Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations
focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led
Winnie Byanyima has been the executive
Oxfam International since 2013.
Oxfam International is
Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Oxford.
In the 21st century, Oxfam's governance has repeatedly come under
criticism. Its failing systems for accountability came to light in
2 Oxfam's work
2.1 Mission and values
3 Offices and affiliates
Oxfam IBIS (Denmark)
Oxfam GB (Great Britain)
Oxfam Hong Kong
Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)
Oxfam New Zealand
4.1 Political neutrality
4.2 Internal structures and political role
4.3 Conflict with
Starbucks on Ethiopian coffee, 2006
Fair trade coffee
4.5 Israeli–Palestinian conflict
4.6 Confrontation with Population Matters
4.8 Commercial favours
4.9 Accusations of hypocrisy
4.10 Calculating with net wealth in study on inequality
4.11 Staff sexual misconduct in
Haiti and Chad
5 Awards and nominations
6 See also
8 External links
Plaque commemorating first meeting of
Oxfam in the Old Library, the
University Church, Oxford
Founded at 17 Broad Street, Oxford, as the
Oxford Committee for Famine
Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists, and
Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, 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 and his wife Mary,
Cecil Jackson-Cole and Alan Pim. The
Committee met in the Old Library of 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 and Allied 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 Committee;
Oxfam's first paid employee was Joe Mitty, who began working at the
Oxfam shop on 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 a major 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, OXFAM. The
Oxford committee became
Oxfam Great Britain or
Oxfam GB. In 1995
Oxfam International was formed by a group of independent
non-governmental organizations. Their aim was to work together for
greater impact on the international stage to reduce poverty and
Oxfam International was registered as a
non-profit foundation at The Hague,
Netherlands in 1996.
Mission and values
Oxfam's programmes address the structural causes of poverty and
related injustice and work primarily through local accountable
organizations, seeking to enhance their effectiveness. Oxfam's stated
goal is to help people directly when local capacity is insufficient or
inappropriate for Oxfam's purposes, and to assist in the development
of structures which directly benefit people facing the realities of
poverty and injustice. In November 2000, Oxfam
adopted the rights-based approach as the framework for all the work of
the Confederation and its partners.
Oxfam recognizes the universality
and indivisibility of human rights and has adopted these overarching
aims to express these rights in practical terms:
the right to a sustainable livelihood
the right to basic social services
the right to life and security
the right to be heard
the right to an identity
Oxfam believes that poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be
eradicated by human action and political will. It believes in the
right to a sustainable livelihood, and the right and capacity to
participate in societies and make positive changes to people's lives
as basic human needs and rights which can be met.
Oxfam believes that
peace and substantial arms reduction are essential conditions for
development and that inequalities can be significantly reduced both
between rich and poor nations and within nations.
Oxfam clothing and shoe bank in the United Kingdom
Although Oxfam's initial concern was the provision of food to relieve
famine, over the years the organization has developed strategies to
combat the causes of famine. In addition to food and medicine, Oxfam
also provides tools to enable people to become self-supporting and
opens markets of international trade where crafts and produce from
poorer regions of the world can be sold at a fair price to benefit the
producer. Oxfam's programme has three main points of focus:
development work, which tries to lift communities out of poverty with
long-term, sustainable solutions based on their needs; humanitarian
work, assisting those immediately affected by conflict and natural
disasters (which often leads into longer-term development work),
especially in the field of water and sanitation; and lobbyist,
advocacy and popular campaigning, trying to affect policy decisions on
the causes of conflict at local, national, and international levels.
Oxfam has four main focuses for its resources: economic justice,
essential services, rights in crisis, and gender justice. "Economic
justice" focuses on making agriculture work for farmers and labourers
living in poverty , fairer trade rules for poor countries, and
reducing the impact of climate change and energy shocks. "Essential
services" focuses on, inter alia, demanding that national governments
fulfil their responsibilities for equitable delivery of good-quality
health, education, water, and sanitation. "Rights in crisis" focuses
on improving the ability to deliver better protection and greater
assistance. "Gender justice" focuses on supporting women's leadership
and education and ending gender-based violence.
Oxfam relief supplies outside the Siginon warehouse in Nairobi, Kenya.
Oxfam works on trade justice, fair trade, education, debt and aid,
livelihoods, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, conflict (campaigning
for an international arms trade treaty) and natural disasters,
democracy and human rights, and climate change. Through programmes
like "Saving for Change",
Oxfam helps communities become more
self-sufficient financially. The Saving for Change initiative is a
programme whereby communities are taught how to form collective,
informal credit groups. Through these mutually beneficial groups,
members—who tend to be mostly women—pool their savings into a fund
which is used to give loans for activities such as paying for medical
care and paying school fees, in addition to using the loans to fund
small-scale business ventures. Ultimately, the goal of the programme
is to leave the community with a self-sustaining organization where
people who otherwise would not qualify for formal bank loans can go
for financial assistance. In doing so, borrowers can start businesses
which benefit not only themselves but also their communities.
Oxfam has provided relief services during various global crises,
including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, North Korean famine,
2011 East Africa drought, 2012 Sahel drought, Nepal earthquake and
Yemeni crisis. The
Bosfam NGO 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. 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
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. A 2017-released
Oxfam report has stated
that 8 billionaires possess the same amount of wealth as the poorest
half of humanity.
Make Trade Fair
Make Trade Fair 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, where nations enforce high
taxes on imported goods, restricting the sales of products from other
nations, unbalanced labour rights for women, who often earn lower
wages than their male counterparts, and stringent patent issues
that prevent the prices of medication, software, and textbooks (e.g.
Gene patents, Chemical patents, and Software patents) from being
lowered. Thus, such essential goods are often inaccessible to
Oxfam shop at 17 Broad Street, Oxford
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.
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
Oxfam Australia (with over 20 fair trade shops),
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 in shops
across the UK, raising £17.1 million for Oxfam's programme
Oxfam has several successful fundraising channels in addition to its
shops. Over half a million people in the UK make a regular financial
contribution towards its work. In April 2017 the Information
Commissioner’s Office fined 11 charities that breached the Data
Protection Act by misusing donors’ personal data.
Oxfam was fined
£6,000. Funds are also received from gifts left to the
organization in people's wills. Christopher McCandless, the subject of
the book and film Into the Wild, donated his life savings to Oxfam
before leaving society for the Alaskan wilderness.
Many London Marathon competitors raise money for Oxfam, and Oxfam
also receives funds in return for providing and organising volunteer
stewards at festivals such as Glastonbury. In conjunction with the
Gurkha Welfare Trust,
Oxfam runs several
Trailwalker events in Hong
Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the
United Kingdom and Japan. Every
Oxfam holds the
Oxjam music festival across the UK.
Offices and affiliates
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of
Oxfam International Secretariat (OIS) leads, facilitates, and
supports collaboration between the
Oxfam affiliates to increase
Oxfam's impact on poverty and injustice through advocacy campaigns,
development programmes and emergency response. 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. The
constitution and Strategic Plan are also approved at Board level. The
Board takes recommendations from Executive Directors and ensures that
the Confederation is working to its agreed aims. The Board also agrees
membership of the Confederation, selects the Honorary President, the
Honorary Advisor, the Board Officers and the OI Executive Director. A
number of subcommittees with expert members are also mandated by the
Board to assist with specific issues.
Oxfam International's official
languages are English, French and Spanish; English is the working
language. In 2009–10 it had approximately 77 staff (including
secondment placements and temporary staff e.g. for maternity cover).
It is funded by contributions from affiliate organizations and has an
operating budget of US$8.7M.
Raymond C. Offenheiser, then
Oxfam America President, with Rupert
Murdoch at the 2006 Oxfam/MySpace Rock for
Oxfam America became an independent nonprofit organization
Oxfam affiliate in response to the humanitarian crisis created
by the fight for independence in Bangladesh.
headquarters are located in Boston,
Massachusetts with a policy and
campaigns office in
Washington, D.C. and seven regional offices around
the world. A registered 501(c)3 organization,
Oxfam America campaigns
for climate change adaptation, food security, aid reform, access to
medicines, and fair trade. Ray Offenheiser served as the president and
Oxfam America from 1996 until 2016. As of 2017, the
president and CEO is Abby Maxman.
Oxfam Australia is an independent, not-for-profit, secular,
community-based aid and development organization, and an affiliate of
Oxfam Australia's work includes long-term
development projects, responding to emergencies and campaigning to
improve the lives of disadvantaged people around the world. They aim
to give disadvantaged people improved access to social services, an
effective voice in decisions, equal rights and status, and safety from
conflict and disaster.
Oxfam Australia's activities are mainly funded
by community donation.
Oxfam in Belgium is a co-ordinating body of the Belgian components of
Oxfam movement, namely,
Oxfam Fair Trade,
Magasins du Monde
incorporates the activities of
Oxfam Belgium (founded in 1964) and
Oxfam Projects (created in 1976).
Oxfam Solidarity supports
approximately 200 projects and programmes in the South totalling
around 10 million Euro, thanks to co-financing by the Belgian
government and the European Union. The income of the organization
comes from recycling activities, from the support of donors and as a
result of campaigns.
Oxfam Wereldwinkels (founded in 1971) and
Magasins du Monde-
Oxfam (founded in 1975) remain autonomous
organizations, focusing on fair trade. With more than 220 outlets, as
many groups and 7000 volunteers, they form a movement which, guided by
the principles of fair trade, pursues objectives similar to those of
Oxfam Solidarity. The president of
Oxfam solidarity is since 2013 a
Green party politician, Guido Van Hecken and also the person who
provided the car for the Church Street bombing. Oxfam
Wereldwinkels has also an agreement with the Union of Agricultural
Work Committees to sell their products. According to USAID and
others, that organisation is affiliated to the terror organisation
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine .
Oxfam Fair Trade received some critics due to a quite sexy poster
campaign in 2005 
Oxfam members (observer members in purple;
in Denmark became a full member in 2016)
Oxfam Canada is a founding member of Oxfam. It traces its history to
1963, when the British-based
Oxford Committee for
Famine Relief sought
to establish a Canadian branch.
Oxfam Canada was independently
incorporated in 1966; the first Board of Directors included 21
distinguished Canadians. In 1967,
Oxfam Canada became a key organizer
of the successful Miles for Millions fundraising walks across the
country; Lester Pearson (then Canadian Prime Minister) led Oxfam's
first Miles for Millions March. With its revenues,
Oxfam began to
provide educational materials to schools and undertake advocacy work
in public policy development. In 1973, Oxfam-Québec became an
independent member of the 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 and has
been active since the 1966 (initially mainly against 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. In 2014 IBIS became an observer member of
in October 2016 it became a full member. Around the same time,
the name was modified from IBIS to
Oxfam France was founded in 1988 under the name "Agir ici pour un
monde solidaire" (Act here for a unified world). Its work was already
based on campaign and advocacy, both of which were rare in France at
the time. Agir ici became an observer member of
Oxfam in 2003, and a
fully-fledged member in 2006. Based in Paris,
Oxfam France claims
its missions are to inform, increase public awareness & mobilize
Oxfam France's work in advocacy and research focuses on
Economic Justice (especially tax revenue in developing countries, ODA,
tax heavens and innovative financing), Agriculture (speculation and
food prizes, biofuels, land grabbing, trade rules), protecting
civilians, and health.
Oxfam France is funded mostly by public
donations and by institutional donors. It has five second-hand
shops: three bookshops (two in Paris, one in Lille), a clothes
shop in Lille and a shop in Strasbourg.
Oxfam outlet in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Germany has its beginnings in an initiative by private citizens
who in 1986 opened a secondhand shop in
Bonn modelled on the idea of
the British charity shops. While not officially associated with Oxfam,
the shop was staffed by volunteers and sold donated goods, with all
proceeds given to projects run by
Oxfam GB. A second shop, following
the same model, was opened in Cologne in 1991.
Germany in 1995 with the foundation of the charitable Oxfam
Deutschland e. V. and its commercial subsidiary
Germany became a full affiliate of Oxfam
International in 2003. As of February 2017,
Oxfam was operating 52
charity shops in 34 German cities, including five
and three fashion boutiques. According to the
there are 2,400 volunteers in those shops.
Oxfam GB (Great Britain)
Oxfam GB's headquarters are in Cowley, Oxford. The finance office is
in 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 has been the chief
executive officer since 2013. In 2017
Oxfam GB advocated an
increased migration to the UK through family reunification in
recommendations to the government, suggesting that legal aid should
cover family-reunification issues.
Oxfam Hong Kong
Oxfam Hong Kong began in 1976, when volunteers came together, opened a
second-hand shop, and raised funds for anti-poverty projects around
the world. Some of the first actions in the 1970s and '80s were to
advocate for justice in the Vietnamese Boat People/Refugee crisis in
Hong Kong, and to help save lives in
Ethiopia during the 1984 famine.
Oxfam Hong Kong has assisted poor people in more than 70
countries/states around the world.
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. Bihar and famine would bring Oxfam
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.[page needed] This would compound
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 starving 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 history and
the first step to a new 'operational' Oxfam.
established on 1 September 2008 under section 25 of the Companies Act,
2005 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 Ireland works with local partner organizations in developing
countries to develop effective solutions to poverty and injustice. It
is a registered charity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern
Ireland, with headquarters in Dublin and Belfast. Funds are raised via
shops, the government and donors. There are 51 shops throughout
Ireland selling goods donated by the public. The Irish government
allocated over €3.7m to
Oxfam work in 2008–9. Supporters donate
regularly via direct debit or to special appeals.
Oxfam Ireland is the
public title of the two legal bodies registered in the respective
Oxfam Northern Ireland and
Oxfam Republic of Ireland.
Oxfam Ireland operates coherently on an all-island basis by means of a
single management structure and shared membership of associations and
Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)
Oxfam Novib at Lowlands 2007.
Oxfam Novib is the Dutch affiliate of the international Oxfam
organization. The organization is based in The Hague.
Oxfam Novib was
founded under the name Novib in 1956. Novib, an abbreviation standing
for Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Internationale Bijstand (Dutch
organization for international aid), was later changed to Nederlandse
Organisatie voor Internationale Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (Dutch
organization for international development cooperation) due to a
change in approach of the organization's development work.[citation
needed] In 1994, Novib became an affiliate of
Oxfam and the
organization changed its name in 2006 to
Oxfam New Zealand
Oxfam New Zealand  is an aid and development organization and
Oxfam International who conduct humanitarian, development
and advocacy work to support positive and lasting change for
communities living in poverty.
Oxfam NZ is also responsible for
delivering Cyclone relief in several countries in the Pacific
Oxfam New Zealand's work is made possible by supporters,
interns, staff, volunteers, board and overseas partners. Most of our
staff are based in their Auckland office. They also have a policy unit
in Wellington. Most of
Oxfam New Zealand's funds come from
donations, supplemented by New Zealand government funds.
Oxfam Great Britain was strongly criticised by other NGOs for
becoming too close to Tony Blair's New Labour government in the
Internal structures and political role
Oxfam cholera awareness-raising campaign in Mbandanka, Democratic
Republic of Congo.
In October 2005, the magazine
New Internationalist described
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 and even taking over
roles conventionally filled by national governments. Similar
criticism came fromRed Pepper magazine in July 2005  and Katherine
Quarmby in the
New Statesman in May 2005. The latter article
detailed growing rifts between
Oxfam and other organizations within
Poverty History movement.
In a 2011
Columbia Journalism Review
Columbia Journalism Review 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 major operations, growing in
independence and criticism." They quote an
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
Oxfam and others launched the
Sphere Project in response, an
initiative which aims to "improve the quality of assistance provided
to people affected by disasters", to "develop a set of minimum
standards in core areas of humanitarian assistance" and to introduce
an element of accountability which had previously been lacking.
Starbucks on Ethiopian coffee, 2006
On 26 October 2006,
Starbucks of asking the National
Coffee Association (NCA) to block a US trademark application from
Ethiopia for three of the country's coffee beans, Sidamo, Harar and
Yirgacheffe. They claimed this could result in denying Ethiopian
coffee farmers potential annual earnings of up to £47m.
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 had placed
pamphlets in its stores accusing
Oxfam of "misleading behavior" and
insisting that its "campaign need[s] to stop". On 7 November, The
Economist derided Oxfam's "simplistic" stance and Ethiopia's
"economically illiterate" government, arguing that Starbucks' (and
Illy'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 term.
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
Fair trade coffee
On 28 April 2007 an Australian conservative think tank, the Institute
of Public Affairs, lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission accusing
Oxfam of misleading or deceptive
conduct under the
Trade Practices Act
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
As of 2013
Oxfam endorsed the two-state solution and wants
lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and dismantle all of the Israeli
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".
Despite this agreement, there are still those on both sides who object
to this project.
In October 2009,
Oxfam was accused by Israeli NGO Regavim of aiding
Palestinians in illegal activities in Kiryat Arba, including water
Oxfam has denied its participation.
In response to a 2012
Oxfam report which laid the blame for poor
economic development in the
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."
On 17 January 2014
Oxfam UK cancelled an exhibition "Gaza: Through my
Eyes" which had been due to take place at
East London Mosque
East London Mosque after
Left Foot Forward
Left Foot Forward presented information to the charity detailing
homophobic and potentially anti-semitic comments by one of the
organizers, Ibrahim Hewitt.
Human rights campaigner
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 resigned as an
international spokeswoman for
Oxfam after appearing in a TV ad for
SodaStream, a company with presence in the West Bank. Her publicist
stated that Johansson "respectfully decided to end her ambassador role
Oxfam after eight years ... She and
Oxfam have a fundamental
difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and
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."
Confrontation with Population Matters
In December 2009 Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam, attempted to
discredit the PopOffsets initiative of Population Matters, (formerly
known as the Optimum Population Trust), under which individuals can
offset their carbon emissions by funding family planning services in
the developing world. Green wrote in an op-ed in the New Statesman
that assumptions such as those in the OPT report equating population
growth and environmental degradation are a "gross
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."
Oxfam shop in Cirencester, England
Oxfam has been 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.
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. A Dole spokesperson said Oxfam's
report was a "commercial move" aimed at backing a rival supplier which
backed Oxfam, and
Oxfam was "trying to destroy the Dole
Accusations of hypocrisy
Private Eye magazine criticized
Oxfam for former Pearson CEO
Dame Marjorie Scardino as its trustees, while actively campaigning
against corporate tax avoidance as part of the If Coalition,
Private Eye claims that during Dame Marjorie's 'reign' at Pearson,
'the company was a prolific tax haven user ... routing hundreds
of millions of pounds through an elaborate series of Luxembourg
companies (and a Luxembourg branch of a UK company) to avoid tax.'
Calculating with net wealth in study on 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
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 prostitutes at a
villa whose rent was paid for by
Oxfam with charitable funds. Oxfam's
chief executive at the time, Dame Barbara Stocking, offered
Hauwermeiren “a phased and dignified exit” because sacking him
risked “potentially serious implications” for the charity’s work
Oxfam did not report any of the incidents to the Haitian authorities,
because “it was extremely unlikely that any action would be
Oxfam disclosed details of the incident to the
Charity Commission, the Commission revealed after The Times
investigation that it had never received Oxfam's final investigation
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 assurance that it has learnt lessons from
In response to the revelations, Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the
Treasury, described the reports as “shocking, sickening and
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 Andrew Marr Show, the
international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said
failed in its "moral leadership" over the "scandal". Mordaunt also
Oxfam did "absolutely the wrong thing" by not reporting the
detail of the allegations to the government.
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
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. 
Awards and nominations
In January 2013,
Oxfam was nominated for the Charity of the Year award
at the British Muslim Awards.
2007–08 world food price crisis
Global Hunger Index
Integrated Food Security Phase Classification
Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals (Goal 1)
Make Trade Fair
Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition
Oxfam Annual Report and Accounts, 2016/7" (PDF). 2017.
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