In the aftermath of the popular uprisings of 2011, the Maghreb faces enormous challenges: political, democratic, economic, social, environmental and security issues. Although popular movements have led to democracy in Tunisia, and hopes elsewhere in the Maghreb cluster, in Algeria there has been little political change. Meanwhile, refugee camps in Algeria have been hosting a large proportion of the Sahrawi population for over 40 years.
Oxfam in Algeria
Oxfam has been active in the refugee camps in Algeria since 1975. The interventions have evolved over the years, trying to adapt as best as possible to the needs of the Sahrawi population. Our humanitarian program, implemented through local partners, focuses on food security.
Oxfam’s work in Algeria is now part of a multi-country Maghreb region strategy focussing on citizenship, gender justice, economic justice, and the rights in crisis. By taking a regional approach we are able to respond to the specific contexts of these countries.
Support for Refugees
Located in the desert the Sahrawi refugee camps offer almost no opportunities for development or employment, making the refugees practically fully dependent on international aid. This is not a temporary situation, some people have lived in these refugee camps for more than 40 years, children were born and raised here. Over the years, the nature of our interventions has changed, to adapt as best as possible to this long-term crisis and the needs of the Sahrawi population. Our program has evolved from emergency aid to a combination of humanitarian aid, capacity building for our partners and creating opportunities for youth.
Diverse and quality food
The Oxfam humanitarian program (financed by the European Union) focuses on the distribution of fresh food products in order to ensure diversity in the refugees’ diet. We also organize awareness-raising activities to promote better eating habits in partnership with the Union of Sahrawi Women.
Oxfam is also working to strengthen the logistical capacity of the Sahrawi Red Crescent Society through the rehabilitation of a food supply center with eight cold rooms. The objective is to improve the supply chain and the quality of the products supplied.
Supporting Youth and Citizen Initiatives
Aware of the growing frustration in the camps, especially among the youth, Oxfam is working to improve their opportunities so that they can take control of their lives and have their voices heard.
In cooperation with UNHCR, Oxfam has also launched a call for projects that will enable young Sahrawis to implement projects in their communities. Selected projects include a women's driving school, a recreational park for infants, a mill, and a computer center.
Finding an equitable and sustainable political solution
Oxfam also continues to work towards international recognition of the conflict and the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in these refugee camps. We call on international actors to commit themselves to a fair and lasting political solution. A solution to the conflict accepted by both parties, while being in conformity with international law.