O.N.E - August 2008
AIDS and Welfare in Sourth Africa
VIETNAM: Farming and the Gods SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS and Welfare INDONESIA: Mining and the Body HONG KONG: Youth, Video and Change 8 00 t2 us ug A I recently went to southern Africa the most shocking is gender violence: portance of their focusing on bet- projects I could see firsthand reaf- for an international poverty meet- every year, more than one million wom- contribution.” ter agriculture that firmed my belief that our focus on ing in Johannesburg and to observe en and girls are raped. A girl born in My next stop was will bring in more empowering women is the right way Oxfam Hong Kong projects with wom- South Africa has a greater likelihood of Z a m b ia , w hi ch fa ce s en in Zambia. being raped before the age of sixteen lower levels of violence, but than of learning how to read. By the time I left, I was reassured of income, especially for forward in Africa. wo m e n . I v i s i te d v illa g e s In the rest of O.N.E, you have the a higher poverty rate. The country where women are growing high-value chance to read about AIDS in South two things: Oxfam must continue our Oxfam is suppor ting coalitions ranks 165th out of 177 in the United crops, both to earn more money and Africa, land and religion in Indonesia work in the region, and our strategic of women’s groups that campaign, Nations Human Development Index, for better nutrition. and Vietnam, and youth and social goal of improving people’s livelihoods educate and lobby against the vio- partially because it neglected the ru- Oxfam knows that women are the and sense of security are the right pri- lence. The people in these coalitions ral areas for many years, so poverty backbone of most rural communities orities, especially for women. are doing excellent and urgent work, kept increasing. There is now more – literally in terms of hauling water welfare in Hong Kong. Enjoy the read. While I was in Johannesburg, vio- but maybe my Oxfam America col- community development work being and firewood and tilling the land, lence against foreigners broke out in league Ray Offenheiser says it best, done to provide rural people with a but also in terms of their willingness John Sayer the townships. Violence is an everyday “to describe them as ‘heroes’ would better life. to work in collective efforts for the Director General occurrence in South Africa, and by far be to understate the value and im- betterment of the whole village. The Oxfam Hong Kong GODS, PEOPLE, LAND and INCOME Van Kieu farmers in Vietnam By Pham Tung Lam Ox fam Hong Kong, for one, is Although the national poverty rate fell from 58.1 per cent in 1993 to an estimated 16 per cent in 2006, poverty remains in Vietnam, especially among the ethnic minority population who tend to live in remote, isolated and mountainous regions of the country. As Vietnam develops, the gaps between rich and poor people, between urban and rural populations, and between the Kinh and ethnic minorities are widening. For example, the poverty rate among Kinh and Chinese is only 10.3 per cent, while among ethnic minorities, poverty stands at 52.3 per cent. In the central highlands of Quang Tri, where a farmer named Ho Thi Hom lives, she and her fellow Van Kieu people face a poverty rate of about 62 per cent. Quang Tri and Nghe An are two Ho Thi Hom has doubled her rice harvest in Oxfam's project / Photo: Pham Tung Lam GODS, PEOPLE, LAND and INCOME Van Kieu farmers in Vietnam ularly, and makes offerings of chicken so clear and the application so easy, that and sticky rice to ensure that Yàng is it just seemed too good to be true, but happy and supportive of her crops. For it was!” Hom said, holding some newly important occasions, Van Kieu people harvested rice in her hands. may even sacrifice a buffalo, their most She also tried new ways of raising her two pigs through the Oxfam-IDE prized farm animal. In the past, Hom’s average rice yield training. No longer does she cook feed was only 100kg per sao, compared with but makes a simple mixture of fish, wa- 250kg on the coastal plains. This was ter, and powder from cassava, rice and only enough to feed her family for six peanut. She also learned about animal months. For the other half of the year, nutrition and after three months, her she had to spend about US$100 to buy pigs weighed 60kg each, bringing in a her own rice, and would rely on rice significant extra income. from the national reserve, which the “It used to take us twice as much government allocates to poorer prov- time to get half of what we had now. inces. To raise that US$100, she would Therefore, we decided to continue with sell her chickens or pigs, forage in the the new method and we were able to forest for mushrooms, and engage in make over 200,000 VND net profit from logging. just one pig,” she said with a smile, and “Raising pigs was a hard job then,” a hint of pride. Hom said. “I got up early in the morn- With the money and some savings, ing to cook the pig feed, worked in the Hom built a better, enclosed latrine fields all day, and when I returned home for the family, and enlarged the pig late in the day I couldn’t rest at all. I had sty so that she could raise four pigs at to prepare the feed again.” a time. Her life changed for the better when “I will definitely raise even more pigs she joined the rice cultivation train- in the future,” she said. “I feel very com- Photo: Pham Ngoc Tinh ing in 2006; the activity was part of a fortable with this new no-cook method priority provinces for Oxfam, and it is no “Before the project began, life was tassium oxide for the whole rice paddy. market-based model by Oxfam Hong and I don’t think I will ever go back to coincidence that both areas have high so difficult for us,” Hom recalled. “We Strictly speaking, this was against the Kong and International Development the conventional way. I now have more ethnic minority populations, particu- worked all day in the fields, but we traditional customs of the Van Kieu, Enterprises (IDE) which aimed to im- time to look after my children and the larly Quang Tri. could never grow enough to eat. rice paddy.” who believe their God named Yàng Cute prove the incomes of 200 families. She Ho Thi Hom, 52, grows rice, cassava “The project also helped build my would not allow any human interven- carefully observed the demonstration Hom is now more than a farmer: she and corn on the slopes of Truong Son confidence,” she continued. “When I tion with the soil – it was seen as an in- models and then attended additional is also a trainer. She belongs to a group Mountain, near Laos. It is steep land, saw how successful the demonstration vasion of the God’s domain. training in a new way of production of key farmers who teach hundreds of at 2,500 metres high. She also raises plots were that had been set up in the The Van Kieu believe in Yàng, with and fertiliser application called ‘fer- other women in the nearby villages chickens. When her rice yield doubled village, I thought I should try something different Yàng for the forest, moun- tiliser deep placement’. She also learned about the new cultivation and the pig by applying new farming methods, her new… We started with just one ‘sao’ of tains, rivers, rice and other things in the about composting. Her rice yield is now raising methods. husband and three children all agreed land, and I saw such good results.” natural world. If any of the Yàng Gods is almost 200 kg per sao annually, twice Yàng does not seem to be up - that it was the most important thing Encouraged by the experiment with angered, that Yàng may express it in the as much as before, and the family food set. There is harmony. The villagers in that had ever happened to the family. the one sao (500sqm), she and her hus- form of storms, bad harvests, or bring- supply is secure. Quang Tri still respect their Gods, the On harvest day, they killed three chick- band decided to use pellets of an envi- ing illnesses to the people. Yang Cute is ens for a feast, and invited neighbors ronmentally-friendly fertiliser made of the God of land. to celebrate their happiness. nitrogen, phosphorous oxide and po- Hom also believes in Yàng, prays reg- INCOME OR HEALTH: Can HIV Patients have both? There is a serious challenge in the count is, the weaker the immune sys- By Navin Vasudev started as a way to curb the pandemic tem.) Another requirement for HIV- as well as poverty, has sometimes led AIDS response. AIDS patients is that they must be un- to a conundrum with huge and highly problematic implications. Currently, the government offers dergoing antiretroviral (ARVs) treatment. All this seems quite logical and zens in need, including the disability appears to be a pretty good deal. ods because we had never seen them applied in our village. The results were land and themselves. Pham Tung Lam is Communications Manager with Oxfam Hong Kong. He is based in Hanoi. AIDS in SOUTH AFRICA South African government’s HIV and several social support grants to its citi- “At first, I did not believe the meth- Oxfam is aware of this trend and is monitoring the situation to develop • AIDS is the leading cause of death • Death rate is highest among women of child-bearing age, female teenagers, and young girls • • 18.7% of adults age 20-64, were HIV-positive in 2004 • 10.8% of total population were HIV-positive in 2004 • KwaZulu-Natal has the highest prevalence rate, as of 2005 • about 6 million people will die from AIDS-related causes over the next About 4.5 million people had HIV in 2000 10 years grant which HIV-positive patients can Yet, there is a problem. ways to address the issue. Since 1998, we apply for. At around USD107 per month, Let’s say a person’s T-cell count is have been running large-scale anti-HIV this grant may seem minuscule in this 175. She or he goes on ARVs, gets the and AIDS programme in South Africa better legislation. For several years, we nal evaluation conducted in 2004/2005 middle-income country that ranks in disability grant, and begins to feel to prevent the spread of infection, to have been focusing on KwaZulu-Natal, recommended that we scale-up the pro- the world’s top 20 GDP. Yet, one-third healthy again. The immune system is improve treatment, to reduce stigma the province with the highest preva- gramme, and we have begun working of the families in South Africa live on strengthening, and therefore, there and discrimination, and to advocate for lence rates, and in Limpopo. An exter- in Eastern Cape, too. less than USD 100 a month, one-third are fewer infections and other illnesses. of the population is unemployed, and Then, because the ARVs are doing their the country’s rich-poor gap is one of the job, the T-cell count goes up over 200, For more information on HIV & AIDS: http://www. thebody.com/content/art6110.html widest in the world. above the limit. The grant is promptly Navin Vasudev leads Oxfam Hong Kong's work in southern Africa from his base in Johannesburg. Simply put, the government’s so- stopped. cial grants have become integral to Considering the importance of the many families’ survival: for very poor income provided by the grant, HIV pa- families, the grant can be twice the av- tient-recipients have sometimes been erage monthly income. Studies show willing to take risks to ensure that the that the disability grant has been used funds continue coming in. So, in order to support entire families, and house- to keep the T-cell count below the 200 holds with access to social grants have limit, some patients have been known been more likely to work their way out to reduce the prescribed amount of of poverty. ARVs or stop taking them altogether. People with HIV must have a T-cell They put their own health at risk for count below 200 to be eligible for the the sake of the income, which may be disability grant. (The lower one’s T-cell supporting their whole family. What Sources: South Africa Department of Health, South Africa National HIV Survey (2005) Photo: HIV test at an Oxfam-supported organisation in Phalaborwa, South Africa / Oxfam Australia / Gcina Ndwalene in South Africa If you find time to come to West National Park. Local government has Initially, the Mollo people did not gan, and she says her neighbours have Timor, drop by Mollo. It isn’t a must, also allowed marble mining of the understand marble and mining. When lost more. Last but certainly not least, but you will not be dissatisfied with mountains. In all, the land accessible the talk of marble began, they thought landslides come, slowly but frequently, the beauty. Mollo has cool air, casua- to the people is getting smaller and it would beautify the stone, and they covering homes, crops and sometimes, rinas trees, rocky hills, savannas, cows, smaller, as is their sense of well-being; agreed to the plan. They soon realised people. The Naipitan experience has wild horses, and people will welcome the forestry policy and government-en- that mining meant cutting up the stone convinced every last person of Mollo to you into their round homes, and wear- dorsed development projects have im- and transporting it out of Mollo, and reject marble mining. ing beautifully hand-woven clothing, poverished the people. even though they may have little to of- The Mollo people have tried many fer you by way of meals or gifts. Poverty ways to regain their land, through di- is part of what will guide you around alogue, negotiation, demonstrations, the island. and even sabotage. They have won In a way, Mollo is already the richest some, lost others, and refuse to sur- part of Timor. With rivers and moun- render. They have been intimidated, tains, including Mutis Mountain, the threatened, beaten and imprisoned for highest in West Timor, there are many their dissent, yet remain strong in their natural resources. Mollo borders Mina views, firm in their commitment to re- River and Timau Mountain, and almost gain what has been lost. everyone here is a farmer, growing corn, People of Mollo view nature as body: tubers and other crops, and rearing stone as bone, soil as flesh, water as cows, buffalos and horses. The animals blood, and forest as skin, lung and hair. are branded and then either worked to Stone is particularly essential in their plough the fields or let loose to roam view. Without stone, life is incomplete, the grasslands, much of which used to unstable, frail, tentative. NATURE AS BODY Land and Life in Mollo, Indonesia By Siti Maemunah they strongly protested. They filed a But please do not change your mind. case against both the local govern- I still suggest you visit Mollo. At least ment and the mining company, which you will be able to enjoy the natural has tried to mine six mountains. Five beauty of the land, even if it will come mountains have been protected, but with destitution. I also think that a spe- Naitapan Mountain, in the village of cial inner beauty will come to you, a Tunua, was ‘skinned’ three years ago. beauty felt in the Mollo people’s deep, Flesh has been torn. Bones protrude. physical connection with nature. Their Waste stone covers the base of the pursuit of well-being is sure to inspire. mountain. When you come, you will see a A village woman named Naomi five-kilometre-long fence encircling a Mnune talks about the impact in Tunua. mountain that had once been mined The water quality and supply has de- for Naususu and Anjaf, but which has teriorated. The Tokseko, Tokseok and since been stopped due to the hard Kuisfolo springs dry up, something campaigning of the Mollo people. Made which has never happened before, she with local timber by local people, the says. “There are 48 families who use the fence is a symbol of their work to re- springs. Now we have to walk farther claim their stone, their bones, their land be forest. Most people have between Stone does more than strengthen 0.1 to 0.5 hectares of land which is seen the soil and keep it secure through ate precisely in this Naususu stone. The away, for two hours, to get water at the and their rights. Every time I see the as being owned both by the community rain or wind. People of Mollo believe company has about 20 different min- next village. Then, we have another two fence, I imagine them standing hand and by the family. Little of the crop is that stone absorbs and retains water, ing sites in the Mollo and nearby Flores, hours to carry it back home. Our life is so in hand, as strong as a rock. As long set aside for seeds, most of the land is and therefore can keep the surround- and the capacity of marble is said to be much more difficult. Lots of tubers have as there is rock, there is also flint, the not irrigated, and there is only one cul- ing soil moist and fertile. Stone is the approximately 3.5 trillion cubic metres. died, as has corn. Our livestock drink wa- promise of fire, of change, for a stron- tivating season: one harvest must last foundation, above which is soil, and Typically, the company cuts Naususu, ter that has been contaminated by min- ger, deeper life. for the whole year. This has been the then topsoil. the stone of all stones, the bone, the ing waste. First their heads puff up, then mother, the root of life, into one-me- they die.” Naomi has lost seven cows Siti Maemunah is the National Coordinator of Mining Advocacy Alliance (JATAM). Oxfam Hong Kong began working with JATAM earlier this year. tre cubes. and eighteen pigs since the mining be- All photos by NM Rulliady Mollo way of life for centuries. People’s respect for stone is appar- In Mollo, people feel deeply con- ent throughout Mollo history and ev- nected with nature. They realise they eryday culture. Two of their words for are alive because of nature, and to- ‘stone’, ‘fautkanaf’ and ‘batunama’, gether with nature. Thus, they knew even lead to many surnames, including their life would be ruined if separated the names of these main clans: Ba'un, from nature. This happened when the Fui, Lasa, Nani, Seko, Sumbanu, Tanisip Forestry Department began its refor- and Toto. (Interestingly, few names estation of the savanna plains back in come from ‘water’.) the 1960s. Through the decades, hun- Of all the stones in Mollo, it is dreds of thousands of casuarinas trees Naususu that is revered first and fore- have been planted by the company most – it is considered to be the oldest Hutan Tanaman Industri on thousands stone. The word Naususu means a moth- of hectares of indigenous community er who is breastfeeding, so the stone land, mostly in 1974, 1977, 1983, 1996, can be regarded as the first mother. and recently. The trees have exhausted The Mollo people also liken the Naususu the water supply, and when the land stone to a strong root, and the moun- was fenced in, animals could not easily tain that surrounds it as tree branches. reach what water remained. Separated Thomas Ola, a traditional doctor and from nature, thousands of livestock community leader in Mollo, explains it have died. this way, “roots of a tree support trunks Other government projects have and branches, so if the roots are pulled also affected the land, essentially out, the tree will collapse, and if the changing the ownership from communi- trunk is damaged, the tree will sink.” ty land into state-owned land with dif- Nevertheless, the Nusa Tenggara ferent status, from Production Forest, provincial government has given per- Protected Forest to Nature Reserve or mission to a mining company to oper- Naitapan Mountain was 'skinned' for its marble, despite protests by the residents / Photo: NM Rulliady VOICE HONG KONG CLIMATE Six action groups call for carbon dioxide emissions to be capped in the Air Pollution Control Ordinance: right now, the Hong Kong SAR Government does not regulate CO2 emissions of its two power companies, which account for about 70% of all CO2 emissions. Please add your voice to this campaign (http://write-aletter.greenpeace.org/407) – if action is not taken soon, now, Hong Kong winters may disappear within just 20 years, according to The Hong Kong Observatory. Oxfam Hong Kong is also calling to stop climate change, to stop the poverty it is bringing around the world: http://www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/ OXFAM HONG KONG WEBSITE in Hong Kong Video for Change www.oxfam.org.hk OXFAM BOOKS Two books have gone into their second print run: one on disasters and poverty, featuring new articles on the Sichuan earthquake and the Myanmar cyclone, and the second on people who receive social welfare in Hong Kong. Both books featured at one of Asia’s largest book fairs, at the end of July. Both books are in Traditional Text and Photo by Genna Leung Chinese. To order books: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/bookstore/list “We don’t read our world from and disrespect, both by civil servants sic right, we should not discriminate books, we don’t listen to the radio, but and the general public. It seems no one against the people who exercise this OXFAM in the NEWS you can catch our attention through in Hong Kong, CSSA and non-CSSA re- right,” Tommy said. HONG KONG – CNN quoted Oxfam Hong Kong (on 7 July) that the government’s the image. Nowadays, we use our eyes cipients alike, wants to have to depend Oxfam Hong Kong has provided this main welfare scheme, Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), is still to receive and respond,” said Tommy, a on welfare, as they know they will be kind of short-term interactive training “seen as charity” by the public, even if the bulk of the recipients are elderly. In Hong teenager who joined an Oxfam Hong looked down upon: self-reliance is an with youth since 2006. “It has allowed Kong, 1 out of 7 people is elderly, and 2 out of 5 of them are poor. Oxfam has Kong training at the Hong Kong School extremely strong norm in Hong Kong. our students to be immersed in a social been advocating CSSA reform since 2003 and views receiving the assistance as a “basic right”. of Creativity. “Faced with so much mass Comprehensive Social Securit y issue for a few months long, which sel- media, we don’t spend an hour to read Assistance (CSSA) aims to provide a ba- dom happens,” said Winkie Ho, a teach- through all the information and digest sic assistance for low-income people, er at Hong Kong School of Creativity. it, we select the parts that catch our eye: most of whom are elderly, people with “The outcome of visiting real cases [of this becomes our perception. I see how a disability and single parents. Based welfare recipients] is much more pow- the Hong Kong public has perceived re- on the Oxfam-commissioned survey, erful and effective than a typical school cipients of CSSA (the government’s main “Perception and Utilization of the CSSA lesson. Through the video, the youth social welfare scheme), and that’s why - A study on views of the public on the also spread the message to their class- we’re making short films to respond to lower income people” in June 2007, mates. I really believe that it has been these impressions.” the predominant view is that recipients a wonderful experience for the partici- Tommy was one of 15 participants, are “lazy, not willing to find a job [and] pants, not only for their intellectual de- aged 15 to 17, who joined the three- abusive” of the welfare system. Some velopment, but also for their personal month training by Oxfam and Video of the public also believe that “the ex- growth and confidence build-up.” Power, with video-making, poverty pense for CSSA in government is increas- Oxfam Hong Kong has always seen analysis, and dialogue with poor peo- ing every year and will be a burden to youngsters as drivers of positive, sus- ple who receive social welfare. The Hong Kong’s economic growth”. Most tainable change. The youth programme youth developed their creative skills respondents got their information from has developed through the years : to work against discrimination against television (75 per cent) and newspapers Oxfam gave talks to schools in the these welfare recipients in Hong Kong, (71 per cent). 1970s and 80s, established the Resource and this primarily happened because The participants decided to voice out Library in 1992, set up Oxfam Club in the youth saw, heard and felt, face to the CSSA recipients’ reality by making 1997, Cyberschool in 2000, and the face, the real situation: the people’s a two-minute film, which took them Interactive Education Centre in 2005. daily poverty and their tears and anger. three weeks, and then uploading it to Through a more interactive approach, Tommy and other teenagers said that Youtube. They screened the film at a such as by using visual art, drama and they had never imagined so many dif- press conference protesting CSSA dis- photography shooting in workshops ficulties; they had no idea that the ap- crimination, at which they shared their and trainings, youth have more ways plication procedure was so humiliating experiences with the press as well as to speak out for themselves, and for and intimidating, almost always with with the four Hong Kong Legislative poor people. delays and mishandlings, and some- Councilors who also attended. “If we times treated with outright rudeness assume accessing social security is a ba- New PartnerOrganisation Genna Leung works on development education with Oxfam Hong Kong. PHILIPPINES – GM ANews.T V reported (on 18 July) the launch of a new 10-year programme in Mindanao, by Oxfam Hong Kong, Oxfam Great Britain and Oxfam Netherlands. “Poverty is greatest in Mindanao [as high as 47%] and is exacerbated by conflicts,” an Oxfam spokesperson said. The programme will focus on income generation and peace-building, with gender justice and minority rights as essential components. One of many peace zones established in Mindanao MOKUNG Oxfam Hong Kong publishes this quarterly magazine in Traditional Chinese. Mokung, which means both “no poverty” and “infinity”, highlights a different aspect of development in each issue. The Editor is Tung Tsz-kwan. The March 2008 edition looks at the poverty news poll in Hong Kong. To subscribe: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/bookstore/?lang=big5 Mokung is online at www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/category?cid=1017&lang=big5 ONE O.N.E – Oxfam News E-magazine – is uploaded monthly at www.oxfam.org.hk/one. To receive a copy in your inbox, please subscribe – it is free. To subscribe: www.oxfam.org.hk/one/subscribe.html Every day, Oxfam Hong Kong works are supporting for the first time. The alongside hundreds of groups around location indicates where the project is the world, from small NGOs to inter- being implemented. national bodies, from government de- CHINA (MAINLAND) 17th Floor, 28 Marble Road, Northpoint, Hong Kong at Beijing Normal University O. N .E is also on-line: www.oxfam.org.hk/one partments of developing countries to community groups based in Hong Kong. Here is 1 ‘partner organisation’ that we • China Labour Studies Centre Hong Kong Editor: Madeleine Marie Slavick email@example.com COVER: Gcina Ndwalane / Oxfam Australia category?cid=53988&lang=iso-8859-1.