Making CHANGE: Summits focus on Gender Justice

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First question: How does Oxfam take the potential for gender-based violence into account when planning cash distributions to women in emergencies?

Second question: What is the global South?

Over the past few weeks, the questions I’ve been asked and the conversations I’ve facilitated during Oxfam Canada’s Regional CHANGE Summits have been as vast as the distances I have travelled. The summits bring together young people from across provinces to explore gender justice and Oxfam’s approach to development and to learn to be active agents of social change in their communities and the world.

Weekends start with an imaginary trip around the world. We look at case studies in different countries along the way and discuss how Oxfam’s humanitarian, development and campaigns initiatives work together. Through the morning we share partners’ stories and spend the afternoon talking about the connection between gender and poverty. We draw maps, create fundraisers, imagine future plans, and evaluate what is strong, and what could be improved in our work as volunteers and activists.

Oxfam’s CHANGE Summits aim to build a lasting connection between participants, creating a network from coast to coast to coast of empowered change-makers.

Does every individual leave these trainings as a walking, talking, gender-myth-busting, human rights asserting super-hero? Not entirely. Does every person move at least one step closer to being a stronger, abler advocate for women’s rights? Seventeen days, seven provinces, three workshops and almost 100 participants from when I started – I think so.


Kelly Bowden is Oxfam Canada’s Youth and Campus Outreach Coordinator. She has facilitated summits in Kingston, Ontario; Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan over the past three weekends.

Oxfam’s Regional CHANGE Summits are taking place January 18th to February 11th across the country. If you missed regional training, consider joining Oxfam’s National CHANGE Summit later in 2013.

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