Long-term development

  • We work with communities to tackle the causes of poverty through a combination of hands-on expertise, financial investment and education. In addition, we give people a voice to speak out against the laws, actions and policies that keep them in poverty.

5 Simple Hacks to Make Clothes Last Longer

Find out how to extend the life of your clothes – and reduce your eco impact – with a few simple changes to your laundry routine

 

An easy way to make clothes more sustainable is to wear and keep them for longer. But how can you make sure they stay in tip top condition – and last? We scoured the internet and found some super-simple ways to prolong the life of your favourite clothes just by tweaking the way you wash, dry and store them. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. Before you wash, zip

Ever unloaded your wash only to find your delicates snagged, ripped or tangled? Zips, buttons and chunky embellishments could well be to blame. Before you load the machine take a few minutes to zip up zips, button up buttons, fasten any velcro and turn your clothes inside out. That way, any hard parts are less likely to catch on other pieces of clothing or the machine drum. For added protection, wash delicates in a laundry bag – or a good, old-fashioned pillow case!
 

2. Don’t tumble, air dry

Tumble drying is energy-intensive, expensive and can wear out your clothes over time. Air drying, meanwhile, uses zero energy, is completely free and can even help tackle stains. Yes, some people swear that hanging whites in direct sunshine can work wonders on biological stains – dirty nappies in particular.
 

3. Full load it

The more you wash clothes, the more you’ll wear them out, so try and wait until they really need it. Wait until you’ve got a full load too. Just make sure you don’t cram too much in, or you risk damaging your clothes and machine, plus the load may not wash or rinse properly. Unsure what a full load looks like? According to Bosch, we’re talking about roughly ¾ of the drum.
 

4. Banish light, damp… and moths

Extending the life of your clothes isn’t just about how you wash and dry them – it’s about savvy storage too. As well as keeping out any light, which can fade colours faster, ensure clothes are completely dry before putting them away. Clothes-eating moths are another issue. With some evidence that numbers are rising in Ireland, it’s worth doing some prevention work. Try adding a bit of lavender before you close the wardrobe door to put off the moths.
 

5. Know when to fold

Currently stick everything on a hanger? If you want your clothes to last, you may want to reorganise. Those in the know say that jumpers should always be folded to keep them in good nick. If you’re pushed for space, check out the KonMari folding method. And for clothes you do hang, invest in decent hangers to avoid them becoming misshapen or snagged.
 
Fancy a few more last-longer tips? Our friends at Love Your Clothes have lots more advice to help keep your clothes looking great! find out more here.

Five Reasons to Rethink Where You Shop

1 - Water Beats Poverty

From growing the cotton to the dyeing process, it can take a whopping estimated 10,000 litres of water to make just one pair of jeans and one t-shirt. To put this into context, it would take more than 13 years to drink that much water. Millions of pairs of jeans are sold in Ireland every year. But with so many people around the world living without safe, clean water – and global demand for water continuing to rise – you’ve got to wonder if such a thirst for fashion can go on. 
 
When you shop for secondhand jeans at Oxfam, you’ll be helping to make sure that families around the world get the water they need. That’s because the money raised goes into our work to help communities worldwide beat poverty for good. This includes providing clean, safe water – something we all need to live a healthy, dignified life. In fact, in the words of Takudzwa, an Oxfam water engineer in Zimbabwe, water IS life.

Meet Taku, one of our amazing water engineers | Oxfam Ireland

2 - Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you’re trying to live a little greener, you’ve probably thought about the way you travel, maybe even what you eat.  But many of us haven’t even considered the contents of our wardrobes. The carbon footprint of one new shirt is bigger than driving a car for 55km while the textile industry accounts for more of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined.
 

3 - 'True Cost' of Fashion

Many garment industry workers in countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia don’t receive a living wage despite working in dangerous conditions. This pay injustice keeps families trapped in a cycle of poverty. In some cases, workers are expected to meet tight deadlines, while discrimination and harassment from management continues to be a major concern. This hidden reality of fast fashion has many unseen victims. 
 

4 - Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle

Every year in Ireland, 225,000 tonnes of clothing end up in landfill. Thankfully, there’s a really easy way we can all have an instant impact – by wearing and caring for clothes for longer. And by recycling or donating the things we don’t want. Millions of items could be saved from landfill every week. Donate your clothes to Oxfam and you’ll be helping to tackle landfill waste – even if your clothes don’t sell in our shops. Because any items that don’t find a new home are sent to Wastesaver, Oxfam’s huge sorting and recycling centre, which saves around 12,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill every year.

5 - Affordable Style

Imagine it’s the end of the month and you can just about see that long-awaited payslip around the corner. On payday, do you hit the high street and drop a hefty portion of that new payslip on some trousers? Or do you pop into your local Oxfam shop to explore its selection of stylish, affordable trousers? Shop with us and you’ll be helping us to fight poverty today – and beat it for good. 

Sign the pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days. Instead, pop into your local Oxfam shop today to find your next favourite outfit.

5 steps governments can take to prevent another Mauritius Leaks scandal

A 5-point plan to stop big corporations cheating poor countries out of billions of dollars in tax revenue, was published by Oxfam today in the wake of the Mauritius Leaks.

When multinational corporations and the super-rich use tax havens to dodge paying their fair share, it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price. The Mauritius Leaks show that tax havens continue not only to exist but to prosper, despite government promises to rein in tax dodging. Oxfam’s plan lists five steps governments can take to tackle tax avoidance and end the era of tax havens.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: “Politicians could put a stop to tax scandals if they wanted to. Oxfam has listed five concrete solutions that would prevent another Mauritius Leaks scandal and ensure multinational corporations pay their fair share of tax wherever they do business. Developing countries can revise or void their tax treaties and introduce withholding taxes to better protect their tax revenue, and all governments – rich and poor – agree to set a global minimum effective tax rate on corporate profits.

“There is no time to waste. Developing countries lose an estimated $100 billion a year in tax revenue as a result of tax dodging by multinational corporations, and even more as a result of damaging tax competition between countries. This money is desperately needed to end hunger, tackle the climate crisis, and ensure all children have the chance of an education.”

Oxfam’s 5-point plan to build a fairer global tax system calls on governments to:

(1) Agree new global tax rules in the negotiations led by the OECD under the mandate of the G20 to ensure fair taxation of big corporations. This should include the introduction of a global minimum effective tax rate set at an ambitious level and applied at a country-by-country basis without exception. This would put a stop to the damaging tax competition between countries and remove the incentive for profit shifting – effectively putting tax havens out of business.

(2) Developing countries should not give away their taxing rights. Many treaties result in multinational companies not paying certain types of tax at all in any country. Rich countries have a responsibility in ensuring fair taxation with their investments and the projects they finance. Governments of developing countries can protect their tax base from erosion by revising or voiding their tax treaties, introducing withholding taxes and implementing strong tax anti-abuse rules.

(3) End corporate tax secrecy by ensuring all multinational companies publish financial reports for every country where they operate. The current OECD initiative on country-by-country reporting falls well short of the mark as it does not cover all multinational corporations and it does not require companies to make their financial reports publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax cheats. Stronger European proposals on public country-by-country reporting were due to be agreed this year but are being blocked by EU member states such as Ireland, Germany, and Luxembourg.

(4) Agree a global blacklist of tax havens based on comprehensive objective criteria and take strong countermeasures including sanctions to limit their use. Governments have yet to agree an objective global list of tax havens. A farcical OECD-G20 blacklist published in July 2017 features only Trinidad and Tobago. The more comprehensive European Union list omits European tax havens such as Ireland and the Netherlands.

(5) Strengthen global tax governance by creating a global tax body where all countries can work together on an equal footing to ensure the tax system works for everyone. The new round of global tax negotiations (BEPS 2.0) is a historic opportunity to put a stop to damaging tax competition and corporate tax avoidance, and to build a fairer tax system that works for the benefit of all people and not just a fortunate few. Even if the new round of global tax negotiations (BEPS 2.0) delivers positive results, a more inclusive tax body is required to oversee the global governance of international tax matters and strengthen international tax cooperation

ENDS

Oxfam experts are available for interview. Please contact:

Phillip Graham: phillip.graham@oxfam.org / +44 (0) 7841 102535

Alice Dawson-Lyons: alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org / +353 (0) 83 198 1869

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Download Oxfam's 5-point plan here.

Money does grow on trees for Rwanda’s cassava producers

Although women in Rwanda do most of the work on family farms, there was a time when they had very little control over the sale of crops or any money made at market. In recent years, however, women are breaking new ground in farming and food production – and lifting themselves out of poverty in the process.
 
One of those women is mother-of-three Madeleine, who sometimes struggled to feed her children and send them to school. The 40-year-old single parent grew potatoes and beans which she used to feed her family and sold the rest at the market. But her crops were sometimes destroyed by pests, leaving her without enough money to buy the basics.  
 
Madeleine harvests cassava leaves from her farm. Photo: Eleanor Farmer
 
“When you are a single parent, it is hard to feed your children,” says Madeleine, whose husband was imprisoned in 1997 and never returned. “One child this side can ask for school materials, when you don’t have money you become anxious. It is hard for a single parent to provide everything.” 
 
Then she heard about SHEKINA Enterprises, an Oxfam-supported co-operative in northern Rwanda which dries cassava leaves for export to Belgium, Canada, Sweden, the US and the UK. Although Madeleine had cassava trees growing on her land, she never thought about harvesting the leaves and usually threw them away. When she heard that you could sell cassava as a business, she was surprised and a little skeptical.
 
Then Madeleine received her first payment from the co-op. “I felt like I was dreaming,” she says. “I took it and said to myself, ‘Let me buy a hen so that I can have some eggs to sell and buy salt (household items)’.” She also decided there and then to expand her cassava crop from just 20 trees to more than 500.
 
Madeleine and her children, 10-year-old Denyne* and five-year-old Mytoni* with their cousin Irakoze*, also aged five. Photo: Eleanor Farmer. *Names changed  
 
Madeleine’s life has been transformed since that first transaction with SHEKINA. “Within three months, I harvested and made money, and out of it I took 30,000 RWF (€30/£26) and saved it with SACCO (the Savings and Credit Co-operative),” she explains. “I continued saving that amount until I achieved the goal that I had set.
 
“Before my life was all about sitting, feeling lonely and worrying about the future. But since I started to sell cassava leaves, I am fine… The ambitions I have for my children are that my younger children could pursue their studies, have good marks and go to advanced level.”
 
Another woman who has benefitted from SHEKINA’s presence in Rulindo District is Uwera, who used to rely on her mother for financial support. She got a job with the co-op and now works on production three days a week and collects cassava leaves from the farmers on the other two days.
 
SHEKINA employee Uwera Gisele is saving money to study business agriculture. Photo: Eleanor Farmer
 
“I like dealing with the farmers – it’s social. I tell them all the good things about cassava leaves. That’s a big part of my job. I am happy with everything,” says Uwera, 22. However, the most important thing for her is earning a salary.
 
She recently bought a cow but plans to use the rest of the money she is saving to go to college. “I want to study business agriculture,” says Uwera. “After studying I would have enough skills to set up my own business. Even if I could only employ two people, I would be happy.”

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

We put women’s rights at the heart of everything we do. Join us today and be part of our movement to end the injustice of poverty. Sign up, and we’ll get you started with actions and opportunities that will equip you to change the world.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Zimbabwe

In rural Zimbabwe, where less than half the people have access to safe drinking water, traditionally it is the women who are responsible for collecting clean water for the home. This often involves long walks to a water source, with many of the women having to carry heavy buckets on their heads.  
 
These hours spent walking in search of water eat into the precious time that women can spend doing other things such as earning a wage, getting involved in activities in their communities or spending time with their friends and family.   
 
One woman breaking traditional gender barriers in the country is Takudzwa, an Oxfam water engineer. She has installed a solar-powered water system to deliver clean, safe water closer to the homes of the women in her community, changing their lives for the better. The new system in Masvingo District, which is funded by Oxfam, will supply water to many families in the area as well as a school and a clinic. 
 
Oxfam WASH (Water and Sanitation for Health) engineer Takudzwa at the Oxfam-funded solar piped water system in Somertone village, Masvingo District. Photo: Aurelie Marrier D'Unienville / Oxfam 
 
The 33-year-old mother is proud to work on Oxfam’s water and sanitation projects because she understands that access to clean water is vital to the survival of communities in her country. 
 
Yet despite doing a job that she finds rewarding, Takudzwa says that her decision to become an engineer wasn’t welcomed by everyone in her family.    
 
“My grandma almost came to tears to say, ‘Oh why are you choosing a male profession? What’s wrong with you, my granddaughter?’ But because it’s something that I really wanted, I had to take up the challenge, said Takudzwa, who was the only girl in her engineering class.” 
 
Takudzwa working water system in her community. Photo: Aurelie Marrier D'Unienville / Oxfam 
 
“I love water,” Takudzwa added. “There are so many things that have to be done. Having to come up with so many interventions so that we can always, at all times, have water, that is safe for drinking, that is in good quantities for the population that needs the water.” 
 
Takudzwa with her one-year-old son at her parents’ home in Masvingo before heading out into the field to see the solar-powered water system. Photo: Aurelie Marrier D'Unienville / Oxfam 
 
Delivering clean water to rural communities is only part of the work being carried out in Zimbabwe, where Oxfam has been working for almost 60 years. Through our WE-Care programme, we are also tackling the issue of women being left to do most of the household work, which is seen as being less important than paid labour. 
 
This water project also feeds into a larger programme, which is helping to bring about significant change across the country. The work is empowering women and supporting communities in Bubi, Zvishavane, Masvingo Rural and Gutu districts by installing 10 water points as well as 15 laundry facilities. 
 
This means that women will no longer have to travel such long distances to collect clean water or do their washing, ensure household work is shared equally between men and women and help women to have more free time so that they can take part in activities outside the home. 
 
The world will only improve if women expand their role as political, economic, family and social leaders. The cost of excluding women is well-recognised. Yet women bear the biggest burden of poverty, and most of those living in poverty are women. We work to advance women’s wellbeing and increase the benefits of the contributions that women and girls can make to societies and economies. The untapped contribution of women is a priority that we are working to correct by supporting organisations that focus on gender equality, legal reform and ending violence against women. 

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

We put women’s rights at the heart of everything we do. Join us today and be part of our movement to end the injustice of poverty. Sign up, and we’ll get you started with actions and opportunities that will equip you to change the world.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Zimbabwe

Pages