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.
“Whereas conflicts, injustice, inequality 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; and
d. to work as an international partnership of goodwill.”
Article 3 Stichting Oxfam International Constitution
There are currently 21 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.
Current Oxfam affiliates: Oxfam America (USA),Oxfam Australia, Oxfam in Belgium, Oxfam Brasil, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Colombia, Oxfam Denmark , Oxfam France, Oxfam Germany, Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam Hong Kong, Oxfam India, Oxfam Intermón (Spain), Oxfam Ireland, Oxfam Italy, Oxfam Mexico, Oxfam Aotearoa (New Zealand), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Oxfam Québec, Oxfam South Africa and Kadın Emeğini Değerlendirme Vakfı (KEDV- Foundation for the Support of Women's Work, Turkey).
The Confederation also has three public engagement offices - in South Korea, Sweden and Argentina - which concentrate on raising awareness and funds for our work.
Prospective Affiliates (previously referred to as Observer Members)
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. Prospective Affiliates have the right to attend OI Affiliate Business Meetings (ABM) as a non-voting member and to send one participant to the OI Assembly as a voting Delegate. Prospective Affiliates are entitled to participate in any Oxfam communities of practice, platforms, and forums, including the specific right of the Prospective Affiliate’s Executive Director to attend the OI Executive Directors Forum (EDF) as a full member.
Current Prospective Affiliates (previously referred to as Observer Members):
- Oxfam Pilipinas
- Oxfam in the Pacific
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 85 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.
Our Executive Director
With more than 27 years of experience as a civil society leader, Amitabh Behar has made valuable contributions to Oxfam’s global transformation process since joining Oxfam India in 2018. He has been widely recognized for his work on people-centric advocacy, governance accountability, social and economic equality, and citizen participation.
Prior to Oxfam, Amitabh was the Executive Director of the National Foundation for India and Co-Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. He has also previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Board of CIVICUS until recently (2022), and Board Chair of Amnesty International India. He currently serves on the boards of several other organizations, including the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, an Indian public policy think-tank.
Oxfam’s global governance structure consists of an international Board and a multi-stakeholder Assembly, with ‘Affiliate Business Meetings’ convened as required. This architecture has emerged from an extensive reform process initiated in 2017 to reflect our continued commitment to strengthening global balance, and to bring diversity of voice and feminist leadership to our governing bodies. It was driven by the desire to strengthen accountability and transparency and to become a more relevant, resilient and impactful organization into the future.
The international Board is composed of nine members: four independent members (with no formal association with Oxfam, including the OI Chair and Treasurer) and five members who also serve on the boards of national Oxfam affiliates. Six of the members are women and five are from the Global South. The Board’s role includes: overseeing the implementation of Oxfam’s Global Strategic Framework; overseeing the OI Secretariat and appointing the OI Executive Director; and overseeing global finance and risk.
The global Assembly is made up of delegates from Oxfam affiliates and external stakeholder representatives from the countries and regions in which Oxfam works, each with a vote. It approves Oxfam’s global strategy, the profile and competency framework for the Board, and the appointment of new Board members; and establishes general principles and frameworks for policies with global application.
Affiliate Business Meetings will be convened as required and is a space in which Affiliates collectively agree on matters that will directly or indirectly impact on their individual legal and fiduciary obligations. Composed of Affiliate representatives, it decides on matters relating to constitutional amendments, financial contributions from affiliates to the global organization, and the admission of new Oxfam affiliates, amongst others.
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.
To find out more about accountability, and safeguarding and transparency at Oxfam you can find our accountability reports in the key documents section below.
- Code of Conduct
- Rules of Procedure
- OI Board Charter
- Program Evaluation Policy
- OI Trustees' Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019/20
- OI Accountability Report
- Interim Report to the Accountable Now Independent Review Panel (May 2018)
- 2020-21 Oxfam International Trustees Report Audited Statements