Mali’s conflict refugees: time to step up our aid effort

Caroline Baudot, humanitarian policy advisor, describes her experiences working with Oxfam in camps in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger, hosting refugees fleeing Mali’s conflict. To many in Europe, the conflict in Mali and hostage crisis in Algeria seemed to come out of nowhere. I’ve been working in the countries around Mali for months. The events of recent weeks shocked me …

Interview with a Syrian refugee

Samira. Photo: Luca Sola Samira is a Syrian refugee. She arrived three days ago. She’s living in a self-made shelter with just one room, which she shares with 12 other people. Because she is not Palestinian, Samira can’t register with the local Palestinian NGOs giving out much-needed blankets and heaters near where she’s living. She has made an appointment to register …

A refuge from Syria conflict still brings misery for thousands in Lebanon

Take a look at the hands of married women who’ve fled Syria to take refuge in neighbouring Lebanon and you’ll notice that almost all aren’t wearing any jewellery. Many families fled the fighting in Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs.  Desperate, traumatised, and in severe need, families were forced to sell off whatever they had with …

Should we (and everyone in Davos) worry about extreme wealth?

First posted on From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green on how we cannot afford to ignore the extreme inequality produced by extreme wealth.  Good to see Oxfam highlighting inequality in its media briefing ahead of this week’s annual gathering of power & plutocrats in Davos. Because inequality is about the relationship between different social groups, it is inherently more political …

All stations to aid: Global Humanitarian Assistance’s new interactive guide

Senior policy adviser Ed Cairns casts his eye over the latest resource for making sense of humanitarian funding.  I’m quite a fan of the Global Humanitarian Assistance reports produced every year by the Development Initiatives think tank. They combine invaluable data on funding with thoughtful commentary on what is and is not changing in the humanitarian world.  So I was …

Slash tax avoidance, not benefits

As we hang on to the vestiges of our New Year’s resolutions to be more friendly and kind, I can’t help feeling that this spirit is somewhat bounded and constrained. As the benefits budget takes another hit this week, it feels more and more that the welfare system is the child constantly picked on, whose unpopularity makes it easy fodder …

Can smallholder women farmers feed the world?

Women farmers produce more than half of all food worldwide and currently account for 43 percent of the global agricultural labour force. (Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization) In an earlier blog, I highlighted the potential of smallholder producers to be a part of the solution to the food crisis facing the planet. A crisis that is exacerbated by inaction to reach …