What if? Questioning the future of agriculture

In December 2012 Oxfam invited food and agriculture experts from around the world to write short provocative and aspirational essays on what the future of agriculture could look like. Richard King reviews the debate and weighs up the importance of permaculture versus chemically dependent approaches to agriculture. It’s impossible to imagine a world without agriculture – virtually all of us depend …

Feminism: the radical notion that women are people…

As the latest issue of Gender & Development examines the role of solidarity, editor Caroline Sweetman emphasises the importance of collective action to feminism. Feminism is ‘the radical notion that women are people…’ in the words of activist and academic Cheris Kramarae. Whether we choose to use this word or not, we’re all feminists if we believe in equality between the sexes …

Milking it: How dairy farming is transforming lives for flood-hit women in Bangladesh

Following on from Saturday’s International Day of Cooperatives, Norul Amin writes on how forming a producer group transformed the lives of women dairy farmers in a remote village  in Bangladesh. Panjar Bhanga is a village tucked beside a bridge over the Teesta river, which flows into Bangladesh from neighbouring India. It is a sleepy, peaceful place, where life revolves around …

Women’s Collective Action: what have we learnt?

To mark the International Day of Cooperatives, Marianne Cassidy looks back at a mammoth three-year research project recently completed in Mali, Tanzania and Ethiopia and summarises what we have learnt about how working collectively can affect women smallholders. The role of women in improving food security is well-established. A 2011 FAO report found that women produce over half of the world’s food …

It is the state that is shirking its duties, not the parents

Jack Monroe began using food banks to feed herself and her son last year after losing her job. She found herself grappling with a food budget, after housing costs and bills, of only ten pounds a week. Her efforts to keep afloat and keep her family healthy are chronicled online in her popular blog A Girl Called Jack. She is …

Veeru Kohli: the ultimate outsider

When Veeru Kohli stood as independent candidate in Hyderabad’s provincial elections on 11  May 2013 she made history. Jacky Repila explains how Oxfam’s Raising Her Voice programme played a part in her journey from bonded labourer to election candidate. She is poor. Making the asset declaration required of candidates, Kohli listed just two beds, five mattresses, cooking pots and a bank …