OXFAM: Recent Announcements

Governance-Ethics-Accountability: OXFAM et al

Editor’s Note:
We present recent Oxfam announcements proceeding from press reports on its Haiti operations, resulting actions by DFID, editorials, and various announcements by NGOs and NGO alliances about their ethical and governance commitments and performance. Unhappily, the Oxfam situation seems to be cascading across the sector.

Oxfam asks women’s rights leaders to carry out urgent independent review
16 February 2018
An independent commission will be set up with immediate power to carry out a wide-ranging review of Oxfam’s practices and culture, including its handling of past cases of sexual misconduct. It comes as Oxfam announces a comprehensive plan of action to strengthen safeguarding systems across the organization, and stamp out abuse.

The plan was agreed yesterday by Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima and has the commitment of all executive directors across the Oxfam confederation. The package of measures includes:
:: A new independent High-Level Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change, comprised of leading women’s rights experts, which will be able to access Oxfam records and interview staff, partners and communities it supports around the world.
:: The immediate creation of a new global database of accredited referees – designed to end the use of forged, dishonest or unreliable references by past or current Oxfam staff. Oxfam will not be issuing any references until this is in place.
:: An immediate injection of money and resources into Oxfam’s safeguarding processes, with the number of people working in safeguarding more than doubling over the coming weeks and annual funding more than tripled to just over $1 million.
:: A commitment to improve the culture within Oxfam to ensure that no one faces sexism, discrimination or abuse, that everyone, especially women, feels safe to speak out, and everyone is clear on what behaviour is acceptable or not…

Chair of Oxfam International’s Board of Supervisors, Dr. Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, steps down
13 February 2018
Dr. Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight today stepped down as the Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Oxfam International after being presented with charges dating back to his time as Guatemala’s finance minister..

Oxfam Great Britain announces resignation of Deputy Chief Executive
12 February 2018
Penny Lawrence today resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain. Lawrence was Program Director at the time of the sexual misconduct in Chad.