How we fight inequality to end poverty and injustice

Fatoumata Tangara, 14, has been a peer educator for 2 years.

Fatoumata Tangara, 14, has been a peer educator for 2 years. She says it is important that young people talk to other young people, because “sometimes when we talk with adults, we can’t say everything.” She adds that parents also have to be sensitized for them to allow their girls to go and stay in school. Photo: Laeïla Adjovi/Oxfam

Today’s economic models have failed the world. Flawed and sexist, they have concentrated power in the hands of a few, at the expense of the world’s poorest and most marginalized. They have exacerbated a climate crisis that is destroying millions of lives and livelihoods. They have sustained multiple and interlinked forms of inequality that are the root cause of poverty and injustice. Across countries and regions, people are denied the ability to shape their future.

But inequality is not inevitable. The tide is turning. A better world is within our grasp. Where women and girls have agency and people are freed from the shackles of poverty. A world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

What we do

We are working across regions in approximately 70 countries, with thousands of partners and allies, supporting communities to build better lives for themselves, grow resilience and protect lives and livelihoods also in times of crisis. Because we want lasting solutions, we fight the inequalities that keep people locked in poverty and injustice, we tackle not the symptoms but the systems, and we campaign for genuine, durable change.

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

Our vision for a just and sustainable world

We believe all lives are equal. No-one should be discriminated against or live in poverty. We want a just and sustainable world in which everyone can safely speak truth to power, claim their human rights, and build a better future for themselves.

We offer direct support to people and communities living with poverty, above all in countries in the global South. We seek to add value to the work of our partners and of all those who challenge discrimination, exclusion and exploitation.

But for change to be sustainable, it must be systemic. To contribute to change that lasts, we mobilize to transform the systems, policies and practices that have the most significant impact on people’s lives.

A just economy is inclusive. It promotes equality, protects the planet, and ends poverty. It builds social cohesion and promotes the economic empowerment of women and marginalized groups. It supports the rights of all workers, offers social protection and ensures that livelihoods and planetary resources can be sustained.

In an increasingly unequal world, advancing gender equality is fundamental to tackling poverty and injustice. A just society is not possible unless women and girls have agency over their lives. It needs to challenge harmful social norms and belief systems that underpin gender and power relations, especially where they impact women living in poverty the most. To achieve this, it needs to expose the patriarchal practices that prevent women from realizing their rights.

The climate crisis is a man-made disaster that is already reversing progress made in the fight against poverty and inequality. It contributes to vulnerable communities becoming even more fragile and exacerbates the risk of conflict and disaster. To change its course, governments and corporations must stop destructive practices and instead invest in sustainable solutions. The voices of feminist organizations, youth, and indigenous peoples must be amplified in climate negotiations, and lead the transition towards greener and fairer economic solutions.

International norms and multilateral frameworks are consistently undermined. A populist and anti-rights agenda is chipping away at the hard-won gains achieved by the worldwide movement for women’s rights, and in the fight against poverty. The demand for accountable and inclusive governance that protects human rights and our planet has never been higher. A just and sustainable future depends on safe and vibrant spaces that allow all people to hold the powerful to account.

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.

How we work is as important as what we work on

We are guided by our vision, mission and values, and the transformational change that we seek. We know that to meet the challenge of a complex and unpredictable future, we need to develop new skills, innovate and improve our ability to adapt rapidly to changing contexts.

The inequalities that drive poverty and injustice are complex and multi-dimensional. They are created and sustained by unjust, deeply entrenched and interacting systems such as patriarchy, sexism, caste and racism that can affect anyone, anywhere. We take a multi-dimensional approach which makes us and our impact distinctive.

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We apply a feminist lens to all our analysis and address gender justice and women’s rights across all our actions.

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We amplify the voices and actions of people that experience poverty and injustice and work with those who fight for their causes.

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We think and act locally and globally. We build coalitions within and between regions and from the local to the global level.

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We work with communities before, during and after crises to build their resilience, save lives, and together address the root causes of conflict and disaster.

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We leverage the power and influence of digital technology, expanding digital spaces and seizing the potential they offer to social justice activists.

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We mobilize to transform the systems that perpetuate poverty and injustice. We innovate, identify and scale-up lasting solutions that are grounded in evidence experience.

We are part of a global movement for social justice

Change at scale is possible when we act in solidarity with, and amplify, the voices of people experiencing poverty, injustice, exclusion and crisis.

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. Across the world, where we share vision and values, we partner with activists, communities, social movements and civil society. We seek new ways to connect with young people and women in all their diversity and aspire to become a partner of choice for them. We know that it is our supporters, volunteers, partners, staff and donors who make it possible for us to make a difference.

Together, we generate energy for transformative change. We campaign to influence local and national governments, corporate actors, and the institutions whose decisions, policies, and practices can put an end to inequality, poverty and injustice.