NGO: Oxfam International

Oxfam is an independent British organization, registered as a charity, affiliated to Oxfam International, with partners, volunteers, supporters, and staff of many nationalities. Oxfam is based on the belief that in a world rich of resources, poverty must be overcome and injustice eliminated. Everyone should be secure, skilled, equal, safe, healthy and heard. Projects are implemented by donations, fundraising, campaigning, volunteering, and field work. Overall, Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering. Further beliefs of Oxfam are that people’s vulnerability to poverty and suffering is increased by unequal power relations based on, for example, gender, race, class, caste and disability and Oxfam aims for changing unjust policies and practices.

Founded in 1942, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was set up to relief problems created by the Nazi occupation of Greece. A naval blockade was im-posed and food and medical supplies became scarce and turned into a famine. In 1949, in spite of most relief committees closing down, Oxford Committee stayed and extended its aims to include “the relief of suffering arising as a result of wars or other causes in any part of the world”. The name Oxfam was adopted in 1965 and was the abbreviated telegraph address. Founders were Canon T R Milford of the University Church and Professor Gilbert Murray, a member of the national Committee and former Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford. This picture of the Beatles was used to great effect during the Hunger campaign of 1963 (Oxfab).

During 1997/98, Oxfam undertook a major review of the way it works, its aims, and how it fits into the world around it. Oxfam UK and Ireland becomes two separate bodies, Oxfam GB and Oxfam Ireland. Other Oxfam bodies include Oxfam International, Generation Why, Big Noise Music, Control Arms, Cool Planet for teachers, Make Tradefair, Oxfam Publishing, Oxfam Unwrapped and UK Poverty Program.

Oxfam engages in a variety of issues from selling second-hand clothes to food distributions. The Disasters Emergency Committee takes initiative when natural and man-made disasters occur and fights trade injustice. Oxfam papers, stories and resources are available on the following issues: trade, education, debt and aid, livelihoods, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, conflict and natural disasters, democracy and human rights. Also Emergencies such as the Asian Tsunami disaster, the crisis in Sudan and the typhoons in the Philippines fall under Oxfam’s agenda. 60 countries around the globe are getting support by Oxfam.
Oxfam works in cooperation with other international agencies whenever it is ap-propriate, e.g. Save the Children Fund, Médecins Sans Frontières and Shelter. Preferably, Oxfam works directly with local organizations in developing countries, instead of channeling donations through other organizations.

University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center of Excellence in DMHA; ICRC

Contact Information

Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 118
Honolulu, HI 96822