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Oxfam is a British founded confederation of 21 independent
charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the Wor ...
s focusing on the alleviation of global
poverty Poverty is the state of having little material possessions or income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expresse ...

poverty
, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International.


History

Founded at 17 Broad Street,
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
, as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of
Quaker Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Ref ...

Quaker
s, social activists, and Oxford academics in 1942 and registered in accordance with UK law in 1943, the original Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was a group of concerned citizens including Henry Gillett (a prominent local Quaker), Theodore Richard Milford,
Gilbert Murray George Gilbert Aimé Murray (2 January 1866 – 20 May 1957) was an Australian-born British classical scholar and public intellectual, with connections in many spheres. He was an outstanding scholar of the language and culture of Ancient Greece, ...

Gilbert Murray
and his wife Mary,
Cecil Jackson-Cole Cecil Jackson-Cole was an English entrepreneur and humanitarian. He was associated with a number of charities including Oxfam, Help the Aged and ActionAid. A devout Christian, Jackson-Cole set up charitable trusts including the Voluntary and Chr ...
and Alan Pim. The Committee met in the Old Library of
University Church of St Mary the Virgin The University Church of St Mary the Virgin (St Mary's or SMV for short) is an Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of Lo ...

University Church of St Mary the Virgin
, Oxford, for the first time in 1942, and its aim was to help starving citizens of occupied Greece, a famine caused by the
Axis occupation of Greece The occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers ( el, Η Κατοχή, ''I Katochi'', 'the occupation') began in April 1941 after Nazi Germany Battle of Greece, invaded Greece to assist its ally, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Fascist Italy, which had ...
and
Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
naval blockades and to persuade the British government to allow food relief through the blockade. The Oxford committee was one of several local committees formed in support of the National
Famine Relief Famine relief is an organized effort to reduce starvation Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy In , energy is the that must be to a or to perform on the body, or to it. Energy is a ; the law of states that energ ...
Committee. Oxfam's first paid employee was
Joe Mitty An Oxfam charity shop in Covent Garden, London. Mitty established the first Oxfam charity shop in Oxford. Joseph Sidney Mitty Order of the British Empire, MBE (7 May 1919 – 30 September 2007) was a United Kingdom, British salesman and the man wh ...
, who began working at the Oxfam shop on
Broad Street, Oxford Broad Street is a wide street in central Oxford, England, just north of the former city wall. The street is known for its bookshops, including the original Blackwell's bookshop at number 50, located here due to the University of Oxford. Among res ...

Broad Street, Oxford
on 9 November 1949. Engaged to manage the accounts and distribute donated clothing, he originated the policy of selling anything which people were willing to donate, and developed the shop into a national chain. By 1960, it was an international non-governmental aid organization. The first overseas committee was founded in Canada in 1963, and in 1965 the organization changed its name to its
telegraphic address A telegraphic address or cable address was a unique identifier code for a recipient of telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical ...
, OXFAM. The Oxford committee became known as Oxfam Great Britain or
Oxfam GB Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, Religion, religious or other activit ...
. In 1995 Oxfam International was formed by a group of independent non-governmental organizations. Stichting Oxfam International was registered as a non-profit foundation at
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
,
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, in 1996.
Winnie Byanyima Winifred Byanyima (born 13 January 1959), is a Ugandan aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat. She is the executive director of UNAIDS, effective November 2019. Before that, from May 2013 until November 2019, she served as the execut ...
was the executive director of Oxfam International from 2013 to 2019.


Oxfam's work


Focus

Oxfam has provided relief services during various global crises, including the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's most enduring conflicts, with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching years of conflict. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of th ...
,
North Korean famine The North Korean famine (), also known as the Arduous March or the March of Suffering (), was a period of mass starvation together with a general economic crisis An economy (from Greek οίκος – "household" and νέμoμαι – "manag ...
,
2011 East Africa drought Between July 2011 and mid-2012, a severe drought affected the entire East African region. Said to be "the worst in 60 years", the drought caused a severe food crisis across Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially ...
,
2012 Sahel drought2012 had a very severe drought in the Sahel, the semiarid region of Africa that lies between the Sahara and the savannas. Countries included in this region are Senegal Senegal (; french: link=no, Sénégal; Wolof language, Wolof: ''Senegaal'') ...
, Nepal earthquake and
Yemeni crisis ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi takeover in Yemen, De jure'')Aden (Temporary capital Yemeni government, in exile) , coordinates = , capital_exile = ...
. The Bosfam
NGO A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first ...
was also founded in May 1995 by women participating in an Oxfam GB psycho-social 'radionice' project to support internally displaced women during the
Bosnian war The Bosnian War ( sh, Rat u Bosni i Hercegovini / Рат у Босни и Херцеговини) was an international armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, ...
. Oxfam has become a globally recognized leader in providing water sanitation to impoverished and war-torn areas the world over. In 2012, Oxfam became one of the humanitarian groups that comprise the UK's Rapid Response Facility to ensure clean water in the wake of humanitarian disasters. A January 2014 Oxfam report stated that the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world have a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 50% of the world's population, or about 3.5 billion people. More recently, in January 2015, Oxfam reported that the wealthiest 1 percent will own more than half of the global wealth by 2016. An Oxfam report released in 2017 stated that eight
billionaire A billionaire is a person with a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial accountancy, financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned or controlled by a business or an economic entity. ...

billionaire
s possess the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity.


Campaigns

The
Make Trade Fair Make Trade Fair is a campaign organized by Oxfam, Oxfam International to promote trade justice and fair trade among governments, institutions, and multinational corporations. Objectives The campaign has focused on the elimination of several trad ...
campaign organized by Oxfam International focuses on the elimination of trade practices, like dumping, which occurs when highly subsidized, surplus commodities from developed countries such as rice, cotton, corn, and sugar are sold at low prices and farmers from poor countries have difficulty competing. Another practice Oxfams opposes is the setting of
tariffs A tariff is a tax imposed by a government of a country or of a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of International trade, forei ...
, where nations enforce high taxes on imported goods, restricting the sales of products from other nations, unbalanced
labour rights Labor rights or workers' rights are both legal rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''u ...
for women, who often earn lower wages than their male counterparts, and stringent
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
issues that prevent the prices of medication, software, and textbooks (e.g.
gene patent A biological patent is a patent on an invention in the field of biology that by law allows the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the protected invention for term of patent, a limited period of time. The scope ...
s,
chemical patent A chemical patent, pharmaceutical patent or drug patent is a patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of val ...
s, and
software patent A software patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange fo ...
s) from being lowered. Thus, such essential goods are often inaccessible to developing nations.


Shops

Oxfam has shops all over the world, which sell many fair-trade and donated items since their first charity shop opened in 1948, although trading began in 1947. The proceeds from these are used to further Oxfam's mission and relief efforts around the globe. Much of their stock comes from public donations but as of 2012 they still sold fair trade products from developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America, including handcrafts, books, music CDs and instruments, clothing, toys, food and ethnic creations. These objects are brought to the public through fair trade to help boost the quality of life of their producers and surrounding communities. As of 2010, Oxfam had over 1,200 shops worldwide. More than half of them were in the UK with around 750 Oxfam GB shops including specialist shops such as books, music, furniture and bridal wear. Oxfam Germany has 45 shops including specialist book shops; Oxfam France shops sell books and fair trade products and Oxfam Hong Kong has 2 shops selling donated goods and fair trade products. Oxfam Novib, Oxfam Australia (with over 20 fair trade shops), Oxfam Ireland and Oxfam in Belgium also raise funds from shops. Of the 750 Oxfam charity shops around the UK, around 100 are specialist bookshops or book and music shops. Oxfam is the largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe, selling around 12 million per year. In 2008, Oxfam GB worked with over 20,000
volunteers
volunteers
in shops across the UK, raising £17.1 million for Oxfam's programme work.


Fundraising

Oxfam has several successful fundraising channels in addition to its shops. Over half a million people in the UK make a regular financial contribution to its work. In April 2017 the Information Commissioner's Office fined Oxfam charities for breaching the Data Protection Act by misusing donors' personal data. Oxfam was fined £6,000.


Offices and affiliates

Oxfam international consists of 21 Affiliates and the international secretariat in
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Nairobi
. There are additional offices in Addis Abeba, Washington, D.C., New York City, Brussels and Geneva. Oxfam Japan was a member from 2003 to its closure 2018.


Oxfam International

The Oxfam International Secretariat (OIS) leads, facilitates, and supports collaboration between the Oxfam affiliates. The OIS Board comprises the executive director, Chair of each Affiliate, and the OI Chair. The Affiliates' Chairs are voting members and are non-remunerated. The executive directors and the OI Chair are all non-voting-members. The Board also elects the Deputy Chair and Treasurer from among its voting members. The Board is responsible for ensuring that Oxfam International is accountable, transparent, and fit for purpose. In 2009–10 it had approximately 77 staff (including secondment placements and temporary staff). It is funded by contributions from affiliate organizations and has an operating budget of US$8.7M. The legal name of the entity is Stichting Oxfam International.


Oxfam America

In 1970, Oxfam America became an independent
nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
and an Oxfam affiliate in response to the humanitarian crisis created by the fight for independence in Bangladesh. Oxfam America's headquarters are located in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
, with a policy and campaigns office in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
, and seven regional offices around the world. A registered
501(c) A 501(c) organization is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public ...
3 organization, Oxfam America campaigns for
climate change adaptation Climate change adaptation is the process of adjusting to current or expected climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been ...
,
food security Food security is the measure of the availability of food and individuals' Economic inequality, ability to access it. According to the United Nations' Committee on World Food Security, food security is defined as meaning that all people, at all t ...
,
aid In international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities betwe ...
reform, access to medicines, and
fair trade Fair trade is an arrangement designed to help producers in growing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships. Members of the fair trade movement add the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social ...
. Ray Offenheiser served as the president and CEO of Oxfam America from 1996 until 2016. As of 2017, the president and CEO is Abby Maxman.


Oxfam Australia

Oxfam Australia is an independent, not-for-profit, secular, community-based aid and development organization, and an affiliate of Oxfam International.


Oxfam IBIS (Denmark)

IBIS was founded as an independent organization in 1991, but has its roots in the Danish department of
World University Service The World University Service (WUS) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. It was established in 1 ...
and has been active since the 1966 (initially mainly against
apartheid Apartheid (South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * B ...

apartheid
and similar situations in other southern African nations). Since the 1970s, it mainly worked with projects in Africa and Latin America, and usually focused on democracy, education and the
causes of poverty The causes of poverty may vary with respect to nation, region, and in comparison with other countries at the global level. Yet, there is a commonality amongst these causes. Philosophical perspectives, and especially historical perspectives, includin ...
. In 2014 IBIS became an observer member of Oxfam and in October 2016 it became a full member. Around the same time, the name was modified from IBIS to Oxfam IBIS.


Oxfam GB (Great Britain)

Oxfam GB's headquarters are in Cowley, Oxford. The finance office is in
NewcastleNewcastle usually refers to either: *Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne (, ), often simply Newcastle, is the most populous City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in North East England. It forms the Tyneside conurbati ...

Newcastle
, from where Oxfam shops are managed. Oxfam GB had a total income of £408.6m in 2016/17, had 5,000 employees, and used the services of 23,000 volunteers. In 2016 it received £31.7m from the British government.
Mark Goldring Mark Ian Goldring Order of the British Empire, CBE (born 8 March 1957) was chief executive officer of the charity Oxfam#Oxfam GB, Oxfam GB, Oxfam's British affiliate. He was appointed in May 2013 and resigned in 2018. Early life and education Gold ...
was the chief executive officer from 2013 until January 2019, when he was replaced by Dr Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah.


Oxfam India

Oxfam's involvement in India began when money was granted in 1951 to fight famine in Bihar. Bihar at the time was one of the poorest and most populated states in India. Oxfam had launched an appeal that led to the first report of Oxfam's work in the House of Commons in UK. On 31 May 1951, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations had commended the Bihar appeal, stating "the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief has made an appeal for donations and I hope individuals will reply to that generously". Among the many donations received was one for 100 British pounds from an Indian Rajah in appreciation of what Oxfam was doing for the hungry of his country. Bihar and famine would bring Oxfam back to
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
in 1965 to address drought due to bad monsoons. Bihar held a population of 53 million, of which 40 million relied on subsistence farming to live. This would compound for India in the future; production of food had not been parallel to its exploding population. It is estimated that, over the course of the droughts and famines, 2,400 tons of milk was bought by Oxfam and at the height of this was feeding over 400,000 children and mothers. In 1968 Oxfam's first field director in India, Jim Howard, created the Oxfam Gramdan Action Programme, or OGAP. This was the first joint rural development programme in Oxfam and the first step to a new 'operational' Oxfam. Oxfam India was established on 1 September 2008 under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as a non-profitable organization with its head office in Delhi and is now a member of Oxfam International Confederation. This was marked by Oxfam's 60th year in India.


Oxfam New Zealand

Oxfam New Zealand is an aid and development organization and affiliate of Oxfam International. Oxfam NZ is also responsible for delivering Cyclone relief in several countries in the Pacific region. Oxfam New Zealand's work is made possible by supporters, interns, staff, volunteers, board and overseas partners. Most of the staff are based in their
Auckland Auckland ( mi, Tāmaki Makaurau) is a large metropolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. The List of New Zealand urban areas by population, most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of about It is locate ...

Auckland
office. They also have a policy unit in
Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-TaraTe Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also used to refer to the city of Wellington Wellington ( mi, Te Whanganui-a-Tara ) is the capital city of New Zealand. It i ...

Wellington
. Most of Oxfam New Zealand's funds come from donations, supplemented by New Zealand government funds.


Criticism


Israeli–Palestinian conflict

In 2002, Oxfam Belgium published a poster inciting a boycott of Israel, with a caricature of a bloody orange. The resemblance of the bleeding orange to the antisemitic blood libel was considered blatant, notably by the
Simon Wiesenthal Center The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) is a Jewish, pro-Israel, human rights organization established in 1977 by Rabbi Marvin Hier. The Center is known for Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of European Jews ...

Simon Wiesenthal Center
. Following their complaint,
Oxfam International Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organization A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, Religion, religious or other activit ...

Oxfam International
communicated that it does not support the boycott of Israel, that it considers the poster message to have been inappropriate, that it regrets Oxfam's association with this type of message and offered an apology. Oxfam Belgium was reprimanded by the president Ian Anderson. In October 2009, Oxfam was accused by Israeli
NGO A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first ...
Regavim of aiding
Palestinians The Palestinian people ( ar, الشعب الفلسطيني, ''ash-sha‘b al-Filasṭīnī''), also referred to as Palestinians ( ar, الفلسطينيون, links=no, ''al-Filasṭīniyyūn''; he, פָלַסְטִינִים) or Palestinian ...
in illegal activities in
Kiryat Arba :''This article is mainly about the modern Israeli settlement, not the biblical town'' Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba ( he, קִרְיַת־אַרְבַּע, , Town of the Four) is an urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the south ...

Kiryat Arba
, including
water theft Water theft is illegal tapping of water supply systems. Together with losses from water leaks in the piping, water theft is one of the major factors contributing to non-revenue water. Thames Water estimated losses by theft to amount to 2 to orders ...
. Oxfam has denied its participation. Oxfam UK has partnered with the Board of Deputies who represent the Jewish community of the UK. The project, Grow-Tatzmiach, includes sending 25 people to an activist training programme to help fight global hunger. In exchange for partnering, Oxfam has agreed not to "call for a boycott of Israeli goods or to support groups that do so, and will not partner with organizations that advocate violence or oppose a two-state solution to the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's most enduring conflicts, with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching years of conflict. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of th ...
". Despite this agreement, there are still those on both sides who object to this project. In response to a 2012 Oxfam report which laid the blame for poor economic development in the
Palestinian territories The term "Palestinian territories" has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 within the former Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate for Palestine, namely the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and t ...

Palestinian territories
solely with Israel, a spokesman for the Israel embassy in the UK said, "Oxfam's latest report on the situation in the Palestinian territories puts a clearly political agenda above any humanitarian concern. Far from advancing peace, such an approach undermines the prospects of reaching a negotiated resolution to the conflict." As of 2013 Oxfam endorsed the
two-state solution The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisions an independent State of Palestine alongside the Israel, State of Israel, west of the Jordan River. The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and neg ...
and wants
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
to lift the
blockade of the Gaza Strip The blockade of the Gaza Strip is the ongoing land, air, and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip during the Battle of Gaza (2007), Battle of Gaza, seizing government ...
and dismantle all of the
Israeli settlement Israeli settlements, or Israeli colonies, are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity, built International law and Israeli settlements, in violation of international law on Israeli-occupied te ...
infrastructure. On 17 January 2014 Oxfam UK cancelled an exhibition, "Gaza: Through my Eyes", which had been due to take place at
East London Mosque The East London Mosque (ELM) is situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a covering much of the traditional . It was formed in 1965 from the merger of the former of , , and . 'Tower Hamlets' ...

East London Mosque
after
Left Foot Forward ''Left Foot Forward'' (''LFF'') is a left-wing political news and comment site in the United Kingdom, UK, established in 2009. Its creator, Will Straw, the son of Alice Perkins and Jack Straw, edited the newspaper until December 2010. Straw was ...
presented information to the charity detailing homophobic and potentially anti-semitic comments by one of the organizers, Ibrahim Hewitt. Human rights campaigner
Peter Tatchell Peter Gary Tatchell (born 25 January 1952) is a British human rights campaigner, originally from Australia, best known for his work with LGBT social movements. Tatchell was selected as the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party's Parliament of the Uni ...

Peter Tatchell
was reported as welcoming the event's cancellation but to have said of Oxfam UK, "it is hugely disappointing that it did no proper checks on (Mr. Hewitt) before agreeing his presence." On 29 January 2014 actress
Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Ingrid Johansson (; born November 22, 1984) is an American actress and singer. She was the world's highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, and has featured multiple times on the ''Forbes'' Celebrity 100 list. Her films have grossed ove ...

Scarlett Johansson
resigned as an international spokeswoman for Oxfam after appearing in a TV ad for
SodaStream SodaStream International Ltd. ( he, סודהסטרים) is an Israel-based manufacturing company best known as the maker of the consumer home carbonation product of the same name. The Soda machine (home appliance), soda machine (sparkling wate ...

SodaStream
, a company with presence in the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
. Her publicist stated that Johansson "respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years ... She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement." In February 2015, Israeli NGO Regavim released a report stating that the European Union had illegally funded the construction of houses; Oxfam and other NGOs participated in the project. Oxfam defended the construction "on humanitarian grounds." In 2019, the Israeli intelligence services implicated Oxfam Belgium, in funding the PFLP, which carried out a bomb attack the same year and killed the Jewish teenager Rina Sneirb. Oxfam Belgium transferred funds to the subsidiary in the amount of 288,002 euros from 2017 to 2018, but claims to have made no funding since. In March 2020, the ambassador of Israel in the United Kingdom,
Mark Regev Mark Regev ( he, מארק רגב, ) (born 1960) is an Israeli diplomat and civil servant. In August 2020, he became the foreign media advisor in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office (Israel), Prime Minister's Office, a position he previously held fr ...

Mark Regev
, protested the selling of antisemitic books on Oxfam website, notably the
Protocols of the Elders of Zion ''The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'' () or ''The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion'' is a fabricated antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. The hoax, which was shown to be plagiariz ...
. After the protest, the Oxfam GB chief executive apologized and removed the books from sale. In October 2020 NBC News reported Oxfam was on the list of organizations the US Government was considering branding as anti-Semitic.


Internal structures and political role

In October 2005, the magazine ''
New Internationalist ''New Internationalist'' (''NI'') is an international publisher and left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosop ...
'' described Oxfam as a "Big International Non-Government Organisation (BINGO)", having a corporate-style, undemocratic internal structure, and addressing the symptoms rather than the causes of international poverty – especially by acquiescing to
neoliberal economics Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism is a terminology used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with economic liberalism and free-market capitalism. It is generally associated with policies of economic liberaliz ...

neoliberal economics
and even taking over roles conventionally filled by national governments. Similar criticism came from '' Red Pepper'' magazine in July 2005 and Katherine Quarmby in the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations bet ...
'' in May 2005. The latter article detailed growing rifts between Oxfam and other organisations within the
Make Poverty History Make Poverty History are organizations in a number of countries, which focus on issues relating to 8th Millennium Development Goal such as aid, trade and justice. They generally form a coalition of aid and development agencies which work together ...
movement. In a 2011 ''
Columbia Journalism Review The ''Columbia Journalism Review'' (''CJR'') is a biannual magazine for professional journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and d ...
'' article, journalist Karen Rothmyer accused NGOs in general and Oxfam in particular of being unduly influenced by the priorities of the media, of providing inaccurate information to the press ("stories featuring aid projects often rely on dubious numbers provided by the organisations") and of perpetuating negative stereotypes which "have the potential to influence policy". She drew on earlier work by journalist Lauren Gelfand, who had taken a year away from journalism to work for Oxfam: "A lot of what Oxfam does is to sustain Oxfam"; and Linda Polman, author of the Crisis Caravan: "Aid organisations are businesses dressed up like Mother Theresa". In 2015, Omaar and de Waal, in ''Food and Power in Sudan'', commented, "the 1990s have seen growing pressure for humanitarian institutions to become more accountable. There has been a succession of reviews of operations, growing in independence and criticism." They quote an
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
report, "The Joint Evaluation of Emergency Operations in Rwanda", which stated that its team "came across examples of Agencies telling, if not falsehoods, then certainly half-truths" and noted "a remarkable lack of attempts by agencies to seek the views of beneficiaries on the assistance being provided".


Conflict with Starbucks on Ethiopian coffee, 2006

On 26 October 2006, Oxfam accused
Starbucks Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is fle ...

Starbucks
of asking the National Coffee Association (NCA) to block a US trademark application from
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...

Ethiopia
for three of the country's coffee beans, Sidamo,
Harar Harar ( amh, ሐረር; Gē "the City", om, Harar, ar, هرر) is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is known in Arabic as the City of Wali, Saints ( ar, مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء). Harar is the capital of the East Hararghe Zone ...
and Yirgacheffe. They claimed this could result in denying Ethiopian coffee farmers potential annual earnings of up to £47m. Ethiopia and Oxfam America urged Starbucks to sign a licensing agreement with Ethiopia to help boost prices paid to farmers. At issue was Starbucks' use of Ethiopia's coffee brands – Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Harar – that generate high margins for Starbucks and cost consumers a premium, yet generated very low prices to Ethiopian farmers. Robert Nelson, the head of the NCA, added that his organization initiated the opposition for economic reasons, "For the U.S. industry to exist, we must have an economically stable coffee industry in the producing world ... This particular scheme is going to hurt the Ethiopian coffee farmers economically." The NCA claimed the Ethiopian government was being badly advised and this move could price them out of the market. Facing more than 90,000 letters of concern,
Starbucks Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is fle ...

Starbucks
had placed pamphlets in its stores accusing Oxfam of "misleading behavior" and insisting that its "campaign need to stop". On 7 November, ''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is an international weekly newspaper A weekly newspaper is a general-news or current affairsCurrent affairs may refer to: Media * Current Affairs (magazine), ''Current Affairs'' (magazine), a bimonthly magazine of cult ...
'' derided Oxfam's "simplistic" stance and Ethiopia's "economically illiterate" government, arguing that Starbucks' (and
Illy Illycaffè S.p.A. (branded and stylised as illy) is an Italian coffee company specializing in espresso, headquartered in Trieste. Illy markets its coffee globally in silver and red pressurized, oxygen-free cans; operates a network of cafes on s ...
's) standards-based approach would ultimately benefit farmers more. In June 2007, Ethiopian Government representatives and senior leaders from Starbucks Coffee Company worked out an agreement regarding distribution, marketing and licensing that recognized the importance and integrity of Ethiopia's specialty coffee designations without disclosing financial terms. Starbucks was set to market Ethiopian coffee during two promotional periods in 2008. An Oxfam spokesman said the deal sounds like a "useful step" as long as farmers are benefiting, and a big step from a year prior when Starbucks "wasn't engaging directly (with) Ethiopians on adding value to their coffee".


Fair trade coffee

On 28 April 2007 an Australian conservative
think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to inc ...
, the
Institute of Public Affairs The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a conservative, non-profit free market public policy think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment f ...
, lodged a complaint with the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is a Competition regulator A competition regulator is the institution that oversees the functioning of the markets. And the Law in which it takes cognizance of situations having any t ...
accusing Oxfam of misleading or deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act in its promotion of Fairtrade coffee. They claimed that high certification costs and low wages for workers undermine claims that Fairtrade helps to lift producers out of poverty. The complaint was subsequently dismissed by the commission.


Confrontation with Population Matters

In December 2009 Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam, attempted to discredit the PopOffsets initiative of
Population Matters Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust, is a UK-based charity that addresses population size and its effects on environmental sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing wa ...
(formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust), under which individuals can offset their carbon emissions by funding
family planning Family planning is "the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive Birth control, also known as contra ...
services in the developing world. Green wrote in an op-ed in the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations bet ...
'' that assumptions such as those in the OPT report equating population growth and environmental degradation are a "gross oversimplification". In response, OPT described the response of parts of the development lobby to the initiative as "frankly disgraceful", adding: "The world badly needs a grown-up, rational discussion of the population issue ... without blame, abuse and hysteria."


Bookshops

In 2010 Oxfam was criticized for aggressively expanding its specialist bookshops, using tactics more often associated with multi-national corporations. The charity has been criticized as some claim this expansion has come at the expense of independent secondhand book sellers and other charity shops in many areas of the UK.


Dole Food Company

In May 2013 Oxfam demanded Dole remove its 'Ethical Choice' labels from its bananas in New Zealand until it improved treatment of its workers in the Philippines.


2015 study on net worth inequality

Time Inc. Network wrote a reply to an Oxfam study from January 2015 on inequality stating that the richest 1% at the end of 2016 will own more than half of the world's assets. However, Time pointed out that the data were based on a study from Credit Suisse. In this study, The Global Wealth Databook 2015, personal assets were calculated in net worth, meaning wealth would be negated by having any mortgages.


Staff sexual misconduct in Haiti and Chad

In February 2018 an investigation by ''The Times'' newspaper found that Oxfam allowed three men to resign and sacked four for gross misconduct after an inquiry concerning sexual exploitation, the downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation. A 2011 confidential report by Oxfam had found "a culture of impunity" among some staff in Haiti and concluded that 'it cannot be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged'. Among the staff who were permitted to resign was the charity's Belgian country director, Roland Van Hauwermeiren. In the internal report, Van Hauwermeiren admitted using Prostitution, prostitutes at a villa whose rent was paid for by Oxfam with charitable funds. Oxfam's chief executive at the time, Barbara Stocking, Dame Barbara Stocking, offered Hauwermeiren "a phased and dignified exit" because sacking him risked "potentially serious implications" for the charity's work and reputation. Oxfam did not report any of the incidents to the Haitian authorities, because "it was extremely unlikely that any action would be taken". Although Oxfam disclosed details of the incident to the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Charity Commission, the Commission revealed after ''The Times'' investigation that it had never received Oxfam's final investigation report and Oxfam "did not detail the precise allegations, nor did it make any indication of potential sexual crimes involving minors". A spokesperson for the Commission commented that: "We will expect the charity to provide us with the assurance that it has learnt lessons from past incidents". Oxfam later explained it had not given details to the Commission beyond "inappropriate sexual behaviour" because using prostitutes in Haiti was not illegal. In response to the revelations, Elizabeth Truss, Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, described the reports as "shocking, sickening and depressing". Oxfam issued a statement in which it asserted "Oxfam treats any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously. As soon as we became aware of a range of allegations – including of sexual misconduct – in Haiti in 2011 we launched an internal investigation. The investigation was announced publicly and staff members were suspended pending the outcome". The statement also added that the allegations "that under-age girls may have been involved were not proven". Speaking on the BBC's ''The Andrew Marr Show, Andrew Marr Show'', the Secretary of State for International Development, international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said Oxfam had failed in its "moral leadership" over the "scandal". Mordaunt also said that Oxfam did "absolutely the wrong thing" by not reporting the detail of the allegations to the government. The incident led the International Development Committee of the UK Parliament to issue a report about sexual harassment and abuse in the humanitarian sector on 31 July 2018. Oxfam had been aware that Van Hauwermeiren while director of Oxfam's relief operation in Chad in 2006 and other staff had repeatedly used prostitutes at the Oxfam team house there, and that one of Oxfam's staff members had been fired for his behaviour. Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned, taking full responsibility and acknowledging that "(c)oncerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon". New allegations were made by a senior staffer, Helen Evans, who had been the lead investigator of organizational sexual misconduct between 2012 and 2015. A commentator in the medical journal ''Lancet'' argued the Oxfam sex scandal was not surprising.


Efficiency and accountability

The Charity Navigator gave Oxfam America a three-star overall rating, a two-star financial rating and a four-star accountability and transparency rating for the 2019 fiscal year.Oxfam America
- Charity Navigator


Awards and nominations

In January 2013, Oxfam was nominated for the Charity of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.


See also

* 2007–08 world food price crisis * Global Hunger Index * Integrated Food Security Phase Classification * Millennium Development Goals (Goal 1) *
Make Trade Fair Make Trade Fair is a campaign organized by Oxfam, Oxfam International to promote trade justice and fair trade among governments, institutions, and multinational corporations. Objectives The campaign has focused on the elimination of several trad ...
* Ox-Tales * Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition (1974)


References


Further reading

* Berry, Craig, and Clive Gabay. "Transnational political action and 'global civil society' in practice: the case of Oxfam." ''Global Networks'' 9.3 (2009): 339–358. [ online] * . * . * Crewe, Emma. "Flagships and tumbleweed: A history of the politics of gender justice work in Oxfam GB 1986–2015." ''Progress in Development Studies'' 18.2 (2018): 110–125. * Eadie, Deborah and Suzanne Williams, ed. ''The Oxfam Handbook of Development and Relief'' (2 vol. 1995). * Gill, Peter. ''Drops in the ocean: the work of Oxfam 1960–1970'' (1970). * Hajnal, Peter I. "Oxfam International". in Peter I. Hajnal, ed. ''Civil society in the information age'' (Routledge, 2018). 57–66. * Hilton, Matthew. "Oxfam and the Problem of NGO Aid Appraisal in the 1960s". ''Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development'' 9.1 (2018): 1–18
abstract


Archival sources

* Oxfam Canada fonds at Library and Archives Canada. Archival reference number, R2972. Former archival reference number, MG28-I270. Date range: 1958–1985. Extent: 17.855 meters of textual records; 873 photographs; 1 audio disc; 14 blueprints & maps. ** **


External links

* * {{authority control Oxfam, 1942 establishments in England Anti-poverty advocates Development charities based in the United Kingdom Fair trade organizations Glastonbury Festival Humanitarian aid organizations Hunger relief organizations Organisations based in Oxford Organizations established in 1942 Water-related charities