A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
On the web
Annie Lennox is one of the most successful female British artists in pop music history, with a musical career spanning over thirty years.
As one of the world's greatest singer/song-writing performers, she is a renowned international icon, and the winner of numerous prestigious awards, including several Grammies, Ivor Novellos, and an Oscar. Annie is also an internationally recognized and highly respected political and social activist. In 2009, she was presented with the "Nobel Woman of Peace Award" and was also given the Freedom of the City of London for services to Humanity.
Over the years, Annie has taken part in a wide range of activities for Oxfam.
In 2006, she launched the "I'm In" Oxfam Campaign in Edinburgh, and was the first to text her name onto a giant interactive projection – the first of its kind in Europe. She also lent her support as the voice for TV adverts for the campaign. Following the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Annie donated one of her favorite paintings to a special auction to raise funds for Oxfam's Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
Focus on AIDS and women's issues
Annie works hard on AIDS and women's issues. In 2008, she travelled to Mexico with Oxfam for the UN HIV/AIDS Conference where she lobbied world leaders for universal access to treatment. Addressing 20,000 delegates at the opening ceremony, Annie made a passionate plea for those in power to use their influence to provide better access to healthcare for pregnant women. On that trip she met with the Mexican President and Health Minister, and the first ladies for Honduras and Mexico, reiterating the call for universal access to healthcare.
Annie also visited Oxfam projects in Mexico City and rural areas, including organizations that tackle the stigma surrounding HIV. In Oxfam Mexico's office she held a meeting with Latin American women infected with HIV – transsexuals and sex workers, married women, housewives and mothers. Many women told Annie they believed they had been infected by their husbands.
Annie says: "I've seen the devastating effects that HIV and AIDS has on families and communities, and I know we won't overcome poverty unless we win the fight against AIDS. That's why I'm working with organizations like Oxfam to demand that rich and poor country governments live up to their promises and deliver healthcare for everyone, especially women."
The Circle – women for women
Together with Oxfam, Annie has set up "The Circle" – a group of influential women who have come together to use their profiles, ideas, skills and resources to connect with women living in poverty around the world. These like-minded women are bringing a fresh approach to the challenges women face both now and in the future, with funds raised from Circle events supporting Oxfam projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Circle is making a real difference to women's lives, empowering women to earn a living and giving girls the chance of an education, fighting HIV and AIDS, adapting to climate change and protecting women's rights.
In May 2010, The Circle helped set up and run The Oxfam Curiosity Shop in Selfridges, London. For one week, the Selfridges Ultralounge was transformed into an Oxfam shop selling thousands of unique items donated by Annie and a host of other stars including Elle Macpherson, Beyoncé, Dame Helen Mirren and Will Young. Together with a live launch event and online auction The Oxfam Curiosity Shop raised over $300,000.
In March 2011 in honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Annie helped launch the EQUALS coalition - a group of leading charities and arts organizations, including Oxfam, which aims to re-open the debate about equality. "I want this year’s centenary celebrations for International Women’s Day to be a turning point, a catalyst for tangible and positive change."
The energy and determination with which Annie Lennox carries out her work for Oxfam has helped bring greater attention to issues affecting millions of people.