve lives in Chiawa such as empowering women to start the successful banana irrigation project and conducting numerous training programmes on health, anti – gender based violence, agriculture markets and entrepreneurship.

He also urged the care givers to take care of the bicycles and only use them for the intended purpose.

Royce Hazinga – Community Health Worker for 10 years

‘For a long time, women did not come to the clinic for antenatal. They preferred delivering at home. In most cases, this resulted in complications even death.’

‘Now, after teaching them the importance of these issues, I am happy to say that more women are coming to the health centre to start antenatal from 12 Weeks.’

‘I am so happy about these bicycles. Transport and long distances are the main problems here but with this bicycle, I will be able to visit and encourage more people to come to the health centre for proper treatment of diseases like Tuberculosis, Chicken Pox, AIDS, Malaria and also and encourage parents to take children for weighing and vaccines.’

What I learnt this morning in Matiwe village on International Literacy Day

September 10th, 2014 by Posted in Countries, Education, English, Women's rights, Zambia | 1 Comment »

Misozi Tembo: Media and Communications Coordinator, Zambia

 Kapui Mubuyeata. Photo Credit: Misozi Tembo

Kapui Mubuyeata. Photo Credit: Misozi Tembo

Early this morning, as I was filming at a community school in Matiwe Community, Nalikwanda Constituency 35 Kms from Mongu Town, Western Zambia, I came face to face with Inequality.

I learnt that the parents of children at this school fail to pay a maintenance fee of ZMK1 (US$ 0.16) because they simply can’t afford it.

I learnt that in rural communities, girls start Grade One very late ( 12 or 13 years old) because when they are younger, they fail to walk a distance of over 20 Kilometres and parents worry about their safety as they have to use a dangerous route through the bush or plains.
I already knew that having clean water at a school reduces waterborne diseases and increases class attendance particularly for the girls. What I didn’t know is that most of the children go without food and coming to school to at least drink clean water is also a motivation.

Today was the beginning of Term three and 40 out of 106 pupils showed up. They were in awe of their new classrooms and every excited to sit on desks for the first time. When we sat down to chat, I began by asking very simple questions to open them up but only two put their hands up. I didn’t understand. I decided to take them outside hoping they‘d relax. They did a little but they were still oddly withdrawn. I was at a loss. Then I asked one of them through my Lozi interpreter what was wrong. And 13 year old Kapui Mubuyaeta almost apologetically said, “it’s hard to talk or play when you are hungry. We are hungry”. I asked him when he last ate, he said two days ago. I learnt that most children in this area go without food for days because their parents or guardians are poor and unable to farm due to the fact that the land is too sandy and infertile.

 Mate Silishebo (left) and Naena Munimi. Photo Credit: Misozi Tembo

Mate Silishebo (left) and Naena Munimi. Photo Credit: Misozi Tembo

I also meet a very smart girl who is preparing to write her Grade 9 exam in November. Her parents had sent her to Mongu Town to live with her married female cousin in order to access secondary school education. Unfortunately, her brother in law used to sexually molest her and parents brought her back to the village. This has left her traumatised and ill. When I asked her what she wants to do after school, she said, “I want to be a police officer”. I can only imagine the reason.

Inequality remains a major impediment to human development. Why do a few have excess and the majority live in abject poverty? We have become aggressive consumers with little thought about the well being of our communities, in this case, the next generation. We need to stop and think about what we can do beyond our families. What we can do for the children in villages who just need food, water, books, pens and protection. What can you and I do to ensure that children in Africa – our children get a quality and equitable education?

Oxfam in partnership with Young Women’s Christian The International Women’s Leadership Association (YWCA) supported the construction of a Borehole, 1X4 Classroom Block, 1X2 Semi Detached Teachers’ houses, and VIP Latrines for Girls, Boys and Teachers.

Oxfam, CARD link smallholder farmers to ready markets

September 9th, 2014 by Posted in Agriculture, Countries, English, Malawi | No Comments »

By: Daud Kayisi,Media & Communications Coordinator, Malawi

 Kholoni women group processing ground nuts to ground nut paste

Kholoni women group processing ground nuts to ground nut paste

Due to favourable climatic conditions, smallholder farmers from Mchinji district are among those that grow groundnuts, soy beans and sunflower. But despite growing these “cash crops”, many farmers never appreciate any improvement on their livelihood through farming because unscrupulous vendors buy their produce at very low prices.

Veronica Zabuka from Matimba village is one of the farmers from the district and she says: “I have been a groundnut farmer all my life but I have little or no asset to show as a result of my lifelong farming endeavour. Owing to unavailability of ready and profitable markets, vendors were my only option and the prices they offered were very pathetic.”

However, since last year, some farmers in the district have embraced agribusiness concept thanks to a project initiated by Oxfam in Malawi in partnership with Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) that links them with private companies offering ready markets for their produce.

With almost a year now since the project rolled out, 98 farmers working collectively as Machichi Cooperative have been linked with a number of potential buyers. The project is also equipping the farmers with value addition skills. This has consequently encouraged a lot of subsistence farmers to consider agriculture as a means of improving their livelihood.

Consequently, the farmers have managed to process 400 litres of crude oil from groundnuts they contributed as shares to the cooperative and have supplied it to Cori Oil Limited, one of the country’s cooking oil manufacturing companies. Meanwhile, the farmers are consolidating groundnuts they harvested during the 2013/14 growing season readying it for processing into crude oil or peanut butter.

“The prices of crude oil offered by Cori and others are promising as opposed to vendors,” argues Zabuka, now a member of Machichi cooperative. “With our current prospective buyers, chances are high that we can sell 4kg of groundnuts at MK1 900 after value adding as opposed to K1000 or less that vendors were offering.”

Meanwhile, Cori has challenged the farmers to grow more groundnuts and sunflower in the next growing season to meet the 1000 litres per month demand by the company. Apart from Cori, the farmers have also been linked to Sunfeed Oil Limited and Moni Oil, an Italian based cooking oil manufacturing company that would like to establish itself in Malawi.

Maxwell Banda, another member of the cooperative says an increase in demand is not only challenging the farmers to produce more but it is also likely to raise the prices of their crude oil. “When demand goes up, prices go up as well and as farmers we are happy,” he says.

With funding from Oxfam, the project is expected to benefit five thousand smallholders farmers in the district and it will run until 2015. Access to structured agriculture markets by smallholder farmers remain a huge challenge in Malawi and linking the farmers to private companies that offer better prices is the next best option as opposed to vendors.

SADC: Building unity and solidarity to effect a system change

August 18th, 2014 by Posted in Agriculture, Climate change, Countries, English, Food security, Women's rights, Zimbabwe | No Comments »

Via Campesina, Rural Women Assembly, People’s Dialogue and WoMin

Bulawayo, 14 August 2014- Women from all the corners of the Southern African region descended on Bulawayo to participate in a parallel of the SADC Heads of State Summit, the People Summit, which runs from the 14th to the 16th. They have converged to share their experiences on how they have been affected either by decisions made by governments with little consultations with the people or the inherited colonial agro-mining complex which continues to grab land for extractive purposes. More importantly, the women have gathered to build and strengthen their solidarity, forge strong alliances and commit to the struggle to push for a system of change.

Today, on the first day, the meeting was energized with a mystica, singing and a drama depicting both the challenges faced by most rural women (evictions from land, loss of livelihoods etc) and the victory that comes with unity of purpose and solidarity. Solidarity messages were expressed for the people of Palestine who currently suffer gross human rights violation from Israel’s massacre of innocent civilians. Also, solidarity was offered to the many political activists imprisoned in Swaziland for expressing their political views.

Mercia Andrews of Rural Women’s Assembly, called on the women to build a strong unity and solidarity to strengthen the resistance and the voice of the people.”Movements bring change! They change the society and the country! Only organized movements, women can change our situation”, she said.

Women are the majority food producers and also constitute the majority of the electorate in Southern Africa and Africa. Grace from Zambia urged the women to use their majority power to effect change. She said, “A woman is a woman, a mother. No woman, no food. Women should own land and be given the title to it”. Elizabeth Mpofu emphasized that we should continue to build resistance so that one day change would come. She further stressed the importance of land and food sovereignty for the lives of rural people and the need to guide against GMO seeds and policies such as the seed harmonization, which destroy the people’s livelihoods.

This year’s SADC Heads of State Summit focuses on natural resources and value addition, but not on the worsening situation affecting communities. Samantha Hargreaves from WoMin called on the gathered people to join the alliance to fight against extractive mining companies which steal from communities and pollute their environment. Farai Maguyu said that instead of the western governments giving Africa development aid to end poverty, they should stop stealing natural resources from the continent and allow its people to determine their own development path.

There is a need to stop transnational corporations from stealing our natural resources. A campaign to dismantle corporate power and to stop their impunity is underway and aims to build people’s sovereignty. Such sovereignty is critical in our struggle for a better life for all people.

In the words of Elizabeth Mpofu which resonated with all the speakers, “We are not here to celebrate but to know who we are and what we are fighting against. We are here to strengthen our resistance and no one is going to come and rescue us from these challenges.” The People’s Summit is not just a gathering that follows the Heads of States but a growing force from below which seeks and envisages a better tomorrow characterized by equality and equity for all. This movement and its voice continue to grow and cannot be ignored by governments.

Locals take ownership of Chingwizi project

July 18th, 2014 by Posted in Countries, English, Water and sanitation, Zimbabwe | No Comments »
 Minister for Masvingo Province, Hon Kudakwashe Bhasikiti-Chuma officially handing over the facility to the people of Chingwizi

Minister for Masvingo Province, Hon Kudakwashe Bhasikiti-Chuma officially handing over the facility to the people of Chingwizi

The 24th of June 2014 marked a special day as Oxfam handed over of a water purification system to the Civil Protection Unit and the people of Chingwizi temporary settlement area.Oxfam was one of the NGOs that responded to the plight of people affected by the floods in the Tokwe Mukorsi area. In a humanitarian situation Oxfam came in and worked alongside the Government of Zimbabwe, District and Provincial Authorities and local partners to provide for the needs of the over 15 000 people affected by the floods.

When the camp was established, the lack of water and sanitation was a ticking time-bomb that could have led to a disease outbreak and extreme hardship for the people in Chingwizi. However, Oxfam used its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene expertise to build a water-purification system capable of converting 180 000 liters of river water into potable water every single day.

This system now provides all of the water requirements of the 15 000 people in the holding area. Oxfam also worked with its partners, such as BHASO to ensure that the clean water was accompanied by hygiene and health promotion to prevent disease outbreaks.
It was the objective of Oxfam to hand over the project so that the people of Chingwizi can work together with local authorities to ensure that the needs of the people in the holding area continue to be met sustainably.

 Chingwizi temporary settlement area

Chingwizi temporary settlement area

At the handover ceremony, resident Minister for Masvingo Province, Hon Kudakwashe Bhasikiti-Chuma acknowledged the massive importance of clean water in the holding area and described it as the biggest weapon in the fight against disease outbreak. Local authorities also acknowledged the work of the Oxfam team that set up the water system and worked with partners to ensure that the Chingwizi people’s hardship did not end in tragedy.

Oxfam is fully committed to its Humanitarian mandate and will continue to do all it can to assist people affected by emergencies such as the Tokwe

Mukorsi floods. We will continue to use our water and sanitation expertise as well as our experience in working with partners to ensure that lives are saved and communities supported to rebuild their lives after such an event.
Oxfam remains committed to its work in Zimbabwe and will continue to work with government and partners to assist people in need.

Mbare Cleanup Campaign

July 18th, 2014 by Posted in Countries, Zimbabwe | 1 Comment »

Mbare high density suburb is one of the oldest and most populated suburbs in Zimbabwe. Over the years and due to economic meltdown, the city has become a haven for litter with uncollected refuse and general neglect and disregard.

Oxfam and Harare City Council embarked on a joint programme of cleaning up the suburb. With the help of the residents the city is gaining back it’s ‘clean face’ and the residents are taking ownership of their neighbourhood in a massive cleanup campaign.

Watch a video of the Oxfam Zimbabwe Mbare Clean Up Campaign

2000 Men March for the “I Care About Her!” Campaign

June 11th, 2014 by Posted in English, Women's rights, Zambia | 1 Comment »

Misozi Tembo: Media and Communications Coordinator, Zambia

For the “I Care About Her!” Campaign, a 2000 Men March was organised for 23 November 2013 because we (Oxfam and partners) expected this number of fathers, uncles, brothers, husbands, national leaders- traditional power holders in Zambia to participate. Interestingly, we got more than 2000 with Lusaka coming in at 1800, Rufunsa at 388 and Choma at 500. This march served as a platform for good men to come out and publicly declare that they care about women in their lives and are committed to stopping violence against women.

 Men joining the march to publicly declare their stance

Men joining the march to publicly declare their stance

On the morning of 23 November 2013, one thousand eight hundred (1800) men marched through Chawama Compound, a high residential area south of Lusaka. Over 400 Zambia Police Officers, Area MP and now Defence Minister Hon. Edgar Lungu, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Gender Hon. Sikazwe, Inspector General of the Zambia Police Stella Libongani and local media also joined the march.

 Daughters, mothers, wives joined their brothers, fathers  and husbands during the I Care About Her! 2000 Men March

Daughters, mothers, wives joined their brothers, fathers and husbands during the I Care About Her! 2000 Men March

The atmosphere was electrifying with the music from the Zambia Police Brass band serving as a call to the people of Chawama. Men, women, young people and traders all rushed out of their homes and shops to join the 2000 Men March to Chawama Grounds. Addressing the community, Hon. Edger Lungu urged the men present to take an active role in stopping violence against women and girls. He said, “when this type of violence is happening in our communities, we often look the other way saying that this is none of my business after all, I look after my wife. Yes, look after your wife but also cross the boundary and see how your neighbour is treating his wife. If he is inflicting harm on his wife, befriend him since he is a man like you and teach him to stop being violent”.

 Defence Minister Hon. Edgar Lungu addressing the men at Chawama Grounds

Defence Minister Hon. Edgar Lungu addressing the men at Chawama Grounds

Zambia Police IG, Ms. Stella Libongani said, “It is important for us as men and women in uniform to be here because we want to send a strong message to the community that they should work with us in preventing gender based violence and hold us accountable in ensuring that the rights of women are observed”.

 Zambia Police Service I Care About Her! Champions during the 2000 Men March

Zambia Police Service I Care About Her! Champions during the 2000 Men March

Following the march, it was then befitting for fifty police officers to be trained as champions of the “I Care About Her!” campaign in March and April 2014. Officers in charge from all over the country gathered in Lusaka to participate in the training. As a campaign our aim is to have an I Care About Her! Champion at each police station in Zambia who will not only attend to gender based violence cases but also educate fellow police officers as well as the community on women’s rights.

Himalaya micro-hydro scheme: Empowering women through sustainable energy

June 3rd, 2014 by Posted in Agriculture, Climate change, English, Women's rights, Zimbabwe | No Comments »
 Rural Women and Oxfam in solidarity

The rehabilitated Simbengadzibve irrigation scheme with bean crops. Photo: Priyal Pillay/Oxfam

While the lack of modern sustainable energy services in many parts of Africa and the developing world affect everyone, they impact men and women differently. Women and girls are traditionally responsible for the growing of food, collecting of water, family care giving, cooking, cleaning and fuel gathering. Women are also the main users of household energy in developing countries and are also the most affected by the adverse effects of the lack of availability of modern sustainable energy services.

Despite this, women are also credited with having great knowledge that is critical to solving their energy problems. Therefore, their involvement in the uptake and implementation of renewable energy technologies is of paramount importance. In the Himalaya community of ward 22 Mutare District in Zimbabwe, Practical Action and Oxfam with funding from the European Union are aiding the community in the construction of an 80kW micro hydro scheme which will provide sustainable energy for homes, businesses, schools and agriculture. To ensure that women are adequately involved in project decision making, implementation as well as obtaining adequate benefits from the initiative gender mainstreaming is being conducted.

Gender mainstreaming incorporates the identification of the unique energy needs of both men and women to ensure that everyone is catered for. This mainstreaming is targeted at improving the welfare, productivity and empowerment of both men and women and is documented in a gender action plan. In the preparation of this plan it was noted that men and women’s roles in community developments differ and so it was agreed that in the development of the Himalaya micro hydro scheme women would be responsible for collecting and ferrying locally available material such as sand, stones, cement to the construction site while men would carry out the construction work, dig trenches, and carry and align steel pipes. It was also agreed that women would be adequately represented in trainings and project committees so as to empower them and ensure that their views are taken into account. The micro hydro development in the community will also bring different opportunities such as microenterprises which will benefit men and women differently. It is expected that women will be empowered and have their welfare improved through the availability of sustainable energy services, thus enhance women’s economic opportunities through providing more options for livelihoods and incomes.

Lighting for example is important for women to work more productively and healthily in the evening in their home and home industries.

 Mrs Chakanyuka (in front) and fellow women ferry river sand to the canal construction site

Mrs Chakanyuka (in front) and fellow women ferry river sand to the canal construction site

One community member Mrs Chakanyuka, a 35 year old woman who is involved in farming, buying and selling, and knitting says “A light bulb will make a huge difference in my kitchen! The kitchen is where we spend most of our time as women and as a family after a long day’s work so it would be great having lights in there.” She goes on to say that “Our kids will study better in the electric light and we will be able to sew clothes and church garments for our families and for sale.” She adds that “We hope that when electricity is introduced in our community we will be able to process and store our agricultural produce and women can get involved in sewing and chicken rearing projects which will improve our household incomes and our children will not be going to school barefoot anymore.”

 The Agribusiness centre with energy kiosk under contruction. Photo: Priyal Pillay/Oxfam

The Agribusiness centre with energy kiosk under contruction. Photo: Priyal Pillay/Oxfam

Musician Emeli Sande joins the battle against inequality in Zambia

April 22nd, 2014 by Posted in Countries, English, Zambia | No Comments »
 Rural Women and Oxfam in solidarity

Emeli with local musicians

Award winning Scottish musician and song writer, Emeli Sande visited Oxfam programmes in Zambia to raise awareness on the impact of inequality on violence against women and girls, challenges of small holder farmers, women in particular as well as the need for access to quality healthcare.

Emeli spent an afternoon with men who have taken an active role in stopping violence against women and girls through Oxfam’s “I Care About Her” campaign in Rufunsa, Lusaka District. She was also part of an inspiring workshop held for Zambian male musicians to explore ways of using music as a tool to stop gender based violence instead of perpetuating it. Emeli said, “Being in Zambia is reality – the challenges people experience are real. I will take time to think about how I can be part of the solution – perhaps use my platform to hold a concert and raise funds.”

 Emeli talks with Alex - One of the I Care About Her campaign Champions of Nkoloma Village in Rufunsa - Lusaka District

Emeli talks with Alex - One of the I Care About Her campaign Champions of Nkoloma Village in Rufunsa - Lusaka District

Emeli also met with Oxfam supported farmers in South Downs area, Kitwe. A former medical student, Emeli was keen to visit Kakolo Rural Health Centre and was impressed with the way the health workers and trained community members are committed to educating people on health issues. “As a former medical student, I am amazed and inspired by the passion and commitment the health workers have whilst serving with very limited resources,” she said.

 Emeli with Oxfam Staff during the I Care About Her Musicians Workshop

Emeli with Oxfam Staff during the I Care About Her Musicians Workshop

Of the visit, Oxfam Country Director Nellie Nyang’wa said, “We privileged to host Emeli because she is very influential, has a personal connection to Zambia through her father, Joel Sande, and most importantly an association with a fairer, better world following her Olympics ceremony role and as exemplified in the lyrics of the blockbuster song Read All About It”.

This powerful song is an excellent description of Oxfam’s engagement in strengthening the confidence and capability of poor communities to tackle injustice. Emeli was accompanied by her parents, Joel and Diane and her sister Lucy.