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Oxfam UNIte Conference: an arena for new ideas

By Heather Wortes – University of Woollongong student

Oxfam University group members from around Australia joined forces at a three day conference in Sydney last week.

Students came from as far as Perth and Brisbane to share their success stories from past events and to brainstorm ideas for campaigns and events in 2013. The university groups work alongside Oxfam Australia to achieve their vision of a just world without poverty.

Several guest speakers came to share their knowledge with students at the conference, including Senior Policy Officer for the Human Rights Commission’s Community Engagement Team Ebony Bennett and the Coordinator of the National Close The Gap Campaign Tom Widdup.

Indigenous Constitutional Recognition and closing the seventeen year gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health are two issues Oxfam will be focusing on in the lead up to this year’s election. Whitton spoke about the importance of community education and support for the campaign particularly on National Close The Gap Day on March 21st.  Many of the student groups already had plans in progress for Close the Gap day events including BBQ’s and hosting guest speakers. They are also hoping to collaborate with other community organisations to help foster greater public awareness of the campaign.

The conference also proved to be the perfect forum to generate new and innovative ideas for Oxfam’s Make Poverty History and GROW campaigns. Successful events held by students for these campaigns in the past include Global dinners, GROW picnics and Fairtrade tea and coffee Stalls. The GROW campaign aims to build a better food system through growing food sustainably and supporting small-scale farming in developing countries. Make Poverty History is a global anti-poverty movement for the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals through increased international aid and fighting against climate change.

Keep your eyes peeled around campus and in your local community for even better Oxfam University events in 2013!

Find an Oxfam Uni group near you or start a group of your own.