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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Joanne Nowak

Joanne Nowak

by Oxfam | May 17, 2010

I am currently a graduate student at the University of Toronto, studying issues related to migration, women and development. I have had the opportunity of volunteering with Oxfam in Ottawa and Toronto for five years.

I became interested in joining Oxfam as a result of the courses I was taking on social inequality and development in my first year of undergraduate studies. Once I became aware of these development issues, I wanted to get involved in a hands-on way, rather than simply reading about these issues in my textbooks. I went on the Internet and looked up development organizations – I found Oxfam right away. Oxfam was a perfect mix of an organization that blends research, campaigning, advocacy, and development work. I was hooked, and haven’t been able to let go since.

I have volunteered with Oxfam in a few different cities in the Ontario region for several years. I began doing campaign and advocacy work on the Control Arms Campaign in Ottawa. I was also able to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Croatia, as an Oxfam Youth Ambassador to broaden my knowledge of international arms trade issues in the region. I later become involved in the Toronto Community Group when I moved to Toronto, assisting with orientation sessions and recruiting new members. I am now eager to start my work with campus and community groups across Ontario in my role as Ontario Regional Youth Liaison.

My most rewarding experiences as an Oxfam member have been attending National Assemblies and Regional meetings. I am always so incredibly inspired by the work of fellow Oxfam members, and am always left with great ideas and skills to make change after every meeting.

Through my involvement with Oxfam, I have learned that every individual can make change. This organization has provided me with invaluable support, skills, knowledge and inspiration to raise discussions, lobby politicians, and increase awareness of development issues, particularly those regarding women’s rights and equality. Oxfam’s support and guidance has provided me with the practical skills and confidence to achieve this goal on an everyday basis.

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