In Case You Missed It

USA defeats Ghana in World Cup match, but can Ghana defeat the ‘Resource Curse’?

Like so many of you, I cheered at home earlier this week as the USA’s Clint Dempsey scored the quickest goal of the World Cup so far, seconds after kick-off, and later as John Brooks put the US ahead of Ghana with an 86th-minute goal. The 2-1 victory over Ghana in the first round was significant, since the USA was eliminated by Ghana in the past two World Cups.

But the game also made me think about a much more important issue for Ghana than emerging from the so-called Group of Death: avoiding the “resource curse” that has plagued too many African nations.

Ghana is Africa’s second largest gold producer. But Ghana, which traders named the Gold Coast due to its mineral wealth, hasn’t seen its hopes for the gold trade realized. Mining hasn’t transformed the country’s economy or addressed poverty. In fact, most of the gold money leaves the country, and the industry has seen human rights violations, pollution, land grabs, and conflict between security forces working for the mining companies and the local communities. Ghana is struggling to properly regulate the industry, and many people turn to illegal mining to support themselves – often at a terrible health and safety risk as they use toxic mercury in the process. Despite their mineral wealth, a quarter of Ghanaian citizens live in poverty.

Oxfam America has been working with our partners in Ghana for years on extractive industry issues – making sure natural resources benefit Ghanaians, and they have the right to decide how these resources are developed. Ghana has taken big steps to try to avoid the “Nigerian model” and push the government to put strong transparency protections in place. The government has made a strong commitment to transparency and good management of these resources by passing a Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) in 2011 designed to make sure that payments between companies and the government are transparent. 

To help, visit our natural resources rights page, or tell the SEC to protect transparency. You can also watch the documentary Big Men, which follows Ghana’s oil discovery and the debate over how to develop the reserves. 

While the World Cup is an exciting time for countries around the world, Ghana’s most important match right now isn’t in Brazil, but back home fighting poverty and corruption. If the oil wealth isn’t managed properly, it could fail to address the poverty or even make it worse. The question is whether this revenue will go to support sustainable and inclusive development.

To read more: 

Fighting Climate Change through Corporations

If General Mills and Kellogg are serious about their commitment to addressing climate change, they will come clean about their position on the President’s Climate Action plan and exactly what they are doing about it. They can start by publicly supporting the EPA’s new rule, disassociating themselves from the backwards lobbying by the US Chamber, and signing on to Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy’s (BICEP) Climate Declaration.

To read more:

Farmers from different hemispheres come together to face the same changing climate.

Virginia lives in a region that relies on water flowing from rivers emerging from glacier and snow melt. Living and growing at an altitude of 13,500 feet, these indigenous farmers have relied for centuries on the Pastoruri glaciers, and a progression of seasons that alternated between rainy and dry, warmth and cold. The changing seasons have not been kind to Virginia’s potato and vegetable production and Virginia said that since climate change is taking effect, “there is little water, little rain, and spring water is scarce. In the area, there are places where there is no water.”  If the Pastoruri glacier continues to disappear and the weather continues to become more extreme, there will be limits to the community’s ability to adapt. That is why Virginia came to ask food companies and people in the US to do their part to fight climate change and decrease greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate this growing disaster.

To read more: 

Combating poverty

Starting June 11th, Oxfam launched an interactive series of maps on the working poor and a new report that illustrates how raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would give 25 million workers across the US a much-needed raise. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which works out to $15,080 per year for a full-time worker. That’s almost $4,000under the poverty line for a family of three.

Although the US is a wealthy country, tens of millions of workers today earn wages so low that they and their families are either poor or “near poor.” Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would benefit more than 25 million workers, one-fifth of the nation’s workforce, as well as the family members who depend on their earnings.

To read more: 

Storming Social Media to Help Stop Climate Change

Climate change may be the single biggest threat to the fight against hunger and the companies that produce popular brands are also adding to the problem. Oxfam’s latest Behind the Brands action is focused on getting the ‘Big 10’ food and beverage companies to step off the sidelines and do more to combat climate change – both in their own supply chains and through their influence with other industries and governments. We singled out General Mills and Kellogg as two companies that are lagging behind others on climate and challenged them to step up and lead the way to do more. 

On May 20th, Nadine and Janet, along with people across the nation, took to grocery aisles, public squares, and corporate facilities as part of the Oxfam's Behind the Brands Initiative to urge Kellogg's and General Mills to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain. The Action Corps handed out mocked up cereal boxes and took pictures at branded locations to show that people across the nation are fed up with climate change. Elsewhere Oxfam staff and volunteers staged social media stunts at corporate headquarters and industry expos. 

Then on June 5th, we began a social media blitz. The objective was to raise awareness among consumers, but also to send a strong message to these two companies to shape up their climate policies. You can read the full report here.

Supporters posted pictures like these directly on the Kellogg's and General Mills' sites like Pillsbury Doughboy and Frosted Flakes and using their Twitter handles @GeneralMills and @KelloggsUS. We know that Kellogg's and General Mills are now getting the message from us globally, but we need to increase the volume in calling to them and use our power and influence to protect the future of our food from the impact of climate change.

Now that we've set the internet abuzz, the push does not stop here. Oxfam wants the world to continue to advocate for climate change and ensure companies follow through on making policy reforms. They need to hear your voices.

To join us in taking action, visit, sign the petition, and begin sharing Facebook and Twitter posts!

Oxfam Action Corps DC Training!

We are honored to be part of the Bay Area Action Corps this year! We are both new to volunteering for Oxfam America, but are very excited to help right the wrongs to poverty. At the leadership training in DC we were surrounded by intelligent people, listened to inspiring stories, bonded with fellow Action Corps leaders, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and tried to absorb all the information we could about Oxfam America.

Here are a few highlights:

Getting to know our fellow Action Corps Organizers 
We had a great time meeting other Action Corps organizers. This was the first time we met each other, but after spending 12 hour days together we bonded pretty quickly! 

Janet was born in South Korea and grew up in Southern California. She studied Business at USC and moved to San Francisco in 2012 to work for Apple. When she is not working or volunteering for Oxfam, she loves to perform with her traditional Korean dance group.
Nadine is also from Southern California. She moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to attend UC Berkeley and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Since then she has worked in the microfinance industry and volunteered for various non-profits. In her free time she enjoys photography and baking delicious treats. Nadine is thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Oxfam America and can't wait to see what the year has in store!
The GROW Dinner 
On the first night of training we hosted a GROW Method dinner and invited our friends and family, if they were in the area. Little did we know, that we, the freshly trained "leaders", were put in charge of every detail and only had a few hours to throw it all together. Luckily for us, and the people we invited, the event was a complete success and a great learning experience.

Lobbying on Capitol Hill 
The most exciting day though, was definitely Lobby Day. By this point we heard the stories, read the information, prepared for the events, and knew why we were there. The last thing to do was to meet with members of Congress and lobby for what we believed in. We scheduled appointments with Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Represenative Nancy Pelosi. We didn't actually get to meet these incredible ladies, but we did meet with their staff members and that was nerve racking enough! The meetings all went well; we were preaching to the choir, after all.  Our talking points were to ask them to invest in effective, poverty-reducing aid programs that support local leaders around the world as they work to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. These programs included: Feed the Future, climate programs, and The Transition to Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. Such an awesome experience!

We were then sent on our way, back home to the Bay Area, to engage volunteers, advocate for change, and have some fun! And the fun has already begun!

What are our plans for the upcoming year? 

Farmers Markets
Volunteering at a Food Bank
Behind the Brands publicity stunts
World Food Day Event
International Women's Day event
and MORE!

Hope you can join in on the fun!

Save the Date: Act Local, Think Global Awards 2014

The Bay Area is renowned for it's political activism and for nurturing a true spectrum of social movements and exceptional leaders. This spring, the Bay Area Oxfam team will honor several women breaking ground on critical issues facing our world today at the Oxfam - Act Local, Think Global Awards 2014.

We'll recognize these accomplished women who are tackling global issues such as food justice, climate, water, land and corporate responsibility on March 23rd, 2-4:30 pm in San Francisco and you're invited attend. Don't miss your chance to rub shoulders with some of the Bay Area's most notable leaders, hear their stories and pay tribute to International Women's Day.

Date: Sunday, March 23rd
Time: 2-4:30 pm
Location: 518 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Public transport: Walking distance from the 16th St. Mission BART station

Admission is free, but RSVP is required. Light, sustainable and vegan friendly hors d'oeuvres will be served. Space is limited, so early RSVP is highly encouraged.

This event is brought to you by the Oxfam America Bay Area Action Corps. Contact for more information.

More of a behind-the-scenes person?
There are open volunteer opportunities to assist the Oxfam Action Corps during the awards ceremony. Find out how you can help by emailing
Special Monthly Meeting: Happy Hour Edition - February 2014

This February join the local Oxfam team and other like-minded individuals for a casual happy hour. We'll get to know one another, discuss Oxfam's current campaigns, share volunteer opportunities and have a drink or two. Save the date for February 24th, 6:30-8 pm, at Sugar Lounge in downtown San Francisco. If you haven't yet made it to a meeting, don't be shy just look for the Oxfam logo and join the fun.

To ensure space, RSVP is highly encouraged. Contact to be added to the guest list.

Date: Monday, February 24th
Time: 6:30-8 pm
Location: Sugar Lounge, 377 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Public transport: Accessible by Muni and BART from the Civic Center station
Parking: Metered street parking available
An Inside Look at the Oxfam Organizer

The Oxfam Bay Area Action Corps hosts an array of events and activities throughout the year, but ever wonder who's behind the scenes pulling these events together?

Introducing the Oxfam Bay Area Organizers, dedicated volunteers working directly with Oxfam America's largest office to rekindle hands on advocacy for food justice, small-scale farmer empowerment, social justice and gender equality.

Organizers handle everything from social media and volunteer relations to strategic alliances and event management. Every tablng opportunity, lobby visit with elected officials, volunteer work day and speaker event is shaped by the passion and eclectic experience that each Organizer brings to the table.

Members of the organizing team have exclusive access to a national network of fellow Organizers, support from Oxfam America senior staff and comprehensive skill training with an all expenses paid trip to Washington, DC for a 4-day leadership workshop. If this sounds like your kind of gig, your in luck because we're now recruiting for 2014 Organizers.

With the February 14th deadline approaching, all interested parties with a desire to help create lasting solutions to hunger and poverty are encouraged to apply.

To learn more about the Organizer role or to apply visit

Want a better feel for the position? Chat with a current Organizer by sending an email to

You know Oxfam, you love Oxfam, now lead Oxfam in your hometown

Leadership opportunity:  Organize in your community to end global hunger – join the Oxfam Action Corps! 

Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, invites you to play a leading role in the Oxfam Action Corps, an exciting grassroots effort to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world – starting right in your community.  The Oxfam Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in fifteen US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change.  It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants. You will gain leadership skills, have fun, and change the world!

Sign-up by February 14 to apply for Oxfam’s free four-day leadership training in Washington D.C. April 5-8, 2014.  

"This is leadership in practice. You can't just read a book on leadership. You have to put it into practice." - Jill Mizell, Researcher, New York

“Oxfam Action Corps has given me a ton of confidence… Gaining knowledge and being able to speak to people about the issues.”  - Amy L., Business Operations Analyst, Des Moines

"This has become one of the best parts of my life… I can't express enough how satisfying it is to be organizing with people who are just as committed and dependable and passionate. It is so great to have the support from the Oxfam America staff, and I've been really impressed by their accessibility, competency and friendliness." – Isaac E., Educator, New York City

View and share the short video below, highlighting the great work done by the Action Corps.

Sign up at by February 14
Season for Sharing

The party starts early this holiday season with the Oxfam Bay Area Action Corps. This Thursday, December 12th, 6-8:30 pm join your fellow Oxfam America supporters in Berkeley, CA and enjoy a delicious spread of GROW Method themed potluck dishes while playing games and making new friends.

The Action Corps asks that everyone bring a potluck dish that follows the GROW Method and any canned or packaged food items cluttering your cabinets that you can spare for donation to a local food bank, but if you can't bring anything, don't fret all are welcome.

The celebration will take place at the home of an Oxfam Action Corps member in Berkeley and is easily accessible from the Ashby BART station. Let us know if you're interested in joining the celebration for the exact address. You can RSVP by email or Facebook.

For ideas and recipes using the GROW Method check here:

Date: December 12th
Time: 6-8:30 pm
Location: Berkeley (near the Ashby BART station)

RSVP by email or Facebook.

Hope to see you there.

Special Monthly Meeting

Let's keep the pressure on.

Join the Bay Area Oxfam Action Corps this Monday for a social media cram session. We'll come together to send several messages to Pepsico through Facebook and Twitter asking them to follow in the steps of Coca-Cola by saying NO to land grabs in their supply chain. Join the fun Monday, 11/25, 6:30 - 7:30 pm at Samovar Tea in San Francisco (730 Howard St.). Pepsico monitors social media everyday and cares about its online reputation, so this is will be a great way to make sure your voice is heard. RSVP today.

You'll also have the chance to meet other people who are working toward lasting solutions to hunger, poverty and inequality. We'll discuss upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, current Oxfam campaigns and get to know each other. If you haven't yet made it to a meeting, it's a great time to join in!

Just look for the Oxfam logo on our table!

Date: Monday, 11/25
Time: 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Samovar Tea Lounge
**Yerba Buena Gardens, Upper Terrace**
730 Howard St.
San Francisco

Accessible by BART from the Powell St. station. Garage parking available.

To RSVP visit

Oxfam Helps Iowa Shine the Spotlight on Women

Every year one of America's most quintessential agricultural states open its door to the most powerful players in food and agriculture to spark discussion around the future of food security and world hunger. Des Moines, Iowa welcomes elected officials, corporate executives, leaders in global development, renowned scientist and agriculture big wigs to the World Food Prize.

This year the three day conference featured keynotes from the President of Iceland, past UK Prime Minster Tony Blair and Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson to name a few. The event certainly delivered on star power, but was lacking one important thing, the voices of the women and small-scale farmers who produce most of the world's food and represent 80% of the world's chronically hungry. This is where Oxfam America comes into play.

Oxfam has earned the largest non-profit presence at the World Food Prize and uses that position to secure prominent speaking roles for small-scale food producers from all over the world, including Oxfam's 2013 representatives, the awe-inspiring Kijoolu Kaliya and Harriet Nakabaale.

Kijoolu Kaliya featured center

On the largest stage at the conference, Kijoolu Kaliya shared her firsthand experience with land grabs to a packed room and some of the biggest applause received by any World Food Prize speaker. Ms. Kaliya is a member of the Masaai community in Tanzania and a prominent community leader as well as a pastoralist. Over the past four years, she has been forced to fight two land grabs threatening the livelihoods of her people. The most recent of which came from a rich investor from the United Arab Emirates who was attracted to the lush landscapes and thriving wildlife where Ms. Kaliya lives which the Masaai culture has been working to preserve and nurture for years. After the government of Tanzania approved the land deal with this investor , he decided that he would drive Ms. Kaliya and her community off of their land by force. The Masaai people had their homes burned to the ground and were physically assaulted by the investor's thugs. Masaai leaders are traditionally male, but after this egregious attack, Ms. Kaliya mobilized the women in her community to do what the men had failed to do, protect their way of live. She organized a five day trek to the capital of Tanzania to demand an audience with the President by returning 2,000 political party membership cards to the government. This show of force got the President's attention and resulted in him making a public declaration affirming that the Masaai people were the rightful owners of their own land and that the investor had no claim to it, but this declaration was only verbal and in this day and age a verbal agreement is little assurance, especially when it comes to the livelihood of your family. Now Ms. Kaliya is fighting for a written contract guaranteeing their land rights, because as Ms. Kaliya stated “land is life.”

Harriet Nakabaale featured center

Speaking at the Oxfam sponsored luncheon featuring Oxfam America's President Ray Offenheiser was  Harriet Nakabaale, a sustainable and organic farming advocate from Uganda's capital city Kampala. With help from her son Jjumba Frank Luyinda, Ms. Nakabaale turned her home into a small urban farm called Camp Green. Through Camp Green, the mother-son team teach local community members, schools and local governments the importance of finding creative ways to re-purpose what most people would consider waste, protect the environment, and grow sustainable and nourishing food. Together they work to alleviate poverty within and outside of Uganda by arming people with the knowledge necessary to take food security into their own hands and grow the food that they need. Ms. Nakabaale shared her story with hundreds of people and also stressed the importance of tackling domestic violence by empowering women with the necessary tools to become bread winners.

At this year's World Food Prize, on behalf of Oxfam America, Kijoolu Kaliya and Harriet Nakabaale gave voice to the underrepresented majority working towards food security on the ground - the small-scale farmers, community leaders and advocates. These two women helped bridge the gap between theoretical discussions and the harsh realities facing families and communities around the world while also shedding light on the meaningful triumphs women are helping to accomplish everyday.

Festival Diaries Part II- Treasure Island Music Festival

The summer festival season has come and gone and it is once again time for the fall music festival circuit to begin. October brought a change in temperature and colors, but it also brought the annual Treasure Island Music Festival, named for the beautiful island on which it takes place. The festival offers amazing views of the ocean and the San Francisco borders while presenting music from some of the best artists of 2013 including James Blake, Beck, Haim, Animal Collective, Little Dragon, Major Lazer, Japandroids, Sleigh Bells and Atoms for Peace. 

Oxfam had the pleasure of attending this year’s Treasure Island Music Festival and interacting with crowds of people; grandmas and pirates alike. Due to the strong support from Thom Yorke and Atoms for Peace, and the work of Oxfam volunteers, we were able to introduce hundreds of Treasure Island Music aficionados and fun loving knowledge seekers to the new portion of our Behind the Brands campaign increasing our movement to 247,120 members. This portion of the campaign targets the world’s largest producers and users of sugar: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Associated British Foods. All three of these companies have been linked to land grabs that have been occurring within their supply chains, but because of pressure from the Behind the Brands campaign the largest of the three, Coca-Cola, has adopted a zero tolerance policy to land grabs. For those who don’t know, land grabs are large scale land acquisitions that occur without free, prior and informed consent. They are a human rights violation that is often ignored or hidden. Oxfam is bringing the issue to light and urging both PepsiCo and Associated British Foods to follow Coca-Cola's lead and be held accountable for what is occurring in their supply chains and to adopt a zero tolerance land grab policy.  If you haven't yet joined the movement and want to speak out against land grabs go to:

We were able to meet and interact with so many people who were passionate about our cause while enjoying the fall breeze, wonderful music, robot dance parties, and great food and culture. Treasure Island is a true experience, one that shouldn’t be missed.

If you're feeling like you missed out? Never feel that way again. Be a part of our next concert event by emailing us at

Our Voices Have Been Heard: 

Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs


Ladies and Gentlemen, our hard work is paying off! All of our hours spent volunteering, campaigning, speaking out, and signing petitions is showing fruition. Over 225,000 people called for action to prevent land grabs and Coca-Cola has heard us. The food and beverage giant Coca-Cola has agreed to respect and protect the land rights of indigenous communities from which it sources its sugar. Specifically, Coca-Cola has agreed to:

  1. A zero tolerance policy on land grabs
  2. A “know and show” policy relating to being held accountable and aware of land rights and conflicts within its supply chain
  3. To support responsible agriculture investment and to advocate for governments and others to tackle land grabbing;
Sugar production requires a vast amount of land and is currently at an all time high triggering land conflicts and abuse. Coca-Cola is the largest sugar producer in the world making this news all the more amazing. Coca-Cola is the first beverage and food company to take such a stand, but should not be the last. For more information on this breaking news visit

Our mission and work does not end here. PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are some of the largest sugar producers in the world and as such we are urging them to follow in Coca-Cola’s footsteps and make a change in relation to the allowance of land grabs within their supply chains. In order to do this we need your help.

What Can You Do to Stop This?

Start by signing Oxfam's current petition to urge Pepsi-co and Associated British Foods to follow Coca-Cola’s example and hold themselves accountable for the land and human rights atrocities occurring in their supply chains. These huge companies have the market power to pressure their suppliers into committing to zero tolerance land grab policies and you have the power to pressure these food and beverage giants into stepping up and standing against land grabs. Make sure your voice is heard.

Then share the following messages:

Via Twitter

Tell @PepsiCo & #ABF to take action against land grabs! #BehindTheBrands

Via Facebook

Post the following message to PepsiCo's Facebook page

Stop land grabs! Tell PepsiCo and ABF—some of the biggest buyers of sugar in the world—to make sure their sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs that force poor farmers and their families off their land. #BehindTheBrands!