Last Tuesday we had the official launch of the Craftivist Collective #imapiece campaign, in association with Save the Children. So I thought I’d take some time to talk with you about the campaign, what it means to me and how I’m hoping you can get involved.
Next year, the G8 summit comes to the UK with David Cameron at the helm, and Save the Children are working hard to ensure that the topics of hunger and malnutrition are firmly placed on the agenda and that the countries involved commit to funding programmes that help address these issues. This terrific video by Save the Children will help you understand the issues surrounding malnutrition and why we should all be paying attention.
In November, Sarah Corbett, Lauren O’Farrell aka Deadly Knitshade, Hilary Pullen and I will be visiting Save the Children projects in Indonesia to find out how international aid is helping tackle the overwhelming challenges that people are facing in those regions. It’s been eight years since the Tsunami struck the islands in Indonesia and once the stories disappear from the news I know that I had assumed things were returning to normal over there. While there has undoubtedly been progress in the main economic areas on the island, there’s still a lot of work to do and we’ll be visiting the Banda Aceh region to see how Save the Children are supporting communities as they continue to rebuild their lives. It’s going to be a life-changing visit.
When Sarah contacted me about the project, I jumped at the opportunity to take part in something so profound. In my life outside of Mr X Stitch, I co-founded a farmers’ market in my home town and have been involved in local food politics for quite a while, being all too aware of the issues here in the UK. We’re blessed with good infrastructure and, for better or worse, a wide range of retail mechanisms to provide us with the food we need. I’m curious to understand how these systems work in a different country, one that faces a far more challenging set of circumstances than we do here in the UK, and how those communities develop solutions that reflect their local needs.
We might feel secure with our food systems in the UK, but without understanding how local resilience can be developed, we are at the mercy of these systems. If our food suppliers go out of business, how can we look after ourselves? Countries like Indonesia are addressing these issues and I’m sure they’ve got a lot to teach us.
I’ve spoken with the rest of the #imapiece crew and I think we’re all in the same boat – not entirely sure how this trip will affect us. Each of us have different stories and experiences and the one thing we’re all agreed on is that the trip is going to be eye-opening. It will definitely connect us with the reality of malnutrition and the need for sustained support from international organisations like Save the Children.
“Every hour of every single day, 300 children die because they don’t get enough of the right food.” – Save the Children.
We’ll be sharing our experiences of the trip as it happens, through a range of media, and when we return we’ll be actively engaging with the craft community on the #imapiece project. Which is where you come in.
We’re asking each of you to make three textile jigsaw pieces:
- One to keep to remind you to be part of the solution and not the problem.
- One to send to be a part of the big collaborative jigsaw puzzle, so we can make a huge impact when they are all put together.
- One to send or give to your MP, because the fact is hunger is a political issue with a political solution.
There’s a petition that you can sign online as well, but the main thrust of the campaign is to take the time to make these jigsaw pieces so that you can connect with the subject and help us create a strong message for the decision makers in the UK and beyond.
My MP is Mark Lancaster (Milton Keynes North) and I’m looking forward to engaging with him on discussions about malnutrition and international aid. As Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for International Development he’s certainly well immersed in the subject and I’m sure that he’ll be sympathetic to the cause. It’ll be interesting to find out.
You can read more about the campaign at the official #imapiece Craftivist Collective website, and I’ll be writing a lot more about it, but I hope you take the time to watch the videos and connect with the Craftivist Collective to get your jigsaw piece pack!
This is a fantastic opportunity for the Craft Community to show its support for an invaluable campaign and to prove that we have a voice that needs listening to. I’d love to hear what you think of the idea and how you’re going to get involved.