Oxfam in Cuba

By Tjarda Muller

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Since 1996, Oxfam International has been working in Cuba to improve food security through organic agriculture projects, and projects aimed at diversifying agricultural production. One of Oxfam's partners in this area is the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), which brings together more than 4,200 cooperatives with 330,000 members nationally. ANAP's has taken some Oxfam-funded local projects and, using its own resources, replicated them on a national level.

Members of Oxfam International have also provided grant support for neighborhood social programs, such as the world-renowned Martin Luther King Center, a leader in popular education.

Cuba's civil evacuation and protection system is widely renowned for its excellence. Oxfam works with Cuba's Civil Defense to help communities prepare for disasters and has helped Cuba significantly reduce its vulnerability to hurricanes. In 2004 Oxfam America, as part of Oxfam International, documented these experiences and lessons in the publication "Weathering the Storm: Lessons in Risk Reduction in Cuba."

Gender equality is a priority in all the projects Oxfam supports. While Cuban women enjoy a wide array of rights, there continue to be gaps, particularly at home. Supporting research and sensitivity training, particularly in regards to violence against women, is a priority for Oxfam in Cuba.

As part of Oxfam International, Oxfam America has contributed roughly $1.1 million to Oxfam International's work in Cuba since 1995. All of Oxfam America's grants were approved by the US Department of State, and mostly supported agricultural transformation projects designed to improve food security.