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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 08:28 GMT
Diary: The World Social Forum

By Anna Mitchell
Oxfam worker at the World Social Forum in Brazil

Korean metal worker Shin Suk-Ju marches during a protest during the World Social forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil
People from all over the world have joined the campaign
The World Social Forum (WSF) has been hot, exhausting and absolutely worthwhile.

I have been hard at work highlighting Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign.

The campaign is calling on world governments to change the rules that govern trade so that it can benefit poor countries and poor farmers and not just rich countries and big business.

We have been lucky enough to work with the Sekala Brothers, one of Zambia's top selling bands and passionate campaigners for trade justice.

Their sensational singing, a blend of modern and traditional Zambian music, drew in crowds of people to watch, dance, hear about the campaign and join the Big Noise - a global petition calling on world leaders to make trade fair.

Unfair trade

People from all over the world have joined the campaign and meeting so many different people from so many different places has been one of the highlights of my time here.

World Social Forum crowds
People gathered to share ideas and experiences

Many have their own stories to tell about how unfair trade has affected their lives.

One dairy farmer from the south of Brazil told me how he was forced to sell his milk at low prices to a big European company which went on to sell it for more then eight times the price.

He said he had no choice. He had to accept the price on offer as he had no other way of selling it.

The farmer joined the Big Noise petition and kept coming back during the afternoon with more and more people he had recruited to the campaign.

A different future

I was also able to meet groups from across the globe to share ideas and plan activities for the Global Week of Action for Trade Justice in April.

Representatives of coalitions from Bolivia to Bangladesh, from Sweden to Senegal shared ideas and plans for the week which will see thousands of organisations demanding their governments, big business and international institutions such as the World Trade Organisation deliver trade justice.

The WSF is a unique event. It's a bit chaotic at times but it's not surprising considering that an estimated 120,000 people from many different countries, speaking lots of different languages, all converge in one place.

People have gathered here to share ideas and experiences and to build partnerships and plan action for the months and years to come.

The WSF motto is "Another World is Possible", and when the people gathered here return home they will be working hard to achieve it.

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