When the Syrian crisis drove roughly half a million people into Jaramana in rural Damascus, it put an impossible strain on the local water station. Oxfam swiftly installed five new wells, which increased capacity by 50%, and provided fresh, clean water for an estimated 1.2 million people. We also installed new generators, which are now powering the main water-pumping station in Aleppo, providing water for an estimated 1 million people.
Tackling hardship, inequality and discrimination faced by women is not just the right thing to do, it would be a big step towards ending extreme poverty for everyone. That’s why we are resolutely committed to putting women’s rights at the heart of all that we do. The last year has seen us take steps to ensure all our programmes build women’s participation and leadership, eliminate violence against women, secure women’s economic, empowerment and/or have gender considerations built into programme design.
We built on the massive success of our Even It Up campaign with a new global inequality report, launched in January 2016 ahead of the World Economic Forum, which broke all our previous campaign records with unprecedented global media coverage. We used this to launch a new public campaign focused on tax havens.
“As we were flying into Davos this week, the Oxfam report made a lot of headlines. It pointed out that 62 of the wealthiest people in the world own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people in the world combined… the report explains that inequality is driven in large part by tax avoidance in tax shelters.”
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States speaking at the World Economic Forum, Jan 2016
In 2015, more than 600,000 people took to the streets in 175 countries around the world to call for a strong deal at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris. As a collective effort across the Oxfam confederation, we secured 1.3m signatories to our campaign, which was handed to President Hollande. Over 190 countries reached an agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2°C, but there is more to do to provide enough funds to ensure millions of vulnerable people can prepare for and respond to increasing future climatic events.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our shops. During the year, launched initiatives to try and grow our volunteer numbers, including the Radio 1 ‘1 Million Hours programme’ and the ‘Give A Shift’ campaign. Volunteering with Oxfam is mutually beneficial: as well as Oxfam making use of volunteers’ special talents, volunteers are also able to learn new skills and make new friends in the community.
This year we have ensured that we learned from the way that we responded to the 2014 Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Our face-to-face efforts within the communities that stood out. We gained valuable experience on how to respond to future epidemics, because we now understand more about the huge impact such events can have on cultural norms and practices, some of which reduce the likelihood that people will seek treatment even in the face of public danger.
We have continued to stand up for – and with – the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable. Our three-year programme on food poverty, supported by Unilever, came to an end and we are now exploring new innovations to help people who are in work but still need to use a food bank.
In the year since a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, we’ve provided 481,900 people with life-saving aid, and helped thousands of people rebuild their communities through ‘cash for work’ projects. By paying people to tackle a range of jobs, from debris clearing and road repairs to rebuilding irrigation systems for crops, we’re helping entire communities rebuild shattered lives, giving people hope over despair. More than 20,000 households in Nepal have now benefitted from these ‘cash for work’ schemes.
Helping the Philippines to prepare better for disasters
We have stayed in the provinces affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon that has ever hit land. A recent prolonged dry spell has subsequently affected over half a million people and prompted desperate pleas for help. In 2015, we provided training for 17,886 people on how to better manage their farming and livelihoods to deal with the of the weather and wild climatic swings.
Seven festivals. 19,500 people. One goal – to end extreme poverty. 19,500 festival goers grabbed green lippy and joined The Big Lip Sync this summer, to get world leaders in sync and focused on setting new goals to tackle extreme poverty.
Within hours of Nepal’s first earthquake last April, our local teams were delivering vital supplies. Contingency stocks, existing relationships with local partners and strong disaster planning all ensured we were able to respond rapidly. Within the first three months we reached over 300,000 people with life-saving essentials: clean water, hygiene kits, toilets, emergency shelters and food.
Oxfam is one of the few international NGOs to continue operating in Yemen. We provided humanitarian assistance to more than 800,000 people and continue to draw attention to the UK government’s provision of arms to the Saudi-led coalition taking part in a conflict where thousands of civilians have died.