SEATTLE, Washington — Oxfam International is a major group of organizations that work on the international stage without specific ties to any one government or country. Oxfam focuses heavily on poverty and has a major stake in efforts for reducing and combating it. Furthermore, it spans across six continents and more than 90 countries. Currently, Oxfam International plans for change as this year rattles the world with a number of difficulties.
Recent financial difficulties due to the pandemic haven’t left NGOs unaffected. But Oxfam, due to the nature of its composition, is a unique model. It shows how high functioning global aid efforts have been adjusting to weather the recent difficulties and maximizing impact. Equally important is a point of analysis for how particularly struggling nations will continue to push forward in the face of worldwide reductions.
How Oxfam Functions
The nature of Oxfam International is deeply rooted in the spirit of collaborative change. This international alliance includes over a dozen organization partners that can be found all around the world. Furthermore, this interconnectedness allows Oxfam International to function on a global, national and local level. Especially since Oxfam affiliates work out of specific countries and regions. The central component of Oxfam is the Oxfam International Secretariat, which is comparable to the United Nations Secretariat.
According to its website, the directing body “leads, facilitates and supports collaboration between Oxfam’s affiliates [and]works to provide advocacy, campaigns, development programs and to respond swiftly to emergencies.” Oxfam International plans its impact beyond itself as well, working closely with various organizations that effect change on local levels. And also choosing partner coalitions and institutions on a broad range of target goals; for example, HIV and AIDS care and prevention, as well as the potency of international assistance and the management of peace.
One notable aspect of Oxfam International’s effort is the scale of investigative research it provides. Consistent press releases, which are cited in news sources like VICE and CNN, provide an informational backbone to the fundamental issues the organization seeks to tackle. Recent pieces discuss the dangers of monopolized COVID-19 vaccine distributions and rising divides in economic security during the pandemic. On the ground, Oxfam focuses heavily on crisis areas, whether that be in terms of natural disasters or escalating conflicts.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis, for instance, left more than 10 million individuals without access to basic necessities, effectively leaving them destitute. Oxfam’s work inside Syria and Jordan serves as a hallmark for measurable and meaningful humanitarian assistance. More than 1.5 million people have received necessary resources and aid; by the same token, feasible, self-sufficient projects, like the waste-reduction effort in the Za’atari refugee camp, characterize much of Oxfam’s global endeavors.
Recent Developments and Fundamental Challenges
The Za’atari refugee camp now faces new challenges in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly due to the severe concentration of people within the camp’s space. An onsite Oxfam division plays a role in directing and sustaining the camp. This is an active effort that the organization has still managed to preserve. Unfortunately, all international efforts have not been so lucky.
Late May brought news of a large-scale withdrawal in almost 20 countries as Oxfam International plans to administer effectively while still suffering through financial threats that the pandemic has brought. The calculated projections —”1,450 out of nearly 5,000 program staff could lose their jobs”— aren’t necessarily encouraging. However, Oxfam International’s interim executive director Chema Vera conveys a deeper sense of what the confederation’s future will hold.
Internal restructuring to follow and keep pace with a rapidly-shifting world is a crucial necessity. Even though the monetary and fundraising tests the pandemic pose are real, a long-term procedure will continue regardless. Oxfam’s position allows it to weather storms like these, even as major changes are made. But it is all for the sake of future developments and greater impacts. Despite many NGOs not being in ideal positions, the work they do help ensure the health and safety of everyone.
– Alan Mathew