5 reasons to believe that change is possible

Oxfam’s new Annual Report ‘Speaking Truth To Power’ looks back at the past year 2022-23, and reveals both inconvenient truths and remarkable stories of resilience and progress. Here are 5 reasons why we need to believe in a more equal future

1. People have the power

Super Mother, Super Woman

Ten years ago, Hamda crossed a desert with nothing but her child on her back, as she fled conflict in Syria. Today she oversees a team of 86 at Oxfam’s waste sorting facilities in Za’atari refugee camp. At Oxfam we are amazed every day by the incredible resilience that Hamda and many others show, in the face of huge challenges.

We believe strongly that the people we work with are best placed to decide what needs to be done. That is why we design mechanisms to better understand communities’ needs. And we enable our partners to lead our response

2. Companies are being held to account for their actions

Lidi Petition

After intensive campaigning, 11 major supermarkets, including Tesco, Aldi and Jumbo have made commitments to uphold the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to report against them. Only three supermarkets had made such a commitment four years ago.

And even where it’s operating outside of the limelight, corporate power is being held to account. In Uganda and Tanzania, following pressure from Oxfam and others, TotalEnergies has started paying better allowances for people who need to relocate because of a pipeline construction. New houses for resettled families are larger and better finished.

3. More women are feeling safe (in some of the most violent places)

Community Solidarity Against GBV

The Middle East and Northern Africa face higher than global averages of sexual and gender-based violence. With multiple conflicts ongoing, causing people to flee their homes, the risk for women and girls is even higher. 

In Iraq, Yemen and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, over the past four years Oxfam has worked with women’s rights organizations to increase awareness with both men and women. As a result, areas where Oxfam projects have been implemented have seen a doubling of the number of women and girls who feel safe from gender-based violence. 

4. Innovation is helping to meet humanitarian needs

Water Tap

Clean water is the essence of human life. But getting water flowing in remote and crisis-affected arid areas can be a huge challenge. This is where cutting-edge technology can play a key role in saving lives. 

Leveraging our own WASH Innovation Fund, which provides kick starter funds for ground-breaking work in water and sanitation, Oxfam engineers are now using solar-powered desalination to provide clean water in remote areas in Chad. We plan to supply five to ten liters of safe water per person per day to 10,000 people. 

5. Follow The Money

cost of living story

While our research  has revealed that many countries are cutting spending on health and education, there are signs that this trend is shifting. In Burkina Faso, Ghana and Kenya, governments are increasing spending on education, health, social protection, agriculture and food security. This follows strengthened citizen participation in budgeting and public sector expenditure monitoring. 

In Kilifi, Kenya, for example, Oxfam has been working with academics and civil society organizations to effectively increase government spending on climate programs. We are also working with the authorities to make sure that local communities are in control of how the budget is being spent.  

In 2022-23 Oxfam worked with 15.5 million people across 86 countries to fight poverty and injustice, and create a more equal future. Interested in knowing more? Read everything about our work in our new Annual Report.