News Article | November 25, 2016
Water is a life source no matter where you live. But in places where water infrastructure is lacking or in disrepair due to natural disaster, conflict or climate change, collecting and storing water is a significant development challenge. The ancient practice of rainwater collection has been through something of a “renaissance” over the last few decades, according to Unicef [pdf]. The benefits of erecting large storage tanks in water-deficient areas are clear; they collect low-impurity rainwater and don’t contribute to groundwater depreciation. But there is a rather befuddling logistical challenge standing in the way of making it efficient. When shipping heavy tanks over long distances, the main commodity being transported is air. This is the precise issue that GreenCo Water, an Australian company, set out to address when they designed their Pak Flat Tank. It’s a 1,000-litre water tank that packs down flat for efficient delivery, and instead of the usual concrete, the tank is made out of plastic. Weighing just 20 kilograms, each tank can be put in back of a car – or carried by a single person – and be assembled in situ in just a few minutes. “The idea came from an observation that there was a need for a reliable and durable water tank, but also one that could be shipped easily,” says Alex Pocock, manager of finance and operations for GreenCo Water. “By virtue of creating that, you can ship 10 times the number of tanks, so that’s very much cost-effective. It can sit available in warehouses and can be transported by any means possible – plane, shipping container, truck or vehicle – as soon as it’s needed.” After two years of trials and 40 different iterations, the product was last week awarded the Aidex Aid Innovation Challenge, which seeks to find the “next big invention to impact the delivery of aid”. The company estimates that 1,200 tanks can be packed into a C-17 cargo plane, amounting to 1.2m litres of water storage in a single delivery. Other benefits include the fact that plastic is less susceptible to cracking than concrete – caused by seismic activity, for example – and it is deployable in all kinds of environments, “from sub-Saharan to sub-zero”. In addition, once delivered the tank can be relocated quite easily; assembly does not require specialist knowledge or complicated written instructions. By comparison, a Unicef manual [pdf] detailing how to construct a cement rainwater jar spans 10 pages and includes dozens of complicated diagrams and captions. Several aid and humanitarian organisations are already using the tanks, including Oxfam Australia in its disaster relief efforts in Fiji and Rotary International in Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam – the strongest storm to ever be recorded in the South Pacific. Oxfam GB now stocks the tanks in its UK warehouse and says they were recently deployed to camps for internally displaced people in Yemen. “The tank is an innovative departure from the other options Oxfam has always favoured,” says Justin Hartree, Oxfam’s equipment quality officer. “It gives a better option for situations where a small volume of water is needed or space is limited. We would promote its use for health posts and clinics, schools, staff compounds, and for use on towers or other raised platforms such as roofs. To store larger volumes it is simple to link a number of tanks together.” As the impacts of climate change intensify, water becomes not just a scarce resource, but a potential driver of conflict. Some have suggested that the roots of the ongoing Syrian war can be found in the country’s mismanagement of water. The need to deploy water solutions quickly to deprived areas is unlikely to recede anytime soon. But for the increasing chorus of critics of the so-called “foreign aid industrial complex”, the Pak Flat Tank – by its nature a hand-out and not a solution that uses local labour or resources – might not be the most sustainable solution, despite its ingenuity. The tanks function in a similar way to a conventional water tank. That their so-called “disruptive” nature comes from the delivery mechanism – not their actual function – is indicative of the kinds of solutions the development sector often needs, says Pocock. In other words, the tanks “represent a micro solution with a macro impact”. He adds: “It’s a simple product but the shortage of water is such a prevalent problem that so often people in remote areas have to work for half a day to get water. This is a readily deployable solution that doesn’t require ongoing maintenance. That’s why we’re proud of it.” Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter, and have your say on issues around water in development using #H2Oideas.
Macintyre K.,Aidspan |
Macintyre K.,Global Development Systems |
Andrinopoulos K.,Global Development Systems |
Moses N.,Oxfam GB |
And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014
Background: In many communities, older men (i.e., over 25 years of age) have not come forward for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services. Reasons for low demand among this group of men are not well understood, and may vary across geographic and cultural contexts. This paper examines the facilitators and barriers to VMMC demand in Turkana County, Kenya, with a focus on older men. This is one of the regions targeted by the VMMC program in Kenya because the Turkana ethnic group does not traditionally circumcise, and the rates of HIV and STD transmission are high. Methods and Findings: Twenty focus group discussions and 69 in-depth interviews were conducted with circumcised and uncircumcised men and their partners to elicit their attitudes and perceptions toward male circumcision. The interviews were conducted in urban, peri-urban, and rural communities across Turkana. Our results show that barriers to circumcision include stigma associated with VMMC, the perception of low risk for HIV for older men and their "protection by marriage," cultural norms, and a lack of health infrastructure. Facilitators include stigma against not being circumcised (since circumcision is associated with modernity), protection against disease including HIV, and cleanliness. It was also noted that older men should adopt the practice to serve as role models to younger men. Conclusions: Both men and women were generally supportive of VMMC, but overcoming barriers with appropriate communication messages and high quality services will be challenging. The justification of circumcision being a biomedical procedure for protection against HIV will be the most important message for any communication strategy. © 2014 Macintyre et al.
Rangecroft S.,University of Exeter |
Harrison S.,University of Exeter |
Anderson K.,University of Exeter |
Magrath J.,Oxfam GB |
And 2 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2013
Climate change is projected to have a strongly negative effect on water supplies in the arid mountains of South America, significantly impacting millions of people. As one of the poorest countries in the region, Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to such changes due to its limited capacity to adapt. Water security is threatened further by glacial recession with Bolivian glaciers losing nearly halftheir ice mass over the past 50 years raising serious water management concerns. This review examines current trends in water availability and glacier melt in the Bolivian Andes, assesses the driving factors of reduced water availability and identifies key gaps in our knowledge of the Andean cryosphere. The lack of research regarding permafrost water sources in the Bolivian Andes is addressed, with focus on the potential contribution to mountain water supplies provided by rock glaciers. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013.
Magrath J.,Oxfam GB
Local Environment | Year: 2010
Farmers and pastoralists in Africa are remarkably consistent across countries in how they report climate is changing. These changes are still relatively small but, combined with the effects of chronic poverty, disease and environmental degradation, are already having severe human consequences. The changes are consistent with what is expected to occur due to man-made global warming and will increase. Women are especially impacted. Africa is least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, but will suffer some of the most damaging consequences. Adaptation is essential. This will require finance from international sources. However, there is much African governments can and should do to start. Boosting adaptation to current climatic variability and shocks and tackling poverty will bring benefits today and for the future. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Kukrety N.,Oxfam GB. |
Mohanty S.,Oxfam GB
Gender and Development | Year: 2011
The economic and food crises have dramatically increased the number of chronically poor people globally, rendering many more vulnerable to destitution should they experience even small shocks to income and food supply. In response, Oxfam has extended its work on social protection, which includes a strong gender analysis component, from an initial focus on those living in food insecure geographical areas - subject to drought, for example - and is applying it in a wider context. This article focuses on the urban safety net programme, in Nairobi, Kenya, the aims of which are to improve access to food for the most vulnerable households in two informal settlements in Nairobi, and to develop more long-term food and income security initiatives. © Oxfam GB 2011.
Batchelor S.,Gamos |
Scott N.,Gamos |
Manfre C.,Cultural Practice LLC |
Lopez A.V.,Oxfam GB |
Edwards D.,International Sustainability Unit
ICT for Sustainability 2014, ICT4S 2014 | Year: 2014
In this paper we present the findings of an in-depth consultation with 50 experts in Agriculture and ICT. The qualitative study explored how ICTs, particularly mobile phones, could be used to accelerate the uptake of Sustainable Agriculture in Africa. Situating the responses in a broad literature review, the data and subsequent analysis paint a broad picture of a converging landscape of agriculture and ICTs. Its main conclusion is that the application of ICT (including mobiles) in agriculture is sustainability neutral; that is to say that ICT is equally applicable to the expansion of conventional, high external input dependent agriculture, or to the development of more sustainable, agro-ecological approaches. The rapid growth in mobile phone penetration in developing countries therefore presents a significant opportunity to help underpin a transformation in agricultural development and food systems, but without a co-operative and focused effort across different stakeholders groups - local actors, private sector partners, donors, expert institutions, and national governments - the potential for mobiles to empower sustainable agricultural development is unlikely to be maximized. The paper outlines the major assumptions behind these statements, and presents a conceptual model for understanding the flow of information through the agriculture sector. © 2014. The authors.
McBride A.,Oxfam GB
Waterlines | Year: 2013
Humanitarian field staff, product designers and manufacturers attended a one-day event to tackle sanitation challenges in humanitarian situations. The challenges included designing a household handwashing device, a latrine superstructure, a trench lining for latrines in difficult soils, and a raised latrine for rocky ground and areas of high water tables. Design criteria included: a manufactured commodity, lightweight and robust, packable and portable, and low cost. A number of innovative designs were discussed which will now be developed into prototypes for testing in the field. © Practical Action Publishing, 2013.
PubMed | London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Oxfam GB
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of water and health | Year: 2015
The performance and acceptability of the Nerox(TM) membrane drinking water filter were evaluated among an internally displaced population in Pakistan. The membrane filter and a control ceramic candle filter were distributed to over 3,000 households. Following a 6-month period, 230 households were visited and filter performance and use were assessed. Only 6% of the visited households still had a functioning filter, and the removal performance ranged from 80 to 93%. High turbidity in source water (irrigation canals), together with high temperatures and large family size were likely to have contributed to poor performance and uptake of the filters.
News Article | January 18, 2016
The vast and growing gap between rich and poor has been laid bare in a new Oxfam report showing that the 62 richest billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population. Timed to coincide with this week’s gathering of many of the super-rich at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, the report calls for urgent action to deal with a trend showing that 1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined. Oxfam said that the wealth of the poorest 50% dropped by 41% between 2010 and 2015, despite an increase in the global population of 400m. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by $500bn (£350bn) to $1.76tn. The charity said that, in 2010, the 388 richest people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%. This dropped to 80 in 2014 before falling again in 2015. Mark Goldring, the Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single coach. “World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night, we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.” Leading figures from Pope Francis to Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, have called for action to reverse the trend in inequality, but Oxfam said words had not been translated into action. Its prediction that the richest 1% would own the same wealth as the poorest 50% by 2016 had come true a year earlier than expected. The World Economic Forum in Davos comes amid fears that the turmoil in financial markets since the turn of the year may herald the start of a new phase to the global crisis that began eight years ago – this time originating in the less-developed emerging countries. Oxfam said a three-pronged approach was needed: a crackdown on tax dodging; higher investment in public services; and higher wages for the low paid. It said a priority should be to close down tax havens, increasingly used by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying tax and which had deprived governments of the resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality. Three years ago, David Cameron told the WEF that the UK would spearhead a global effort to end aggressive tax avoidance in the UK and in poor countries, but Oxfam said promised measures to increase transparency in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, such as the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, had not been implemented. Goldring said: “We need to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore. “Tackling the veil of secrecy surrounding the UK’s network of tax havens would be a big step towards ending extreme inequality. Three years after he made his promise to make tax dodgers ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, it is time for David Cameron to deliver.” Oxfam cited estimates that rich individuals have placed a total of $7.6tn in offshore accounts, adding that if tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190bn would be available to governments every year. The charity said as much as 30% of all African financial wealth was thought to be held offshore. The estimated loss of $14bn in tax revenues would be enough to pay for healthcare for mothers and children that could save 4 million children’s lives a year and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school. Oxfam said it intended to challenge the executives of multi-national corporations in Davos on their tax policies. It said nine out of 10 WEF corporate partners had a presence in at least one tax haven and it was estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least $100bn every year. Corporate investment in tax havens almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014. The Equality Trust, which campaigns against inequality in the UK, said Britain’s 100 richest families had increased their wealth by at least £57bn since 2010, a period in which average incomes declined. Duncan Exley, the trust’s director, said: “Inequality, both globally but also in the UK, is now at staggering levels. We know that such a vast gap between the richest and the rest of us is bad for our economy and society. We now need our politicians to wake up and address this dangerous concentration of wealth and power in the hands of so few.”
News Article | November 26, 2015
Developing nations face having to find an additional $270 billion per year in climate adaptation costs if global pledges to cut emissions are not improved. A new report published by nonprofit organization Oxfam this week concluded that developing countries “face being crushed under the double burden” of climate change adaptation costs that are skyrocketing towards $800 billion, and annual losses worth more than twice that if global pledges to curb emissions are not improved immediately. These findings are part of a report, Game-Changers in the Paris Climate Deal: What is needed to ensure a new agreement helps those on the front lines of climate change, published this week by Oxfam that also lays out seven steps to a Paris deal that will “protect poor people from climate change.” “We are seeing encouraging progress towards a climate deal but settling for what we have so far would spell disaster for the world’s poorest people,” said Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive. “One degrees difference might seem negligible on paper, but it’s a multi-billion dollar nightmare for the world’s poorest countries already suffering the consequences of climate change.” According to Oxfam, in a world that is currently on track to warm to 3°C over pre-industrial levels, developing countries are looking to face an additional $270 billion per year on adaptation costs by 2050, bringing the total up to $790 billion. According to the report’s authors, this could see some countries needing to find 50% more to protect themselves against climate change than in a 2°C scenario — a scenario which is almost the only thing we are hearing about in the lead up to the Paris climate talks. On top of that, Oxfam reports that developing countries are facing the possibility of losing $1.7 trillion annually by the middle of the century if global temperatures reach 3°C — $600 billion more than if warming was contained to 2°C, and four times more than “rich countries” gave to developing countries in aid in 2014. “World leaders have the opportunity to change this in Paris,” continued Goldring. “They need to put aside their self-interest and do what is best for the world. That means greater cuts to emissions and more climate funding so vulnerable communities already facing hunger, floods and droughts can survive. World leaders need to be clear that a strong deal is needed as a springboard for further global climate action.” “The emission pledges that more than 150 governments have put on the table this year show that global climate ambition is increasing,” wrote the report’s authors. “But much more is needed, as it’s a deal that could still lead to around 3°C of warming.” Oxfam is concerned that all the INDCs being committed to by participants in the upcoming UN climate negotiations could inevitably end up failing. If that is the case — and it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine it — then developing countries around the world are going to be the first and hardest hit. Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.