How we fight inequality to beat poverty

Women producers in the community of Khordo (Bangladesh) make baskets with palm leaves to be sold in Oxfam fair trade stores. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Women producers in the community of Khordo (Bangladesh) make baskets from palm leaves to be sold in Oxfam fair trade stores. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

We are working in more than 90 countries, with thousands of partners, allies, and communities to save and protect lives in emergencies, help people rebuild their livelihoods and campaign for genuine, lasting change, keeping women's rights at the heart of everything we do.

We are fighting for a more equal world where a life of dignity and opportunity is not a privilege for some, but a right for everyone — a world in which citizens can speak up and claim their human rights.

Addressing the complex roots of poverty is not an easy task. It’s a puzzle that requires many approaches to solve, and these approaches need to work in harmony to succeed. To beat poverty we need lasting solutions, innovation, and to work together to end the inequalities that keep people poor. We don’t have one answer but several: a kind of recipe where the ingredients need to blend and balance one another to take us in the right direction.

Valerie Mukangerero walks to her pineapple farm in Rwamurema village, eastern Rwanda. Credit: Aurelie Marrier d'Unienville/Oxfam

Valerie Mukangerero walks to her pineapple farm in Rwamurema village, eastern Rwanda. Credit: Aurelie Marrier d'Unienville/Oxfam

Wherever we go we empower people to make the changes necessary to improve their daily world and the greater world we all share.

The Power of People against poverty : a recipe for effective and lasting change

Poverty diminishes the voice and agency of its victims. It takes words from mouths as well as food. We work to raise the voices of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and ensure that they are heard loud and clear.

By advancing gender justice we help women and girls become full and equal members of their communities. We want to add their voices, their skills, and their energy to the cause.

When disaster strikes we are there, on the ground, saving lives. But we stay on, beyond picking up the pieces, to help families, communities, the societies they live in, and their governments build something stronger, more resilient, and to help the most vulnerable be better prepared to cope with life’s uncertainties. 

In a world of plenty, we advocate for a fair, sustainable global food system — where everyone gets enough to eat every day. We help communities build sustainable livelihoods, manage their land and their water resources, and strengthen their resilience to climate change and other disasters.

We all rely on natural resources to live and prosper. Too often poor people don’t get their fair share, and climate change is only making it worse. We lobby governments, international organizations and corporations for fairer land policies and action on climate change.

To beat poverty charity is not enough, there needs to be monetary justice. We want the public purse to work for everyone, to ensure they have access to basic essential services like education and quality health care. We work to direct the financial flow in all the right places.

Working together, our Partnership Principles

Monica, Janet and Norka are environmental and human rights defenders from Colombia. They are part of the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu organization. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

We prefer ‘many hands make light work’ to ‘too many cooks…’ and partnerships lie at the core of how Oxfam works to change the world. Our more than 70 years of experience has taught us that to make sustained and significant positive change we are stronger together. And it is together that we will change the systems that keep people trapped in poverty. 

We are part of a global movement for change working with community-based, national, and international governmental and non-governmental organizations to deliver programs fit to meet the needs and aspirations of those we stand behind. We continue to learn and to educate: generating and sharing knowledge.

By coming together with those who share our vision and values, committing to joint learning, respecting autonomy and independence, transparency and mutual accountability, we encourage dialogue, debate, and empowerment, and we all move closer to our shared goals.

Our Reach and Scale

In 2017-18 we worked directly with 22.3 million people in our programs worldwide. Here is a taste of how with your help, we are able to work with our partners to make a difference.

Saving lives

We work with local partners and communities to provide immediate relief in times of crisis. And we stay to help people build their resilience against the disasters of the future.

Aisha is one of Docoloha's community health promoters. Together with other women, she trains the community on hygiene, water and waste management. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Aisha is one of Docoloha's community health promoters, Somaliland. Together with other women, she trains the community on hygiene, water and waste management.

Clean water is not just a luxury to some, it’s a seeming impossibility. Providing clean water and access to sanitation where they’re needed is an essential part of our humanitarian work. Whether  it be rehabilitating and drilling boreholes in the drought-stricken Somali region of Ethiopia, or building a solar-powered water treatment plant in South Sudan to serve 24,000 people, or taking to motorbikes and canoes to deliver the Lifesaver Cube (which Oxfam helped design) to remote communities in cyclone devastated Mozambique, we work around the clock to give more people access to safe drinking water, and protect them from waterborne diseases.

Building sustainable livelihoods

"I feel proud that I am able to provide employment to those who didn’t have work." Durga Maharjan

"I feel proud that I am able to provide employment to those who didn’t have work." Durga Maharjan from Nepal.

We’ve been helping people build themselves sustainable livelihoods, to bring enough food to their tables every day. Like supporting Rwandan female pineapple farmers to come together as a cooperative to ensure fair prices for their crops, and small-scale farmers in Burundi who we provided with training and education in sustainable farming methods and who now grow plenty and pass their knowledge on. And we’ve helped others rebuild their livelihoods after a disaster, such as Durga who, like many people in Nepal, lost the means for her livelihood in the 2015 earthquake.

 

Speaking out together

We make sure the world’s poorest people can make their voices heard loud and clear. We build bridges between people and their local governments, empowering them to advocate for their own communities. At the same time, we challenge the powerful to influence change at a global level, putting pressure on governments, international organizations, and corporations to tackle the big inequities that keep people poor.

Teddy, líder de la comunidad quechua en la ciudad de Nuevo Andoas, en lo profundo de la selva amazónica del Perú.

Teddy, leader of the Quechua community in Nuevo Andoas (Peru) is fighting for the protection of their land rights.

Whether it be helping women raise their voices in Iraq, Tunisia or Tajikistan to bring about legislation to protect women from abuse, demanding community land rights in Honduras and Peru, or supporting urban communities in Pakistan achieve change - where Oxfam’s work for grassroots advocacy has been recognized by the government-, we help active citizens get results for themselves.

Oxfam Strategic Plan in depth

In our fourth strategic plan, we set out an integrated approach to tackle poverty by addressing its complex and interrelated causes. By combining our hands-on experience in helping people in emergencies with our grass-roots development work and innovative campaigning, we offer a bold new approach to reducing poverty, hunger and inequality.

Download "The Power of People Against Poverty"