Posts tagged ‘India’
by Avinash Kumar, Oxfam’s For All campaign team, India
In 2004 India elected a new government who promise to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people in India. It promised a “Common Minimum Program” including more health centers and schools.
In the same year 40 organizations in India (including Oxfam!) began a movement to raise the voices of hundreds of thousands of people calling for the government to keep their promises, and deliver justice to all people in India. ‘Wada Na Todo Abhiyan’ (or ‘Keep the Promises’) is still going strong and now includes an amazing 3000 organizations from 23 states in India. On 17th October 2007, a staggering 1,236,979 people in 15 states took part in campaign actions to mark World Poverty Day. That’s more than a million people in just one day!
Children leading the campaigning!
As part of this movement, India has also launched the ‘Nine is Mine’ campaign led by children across the country. They are calling for 9% of India’s income to be spent on health & education for all. More than 4,000 children launched a petition in October 2006 in Delhi, and following wide media coverage, 20 of the children met the Prime Minister who listened to their demands and assured them of his support. In just one month more than 300,000 signatures were sent to the Finance Minister, and the children also met the Chairperson of the Child Rights Commission.
Since then, 5,000 signatures a day were sent off to the Finance Minister every month until January 2008. The campaign is keeping the pressure up!
Short video on the ‘Nine is Mine’ campaign.
Massive public campaigning in India has led to some amazing successes.
1. Health & education spending has increased
Following the children’s meeting with the Prime Minister, the next budget saw health spending up by a quarter and education spending up a third. This was still not enough to meet the government’s own promises – but it was a bigger increase than expected because of India’s campaigning!
2. New education bill passed
In an historic victory, after years of delay the Government is finally bringing the Right to Education bill to parliament. If this is passed, it will mean that primary and secondary education for everyone is a requirement by law.
We will be keeping you updated with the latest from the ‘Keep the Promises’ campaign in future blog posts here. To get involved you can visit the ‘Wada Na Todo Abhiyan’ website or take action in our Health & Education For All campaign.
Sahba Chauhan has been busy for the past two weeks liaising with partner organizations in developing countries that Oxfam works with. I caught up with Sahba, at the conference on its second last day, to find out more about what she and our partners have been doing here in Bali.
Karina – Why is it important to have organisations from Least Developed and Developing countries here at this conference?
Sahba – Climate Change is a real issue in the lives and livelihoods of people struggling to fight poverty. For them, climate negotiations are not just front-page news, they are the decisions that will decide if they win or lose the fight against poverty. Therefore, it is important to have them here as an integral part of the process. Their experience and thoughts need to be heard loud and clear!
What activities where our partners involved at the Conference?
Our partners came here from China, India, Philippines, Vietnam and East Timor. While they were here, some worked with their country delegations to highlight the concerns of their communities who they work with back home. All of them were involved in various campaign activity and forums with other organisations from the across the world to ensure the conference heard directly form people already having to deal with the impacts of climate change.
In particular our partners represented and participated in global discussions on adaptation financing and used the opportunity to learn a lot about international negotiations on climate change, and how they can work with other of organisations across the world to find solutions to climate change.
What was the main message that stood out for you and our partners during the week?
I think the world has got a clear message over the past two weeks and that is – we live in a hugely unequal world! Over the past two weeks while most countries stood united to make serious commitments to fight climate change, a handful of rich countries, responsible for this problem in the first place, blocked the negotiation process in every way they could. In an equal world, majority wins. Today the majority is saying – fight climate change now!
How does being at a conference like this, help our partner organizations when they go back to their home countries?
I see it the other way round. The conference and post conference work (which is huge!) will benefit a lot with from the input and engagement of organisations that are at the front line of dealing with climate change. Their involvement at this conference will help represent many concerns about climate change impacts and the adaptation needs from their countries onto a global platform.
Once back home, they will inform local communities about the conference and continue to work with their governments on climate change.
The conference was important not only in our partners being able to share information from their countries but it provide vital learn from other organisations and countries that are experience similar problems such as techniques, research and understanding on key political processes.
Oxfam has collected video testimonies from people who are living with the impact of climate change from around the world, and has been showing them all this week at the conference. You can see a highlights from the messages on our YouTube profile
With just three days left to the conference closes, Oxfam blitzed delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, with a special photographic exhibition and calendar called “It’s up to UNow”.
The photos, are messages from people in developing countries, who are already having to adapt and live with the impacts of climate change, as well as people from rich countries, who are taking personal action to reduce their contribution to climate change. Take a look at all of the photo messages on our Flickr profile.
Today, they are coming together to send a clear message to delegates at this conference, to do all they can to ensure that the interests of people living in poverty are put at the heart of any decisions and outcomes from Bali.
Quite simply, they are telling delegates “It’s up to UNow”.
We have given delegates a chance to show their support to Fight Climate Poverty, by having their photo taken, so it can be added to the exhibition. More updates on who took the challenge later.
Shahanara, from Bangladesh (pictured above) stood in flood water near the camp she has been staying at for five months since her house was destroyed in the floods in the village of Puteakhal. She said “I have raised my home and my husband is trying to work in the market. What else can we do. We have no option now”. Read more from Shahanara, and other stories and messages on our flickr pages.