We are a confederation
In 1995 a group of independent non-governmental organizations came together to share knowledge and resources and combine their efforts in the fight against poverty and injustice. They formed a foundation (“Stichting” in Dutch): Stichting Oxfam International knowing that by joining forces as a global confederation they could maximize efficiency, impact, and reach.
Our affiliate family
There are currently 19 member organizations, our affiliates, who coordinate and lead this fight via the Oxfam International Secretariat. Each affiliate is an independent organization with its own areas of activity and work contributing its own strengths and expertise to the confederation to achieve our shared goals. The foundation provides a medium to agree on which priorities and aims they hold in common, and how to achieve them. It also supports and makes possible affiliate collaboration on shared projects.
“Whereas conflicts, injustice and the denial of people’s basic rights are major causes of poverty, it is necessary to achieve reform, particularly by the empowerment of the poor. To this end, the objectives of the Foundation are:
a. to relieve poverty, combat distress and alleviate suffering in any part of the world regardless of race, gender, creed or political convictions;
b. to research the causes and effects of poverty, injustice and suffering;
c. to inform the general public and decision-makers about the causes and possible solutions;
d. to work as an international partnership of goodwill.”
Article 3 Stichting Oxfam International Constitution
Current Oxfam affiliates: Oxfam America (USA),Oxfam Australia, Oxfam in Belgium, Oxfam Brasil, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam IBIS (Denmark), Oxfam France, Oxfam Germany, Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam Hong Kong, Oxfam India, Oxfam Intermón (Spain), Oxfam Ireland, Oxfam Italy, Oxfam Mexico, Oxfam New Zealand, Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Oxfam Québec and Oxfam South Africa
The Confederation also has two public engagement offices, one in South Korea, and the other in Sweden, which concentrate on raising awareness and funds for our work.
From time to time Oxfam International also welcomes outside organizations into our network with a view to becoming full affiliate members of the Confederation. By working closely together we can test our cooperation, consider our shared values, and whether we are a good fit for each other. These observers don’t pay fees and have no voting rights, but benefit from full rights to information and participation in work meetings.
The following organizations are observer members working toward affiliate status:
- KEDV - Kadın Emeğini Değerlendirme Vakfı – Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (FSWW) which is based in Turkey.
The Oxfam International Secretariat leads, facilitates and supports collaboration between Oxfam’s affiliates to increase their impact on poverty and injustice. It works to provide advocacy, campaigns, development programs and to respond swiftly to emergencies. It also provides line-management for regional teams and country program operations.
The Secretariat has offices in strategic locations around the world to focus on advocacy in countries key to their regions. They work to influence high-level decision-makers to ensure their policies affecting poor countries have a far-reaching, positive impact on those most in need.
We are registered as Stichting Oxfam International in The Hague, Netherlands, and as a foreign company limited by guarantee in the United Kingdom. We are also registered in Kenya under a Host Country Agreement with the Government of Kenya. The Host Country Agreement allows us to establish our global Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Our people, Our team
Oxfam International Secretariat has less than 300 staff globally, while the Oxfam affiliates have around 10,000 staff and nearly 50,000 interns and volunteers located around the world, working in 90 countries, to end poverty and injustice and to save lives. We share office space, aims and values, working together over six continents, to build and benefit from each other’s strengths, bolster our efforts, and avoid duplication of work.
We are as diverse as we are inclusive, people from all backgrounds and walks of life who share aims and values and work together to make a better world.
Two boards govern Oxfam International. Each is made up of representatives from every affiliate. Their roles are different, but they work hand in hand toward achieving the affiliates’ shared objective: an end to poverty.
The Board of Supervisors has an independent Chair, a Treasurer, and a representative from each affiliate's board (usually their Chairperson). It is entrusted with the oversight of the foundation’s activities and the work of the Executive Board: approving their reports, policies, programs, and financial accounts. They appoint the Executive Director.
Dr. Campbell, Chair of the Oxfam International Board of Supervisors, studied medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 1973. Following a career in General Practice, she was appointed Chief Medical Officer in the Dept. of Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland in 1995, a post she held until 2006. In recognition of her contribution to medicine in Northern Ireland, Dr. Campbell was awarded an honorary doctorate by Queen’s University Belfast, and in 2000 was awarded CB in the New Year Honours List. Dr. Campbell has served as a Board member on a number of UK Public Bodies including the Food Standards Agency, a number of Pay Review Bodies and the UK Electoral Commission.
The Executive Board is chaired by the Oxfam International Executive Director. Each affiliate has one member, usually their Executive Director). It manages the foundation and organizes the shared undertakings of the affiliates. It consults, agrees on strategy and joint activities, and prepares and implements the Oxfam Strategic Plan. They report regularly to The Board of Supervisors on their work and any matters relevant to the well-being of the foundation.
José María Vera is the interim Executive Director of Oxfam International. After having studied Industrial Chemistry, volunteering in Peru and working as a project engineer, he first joined Oxfam Intermón as Director of Madrid Headquarters and soon after as Campaigns and Policy Director. Between 2006 and 2012, he worked for the Ibero-American General Secretariat, coordinating the programs of its Heads of State Summits. In 2012 he re-joined Oxfam Intermón as Executive Director. He has represented Oxfam internationally, reflecting his experience in long-term development and high-level advocacy. In October 2019, he was appointed as interim Executive Director of Oxfam International replacing Ms Byanyima.
Mr Vera jointly founded Ingeniería sin Fronteras (Engineers Without Borders) in Spain and continues to be involved in a number of other civil society organizations
As an organization, we are committed to holding ourselves accountable and being transparent in all areas of our work. Accountability is essential to good governance, and it helps us improve. We have a responsibility to our donors, partners, allies, supporters, staff and volunteers, regulatory bodies and, in particular, the communities with whom we work. Not just in principle but in practice as we constantly evaluate our work learn how to do things better next time. We share our findings and support our partners in building their own robust systems to monitor, evaluate, and learn.
We are a member of Accountable Now, a global platform that supports civil society organizations (CSOs) to be transparent, responsive to stakeholders and focused on delivering impact. Every two years we report publicly on our economic, environmental and social performance in line with Accountable Now’s Reporting Guidelines to an Independent Review Panel.