The program is structured in a way that emphasizes its commitment to empower the global South by basing its global program unit, partners, resources, and activities exclusively in BRICSAM countries. This approach is unique in Oxfam and could serve as a model for future programs that aim to strengthen South‐South cooperation and shift traditional paradigms.
The global program unit (GPU) is based in Mexico City and is responsible for the overall management of the project and leads on knowledge development. In‐country Oxfam GB, Oxfam India, Oxfam Mexico, and Oxfam Hong Kong staff support the networks through capacity building and ongoing technical assistance as well as undertaking monitoring and evaluation.
The programme is run by a Global Programme Unit hosted by the Oxfam GB LAC Regional Centre in Mexico City.
The GPU manager is Mariano de Donatis. Mariano is Argentinian and joined Oxfam GB in July 2013 after working with CIVICUS in Buenos Aires as their Senior Outreach officer & GCAP coordinator for Latin America. Immediately before that, he was the Manager of CIVICUS’s Convening & Outreach Unit at their HQ in Johannesburg where he gained considerable experience working with civil society networks on a host of issues. He also has work experience with NGOs in Europe, experience in the private sector, and as a volunteer in Uganda, Bolivia and Peru.
The Deputy GPU Manager is Thomas Dunmore Rodriguez. Thomas is a dual Mexican/British national and prior to joining Oxfam GB was based in the UK, where he worked as the Senior Programme Officer: Latin America & Caribbean for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. He also worked for several years for Christian Aid, as Programme Manager for Brazil and before that as programme Officer for Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.
The GPU Programme Officer is Eva Matos. Eva is Venezuelan and joined Oxfam GB in February 2014 after working as a Programme Officer at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI) Africa Division. At ABA ROLI, Eva worked on reducing sexual and gender based violence, human rights, judicial reform, and legal education reform projects in Ethiopia, Liberia, DRC, and Zambia.
The Finance and Administration Coordinator is Raul Ortiz. Raul first joined Oxfam GB in April 2011 as the Regional Finance & Donor Contract Officer, based in Mexico City. Before that he was Chief Financial Officer for a Mexican Foundation: his work there came after holding several senior financial jobs in the private sector. Raul has a strong knowledge of Oxfam and donor systems.
Brazil has one of the highest levels of inequality in the world – but maintains a very important political and economic position. As one of the ten largest economies in the world, Brazil’s role, along with that of other southern countries, has been key to various international negotiations in settings such as the G20.
Oxfam and other civil society and social organisations are working to increase the rights of the urban poor by changing policies, practices and beliefs that prevent change, and by encouraging policies that are beneficial for those in poverty, particularly women and afro Brazilians. This means trying to ensure that effective adaptation and risk reduction measures are adopted in urban zones, specifically areas with the highest concentration of poverty (which are more prone to natural catastrophes).
As world pioneers on this issue, we are documenting lessons we’ve learned to help other organisations, governments and people – in Brazil and elsewhere – deepen their understanding.
Although Russia has experienced economic growth in recent years, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. One in six people in Russia still live below the poverty line, and many still lack access to basic social services such as health care. Oxfam is helping redress this balance. We work with a coalition of Russian organisations to campaign against poverty, both nationally and internationally. Oxfam Russia has focused its efforts in the following three areas:
Ensuring Access to Health Care: Many people lack access to basic health care. Oxfam and our GCAP partners focus on ensuring people receive free medical care to which they are legally entitled. As a result of our joint campaigning work, more than three million people no longer need to register as ‘permanently disabled’ every year in order to obtain free health care.
Promoting Russia’s role as a global donor for aid and development: Oxfam has built a public policy forum where government officials, international institutions, academics and civil society organisations can address these issues together and learn from the experiences of other countries. This is particularly important in the run-up to Russia’s possible presidencies of the G20 in 2013 and G8 in 2014, where it has an opportunity to use its global position to tackle poverty. We also focus resources on supporting the Russian branch of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), a network of organisations working across the country on a variety of poverty-related issues.
Supporting Entrepreneurial Spirit: In Russia, 60 million people are denied financial services because of inadequate infrastructure and administrative barriers. Up until 2011, Oxfam’s work has focused on creating economic opportunities for people living in poverty. As a result, 10,000 people in 15 regions across Russia can now call on microfinance services. Oxfam has also helped to develop Youth Business Russia, a scheme linking up new entrepreneurs with local mentors. The scheme is now a separate organisation with a presence in five cities across Russia.
Oxfam is marking its 62nd year in India this year. Oxfam India, a fully independent Indian organization (with Indian staff and an Indian Board) is a member of a global confederation of 17 Oxfams.
Oxfam India’s vision is to create a more equal, just, and sustainable world. The overarching vision of Oxfam India is “right to life with dignity for all”. Oxfam India will fulfill its vision by empowering the poor and marginalized to demand their rights, engaging the non poor to become active and supportive citizens, advocating for an effective and accountable state and making markets work for poor and marginalized people.
Oxfam India works in partnership with over 130 grassroots NGOs to address root causes of poverty and injustice in the four areas of 1) Economic Justice, 2) Essential Services, 3) Gender Justice and 4), Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Oxfam India’s program is focused on seven States – Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – and four social groups – Dalits, tribals, Muslims, and women.
Indonesia is a vast and complex nation. 18% of people live in poverty. 42% of them live on $2 a day; 7% live on $1 a day. Indonesia is prone to man-made and natural disasters of all sizes. Despite recent democratisation and “big bang decentralisation”, growth and development are highly uneven, and women in particular have poor access to basic services, natural resources, and economic and political opportunities. Indonesia has the potential to be a world leader in managing natural resources sustainably, fairly and responsibly.
Oxfam’s focus is on empowering women to realise their rights; influencing people in power to reduce inequality and poverty; and building resilience to disasters.
Strengthening communities in East Indonesia: We help strengthen communities in East Indonesia through analysis, activities and plans to mitigate against the risk of disasters; preparing emergency plans; and helping set up monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. At the village level, we help village administration, leading figures and community members to mitigate against the risks of disasters; analyse people’s vulnerability and capacity to deal with disasters; support communities’ to prepare action plans to minimise disaster risks; develop school-based disaster management; and strengthen local partners with disaster risk mitigation tools and support.
Restoring coastal livelihoods: We work to develop livelihoods based on coastal resources; to develop household-based businesses; to develop business groups’ access to marketing for coastal commodities; to rehabilitate mangrove areas and develop good practices in order to enhance resources’ sustainability so they can develop the coastal households’ economies; and to develop the vulnerable men and women’s capacity to participate in development planning at the village level.
Strengthening women’s roles: Through the “Raising Her Voice” project in the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and Papua regions, we work to strengthen women’s roles in governance, by encouraging participation in development processes and in local government decision-making. We’re working to build the capacity of women living in poverty to participate in village development planning; training village governments to integrate gender equality into their poverty reduction programs; and strengthening the capacity of women groups’ leadership.
Supporting vanilla farmers: We’re supporting 200 farmers to cultivate vanilla plants on their own land. We offer technical training on production, processing, business entrepreneurship, developing a business plan, and micro-enterprise development skills. We’re working to strengthen women’s groups’ capacity to farm vanilla; helping organise vanilla production groups; developing the marketing network for vanilla products; and developing market access for vanilla. Other crops such as coffee and sweet potatoes are also included.
Oxfam Hong Kong
Oxfam Hong Kong began in 1976, when volunteers came together, opened a second-hand shop, and raised funds for anti-poverty projects around the world. Some of the first actions in the 1970s and 80s were to advocate for justice in the Vietnamese Boat People/Refugee crisis in Hong Kong, and to help save lives in Ethiopia during the 1984 famine. To date, Oxfam Hong Kong has assisted poor people in more than 70 countries/states around the world.
Oxfam South Africa
South Africa is a country of vast contrasts, with the second most unequal distribution of income in the worldWorld-class health care systems cater for only 16% of the population, while most people have to rely on an under-funded, under-resourced and inefficient state health care system.
- The education system is failing learners, with less than 50% of students passing their final year in school.
- The country is experiencing an influx of refugees (estimated at 5 million people, or about 10% of the national population), mainly from other African countries. These illegal immigrants hope to eke out a living in the economic engine of Africa, only to be shunned by society and ignored by state institutions, leading to violent xenophobic attacks.
- One in every four people in the country is HIV-positive
- Gender-based violence cripples the social fabric of the society.
- Although South Africa is classified as a middle-income country, more than 47% of its population lives below the poverty line. Most people of the “Rainbow Nation” are excluded from reaping the benefits of a land endowed with vast natural resources, world-class legislation, and a democracy that should protecting the poor and vulnerable.
How Oxfam is helping:
Oxfam’s work in South Africa began in 1956 with a grant of £250 to feed poor children in the country. These feeding programmes continued throughout the 1960s, with more than £90,000 allocated to various agencies involved in a number of feeding projects. The programme gradually expanded as we established a network of contacts, mainly with church representatives, and included a range of development activities in townships and rural areas.
Today we work with partners and allies to campaign and advocate for poor and marginalised people’s rights to be recognised and enforced. We work very closely with South African civil society organisations, helping them make their voices heard. It’s vital for Oxfam to allow local civil society to drive the agenda, identifying the important issues and how change needs to happen.
Oxfam also provides financial support to a number of partner organisations in the country. These organisations work with communities and groups to:
a. Secure immigrants’ rights
b. Achieve equitable health care for all South Africans
c. Promote dignity and support for people affected by HIV and AIDS
d. Ensure equality for all women and men
e. Improve poor people’s ability to contribute to the growing economy and reap the benefits
Oxfam Mexico is working on the following social issues:
Civil Society: By strengthening accountability mechanisms between government and citizens. In particular, we focus on ensuring that the government guarantees access to quality services – especially health and education – as well as promoting economic competition and protecting consumer’s rights.
Food security and sustainable development: We are building the capacity of local communities to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and to improve their adaptive strategies to the impact of climate change. We are also consolidating sustainable models of food production and distribution to guarantee universal access to food.
Migration and development: Oxfam is strengthening the role of migrant workers’ organizations as bi-national actors to influence public policies both at the national and regional level. The objective is for these organizations to achieve full recognition of their rights and a more inclusive development model.
Humanitarian actions: We respond to emergencies so that victims can receive immediate assistance, to reduce suffering and death, and to mitigate the spread of diseases. We’re also involved in assisting communities affected by natural disasters to rebuild.