In Southern Africa, a major drought during 1992-93 threatened devastating consequences for poor rural populations in the region. The article describes the unconventional approach to disaster mitigation undertaken by Oxfam (UK and Ireland) in Zambia. This enabled people at the local level, with little prior organisational experience, to establish effective dialogue with government officials in the country; it also laid the foundations for longer-term development activities. The role of local-level lobbying, as well as campaigning on an international level, was crucial.
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