I want to thank everyone who joined us in celebrating GROW week. You have made it a huge success.
Thanks to the web and social media, we had friends take part in the World Food Challenge throughout Canada and all parts of the globe. Our Food Jeopardy Game proved so popular that our Oxfam colleagues in Germany asked us if they could create a version of their own.
Across Canada, Oxfam staff and volunteers were engaged in a multitude of food events and forums. Of course the other ‘f’ word, famine, wasn’t far from our thoughts and discussions. What can we do to ensure that the famine we are witnessing in East Africa is the last?
The solution to famines starts with farmers. We need to make certain that farmers are properly supported. Access to land, water, credit, primary infrastructure – such as storage facilities and decent roads along with support services – go hand-in-hand with seeds and tools. It’s for this reason that we have to address issues like climate change and adaptation, land grabs, and investment in small scale farmers.
Another issue we need to address up front is gender discrimination. Did you know that if women farmers were provided with the same support as their male counterparts we could feed another 100 to 150 million people? No, I didn’t make this up. It’s a finding from a recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations body. As my colleague Lauren reminded us, rural women are demanding their voices be heard: “They simply want their leadership to be recognized and their organizations to be supported.”
GROW week may be over, but we need to make sure our voices are heard at both the G20 Summit and the UN climate change conference this November.
You can send a message to the Prime Minister underscoring your expectation that meaningful action will be taken on world hunger at the G20 Summit. Please encourage your friends to send messages too. Numbers do matter.
Later in November, the world’s attention will be focused on Durban, South Africa, where “COP-17”, the UN climate change conference will be held. Our voices need to be heard there too. And in 2012, we will need to prod and push world leaders to take significant action at the Rio+20 conference.
GROW week is over but the GROW campaign is now in full swing. We hope you will continue to engage with us in campaigning for a future where no one goes hungry.
Bill Hynd is Campaign Coordinator with Oxfam Canada