Livia joins Colin as Oxfam’s new global ambassador.
We are very proud to announce that Livia has been made an Oxfam Ambassador, joining the ranks of fellow Oxfam Circle members Annie Lennox, Helena Christensen, Kristin Davis and Scarlett Johansson. After years of involvement, three trips with the organisation and countless events, Livia now joins Colin as a global ambassador for the charity.
“Oxfam has been part of my life since I moved to England 17 years ago. I am a huge fan of their work and I learned more about environmental and social justice and poverty during the trips I have made with them than from any book I could have read. I have also met some of the most extraordinary people around the world thanks to Oxfam, and am incredibly honoured to be appointed global ambassador and I will carry their flag with more pride than ever!”
Livia’s first trip for the NGO was back in 2005, when she travelled with Colin to Ethiopia where more than fifteen million people are dependent on the coffee trade, and are struggling to cope after the collapse in the global market value of the beans. The trip spurred the couple to lobby on behalf of the coffee farmers in their dispute with Starbucks over rights to the names of some of the country’s most famous coffees. Ownership of such trademarks enables farmers to charge a higher price for their products. The dispute has since been resolved with Starbucks, who have agreed to recognize Ethiopia’s ownership of the names, and not to block their attempts to win trademarks.
For her second trip Livia travelled to Southern Asia in 2008 with fellow Green Carpet Challenge founder Lucy Siegle, to find out more about the We Can Campaign. An inspiring campaign, We Can works in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan, and focuses on the abolition of violence against women through empowering members of the community by making them ‘Change Makers’. In Bangladesh alone, it was estimated that 57.5% of the women had suffered from sexual and physical violence. Across the rest of southern Asia, the number is similarly grim, as 50% of women face violence in their everyday lives. The ‘Change Makers’ are men and women who actively encourage positive attitudes and behaviour towards women within the communities they live and work in, by providing alternatives. To date, there are an amazing 2.7 million Change Makers who volunteer to work every day to change their society and the perspectives of those around them.
Livia and Lucy spent some time with groups of garment workers based in a remote village in Northern Bangladesh, who work every day to change the idea that women are not entitled to a life without fear, violence and intimidation.
“Before joining the WE CAN campaign my husband did not allow me to go outside the house. But since I joined and became a Change Maker one year ago, my husband has also become a Change Maker. These days my husband inspires me to participate in the campaign activities and talk about the campaign with others.” For her third trip earlier this year, Livia travelled to Zambia with Oxfam’s Circle, to learn more of the education systems being set up in rural areas. As well as all the fact finding trips over the last couple of years, Livia has continued to donate her incredible Green Carpet Challenge dresses to Oxfam Auctions, and is a continual and passionate supporter of the Oxfam Curiosity Shop along with the likes of Annie Lennox, Beverly Knight, Colin and Rupert Friend.