Thank you for 2011

Campaigning for change article written on the 16 Dec 2011

Photo: OxfamAUS

2011 is coming to a close, and we just wanted to take the time to thank you for all your work throughout the year.

Through your tireless efforts, we’ve achieved amazing things on a number of fronts. Here’s just a few highlights from 2011:

Oxfam Summer
Our Victorian Campaigner Clancy and his volunteers started the year off with a bang with the Oxfam Summer project getting a great presence at music festivals over the summer break. The Oxfam Summer Team educated festival goers about the impacts of climate change and what they could do to make a difference, bringing a piece of the pacific to festivals with palm trees, fish and sign posts warning of rising sea levels.

National Close the Gap Day
With your help this year’s National Close the Gap Day was our most successful yet with over 800 registered events across the country. These events were extremely diverse in both size and scope, and included events in hospitals, schools, councils, State and Federal Parliaments, community organisations, workplaces and people’s homes.

The Sydney South West Area Health Service organised public events at RPA & Bankstown hospitals that involved over 200 people. There was also an event at Parliament House in Canberra attended by more than 60 people including 26 parliamentarians. The Close the Gap campaign is now in its sixth year and it is fantastic to see such strong, and growing support for the critical call to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality in a generation.

More than 175,000 people have now signed the Close the Gap pledge, calling for Government commitment to improving the health outcomes of Indigenous Australians within 25 years. This year the government agreed to work in partnership with Indigenous communities and organisations to develop a long term plan to Close the Gap, due in no small part to your continued support of the campaign.

You can sign up now to hold your own National Close the Gap Day event in 2012, and show your support for Australia’s largest campaign for Indigenous health.

National Rugby League Close the Gap round
This year saw the third year of collaboration between the National Rugby League and the Close the Gap campaign. Once again the NRLdedicated an entire round of their competition to Close the Gap, spreading the Indigenous health message at every game over their four-day competition weekend.

The NRL produced an excellent three minute film, had on-field signage at many of the stadiums, live speakers before several games and the involvement of commentators across both pay TV and live TV. As a result, the Close the Gap round Rugby League games were viewed by over 3 million people. This excellent partnership with the NRL, the first with any major sporting code has again proven the value and necessity of working together to address the Indigenous health crisis.

Campaigning for a safe climate
It’s been a whirlwind year for climate action, with the landmark passing through Parliament of legislation to put a price on carbon an obvious highpoint.

Our photographic exhibition Land is Life has been touring the country, bringing the voice of Pacific Islanders and South Africans to thousands of people around Australia.

Our Climate Trackers project ensured that you were always kept updated on movements at the various international climate negotiations, fromBonn to Panama to the recent Durban COP17. Our tracker Clancy took your messages directly to the Australian delegation, as well as meeting with Climate Minister Combet to hand over our ‘to-do’ list for the climate. Hundreds of your messages were delivered directly to the inspiring African Caravan of Hope as it arrived in South Africa.

There is still a lot of work to do to ensure climate action. The Durban climate talks did make progress towards a global agreement, but without the much needed funding for a Global Climate Fund, poor countries will suffer the increasing severity of changing weather patterns and food scarcities.

GROW
This year also saw the inception of our new campaign: GROW. GROW is a vision for a brighter future. Already, almost a billion of us go to bed hungry every night. Not because there isn’t enough, but because of the deep injustice in the way the system works. We can grow in a better way.

After our worldwide launch on June 1st, we held events around the country, celebrities came on board to back the campaign, thousands of you took our food survey and even more took the GROW pledge, showing your support and determination to this campaign.

This is a big campaign with big ambitions, and together with your help we’ll work towards creating a future where everyone always has enough to eat.

Gather to GROW
On World Food Day, we joined with Oxfams around the world with ourGather to GROW events. Hundreds of people all across Australia held events in their homes, workplaces and in the community, helping us raise much needed funds for the famine in East Africa, as well as contribute to solving the bigger picture through our GROW campaign.

The combined efforts of events like yours held in homes, restaurants, sheds and parks around Australia enabled us to raise over $75,000 for the campaign. Your support meant that Oxfam could scale up our response in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, saving more lives. We’ll continue to work in the Horn of Africa to provide clean water, food and basic sanitation to millions of affected children, women and men.

Fairtrade fortnight
For Fairtrade Fortnight 2011, Oxfam joined forces with the Fairtrade Association to bring out two fascinating speakers to tour Australia and New Zealand.

Senarath Yatigammana from Bio Foods in Sri Lanka (the organisation behind Oxfam’s new Fair tea range) and Cecilia Granadino from MINKA Fair Trade in Peru toured around both countries, answering your questions and appearing at a number of special events.

Hundreds of you took the opportunity to talk directly with Senarath and Cecilia and find out just how Fairtrade works in practice, and how their communities have benefited from your choice to switch to Fairtrade. Stay tuned for Fairtrade Fortnight 2012, where we’ve got a number of activities planned to build upon the success of this year’s tour.

Just Group announce a ban on sandblasted jeans
In February 2011 The Just Group was first publicly alerted to the serious health risks faced by workers involved in sandblasting denim. Since then, hundreds of our supporters wrote letters to the Just Group asking them to ban this dangerous practice. After months of no action, on 8 September 2011, we held a media action outside a Just Jeans store in Melbourne, calling on the company to put an end to sandblasting. We received extensive media coverage on SBS, and a large number of national newspapers. Just two weeks later the Just Group made a public announcement banning the purchase of sandwashed jeans.

2012 and beyond
Of course this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of everything that you’ve achieved this year, but it gives you a good overview of the spread and impact that your voice has made to many of our important campaigns. You can always stay up to date by joining us on Facebook, Twitter or by reading our blog.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to working with you in 2012 to create a world where everyone has enough to eat.

Oxfam Campaigns Team