Stamp Out Poverty

Believe it! Used stamps and envelopes can add up! Oxfam Canada volunteers raise at least $10,000 annually by sorting and selling stamps to collectors. About $300,000 has been given to Oxfam from the Stamp Program since it started in 1980.

What do students from the Parkview Public School in Melville Saskatchewan have in common with a store in Iqualit, Nunavut, an insurance company in Ottawa and a manufacturer in Belleville, Ontario? They and hundreds of others have collected used stamps and envelopes for Oxfam Canada's Stamp Programme. Even Provincial premiers and a former Prime Minister have donated stamps to help stamp out poverty.

 

What do students from the Parkview Public School in Melville Saskatchewan have in common with a store in Iqualit, Nunavut, an insurance company in Ottawa and a manufacturer in Belleville, Ontario? They and hundreds of others are collecting used stamps and envelopes for Oxfam Canada's Stamp Program. Even Provincial premiers and a former Prime Minister have donated stamps to help stamp out poverty.

Click here to see a video interview about volunteering with Oxfam and the Stamp Out Hunger program.

How the money is raised

Oxfam Canada's Stamp out of Poverty volunteers.Believe it! Those used stamps and envelopes can add up. Oxfam Canada volunteers raise at least $10,000 annually by sorting and selling stamps to collectors. About $300,000 has been given to Oxfam from the Stamp Program since it started in 1980.

What you should save

  • Everything!
    • foreign stamps
    • Canadian stamps
    • commemorative stamps
       
  • Keep the entire envelope if there are:
    • clearly identifiable town/village postmarks
    • registered/special delivery postmarks

Where should I send the stamps?

Once you've collected the stamps and envelopes they can be delivered to any Oxfam Canada office or sent directly to either:

Stamp Programme
Oxfam Canada
39 McArthur Ave
Ottawa, Ontario
K1L 8L7

OXFAM-Canada Projects Supported by Stamp Funds

The following projects were chosen by the volunteers in the stamp programme from among those already approved by Oxfam Canada's Program Committee and Board of Directors. In most cases, the stamp funds are only a small part of the total Oxfam Canada contribution, and many are funded by other organizations and governments as well. In this way the Oxfam Canada funds have a lot of leverage, being matched in some cases by two or more times as much money from other sources.

The most recent projects are described below and there is a complete list on the following page, detailing the total of about $300,000 raised since the stamp programme began almost 30 years ago. These particular projects were selected based on two criteria. First, they are meant to be broadly representative of the types of work Oxfam does in its main areas of interest. Second, we support worthy projects that have not had sufficient money earmarked specifically for them by other donors or allocated from general donation revenue.

List of All Projects Supported by Stamp Funds to Date

COUNTRY/REGIONPROJECTFUNDSYEAR
ASIACreating Spaces: Reducing Violence Against Women$26,0002016
ZIMBABWERecuding Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS$9,0002015
CUBA Women's Empowerment Fund$9,0002015
ETHIOPIAMicrocredit for Women$15,0002013
NORN OF AFRICACommunity Awareness$5,0002013
PHILIPPINESTyphoon Relief$2,0002013
NICARAGUAHelping Women Farmers Process and Market Farm Products10,0002012
GUATEMALAPromoting rights and improving living conditions of the Maya Kaqchiquel$10,0002012
EAST AFRICAFamine Relief$10,0002011

ZIMBABWE

Supporting Advocacy for Media Reforms

$15,000

2010

ETHIOPIA

Supporting Secondary Education for Girls in Benishangul Gumuz

$20,000

2009

CUBA

Gender Equality Pilot and Small Farmers

$20,000

2008

ETHIOPIA

Asset Based Community Development in Oromia

$15,000

2007

GUATEMALA

Women in the Maquila Industry

$10,000

2004

SOUTH AFRICA

Masimanyane Womens’ Support Centre HIV/AIDS Training

$14,000

2003-4

EL SALVADOR

Earthquake Relief

$10,000

2001

ZIMBABWE

Womens’ AIDS Awareness

$8,500

2000

NICARAGUA

Hurricane Mitch Relief

$5,000

1999

ETHIOPIA

Day Care Centres for Degua Tembien

$5,000

1998

PERU

Farm Improvement in Surco

$10,000

1998-9

NAMIBIA

Integrated Rural Development in Okavango

$10,000

1996

NICARAGUA

Rural Womens’ Committee in Leon

$5,000

1996

ERITREA

Zula Fisheries Community Development

$10,000

1995-6

CUBA

Hurricane Reconstruction and Housing Renewal

$5,000

1995

PERU

Rural Health and Community Development

$9,000

1993

NAMIBIA & ZIMBABWE

Seeds and Water Development

$8,000

1992

MOZAMBIQUE

Green Zone Agricultural Co-operatives

$6,000

1991

St. VINCENT

Adult Literacy Classes

$6,000

1991

EL SALVADOR

Integrated Community Health Care

$6,000

1990

NAMIBIA

Bushmen Community Development

$3,500

1990

CHILE

Womens Health Programme

$3,500

1989

NICARAGUA

Hurricane Relief Fund

$3,000

1988

MOZAMBIQUE

Assistance to Rural Co-operatives

$4,000

1988

BOLIVIA

Rural Womens Health Project

$4,000

1987

NICARAGUA

Fisheries Co-op Assistance

$4,500

1987

ERITREA

Hand Pumps for Clean Water

$4,000

1987

NICARAGUA

Farmers Technical Brigade

$7,900

1986

CHILE

Rural Development on the Island of Chiloe

$5,000

1986

ZIMBABWE

Mzingwane District Development Centre

$5,000

1986

DOMINICA

Caye en Bouc Farmers’ Co-operative

$2,500

1984

Total Raised to Date

 

$352,400

2016

Asia (Regional) Ending Violence against Women (2016) – $26,000

Violence against women and girls is rising rapidly across Asia. According to a 2013 study by the World Health Organization, nearly 38% of women in South and South-East Asia have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence.  In Bangladesh, more than half the women will experience physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their partners during their lifetime.  

This takes a huge toll, and it is fracturing families and communities and stalling development across the region.  Despite considerable progress in many countries to establish policies and programs to end violence, implementation has been slow. This gap is largely the result of deeply entrenched cultural values, attitudes and practices that are rooted in gender stereotypes and perpetuate exploitation, discrimination and violence against women and girls. There is compelling evidence that the most effective counter-strategies will engage a broad range of social actors, as well as institutional and political leaders, with a view to reducing the social acceptance of violence. 

This new flagship global program for Oxfam Canada, called “Creating Spaces”, aims to reduce violence against women and girls through coordinated prevention and response initiatives in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines. The total budget is $20M, including a $15M contribution from the Government of Canada and $5M from Oxfam. 

In the next 5 years 2016-2021 we will work with 18 local partner organizations, including women’s rights organizations, in each of the six countries to prevent violence by changing local norms and laws, responding to violence by providing women and girl survivors with services and economic opportunities, and strengthening collective efforts and learning across the region.

The program will directly reach 245,000 women and girls across the six countries, have three main components:

  • mobilize community leaders and young people to advance the rights of women and girls,  and to challenge and change local laws and norms that that help to perpetuate violence;  
  • empower women and girls affected by violence by providing access to support services and economic opportunities that allow them to thrive free of violence; and,
  • strengthen networks and build strategic alliances of civil society organizations across the regional working to end violence and advance the rights of women and girls. 

Cuba:  Women’s Empowerment Fund (2015) – $9,000

Oxfam Canada supports select initiatives that are designed by partners to increase social awareness and capacity to end violence against women, particularly in rural areas of Cuba; and to promote women’s leadership and economic empowerment in local development processes.   

The Women’s Empowerment Fund, supported by the Stamp Program in three rural municipalities in eastern Cuba, hopes to reach 600 women and 300 men directly and many more indirectly. The Fund will sponsor training, workshops, and other community events to raise awareness of violence against women; as well as a mediation centre in partnership with the National Union of Jurists.  We also intend to strengthen and monitor 17 economic initiatives led by rural women.  


Zimbabwe:  Reducing Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS (2015) – $9,000

In the province of Bulawayo, Youth for Today and Tomorrow is a local partner organization working to reduce the vulnerability of girls and young women to HIVAIDS. This is a 4 year program, and between April & December 2015, they will use the stamp funds to provide mentoring, HIV and sexual health information, run awareness campaigns, and support access to HIV health services. This preventative program aims to overcome some of the discrimination and cultural traditions that put girls at risk. The stamp funds are matched 10:1 by donations from Oxfam partners in other countries. 

Uganda & the Horn of Africa:  Community Awareness (2013) – $5,000   

A program in the Horn of Africa designed to raise community awareness of female genital mutilation through a campaign that highlights its impact on women's health and engages progressive imams to publicly denounce the practice. One grant raises awareness of the issue of ‘water widows’ (women who are sexually assaulted while collecting water and left by their partners as a result). This grant allows affected women to access loans to establish micro-enterprises, while also raising awareness among police and local authorities to demand greater protection for vulnerable women. 

A second grant supports the protection of women street vendors. The funding helps to launch an association of the vendors and enables them to engage in dialogue with local police and politicians for increased protection. Both this project and the following one have also been supported by the Government of Canada with 3 dollars for every Oxfam dollar.


Ethiopia: Microcredit for Women (2013) – $15,000

Oxfam Canada helped organize 65 self-help groups, comprising 1,430 members – all women. The groups mobilized almost $15,000 in small, regular savings from their members and much of that is then recycled in micro-loans for the women members. Oxfam then provided matching grants to the groups to increase the available loan capital. This made it possible to provide another 200 loans (just over $100 each) to selected women. Most of these loans went for the purchase of sheep, while 15% of the women invested in small trading enterprises. 

The program provides basic management training to enable members to develop simple business plans for both the self-help groups and their own, individual enterprises. Given the low levels of literacy of many of the women, the program has also introduced basic adult literacy and numeracy classes.


Women farmers in Nicaragua and Mayan women in Guatemala (2012) – $20,000                            

The Women Farmers in Nicaragua project directly supports more than 700 women farmers and indirectly helps 2,200 families by helping them develop successful agricultural businesses and become leaders in their communities. Oxfam has worked to improve livelihoods in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, for more than 25 years.

Oxfam Canada works closely with local partner FEMUPROCAN, the Federation of Women Farmers and Ranchers, to increase their members' access to land, credit, markets and training, as well as to advocate for policy changes that are important to rural women.

FEMUPROCAN is a national federation of eight women cooperatives, with more than 4,000 affiliates. Thousands of small-scale women farmers have seen their incomes and status rise by working through cooperatives and owning businesses. Oxfam’s project is designed to reach 99 communities of Nicaragua over two years.

Highlights of the program include establishment of a women-led marketing business for basic grains and processed products, processing businesses for wine, coffee, jams, pickled products and honey; and one for organic fertilizer.

Women receive training in economic, financial and business skills, self-esteem, reproductive health and their right to live free from violence. Leadership skills are developed in workshops and exchanges, to foster women's participation in municipal councils and influence on local policies.

Oxfam works to strengthen the cooperative system by helping develop, implement and monitor operational plans and prepare more young women for cooperative leadership in the future.

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Oxlajuj´ E is a non-profit women’s association established in 2004 in Sololá, Guatemala. It brings together 160 women from the Maya Kaqchiquel ethnic group to promote their rights and improve living conditions in a dozen communities.

Oxlajuj´ E works in four main areas: 1) Training women to exercise their rights and citizenship 2) Promoting women's economic development 3) Promoting Mayan art with the participation of youth 4) Protecting Mother Nature.

The key Oxfam-supported economic initiative is the production and distribution of Amaranth, a local ancestral native seed, to improve food security and nutrition as well as income generation from sales of locally handmade products. Oxlajuj´ E also encourages initiatives that strengthen sustainable production such as plant nurseries and reforestation.

The association is committed to preserving and promoting the cultural values of the Mayan worldview and using local farming practices for consumption, production, marketing and distribution.

Oxlajuj´ E is part of the network of organizations participating in the economic development program of the Sector de Mujeres, a feminist political alliance. This is the first time Oxfam has directly supported Oxlajuj E, recognized for its experience organizing Mayan indigenous women and supporting their productive and economic activities in the municipality.


East Africa food crisis (2011) – $20,000

A major food crisis, affecting 13 million people, was declared across parts of East Africa in mid-2011 and Oxfam launched its largest ever funding appeal for countries in the continent. Livestock died, harvests failed, and families’ livelihoods were destroyed. Tens of thousands of people were believed to have died – mainly in Somalia, where the first famine of the 21st century was announced. The poorest rainfall in 60 years was the tipping point.

Working with communities, governments, and local and international NGOs, Oxfam reached more than 3 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia with safe water, sanitation, cash and other support. The assistance provided both emergency life-saving humanitarian aid and long-term development to help communities cope with a changing climate and increasingly frequent droughts.

Oxfam engineers repaired boreholes, wells and water pumps, as well as improving traditional water storage reservoirs and training local maintenance committees. At a last resort to save lives, Oxfam teams trucked in water from other regions in some areas.

With high malnutrition, poor water supplies and people moving to escape drought, there was a high risk of outbreaks of fatal diseases such as cholera, malaria and diarrhoea. Oxfam teams built and rehabilitated latrines, and conducted widespread health campaigns in rural areas and crowded refugee camps.

A food crisis is not always about a shortage of food. Often, there is food but people cannot access it. Oxfam worked to rebuild people’s livelihoods and help them cope by providing cash for work and equipping farmers with new tools, seeds and training to help them prepare for the next harvest.

There have been significant improvements in some parts of the region since the emergency period but rebuilding lives and livelihoods will take sustained effort for years to come.


Zimbabwe: Supporting Advocacy for Media Reforms (2010) – $15,000                           

Zimbabwe was once known as the ‘bread basket of Southern Africa’ because of its strong economy, productive agricultural industry, as well as impressive health care and education sectors. However, since 2000 the country has been characterized by political, economic and humanitarian crises and most Zimbabweans—especially women and girls—have been living in extreme poverty with limited freedom. Oxfam has been working in Zimbabwe to address poverty and injustice for almost thirty years.

In 2008 the three key political parties in Zimbabwe formed an Inclusive Government and have been working together to make important political, economic and social reforms. The formation of this new government has provided an important window of opportunity for ordinary Zimbabweans to have a say in the future of the country and one of the key activities in the past two years has been a national consultation process to inform the drafting of a new Constitution. Oxfam has been supporting many local communities, women’s groups and other non-governmental organizations to participate in this constitution making process through the Zimbabwe Advocacy Strategy (ZAS). The stamp fund contribution represents approximately 6% of Oxfam’s total support to the ZAS program in 2011, which is funded by 4 different Oxfam affiliates that are active in Zimbabwe.  Work towards media reform is solely funded by the stamp program and would not have been possible without it.

There is now speculation that there will be a referendum on the new Constitution and a national election in 2011. However, many Zimbabweans and others are concerned about the possibility of a referendum and election without first reforming the justice system and media laws. Since 2000, the media in Zimbabwe has become a site of struggle: many journalists have been harassed, arrested, tortured and in some cases murdered for reporting on events that shed a negative light on the former government. There have been very strict government controls over the media, with the effect that many Zimbabweans have not been adequately informed of events in the country.

The new Inclusive Government offers an opportunity to revise media laws so that Zimbabweans have access to accurate information through newspapers, television, internet and other types of independent media; this is especially important in the lead up to a referendum and elections. In 2011, Oxfam will work with the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) to ensure that the new constitution guarantees freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information. MAZ will also work with regional and international organizations to tackle the country’s media crisis and to influence media policy reforms that must be undertaken if true democracy is to be restored.


Ethiopia: Supporting Secondary Education for Girls in Benishangul Gumuz Region (2009) – $20,000  

Oxfam Canada is working with the Ethiopia chapter of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) to implement a long term CIDA program “Engendering Change”  in Ethiopia. The Stamp Programme is helping with a project in the remote regional state of Benishangul Gumuz.  In Ethiopia, girls have much less access to education than boys. Only 32% of secondary school students are girls – even fewer in remote areas - in part because they are married young, and for other economic reasons. For example, most secondary schools are located only in the larger centres, so rural students either have to travel long distances or find local accommodation. This is particularly difficult for girls.

To promote education for girls, FAWE has been providing some with scholarship support, including bursaries for living allowances, school supplies, school uniforms, tutorials, and mentoring in life skills. FAWE also encourages the formation of “Tuseme” clubs at schools to help both boys and girls learn problem solving skills, assertiveness, and confidence building. In addition FAWE conducts training to make school and community representatives aware of gender-based violence.

Stamp funds will provide scholarships for an additional 30 girls in two new schools for the next 12 months. As a result, Oxfam expects that more girls will graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education.


To find out more about the sale of Oxfam stamps, please visit http://www.ohmygosh.on.ca/stamps/oxfam07/oxpr.htm