The Ultimate Aussie Experience
From being in Australia I have had the pleasure of meeting Oxfam Australia’s campaigning volunteers. All of which were inspirational in their own way. This guest blog written by Oxfam Australia’s GROW campaign coordinator Clancy Moore and Oxfam volunteer Patrick Cooper, provides you with an insight into the ultimate Aussie experience at Coldplay. Maybe one day soon you’ll get involved too?
Meeting every week, sharing experiences and learning campaigning skills, Erica, Yolande, Barb, Tina, Tim, Rena and Agus are the Melbourne GROW team.
Together they are a group of Oxfam supporters committed to campaigning for a future where everyone has enough to eat. As sadly, 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry every night. That’s a total of 870 million people going hungry. At Oxfam, we fight poverty and injustice. Giving poor people the tools to help themselves is a big part of this. Especially, when it comes to people putting enough food for their families.
So every Thursday for the last 6 weeks, the team has come together to the Oxfam office in Melbourne for workshops on the issues surrounding food and how we can gain a fairer food system. Impressively, after each week, this exciting bunch of all-star campaigners are putting knowledge into practice by engaging their friends and the public in campaigning activities and in turn are helping change the world. They’re activities have been inspiring in volumes with them running events such as, asking friends and family to sign postcards calling on Australia PM, Julia Gillard to play an active in role in tackling global hunger, putting Oxfam seedlings around Melbourne business district for GROW week and holding their own campaign dinners and picnics on World Food Day for people to share a meal and talk about ways to fix the broken food system.
Just last week, the GROW team were engaging with Coldplay supporters to help Oxfam stop poor people being kicked off their land in dodgy land grabs. Dressed up as a taco, a big pea, corn and carrots, the GROW team and their friends signed up more than 1000 Coldplay supporters to help stop land grabs.
Exciting stuff, yea? So if this sounds like something you want to get involved in then contact your local Oxfam staff member.
So now I guessing you want to know what it’s like to be so involved with Oxfam, well Oxfam Australia volunteer Patrick Cooper gives us an insight into the ultimate Aussie Coldplay experience.
If you can imagine 50000 people, an enormous stadium, the biggest band in the world, crazy lights, pyrotechnics… and people dressed as carrots and tacos, then you can only begin to imagine the weekend of concerts that Coldplay invited Oxfam to in Sydney.
Coldplay, as most of you would be aware, are one of Oxfam’s greatest and most influential supporters globally, and were lovely enough to invite along some of Sydney’s most vibrant Oxfam volunteers, to spread the message of the GROW campaign, with the theme of the night educating the masses about Land Grabs. It was a partnership between Oxfam in Australia and Oxfam UK, to bring to light this contemporary issue of social and environmental injustice.
As one of the volunteers myself, it was such a fantastic experience, to see the amount of people in the crowd that were wanting to learn more about this issue and sign the petition that will be sent to the World Bank in April, to hopefully place a freeze on lending for six months and allow positive action to be taken. A big help for us out there pounding the pavement, was that any mention of Coldplay’s support for the campaign immediately had people interested and willing to support. I guess it is true that Coldplay fans are socially aware, hopeful of change and willing to support anything Chris Martin puts his name too.
In my opinion, all the volunteers got immersed in the cause and had a great time themselves, with an abundance of smiles and some even taking their support to the next level by dressing as carrots, bananas, tacos and tomatoes. The crowd loved this aspect, because let’s be honest who doesn’t want to have their photo taken with a taco?? People were not only signing a petition, they were learning fun facts, to later impress their friends with, about the important work of the GROW campaign (did you know that bananas are grown in 130 countries across the tropics, with 90% produced and consumed by small scale farmers who currently need support to grow locally).
I think the evening was a great success for Oxfam, all the volunteers were motivated to educate and spread the word about the issue of Land Grabs to thousands of people in Sydney, the crowd got to have fun and join the global community of activists on social media with some fun snaps and of course to finish the evening off with the visual and audible spectacular that is a Coldplay concert was something very special and memorable for all of us volunteers!!! Let’s hope they come back again soon.