What is it?
The Change Initiative is an Oxfam-run program that supports and equips young people (aged 18-25)s over a period of six months to be leaders in their local communities. The program consists of training in the form of mentoring and workshops, and covers topics such as designing campaign strategy, community organising, program management, values, leadership and team building, conversations for change and digital campaigning.
Ollie, current member of the Change Initiative 2018, says that initially applied for the program as he saw it as an “opportunity to apply [his] values and ideas into actions”. Ollie believes that the work of Oxfam is vital in working towards equity in an unjust world. Personally, Ollie believes that as a person born into a privilege in the world, it is his responsibility to “use that privilege to help those that are not as fortunate” as himself.
“I think it is so important that in world where everyone is so preoccupied by self-interest, there is still hope that human kind can aim to achieve a place for all.”
What have you learned?
Since joining the program, Ollie has gained an understanding of the unfair wages and poor working conditions that exist within many factories overseas. He has been made aware of the inequities that exist worldwide and has developed a new appreciation for his own circumstances. Ollie has also gained skills in running a successfully program and gained knowledge about the components and work that is needed to create change and generate awareness.
However, Ollie says that the most rewarding element of the Change Initiative is the people he has met through the program. He has been able to meet and learn alongside people from a wide variety of backgrounds who are all passionate about working towards a more equitable world.
“The beauty of sitting in a room full of people with different ideological, religious and ethnic backgrounds all discussing the importance of creating positive change within the world we live in is what makes the Change Initiative so rewarding”
Have you been able to use the training you’ve received to engage in tangible action in your community?
Since joining the program, Ollie has collaborated within his local community to incorporate the Oxfam ‘What She Makes’ campaign with a local clothes swap event. Everyone who attended the event signed the petition and participants were eager to learn more about the campaign. It was encouraging to see that some of the people who attended were already aware of some aspects of the campaign. Ollie says that the motivation for the clothes swap and the event’s aim to reduce waste and discourage mass produced clothing made the clothes swap an ideal “space to discuss the inequality created by the companies that manufacture our clothes”.
Ollie also plans to continue to engage with his local community by hosting a film screening to bring people together and raise awareness about the issues surrounding poor working conditions.