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What happens when you take an action with Oxfam? The Rio hand in

Posted by Sarah Watson Campaign Project Manager

19th Jun 2012

As a campaigning organisation we regularly ask you, our supporters, to sign action cards and petitions or take online actions. But what happens to those actions after you take them?

Over the last few weeks we, along with our campaigning partner The Co-operative, have been encouraging you to ask the UK Government to champion smallholder farmers at the Rio Sustainability Summit next week. Last week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg heard our call.

A group of Oxfam and Co-operative campaigners attended the Deputy Prime Minister's pre-Rio reception where they had the opportunity to present him with a piece of artwork by Nikki Pardasani, representing the 17,500 actions taken by their peers over the last few weeks. The campaigners asked Mr Clegg to 'Join Team Betty' (who featured in the artwork) and champion three key issues at Rio: fair and sustainable methods of increasing global food production; the crucial role of smallholder farmer and co-operatives; and increased investment in sustainable smallholder agriculture to lift farmers - many of whom are women - out of poverty.

Mr Clegg responded positively, suggesting he thought we would be pleased with what we hear him say at the Summit. During his speech to the reception afterwards he also championed sustainable growth and talked of the fact that the summit was an opportunity to start fixing a problem that can only be fixed internationally. 

Also at the event was Environment Secretary Caroline Spellman who will also be attending the Summit with Nick Clegg. The campaigners quizzed her about her thoughts on the issues and she was very much on board with our asks. She talked about the importance of smallholders - particularly women - as well as the power of young people as campaigners and assured all she spoke to that she would be saying these things at Rio.

So the campaigners left the reception buzzing from their experience of meeting the Deputy PM and being the voice of the 17,500 of you who took action. They were so delighted to see what it is that happens to those actions and receive such a positive response to our asks. Here's hoping we see the results in Rio. We'll be watching! 

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

"It was great to meet Oxfam activists who are working so hard to keep these issues at the top of the political agenda.

"Today there are seven billion people on the planet - in 13 years time there will be another billion mouths to feed. More food must be grown and, crucially, at lower cost to the environment.

"I will take Oxfam's messages to the Rio+20 Summit where we will be pushing for an ambitious outcome. The UK is a world leader on environmental issues. It is vital that we play a leading role in making the case that economic growth does not have to come at a cost to the environment, and that sustainable use of natural resources will be essential for lifting people out of poverty and creating long-term prosperity."

Thanks to Andrew Aitchison for his photography and Nikki Pardasani for producing the artwork.

Blog post written by Sarah Watson

Campaign Project Manager

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Sarah Watson