The road to Rio +20: women and the green economy

What will Rio+20 mean for the many millions of poor women across the world, struggling with the effects of poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation? Nidhi Tandon, Gender & Development Editorial Advisor and author of the forthcoming UN Women’s paper on Rio+20 and the Green Economy, gives her view. The concept of the ‘green economy’ is a complex one, and …

World Water Day: how we’re tackling the lack of sanitation faced by 2.6 billion people

Nearly 800 million people lack access to water and 2.6 billion to sanitation. Addressing the disparity in water and sanitation coverage is crucial to Oxfam’s work, whether in humanitarian response or long term development. To mark World Water Day we’ve collected together insights into just some of the remarkable work being carried out by our WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) teams around …

Making lake water safe to drink: an innovative approach to tackling fluorosis

Oxfam is working with US engineers to develop a pioneering desalination solution in order to prive safe drinking water in rural Kenya. Brian McSorley reports on the pilot, in the last of his blog posts for World Water Week. Drinking water across large areas of the East African Rift Valley, from Tanzania though Kenya and Ethiopia, contains excessive fluoride. In …

This budget is more of the same, and that’s bad news for poverty

It’s been billed as a ‘Robin Hood’ budget but, as Moussa Haddad reports, today’s budget does little to help the poorest in society who have been hit the hardest by the cuts to welfare and public services.   Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a step back from the chatter of the moment, all the better – hopefully – to observe …

Solar power: can it out-perform diesel when pumping water?

Brian McSorley on an Oxfam solar water pumping programme in arid northern Kenya that is testing – and sometimes overturning – assumptions about solar power, and finding that for many communities, it beats using diesel. In Turkana many communities have required significant external support during previous droughts, to ensure critical dry season water points remain functional to minimise loss of …

Water: time for solutions that focus on sanitation and not just access

Leslie Morris-Iveson reports on the World Water Forum, which took place in Marseille last week, and the news that the MDG on access to water has been reached early. But is it time to celebrate? It’s important to have a strategy on how you will spend your time before you get to the World Water Forum – a massive global event held every three …

Jitegemee: using innovation to tackle the urban sanitation challenge

In the run up to World Water Day, Brian McSorley reports on an innovative approach to sanitation in informal urban environments. The urban sanitation challenge is huge.Worldwide, 2.6 billion people lack access to sanitation. In the informal urban settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, several million people have limited access to hygienic, safe or dignified ways to relieve themselves. An Oxfam study in two settlements in …

In search of the perfect handpump

Broken handpumps are a regular sighting in rural Africa. However, as Brian McSorley reports, a new type of pump being piloted in Turkana is hoping to change this. Go to almost any rural area in Kenya and chances are you won’t have to drive around for long to find a broken handpump. Whatever the make there’s always a reason why …

What’s the point of overseas aid? Max Lawson versus Stephen Davies of the IEA

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Public Policy and Advocacy, recently went head-to-head with Dr. Stephen Davies, Education Director, Institute of Economic Affairs on the benefit of overseas aid for the Speakers’ Corner Trust. Senior Policy Adviser, Claire Godfrey, took a ringside seat and summarises the debate here.   Oxfam’s Head of Public Policy and Advocacy Max Lawson and Dr. Stephen …

Pink telephones: using technology to empower women in Cambodia

In the run up to International Women’s Day, Chaliya Sophasawatsakul explains the origins of a project to use mobile phones to support women’s empowerment in Cambodia. “In the night time it is very beneficial to have the phone, we can help pregnant women in labour on time.”  Seng Chanthou is a female commune councillor (FCC) from the Treal Commune in …