Blog

Give Hope this Christmas with Unwrapped gifts

This Christmas, as we all try to come to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, we know now more than ever that access to clean water and sanitation is critical to preventing the spread of this deadly disease.

For people across the world affected by poverty and disaster, essentials like clean water for handwashing and a safe shelter in which to ‘stay home’ become all the more lifesaving.

With your help, Oxfam is working with partners to ensure that people get what they need in these challenging times. By buying one of our Unwrapped gifts this Christmas, like our Safe Water for a Family, you could help to provide clean water, soap and hygiene kits as well as information on how to help people stay as safe as possible.  This is one example of the life-changing differences your Unwrapped gift can make.

Instead of the usual Christmas gifts, why not give an Unwrapped gift that will help support families in crisis? With our Unwrapped gift range, you’ll find the perfect gift to send season’s greetings and support a cause you care about. Each gift is representative of Oxfam’s work and will support a range of initiatives in one of our four programme funds, depending on the card you choose.

  1. Livelihoods
  2. Saving Lives
  3. Water for All
  4. Investing in Futures

This year, to honour this life-changing collection of gifts, we’re delighted to launch our new dedicated website for our Unwrapped range which boasts new designs and options for personalising and sending your gift! 

With Unwrapped, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect card – be it for a winter birthday or wedding, or a quick hello or season’s greetings. Best of all, it allows you to support a cause you care about, such as climate change or access to education.

So, how does it all work?

  1. Pick a gift: For christenings, Christmas, birthdays, weddings or Mother’s Day to every occasion in between. Our range of gifts will allow you to give something special to someone who has everything, while at the same time giving something meaningful to someone who needs it.
  2. Personalise it: Add a personal message to your gift card online, or we'll post it to you and you can handwrite a message for your friend or loved one yourself. You can also send an e-card, or print your own card at home.
  3. Change lives: Send your card and we'll deliver your gift to you or your loved one. By shopping Oxfam Unwrapped gifts, you’re supporting our full range of work around the world, from emergency responses to advocacy projects.

But that’s not all. We also have some new designs that are perfect for any occasion, including our Congratulations on your New Kid gift that supports communities which depend on healthy animals for their livelihood. And there’s the Happy BEE-day gift which makes futures brighter by helping parents earn enough to cover essentials like school fees. Or perhaps you’d prefer to give a Get Well Soon gift that also helps provide families who have lost everything with access to clean water and decent sanitation to stop the spread of deadly diseases.

With gifts ranging from €5 (livelihood projects) to €1,000 (water for an entire school – pretty cool!), the Oxfam Unwrapped gift collection has something for everyone – be it a friendly hello to someone during lockdown, or a corporate gift. Whatever the reason, by shopping Unwrapped, you are sending a gift that keeps giving well beyond the festive season.

If you have more questions about Oxfam Unwrapped, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us at irl-unwrapped@oxfam.org.

Posted In:

Irish corporate tax policy to be assessed by the UN as a human rights issue

As reported in the Irish Times the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has taken the decision to examine the impact of Ireland’s international tax policy on the ability of countries of the Global South to raise revenue and fulfil their human rights obligations, in particular those that relate to children. As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Ireland is obliged to avoid policies that undermine the human rights of children at home or abroad. This is the first time that the external impact of Irish tax policy will be assessed under an international human rights instrument, and comes in response to a detailed submission  from a coalition of Irish, Ghanaian and international civil society organisations, including Oxfam Ireland.

Tax policy is critical for the realisation of human rights. It shapes states’ capacity to raise revenue, fund essential public services, and consequently to fulfil their human rights obligations. Academics, UN experts and civil society organisations have all emphasised this link, particularly in relation to economic, social and cultural rights – without fair and functioning taxation systems, efforts to deliver adequate housing, healthcare and education and to tackle poverty and inequality are badly undermined.

Crucially, this impact is not limited neatly within national boundaries. In a globalised economy, multinational corporations can exploit divergent domestic laws and a climate of competition, rather than cooperation, between states to dramatically reduce their tax bills. Through complex corporate structures, profits are shifted across borders into low or no tax jurisdictions, sheltering billions of euro every year, eroding tax bases and public budgets. These practices are particularly harmful for developing countries, which are more reliant on corporate income tax than higher income countries. Vital revenue is siphoned away, prolonging a country’s reliance on aid, exacerbating inequality and keeping people trapped in poverty.

Too often Irish corporate tax policy is considered only from the narrow perspective of the benefits it can bring to Ireland – insufficient attention however is given to its negative impacts beyond our borders. Other countries’ ability to raise badly needed revenue is undermined by tax avoidance, and in countries of the Global South, this can mean the difference between life and death.

Ireland’s role in the international tax avoidance landscape is well-documented, recognised by EU institutions, UN Commissions, bodies within the US Congress, and academics. A recent working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that ‘more than $616 billion in profits were shifted to tax havens in 2015, close to 40% of multinational profits’, and identified Ireland as ‘the number one shifting destination, accounting for more than $100 billion alone.’ Ireland also continues to negotiate tax treaties with countries of the Global South in a manner that facilitates avoidance, and undermines other countries’ capacity to raise revenue. In pursuing a recent tax treaty with Ghana, Ireland went against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, who advised that the effect of such tax treaties between ‘developed and developing countries is that capital flows from developing to developed nations’.

Growing public demand for tax justice has brought increased scrutiny on these practices, including by UN human rights monitoring bodies. In 2016, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern regarding Switzerland’s financial secrecy and tax policies and how they impact other states’ capacity to raise revenue and fulfil women’s rights. Successive UN Special Rapporteurs on extreme poverty and human rights have called on governments to stop facilitating avoidance, and to recognise the impact this has on some of the world’s poorest communities.

In October 2020, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child announced that, for the first time ever, the negative consequences of Irish tax policy will be examined under the framework of another key international human rights treaty: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). As a party to this Convention, Ireland is obliged to avoid policies that foreseeably undermine the realisation of children’s rights, at home or abroad, and its progress is reviewed at UN level every five years. But as the evidence presented to the Committee demonstrates, it is currently failing to meet these obligations due to its facilitation of harmful tax avoidance.

The Irish government must now formally address the impact of its tax policy on the realisation of children’s rights in other countries, in a detailed submission due by the end of 2021. It will then be formally reviewed by the Committee at hearings in Geneva in May 2022 for compliance with its international law obligations under the Convention. The coordinating civil society organisations, including Oxfam Ireland, will also build on their initial submission and provide further evidence to the committee as part of this process.

Posted In:

Super Typhoon Goni – Oxfam and partners mobilise rapid response in the Philippines

It’s a country hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons a year. So, when Super Typhoon Goni – known locally as Rolly – slammed into the Philippines on Sunday, Oxfam and our partners were ready.

Our new disaster relief system, B-READY, identifies vulnerable people in communities likely to be affected. Once the exact path of the typhoon is confirmed, cash transfers to those people are triggered to enable them to prepare by securing their properties and ensuring they had enough provisions to get through the first few days.

Landslides triggered by Goni engulfed homes and vehicles in some of the hardest-hit areas. Photo: BCCD-AKKMA

We also have tools to carry out rapid assessments to determine what areas are most in need of food, hygiene kits and emergency shelters. Meanwhile, our partners are providing prepaid cards, that can also be topped up with cash, to the most vulnerable households in the capital city of Manila and displaced families in Marawi city.

At least two million people or 400,000 families have been affected by what was the strongest typhoon of 2020, resulting in thousands of homes being damaged or destroyed, and – according to the latest government figures – at least 10 deaths.

The intense storm also caused major damage to crops, with an estimated 20,000 farmers impacted.

Oxfam Philippines’ Humanitarian Lead, Rhoda Avila said:

We have experienced terrible wind speeds, lashing rains and devastating flooding. Buildings have been destroyed and whole villages are under water and mud flows.

We will be conducting assessments of affected areas with our partners as soon as we can get access, but conditions are very difficult. Roads are flooded and power is down in many areas making communications with some parts impossible.

We also have to work with the threat of COVID-19 transmission in mind to protect both our emergency response teams and the people they are helping.

Oxfam is on the ground, distributing vital aid to the thousands of families affected by the typhoon. We’ll be there as long as it takes to help communities rebuild – but we need your help to reach as many people as possible.

Posted In:

Stuck for Stocking Fillers? Oxfam's online Christmas pop-up shop is now open!

On the 21 October, for the second time this year, our shops across the Republic of Ireland closed their doors to protect our staff, volunteers and customers, and to do our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Our shops play an invaluable role in raising much-needed funds for our work worldwide – they help ensure we can continue to protect and support some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

However, they’re not just vital to our organisation, each one is community hub that has served and been supported by you for decades.

With our shops closed once again, we need your support now more than ever.

At this time of unprecedented change for us all, our mission remains the same – to let you, our supporters, know how you can help communities facing extreme poverty and disaster. Life-saving work that is only possible because of you.

We believe that sharing the stories and experiences of the communities we work with is even more important now with the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the multiple social and economic consequences it brings with it. From people living in flimsy shelters in refugee camps or communities without adequate hygiene and health infrastructure or social security, to countries like the Philippines suffering wave after wave of unimaginable extreme weather events, this pandemic is a crisis upon crises.

As you know, our shops play a central role in supporting our emergency appeals. Right now, we are trying to raise funds for the people of Syria. As we battle Covid-19, the situation for Syrians deteriorates by the minute. The virus threatens to harm as well as starve vulnerable families. More than nine years of conflict has led to an unprecedented number of parents struggling to put food on the table for their children.

We’re urgently appealing for your help and want to share some ways that you can continue to support your local Oxfam shop, even if its doors are closed.

We still want the things you don’t!

It might not be spring but the extra time during lockdown is a good time to start an autumn clear out. Save your donations and drop them in when we’re back up and running – for all of us, hopefully this will be sooner rather than later.

You can also help us continue to raise vital funds:

  • Make a one-off donation or setup a monthly one if you can.
  • Send a message to a special friend or family member with our Unwrapped alternative gift range.
  • Bag a bargain on www.fashionrelief.ie. Fashion Relief TV has new and pre-loved clothes and accessories for sale with new items added every second Friday when the show airs.
  • Set yourself a challenge and setup a Facebook fundraiser in solidarity with your local Oxfam shop – and help continue its crucial fundraising work.

64 years together.

Our shops have been a part of local communities as far back as 1956. That is 64 years of providing people with affordable and sustainable clothing, books, furniture and more.

Thank you for all of the ways you’ve supported us over those 64 years from donating and shopping to volunteering your time and talent.

We hope you will stand with us now and understand why we are asking for your continued support through this global storm that we are all weathering together.

Posted In:

Over two million people impacted as Super Typhoon Goni sweeps across the Philippines

  • Entire villages under water and mud flows in aftermath of Typhoon Goni

  • Major crop damage estimated to impact 20,000 farmers

Oxfam is working with local partners and coordinating with local governments in the Philippines to assess the damage and needs of affected communities following Super Typhoon Goni’s four landfalls yesterday and early this morning.

At least two million people or 400,000 families have been affected, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, and at least ten people killed, according to the latest government figures. The intense storm also caused major damage to crops, with an estimated 20,000 farmers impacted.

The world’s strongest typhoon this year has now passed through the Philippines and weakened after hitting the densely populated capital, Manila, early this morning.

Oxfam Philippines’ Humanitarian Lead, Rhoda Avila said: “We have experienced terrible wind speeds, lashing rains and devastating flooding. Buildings have been destroyed and whole villages are under water and mud flows.

“We will be conducting assessments of affected areas with our partners as soon as we can get access, but conditions are very difficult. Roads are flooded and power is down in many areas making communications with some parts impossible.

“We also have to work with the threat of COVID-19 transmission in mind to protect both our emergency response teams and the people they are helping.”

Oxfam has been trialling a new disaster relief system in various parts of the country. B-READY identifies vulnerable people in several communities who are likely to be affected when a typhoon sweeps through their community. Once the exact path of the typhoon is confirmed, cash transfers to those people are then triggered to enable them to prepare by securing their properties and ensuring they have enough provisions to get through the first few days.

END

Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

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

Notes to the editor

  • In country spokespeople available for interview 
  • Oxfam is working with local partners Humanitarian Response Consortium, Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA) and Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), and People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN).
  • Super Typhoon Goni (known locally as Rolly) is the Philippines' 18th tropical cyclone for 2020.
  • Tropical Storm Siony is expected to make landfall in Cagayan Valley (in the northeast of the island of Luzon) later this week, according to the state weather bureau PAGASA. Cagayan Valley is the same area ravaged by Mangkhut, a powerful super typhoon, in September 2018 - which was the strongest storm that year.
  • An average of 20 tropical cyclones form within or enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility each year. Goni is the third consecutive typhoon in two weeks.
Posted In:

Pages