Named after Oxford Committee for Famine Relief
Founded 1942 (1942)
Founded at Oxford, England
Type International non-governmental organization
Focus Poverty eradication, disaster relief, advocacy, policy research
Headquarters Oxford, United Kingdom
Area served
Winnie Byanyima
Key people
William Payne
Mission "Working with thousands of local partner organizations, we work with people living in poverty striving to exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives"
Website www.oxfam.org

Oxfam is an international confederation of charitable organizations focused on the alleviation of global poverty. Oxfam was originally founded at 17 Broad Street in Oxford, Oxfordshire, in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists, and Oxford academics; this is now Oxfam Great Britain, still based in Oxford. It was one of several local committees formed in support of the National Famine Relief Committee. Their mission was to persuade the British government to allow food relief through the Allied blockade for the starving citizens of occupied Greece. The first overseas Oxfam was founded in Canada in 1963. The organization changed its name to its telegraph address, OXFAM, in 1965.


Plaque commemorating first meeting of Oxfam in the Old Library, the University Church, Oxford.

The original Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was a group of concerned citizens including Doctor Henry Gillett (a prominent local Quaker), Canon Theodore Richard Milford, Professor Gilbert Murray and his wife Lady Mary, Cecil Jackson-Cole and Sir 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 relieve famine in Greece caused by Nazi Germany military occupation and Allied naval blockades. By 1960, it was a major international non-governmental aid organization.

The name Oxfam comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942 and registered in accordance with UK law in 1943. Oxfam International was formed in 1995 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 injustice. Stichting Oxfam International registered as a non-profit foundation at The Hague, Netherlands.

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.[1][2]

Oxfam's mission and values

"Make Trade Fair Campaign" parade organized by Oxfam during the 2005 WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference.

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:

Oxfam believes that poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. The right to a sustainable livelihood, and the right and capacity to participate in societies and make positive changes to people's lives are 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's work

Though 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 clothing and shoe bank in the United Kingdom.

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 in to 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 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 is working to help 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.[4]

Additionally, 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[5] and Yemeni crisis.[6] 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 disasters.[7]

A January 2014 report by Oxfam claimed 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.[8][9][10][11][12] More recently, in January 2015, Oxfam reported that the wealthiest 1 percent will own more than half of the global wealth by 2016.[13]

Oxfam affiliates

Oxfam GB (Great Britain)

David Cameron at Oxfam headquarters in Oxford.

Oxfam GB headquarters are located in Cowley, Oxford. There is also the Oxfam Finance Office in Newcastle, from where all Oxfam Shops are managed.[14] These shops sell second-hand goods including books, clothing, music and furniture.

In 2008 Oxfam GB was recognized as one of Britain's Top Employers[15] by CRF,[16] when 5,955 people were working worldwide for Oxfam GB.

Oxfam Ireland

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 three different sources:

Structure Oxfam Ireland is the public title of the two legal bodies registered in the respective jurisdictions as 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 councils.

Oxfam Canada

Main article: Oxfam Canada
Countries with Oxfam members (observer members in purple)

Oxfam Canada 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. In that year, 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.

The early 1970s was a critical period of growth as Oxfam began its own programming overseas in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and established a network of staff and volunteers across Canada to support its work.The original idea was born with Oxfam shops, Luk Moltten Professor at the University of Oxford. During this same period, Oxfam Canada began to analyze its role in the development process, moving from a traditional model of charity (one-time grants) towards long-term development programming (working with communities to effect lasting positive change). Deeply involved in the international movement against apartheid in South Africa and Central American solidarity through the 1970s and '80s, Oxfam Canada sought to address the fundamental, underlying causes of poverty. This in turn led to Oxfam's role as a major advocacy organization in the 1990s, to mobilize public support for changing the policies that perpetuate poverty.

Oxfam Canada is a founding member of Oxfam, the federation of Oxfams worldwide. Today, Oxfam Canada works with over 100 partner organizations in developing countries, tackling the root causes of poverty and inequity and helping people to create self-reliant and sustainable communities. In Canada, Oxfam is active in education, policy advocacy and building a constituency of support for its work.[17]

Oxfam America

Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser with Rupert Murdoch at the 2006 Oxfam/MySpace Rock for Darfur event.

In 1970, Oxfam America became an independent nonprofit organization 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, 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.


In 1973, Oxfam-Québec became an independent member of the international Oxfam movement. Carried by the popularity of Yvon Deschamps, Oxfam-Québec has become a cherished organization among the Québécois. Its mission is to get the francophone population involved in the situation of developing countries.

Oxfam New Zealand

Oxfam New Zealand is an aid and development organization and affiliate of Oxfam International who conduct humanitarian, development and advocacy work to support positive and lasting change for communities living in poverty.[18] Oxfam NZ is also responsible for delivering Cyclone relief in several countries in the Pacific region.[19]

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 and two field offices in Papua New Guinea.[20] Most of Oxfam New Zealand's funds come from donations, supplemented by New Zealand government funds.

Oxfam Australia

Main article: Oxfam Australia

Oxfam Australia is an independent, not-for-profit, secular, community-based aid and development organization, and an affiliate of Oxfam International. 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's development and advocacy programmes use 73% of donated funds, 16% is used for fundraising and promotion, and the remaining 11% for administration. In the case of emergency appeals, 85% of funds are used directly for emergency response purposes.

In 2009, Oxfam Australia's work reached 4.64 million people in 28 countries. This was made possible by the support of more than 310,000 donors and campaigners.

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.

In 1994, Novib became an affiliate of Oxfam and the organization changed its name in 2006 to Oxfam Novib.

In 2008 the organization changed its voluntary policy towards a network-based approach. They set up a so-called participation network or tribe named www.doenersnet.nl with the aim of creating a campaign for a just world without poverty.


Oxfam in Belgium is a co-ordinating body of the Belgian components of the Oxfam movement, namely, Oxfam Solidarity, Magasins du Monde Oxfam and Oxfam Wereldwinkels.

Oxfam Solidarity incorporates the activities of Oxfam Belgium (founded in 1964) and those of 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.

Oxfam France

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.[21]

Based in Paris, Oxfam France claims its missions are to inform, increase public awareness & mobilize citizens. 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.[22]

It has five second-hand shops:[23] three bookshops (two in Paris, one in Lille), a clothes shop in Lille and a shop in Strasbourg.

Oxfam Germany

An Oxfam outlet in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Oxfam Germany has its beginnings in an initiative by concerned 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.[24]

Oxfam officially came to Germany in 1995 with the foundation of the charitable Oxfam Deutschland e. V. and its commercial subsidiary Oxfam Deutschland Shops GmbH. Oxfam Germany became a full affiliate of Oxfam International in 2003.[25]

As of March 2013, Oxfam was operating 42 charity shops in 28 German cities, including five Oxfam bookshops and three fashion boutiques. According to Oxfam Germany website, there are 2,400 volunteers in those shops.[26]

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. To date, Oxfam Hong Kong has assisted poor people in more than 70 countries/states around the world.[27]

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. Bihar and famine would bring Oxfam back to 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.[28] 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 starving children and mothers.[29]

In 1968 Oxfam's first Field Director in India, Jim Howard, created the Oxfam Gramdan Action Programme, or OGAP.[29] This would be the first joint rural development programme in Oxfam history and the first step to a new 'operational' Oxfam.

Oxfam India was 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.[30]

Oxfam International

Oxfam International awareness raising event on climate change (2007).

The 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.[31] 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.

Ahead of the 2015 World Economic Forum Oxfam published its 2015 report about wealth concentration: "The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of everyone else by next year [2016] given the current trend of rising inequality."[32]


Oxfam has four main focuses for its resources. These are: Economic Justice, Essential Services, Rights in Crisis, and Gender Justice.

Economic Justice focuses on making agriculture work for farmers and agricultural labourers living in poverty and vulnerable circumstances, fairer trade rules for poor countries, and reducing the impact of climate change and energy shocks.

Oxfam relief supplies outside the Siginon warehouse in Nairobi, Kenya.

Essential Services focuses on; demanding that national governments fulfil their responsibilities for equitable delivery of good quality health, education, water, and sanitation, supporting civil society organizations and alliances to hold governments accountable for the delivery of these services, and ensuring better policies and more funding from rich countries and international institutions, as well as make sure they honour existing commitments on aid and debt reduction.

Rights in Crisis focuses on improving the ability to deliver better protection and greater assistance, through improving our competencies and capacities, working with and through local organizations, and particularly strengthen the role of women, changing policies and practices of the international humanitarian system to deliver better protection and greater assistance, and working within the framework of human security, with a greater focus on preventing conflict, peace-building, reconciliation and longer-term development.

Gender Justice focuses on supporting women's leadership at all levels to achieve greater power in decision-making and greater control over their lives, increasing the number of women receiving an education (two-thirds of all children denied school are girls), to acquire functional literacy skills so they can work,[33] working to end gender-based violence by changing ideas, attitudes and beliefs of men and women that permit violence against women, and strengthening Oxfam's own learning and capacities on gender to ensure that gender justice is achieved in all our work.

Oxfam's shops

See also: Oxfam bookshops

Oxfam has numerous shops all over the world, which sell many fair-trade and donated items. They opened their first charity shop in 1948,[34] although trading began in 1947. The proceeds from these usually get paid to different charities or are used to further Oxfam's relief efforts around the globe.

Plaque attached to the original Oxfam shop at 17 Broad Street, Oxford

Much of their stock still comes from public donations but they currently also sell 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.[35]

Oxfam has over 1,200 shops worldwide.[36] Some of them are 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 in shops across the UK, raising £17.1 million for Oxfam's programme work.[37]


Performers at the 2009 Oxjam fundraising event in Edinburgh.

Oxfam has a number of successful fundraising channels in addition to its shops. Over half a million people in the UK make a regular financial contribution towards its work, and vital funds are received from gifts left to the organization in people's wills. Many London Marathon[38] competitors run to 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 also runs several Trailwalker events in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Japan. Oxfam GB asks people to 'Get Together'[39] and fundraise by hosting events with friends and colleagues on International Women's Day, 8 March.

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.

In August 2009 Arctic Monkeys released a 7-inch vinyl version of their new single "Crying Lightning" exclusively through Oxfam shops, with proceeds going to the charity. Recently Oxfam India is emerging as a successful fundraising unit, it is mainly with the help of always motivated team and the Resource Mobilization Heads.

Every October, Oxfam also holds the Oxjam music festival across the UK to raise funds for its activities.


Annual Report; Strategic Plan; Research and Policy papers[40]

Policy & Research page with all Oxfam publications (research reports, policy papers), which can be filtered by subject and/or by date[41]

Behind the Brands

In 2013, Oxfam started the Behind the Brands project, "to provide people who buy and enjoy these products with the information they need to hold the Big 10 [food and beverage companies] to account for what happens in their supply chains".[42]

The Scorecard consists of seven categories, being:[42]

The table below provides an overview of the evolution of the scores (in percentage):[43]

Company February 2013 June 2013 September 2013 February 2014 October 2014
Nestlé 54% 56% 61% 64% 70%
Unilever 49% 49% 56% 63% 70%
Coca-Cola 41% 41% 46% 54% 59%
PepsiCo 31% 31% 31% 41% 44%
Mondelez 29% 30% 30% 33% 34%
Danone 29% 29% 33% 31% 31%
Mars 30% 31% 31% 31% 31%
Kellogg's 23% 23% 23% 29% 31%
General Mills 23% 23% 24% 21% 30%
Associated British Foods 19% 19% 19% 27% 30%
Average score 32.80% 33.20% 35.40% 39.40% 43.00%


Make Trade Fair

Make Trade Fair is a campaign organized by Oxfam International that focuses on the elimination of several trade practices:


Political neutrality

Oxfam Great Britain was strongly criticised by other NGOs for becoming too close to Tony Blair's New Labour government in the UK.[48]

Internal structures and political role

An Oxfam cholera awareness-raising campaign in Mbandanka, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Omaar and de Waal, in Food and Power in Sudan,[49] comment, "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 provided".[50] In this climate, Oxfam has faced a number of criticisms, some specific to the organization itself, others relating to problems said to be endemic to NGO aid agencies.

In response to these criticisms Oxfam and others launched the Sphere Project, an initiative which aims to "improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters", to "develop a set of minimum standards in cure areas of humanitarian assistance" and to introduce an element of accountability which had previously been lacking.

In 2005, the magazine New Internationalist 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 and even taking over roles conventionally filled by national governments.[51]

Similar criticisms have been voiced by Red Pepper magazine[52] and Katherine Quarmby in the New Statesman.[53] The latter article detailed growing rifts between Oxfam and other organizations within the Make Poverty History movement.

In an article for Columbia Journalism Review,[54] 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."

Conflict with Starbucks on Ethiopian coffee

On 26 October 2006, Oxfam accused 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.[55] 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 famed 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.[55]

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.[56] In conclusion of this issue, on 20 June 2007, representatives of the Government of Ethiopia and senior leaders from Starbucks Coffee Company announced that they had executed an agreement regarding distribution, marketing and licensing that recognizes the importance and integrity of Ethiopia's specialty coffee designations.[57] Financial terms regarding this agreement were not disclosed.

Starbucks, as part of the deal, also was set to market Ethiopian coffee during two promotional periods in 2008. Brandon Borrman, a Starbucks spokesman, said the announcement is "another development" in the relationship with Ethiopia and a way to raise the profile of Ethiopian coffee around the world.

Seth Petchers, an Oxfam spokesman, said the deal sounds like a "useful step" as long as farmers are benefiting, and it's a big step from a year ago when Starbucks "wasn't engaging directly (with) Ethiopians on adding value to their coffee".[57]

Fair trade coffee

On 28 April 2007 an Australian 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 in its promotion of Fairtrade coffee.[58] 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.[59]

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Oxfam endorses the two-state solution and wants Israel to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and dismantle all of the Israeli settlement infrastructure.[60]

Oxfam UK is partnering 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.[60]

In October 2009, Oxfam was accused by Israeli NGO Regavim of aiding Palestinians in illegal activities in Kiryat Arba, including water theft. Oxfam has denied its participation.[61]

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."[62]

Oxfam UK cancelled an exhibition "Gaza: Through my Eyes" which had been due to take place at East London Mosque on 17 January 2014 after 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."[63]

On 29 January 2014 actress Scarlett Johansson resigned as an international spokeswoman for Oxfam after appearing in a TV ad for SodaStream, a company that has a presence in the West Bank. The announcement from 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."[64]

In February 2015 Israeli NGO Regavim released a report documenting the illegal construction of houses funded by Oxfam; Oxfam defended its violation of the law, stating that it had undertaken the illegal activity on "humanitarian grounds."[65]

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 oversimplification".[66]

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."[67]


Oxfam shop in Cirencester, England

Oxfam has been criticized[68][69] 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.

Commercial favours

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.[70] 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 brand".

Accusations of hypocrisy

Private Eye magazine is critical of Oxfam because, while Oxfam actively campaigns against corporate tax avoidance as part of the If Coalition, Oxfam counts former Pearson CEO Dame Marjorie Scardino among its trustees. Private Eye points out 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.'[71]

Calculating with net wealth in study on inequality

Time Inc. Network wrote a reply to an Oxfam study [72] on inequality stating that the richest 1% at the end of 2016 will own more than half of the world's assets. However, Time points out that the data the study is based on is taken from a previous study from Credit Suisse. In this study, The Global Wealth Databook 2015, personal assets are calculated in net worth, meaning wealth will be negated by having mortgages.[73]

Awards and nominations

In January 2013, Oxfam was nominated for the Charity of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[74]

See also


  1. "Oxfam shop founder dies aged 88". News. BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  2. Koster, Olinka (2 October 2007). "Dead at 88, the man who sold us charity shops". The Daily Mail (online ed.). Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  3. "Oxfam International Strategic Plan 2007–2012: Demanding Justice" (PDF).
  4. Muller, Tjarda (1 October 2010). "A Source of Income, Funded by Savings". America: Oxfam. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  5. http://earthquakenepalin2015.com
  6. "Aid agency Oxfam condemns Saudi air strike in Yemen". Reuters. 20 April 2015.
  7. "Rapid response: Tackling cholera in Sierra Leone with Oxfam". Department for International Development. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  8. "Rigged rules mean economic growth increasingly 'winner takes all' for rich elites all over world". Oxfam. 20 January 2014.
  9. Neuman, Scott (20 January 2014). "Oxfam: World's Richest 1 Percent Control Half Of Global Wealth". NPR. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  10. Stout, David (20 January 2014). "One Stat to Destroy Your Faith in Humanity: The World's 85 Richest People Own as Much as the 3.5 Billion Poorest". Time. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  11. Wearden, Graeme (20 January 2014). "Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  12. Kristof, Nicholas (22 July 2014). "An Idiot's Guide to Inequality". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  13. Cohen, Patricia (19 January 2015). "Richest 1% Likely to Control Half of Global Wealth by 2016, Study Finds". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  14. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/in-an-oxfam-shop
  15. "Britain's Top Employer Profile 2009" (PDF).
  16. "Britain's Top Employers identified by the CRF Institute | best workplaces in the UK". CRF. 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  17. "Introduction to Oxfam". Retrieved 2015-08-04.
  18. "Oxfam Trailwalker in New Zealand". www.runningcalendar.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  19. "Improving disaster relief in the Pacific with Oxfam New Zealand | Deloitte New Zealand | Corporate responsibility". Deloitte New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  20. "Who we are - about our people". Oxfam New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  21. "Qui sommes-nous?" (history). Oxfam France.
  22. "Nos Finances" (Finances). Oxfam France.
  23. "Nos Adresses" (Shops). Oxfam France.
  24. "Make Trade Fair" (history). Oxfam Germany.
  25. "Über uns" [About us] (in German). DE: Oxfam.
  26. "GmbH" (in German). DE: Oxfam.
  27. "Oxfam Hong Kong – About Us". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  28. Black 1992.
  29. 1 2 Drops in the ocean: the work of Oxfam 1960–1970. London: Macdonald & Co. 1970. ISBN 0-356-03568-9.
  30. "About". IN: Oxfam. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
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  32. "Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More" (pdf). Oxfam. January 2015. pp. 1–12. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  33. "Gender justice | Oxfam International". Oxfam. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  34. "History of Oxfam". Oxfam.
  35. "Fair Trade Products, Homeware, Gifts & Jewellery from". Shop. AU: Oxfam. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  36. Annual Report, Oxfam, 2010–11 Check date values in: |date= (help).
  37. "Trustee's Report 2007–08". UK: Oxfam.
  38. "Virgin Money London Marathon". London: Oxfam. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  39. "Help mothers lift lives for good". UK: Oxfam.
  40. "Annual and Financial Reports". Oxfam.
  41. "Policy". Oxfam.
  42. 1 2 "About". Behind the Brands. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  43. "Company Scorecard". Behind the Brands. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  44. "Rigged Rules - Dumping". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
  45. "Rigged Rules - Market Access". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
  46. "Rigged Rules - Labour Rights". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
  47. "Rigged Rules - Patents". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
  48. Quarmby, Katharine (30 May 2005). "Why Oxfam Is Failing Africa". New Statesman.
  49. Omaar; de Waal (1997). Food and Power in the Sudan: A Critique of Humanitarianism. African Rights. ISBN 978-1-899477-13-5.
  50. The Joint Evaluation of Emergency Operations in Rwanda, OECD, 1994.
  51. "The Big Charity Bonanza". New Internationalist (keynote). 1 October 2005.
  52. "The New Scramble for Africa", Red Pepper, July 2005.
  53. Quarmby, Katherine (May 30, 2005), "How Oxfam is Failing Africa", New Statesman.
  54. Rothmyer, Karen (March–April 2011). "Hiding the Real Africa; Why NGOs Prefer Bad News". Columbia Journalism Review.
  55. 1 2 "Starbucks in Ethiopia coffee row". UK: BBC News. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  56. "Oxfam versus Starbucks: And this time, Oxfam may be wrong". The Economist. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2009. (subscription required)
  57. 1 2 Craig Harris (28 November 2007). "Starbucks chairman, Ethiopia talk beans". Seattle PI. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  58. Overington, Caroline (28 April 2007). "Oxfam coffee 'harms' poor farmers". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  59. Xuereb, Mario (28 June 2007). "Not free, but fair: Oxfam cleared of coffee chicanery". The Age. AU. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  60. 1 2 "Oxfam agrees to conditions on Israel set by UK Jewry". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  61. Lazaroff, Tovah; Lappin, Yaakov (31 October 2009). "NGO: Oxfam aids illegal Palestinian deeds". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  62. "BBC News - Israeli settlements 'jeopardising' Palestinian prosperity". BBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  63. Bloodworth, James (15 January 2014). "Left Foot Forward forces Oxfam climbdown over speaker's homophobic comments". Left Foot Forward. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  64. "Scarlett Johansson quits Oxfam role over SodaStream row". BBC News. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  65. Sanderson, E.B. (6 February 2015). "EU Breaching International Law Using Taxpayers Money By Building Palestinian Homes On Israeli Land". Breitbart (website). Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  66. Duncan Green (10 December 2009). "Blaming the victims: Does climate change require women in poor countries to stop 'popping them out'?". New Statesman. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  67. "Development lobby "disgrace" on population" (Press release). Optimum population. 2009-12-09. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010.
  68. Victoria Gallagher (10 February 2010). "Indie booksellers concerned by latest Oxfam Bookshop". The Bookseller. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  69. Hill, Susan. "Bullying is bullying — whoever does it". The Spectator. UK.
  70. "Dole bananas not ethical – Oxfam". 3 News NZ. 28 May 2013.
  71. P5, no 1374, 5–18 September 2014, Private Eye
  72. https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2015-01-19/richest-1-will-own-more-all-rest-2016
  73. http://time.com/money/3675142/oxfam-richest-1-wealth-flawed/
  74. "Winners honoured at British Muslim Awards". Asian Image. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2015.

Further reading

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