A year in pictures: how we stood together in 2019

Over 1,800 people took part in Oxfam Intermón Trailwalker in Girona (Spain) in 2019. Photo: Jaume Sans Curià/Oxfam

Over 1,800 people took part in Oxfam Intermón Trailwalker in Girona (Spain) in 2019. Once again, the teams highlighted their solidarity and strength by raising close to 520,000 euros, with which we aim to reach 115,000 people with clean water through various projects in Africa and Latin America. Photo: Jaume Sans Curià/Oxfam

Droughts, storms, earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides, disease and war — 2019 saw its fair share of disaster and conflict, but at the same time millions of us stood up and stood together to call for climate change action, an end to injustice, an end to poverty, and to raise the voices of the vulnerable. We may not have finished fixing the world in 2019 but together with our partners and beneficiaries, and with your help, we continued to work hard to save lives and build a better future for all.

We stood with survivors

A long way from home

In Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees passed their second anniversary of fleeing violence in Myanmar, jam-packed in inadequate camps. Here they remain, just one extreme storm from disaster. 

With your help, we’ve been drilling wells and installing water points, toilets, and showers as well as providing essential hygiene equipment and working with community-based volunteers to spread the word about what people can do to remain healthy and prevent the spread of disease. 

Aki* is an 18-year-old Rohingya refugee who works as a community volunteer for Oxfam, talking to fellow refugees about good hygiene. * name changed. Photo: Dorothy Sang/Oxfam

In 2019 we opened the largest waste treatment plant ever built in a refugee camp, able to process the waste of 150,000 people. Aki is standing in front of a truck which brings waste from latrines around the camp to the new waste plant, where it can be safely treated. 

Surviving in war zones

In Yemen, the ongoing conflict has driven communities, almost 10 million people, to the brink of famine. The economy has been shattered, homes, and infrastructures destroyed. 

Malak*, 13, had to get married at an early age to save her younger brother Shadi*, around 5 years old, who lost his leg, and needed a prosthetic one. The family was already living in bad conditions, as they fled the fighting to a safer place. They are now living in IDPs camp. * names changed. Photo Credit: VFX ADEN/Oxfam

With 24 million people in need of emergency aid, many are being forced to desperate measures just to survive. Oxfam has been delivering clean water and sanitation services, including in hard-to-reach areas of the country. We’re supporting families with cash payments to buy food in the local market or livestock, and cash for work programs, so they get a possible source of income.

Washed from their homes

On the night of 14-15 March, Cyclone Idai hit landfall in Mozambique. The 170km/h winds and heavy rainfall caused immense damage and devastated the lives of more than 2.6 million people in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. In some areas homes and agricultural land were completely wiped out.

Fainesi, 65, stands with freshly drawn water, stored in her bucket donated by Oxfam, in the Bangula camp, southern Malawi. Fainesi and her family and neighbors had to leave the village of Chikazi after their houses collapsed in the flooding caused by Cyclone Idai. Photo: Philip Hatcher-Moore/Oxfam

Just six weeks later Mozambique was hit again, this time by Cyclone Kenneth. Along with our partners, Oxfam worked to truck water to households, provide temporary latrines with hand washing facilities, distribute buckets, water bladders and hygiene kits, and to train volunteers to increase hygiene awareness.

We stood up for climate action

Sounding the alarm

Climate change and extreme weather go hand in hand, already having devastating effects and destroying lives the world over. 2019 was a year of floods, droughts, and wildfires. We worked to sound the alarm, to build preparedness, and to offer support when disaster struck. We worked with vulnerable communities to build resilience, so they can prepare better for the uncertainties to come.

In the community of Naranjo, in Guatemala’s Dry Corridor, climate change is now separating families. Photo credit: Valerie Caamaño/Oxfam

Mariana López remembers the exact day on which her husband Ernesto left the house with no idea of when he would return. The drought has ruined the family’s harvests and there was no work on their neighbors’ land. In these areas, families survive through the agricultural work done by the men - women have no opportunity to earn an income.

Oxfam has been working with partners to support rural communities in Guatemala to adapt to the drought conditions. Fighting malnutrition with food supplements for children, dry land with drought-resistant crops, and providing clean water and sanitation equipment.

Building resilience against uncertain futures

Although conflict is clearly a driver of displacement it is not the only or even the greatest one. In fact, climate fueled disasters displace more than 20 million people a year — every two seconds a person is driven from their home by cyclones, floods, or wildfires. Too often it is vulnerable, poor communities, and especially their women, that bear the brunt of the worst the climate crisis brings. 

Hagosa Demowez, a single mother of three, is part of the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, launched by Oxfam in partnership with the World Food Programme, Barka Adisibha district, Ethiopia. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos for Oxfam

More than 52 million people in 18 countries across southern, eastern and central Africa are facing up to crisis levels of hunger as a result of weather extremes, made worse by poverty and conflict.

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative gives farmers and rural families new ways to manage the risks of increasingly erratic weather. Households can access drought insurance and credit, and are encouraged to save. The program also facilitates their work to strengthen their communities through environmental projects, and build resilience to climate change.

We stood with communities to save their lands

Community lands are vital to the survival of up to 2.5 billion women and men worldwide. But corporate and government eyes are too often focused on turning the lands to profit and want to appropriate them for agriculture, infrastructure, or mining projects. When communities stand up for their rights increasingly, they are threatened, sometimes they are violently evicted, or even killed.

“The company tried every way to persuade us, they even bribed authorities, but the community still refused. They are still asking, and say ‘if this generation does not accept, maybe the next one will.” Photo: Savann Oeurm/Oxfam

A group of women from Tang Malou village in northeastern Ratanakiri, Cambodia, walk out to the near forest. Recently the community noticed people were cutting trees in an area they call the Triangle, used for religious purposes. Oxfam partners Highlander Association and Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO) are helping the community to file for a communal land title so they can protect the forest here.

We stood for equality and a fair share for all

Producers and workers who grow, process and pack our food are getting a smaller and smaller share of the consumer price. In some cases, this means that those who produce our food are themselves going hungry.

Tea. Rather tea dust. A woman shows the tea that the tea workers get as a monthly ration. It simply passes through the tea strainer, she tells us. Though these are the hands that have built the plantation and toil to bring us the tea that we relish, they hardly get any share of it. Photo: Roanna Rahman/Oxfam

Oxfam’s Behind the Price campaign aims to tackle poverty, suffering and inequality in food supply chains. We push supermarkets and food companies to increase transparency within their supply chains; protect workers; support small-scale producers and tackle gender inequality.

We stood up against gender-based violence

Gender justice underpins everything we do at Oxfam, women and girls are often the most vulnerable and least able to speak out.

Putting an end to gender-based violence is a major factor with 1 in 3 women experiencing some form during their lifetime. Oxfam works to help survivors, raise awareness, change attitudes, and say 'enough is enough'.

Survivors of gender-based and other types of violence learn how to write the letter “e” during a literacy lesson at the Women’s Home in Bria, in the heart of the Central African Republic. Photo: Aurélie Godet/Oxfam

In the Central African Republic (CAR), a woman is a victim of sexual and gender-based violence almost every hour. For most women overcoming the trauma and moving on is a challenge. Oxfam supports women through literacy classes to help them read, write and empower them. When the three-month literacy class is completed, participants receive a small kit to help them start their own business, including basic training in accounting and management.

We stood for water for all

Although the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the most water-rich country in Africa millions of people there do not have access to clean water.

Ndaondi Ruhaliza carries a plastic pipe used for the water pipeline in Malinde. Photo: Alexis Huguet/Oxfam

Oxfam is building what we think is the longest ever gravity-fed pipeline constructed by an NGO through one of the country’s most remote areas. Once completed, this pipe will provide safe clean water to nearly 20,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and over 80,000 of the vulnerable host population across four main surrounding towns. 

We didn’t just stand — we marched and spoke up, and so did you

We worked hard to bring the voices of those most vulnerable and most affected by climate change to the international conversation. We made sure that their voices are heard, no matter how remote, supporting their calls for justice and fairness with the full force of our worldwide network. Their voices, our voices, your voices: by acting together we raised the volume and.continued our calls on governments and organizations to act now and act well.

March for climate action, Madrid 2019. Photo credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

In 2019 we stood up and marched with millions of you to call for fast effective climate action now.

With your help, we will do it all again next year, and every year, until we will put an end to poverty.