Note: This will probably be brief, since I have assignments due soon, but there may be other chapters to follow. I have written it in response to Leyman's essay 'Was Make Poverty History Useful?' on this site, to address some of the issues he raised, and others I thought worth a mention. So you know where I'm coming from, I volunteer for Oxfam Australia.
Myths and Misconceptions 'About Make Poverty History'
Myth: The 'Make Poverty History' campaign is over.
Reality: Actually, there are two more White Wristband Days coming up this year. These are September 10th , just before the UN summit, and December 10th, before the World Trade Organisation meets in Hong Kong.
You can still buy the wristbands online or from Oxfam shops (see Oxfam's website for details on where to get them in your country).
Myth: The Make Poverty History Wristbands are produced by sweatshop labour.
Reality: The Chinese factory manufacturing the silicon wristbands for Oxfam failed Oxfam's standards on two counts. When Oxfam found out about this they moved production to another factory. However, they didn't stop there. If Oxfam had just boycotted the original supplier then another customer would probably have come along who might not care about working conditions, so instead of doing this, Oxfam worked with the supplier to improve working conditions until they met the organisation's standards. Then both factories manufactured the wristbands.
Myth: Oxfam is secretive or dishonest about the way donations to the organisation are spent.
Reality: Donations can be made to a specific appeal, for example the Sudan appeal, or as general donations to the organisation. They can be made in person (through Oxfam shops) or online.
For every AU$1 donated, 71c goes to Oxfam's development programs around the world (or to the specific appeal you nominated). 6c is spent on administration and 23c is invested to generate future income for the organisation to keep it running.
Check out the Oxfam International's website (or the Oxfam site for your specific country) and you should find all the information you need. You can even access Oxfam's annual report and accounts. You can also ask questions at your local Oxfam shop.
Note: Remove spaces from links to make them work.
'Corpwatch' article on sweatshops, accessed 12/8/05
http : w w w. corpwatch. org/article.php? id12464
http : w w w. oxfam. org