Global Inequality in Photos – Action 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals

To coincide with this week’s UN General Assembly meeting in New York, where the Sustainable Development Goals will be finalised, an NGO-based movement called ‘Action 2015’ has gathered a collection of beautiful photographs demonstrating the vast gaps in equality that persist across the world. The aim is to draw attention to the universality of this problem, to caution against replicating the Millennium Development Goals (which many countries have fallen short on. Check out the rest of the project here, and don’t forget to add your name to the Action 2015 campaign, find an event near you and join their social media project#lighttheway!


Sebastião Salgado:

“My images of the Awá, a nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe of the north-eastern Brazilian Amazon, reveal the devastating consequences of deforestation and shed light on the lives of the Awá, who have become known as Earth’s most threatened tribe. Pictured: The tracks of the illegal loggers go deep into the forest – Awá territory. These tracks are then used by illegal farmers who transform the forest into pasture for the cattle ranching.”


The son of Piraima’a in his father’s arms. Awá fathers are very close to their children.

Tanya Habjouqa:

The images of occupation – such as the ubiquitous photographs of veiled women herded into checkpoints – have lost their visual impact and explain only so much. There is much more here to humanise. Pictured: Members of the Gaza Parkour free-running team practise in a cemetery on the outskirts of their refugee camp in Khan Younis, Gaza. The walls show damage from past Israeli incursions, but this doesn’t stop the team from training.


Teenage girls in Ramallah try on dresses for a dance. Since they were children, all they have known is occupation but, despite that, they are not defined by that and refuse to let it be so.

Mona Ennab, a ‘Speed Sister’ from Ramallah, trains with colleague Noor Daoud at the Qalandia checkpoint during Iftar in Ramadan. Open spaces for practising racing are limited in the West Bank.




Reblog: How you can change the world by shopping!

I came across this post by Indego Africa, shared as a guest post on the One Campaign’s blog as well, so I thought I’d add to the shares! This is a great article about how and why what we buy matters, what we could consider when buying new things and how our consumerism can be a part of a strong activist movement.

This is something I’m deeply passionate about and have written a guest post about as well, for Hands Producing Hope. Read this and tell me what you think!


How You Can Change the World by Shopping!

This blog comes to us from our partner Indego Africa.

While many of us wish to make a positive difference in the world, it can be hard to figure out how to do it. As individuals, how can we drive change in our communities and around the globe? Where is a good place to start?

While many of us wish to make a positive difference in the world, it can be hard to figure out how to do it. As individuals, how can we drive change in our communities and around the globe? Where is a good place to start?

One answer – which may surprise you – is…shopping.

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Yes, that’s right – from the groceries we eat to the clothes we put on our backs, the decisions we make everyday about what and what not to buy can profoundly impact the world in which we live. This line of thinking – often called “conscious consumerism” – is on the rise as buyers are becoming increasingly invested in the way that products are made and the effects they have on people and the environment.

At Indego Africa, we believe deeply in the power of ethically made products that empower the people who create them. That’s why we partner with more than 800 female artisans across Rwanda, providing them with opportunities to earn fair-trade, sustainable income for their beautifully handcrafted products. We sell these pieces around the world, and pool 100% of the proceeds from sales, along with grants and donations, to fund education programs for the very same women.

While we are just one of a growing number of socially responsible brands, we want to share with you why we love what we do and hopefully inspire you to jump on the shopping-for-a-cause train too!

  1. Each product provides a woman with a real, living wage. We believe in paying our artisan partners fairly, honoring the incredible skill, patience, and creativity that goes into their work (some products, like our colorful plateau baskets, each take 2-3 days to make!)

    Making baskets. Imirasire, Rwanda

  1. With increased income, women are able to care for themselves and their families. Most of our artisan partners are mothers, and like all moms they want nothing more than to create beautiful lives for their children. We are deeply inspired by their determination and proud to see them earn enough not only to provide for their families’ basic needs – like food and housing – but also to invest in their children’s futures by sending them to school.

    Sewing. Ibyishimo, Rwanda.

  1. All proceeds go towards education. We believe that education is the key to empowerment. That’s why we provide our partners with a range of educational opportunities – both at our Leadership Academy and onsite at their workplaces – to help them develop the life-long knowledge and skills they need to thrive as confident businesswomen, creative entrepreneurs and powerful community leaders.


Block Printing

  1. There is something distinctly special about a product that is handmade.We love to shop products made with love and care – to feel the soul and craftsmanship in every stitch. It is a way of connecting with artisans around the world – of sharing in their culture and traditions and celebrating their remarkable crafts.

Making lovebirds. Ibyishimo, Rwanda.

As you can see, empowering women through artistry and education is a cause we are deeply passionate about. But now we want to turn it over to you: what causes are most important to you? What companies are out there fighting for them too?

As Olivia Wilde, actress and co-founder of Conscious Commerce, likes to say: “your dollar is your vote.” By choosing to direct the money we already spend towards products and companies we believe in, we can not only make a difference in the world but also send a powerful message to corporations that we will not support products that are harmful to humanity.

It may sound simple, but as consumers we have more power than we think. By introducing a little bit of passion and purpose into our purchases, we can make a whole lot of difference.

Dyeing cloth. Imirasire, Rwanda




Navy Hanging Basket

Navy Hanging Basket


Floral Panama Hat

Small horn vase

To see more of our products, made with love by women in Rwanda, please click here.

Why People Give to One, not Millions

I came across this interesting piece on NPR about charitable giving using emotional responses.

There’s a new study which shows that people give more generously to a cause where there’s one recipient, or one source in need of help, rather than millions of people.

It’s come about at an interesting time, when we’re all asking ourselves some serious questions about Ebola.

Psychologist Paul Slovic of the University of Oregon has some answers to this timely question. In his study, a young girl suffering from starvation was shown to volunteers to see whether they were willing to donate to help. Another group was shown the same story, but with the added level that there were also millions of others like her.

Initially, what would your first reaction be? I know with a set-up like this it’s hard to think naturally, but I thought that when faced with such a large issue, people would be more motivated to give money, and may even donate larger sums. I would’ve thought that if the problem was proven to be larger in scale than just one child, we might be more shocked into donating than if it was just a smaller-scale issue.

But the more I thought about it of course, the more this study made sense. We are inundated in our media by images of starving children, animals in danger, people near and far who need our help. It’s little wonder then, that when told that a problem we’re learning about is much larger in scale than one person, we throw our hands up in exasperation, certain that we can’t make a difference.

“What we found was just the opposite,” Slovic says. “People who were shown the statistics along with the information about the little girl gave about half as much money as those who just saw the little girl.”

Slovic initially thought it was just the difference between heart and head. A story about an individual victim affects us emotionally. But a million people in need speaks to our head, not our heart. “As the numbers grow,” he explains, “we sort of lose the emotional connection to the people who are in need.”

In other words, people decline to do what they can do because they feel bad about what they can’t do.

That theory might explain why there hasn’t been an outpouring of donations from Americans to the Ebola epidemic. The current outbreak triggers feelings of hopelessness: there’s no cure, lots of people are sick, and lots of people will die.

Infographic: Cuts to EU aid

Plan’s EU office just shared this infographic, put together alongside Oxfam EU. It shows what will happen if EU leaders cut aid this week in a key vote.



Earth Hour 2013 – I Will if You Will

Alongside their usual proposal (for everyone to turn off their electricity for an hour in the year as a symbolic gesture to try reducing our dependence on the planet’s resources), Earth Hour have come up with another amazing idea – I Will if You Will.

Individuals pledge certain gestures, in exchange for a group of people doing something else to cut down their carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly.

Earth Hour has grown from a one-city initiative in 2007 to the world’s largest campaign for the planet, uniting hundreds of millions of people across 7001 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories.


Check out this video:

And because I can’t decide what I will do, here’s what I propose – you tell me what you can do this year to be more energy efficient and reduce your carbon footprint, and we’ll work out a deal. It can be something as small as a batch of cookies or a cake, to something silly or funny, whatever we decide!

What do you think? Send me your ideas and thoughts as comments, or as an email to and let’s see what we can come up with!

Indian NGO becomes country’s first HAP-certified organisation

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International (HAP), a multi-agency initiative working to improve the accountability of humanitarian action to people affected by disasters, has certified India’s first disaster relief organisation.
SEEDS Asia (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development) has branches in Japan and India, the latter of which has become India’s first HAP-certified organisation, further lending credibility to local institutions for disaster management.
SEEDS India offers assistance to those affected by natural disasters and those living in disaster-prone areas, as well as providing ongoing support to these communities during normal times. SEEDS builds shelters and uses local technologies and approaches to mitigate the risk of further disasters eroding the standard of living.
The organisation was founded in 1994 in India’s capital New Delhi. Since its creation, SEEDS has protected families against the effects of earthquakes, floods and cyclones. It has helped rebuild schools and homes and advocates among various local communities for support and assistance, as well as showing communities how to manage the risk of these disasters in the future.

Image courtesy SEEDS Asia

ActionAid, World Food Day and Land Grabbing

It’s World Food Day today, and here’s what ActionAid have to report on their progress to improve the lives of those dependent on food production:

If you want to talk about food, you have to start with land. That’s why we’re working with smallholder farmers around the world to help protect them against land grabs and defend their rights!

Half of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers and 8/10 of those farmers are women.


But rural women in developing countries are among the poorest and most neglected people worldwide; women control less than 2% of land globally despite the crucial role they play in food security.


Evelyn (pictured) is part of a Coalition of Women’s Farmers and a member of the Women’s Forum – a project initiated by ActionAid.

We’ve also been talking to people from all over the world about their concerns about land. In an innovative new text-message project, people have been texting in their priorities when it comes to land, which we’ve been tweeting out for the world to hear.

As part of its World Food Day programme, ActionAid are highlighting the importance of land grabbing and the role that governments must play to control it.

Leona Casey, Campaigns Officer at ActionAid, has written about this, quoting a community in Kisarwe, Tanzania:

We own the land and use it for different activities. At anytime the government can make the decision to transfer my land to another user.

Check out ActionAid’s page for more information about their campaigns to stop land grabbing and support sustainable rural farming, and join the conversation on Twitter. What does land grabbing mean to you?

What does World Food Day mean to you? Are there conversations you’d like to highlight, perspectives you’d like to share?