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Schedule Unwrapped ecards early to send on any date you like!

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.

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Campaigners warn low-income countries will only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people against Covid-19 next year

  • Call for People’s Vaccine backed by former President, Mary Robinson 
  • Rich countries have hoarded enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations nearly three times over

An alliance of campaigning organisations, including Oxfam, Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, and Global Justice Now, today warned that up to 70 low and lower middle-income countries will only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people against Covid-19 next year unless urgent action is taken by governments and the pharmaceutical industry to make sure enough vaccines are produced globally.   

By contrast, wealthier nations have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations almost three times over by the end of 2021. Canada tops the chart with enough vaccines to vaccinate each Canadian five times. Updated data shows that rich nations representing just 14 percent of the world’s population have bought up 53 percent of all the most promising vaccines so far.  

The organisations, which are part of an alliance calling for a People’s Vaccine, used data collected by science information and analytics company Airfinity to analyse the deals done between countries and the eight leading vaccine candidates. They found that 67 low and lower middle-income countries risk being left behind as rich countries move towards their escape route from this pandemic. Five of the 67 – Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine - have reported nearly 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 between them.  

Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager, said:  “No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket. But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 for years to come.”   

Heidi Chow, from Global Justice Now, said: “All pharmaceutical corporations and research institutions working on a vaccine must share the science, technological know-how, and intellectual property behind their vaccine so enough safe and effective doses can be produced. Governments must also ensure the pharmaceutical industry puts people’s lives before profits.” 

The People’s Vaccine Alliance is calling on all pharmaceutical corporations working on Covid-19 vaccines to openly share their technology and intellectual property through the WHO’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), so that billions more doses can be manufactured and safe and effective vaccines can be available to all people, regardless of geography.  

The Alliance is also calling on governments to do everything in their power to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are made a global public good—free of charge to the public, fairly distributed and based on need.

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said: “The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from Covid-19. Rich countries have clear human rights obligations not only to refrain from actions that could harm access to vaccines elsewhere, but also to cooperate and provide assistance to countries that need it. 

“By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations. Instead, by working with others to share knowledge and scale up supply, they could help bring an end to the global Covid-19 crisis.”

The vaccines developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have received more than $5 billion dollars of public funding, which the alliance said placed a responsibility on them to act in the global public interest. 

Dr Mohga Kamal Yanni, from the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “Rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, whilst poor countries don’t even have enough to reach health workers and people at risk.  

“The current system, where pharmaceutical corporations use government funding for research, retain exclusive rights and keep their technology secret to boost profits, could cost many lives.” 

Lois Chingandu, Director of Frontline AIDS, said: “This pandemic is a global problem that requires a global solution. The global economy will continue to suffer so long as much of the world does not have access to a vaccine. 

“We need to put pharmaceutical industry profit aside during this unprecedented pandemic, both to save humanity and the economy.” 

Momentum is mounting for a People’s vaccine, which has already been backed by Covid survivors, health experts, activists, past and present world leaders, faith leaders and economists including: Mary Robinson, Joseph Stiglitz, Gordon Brown, Cyril Ramaphosa, Imran Khan, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Helen Clark, John Nkengasong and Thomas Piketty. 

Ends

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 editors: 

  • All figures are based on the fact two doses are required apart from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is a single dose vaccine. 
  • The Peoples’ Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of global and national organizations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a ‘People’s Vaccine’. The call for a People’s Vaccine is backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists. For more information visit: https://peoplesvaccine.org 
  • The 67 countries are: Afghanistan, Angola, Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, The Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Kiribati, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 
  • The Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine has already received approval in the UK and vaccinations are beginning this week. It is likely to receive approval from other countries including the US within days. Two further potential vaccines, from Moderna and Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca  are expected to submit or are awaiting regulatory approval. The Russian vaccine, Sputnik, has announced positive trial results and four other candidates are in phase three clinical trials.  
  • So far, all of Moderna’s doses and 96 percent of Pfizer/BioNTech’s have been acquired by rich countries. In welcome contrast Oxford/AstraZeneca has pledged to provide 64 percent of their doses to people in developing nations. Yet despite their actions to scale up supply they can still only reach 18 percent of the world’s population next year at most.  Oxford/AstraZeneca deals have also mostly been made with some of the big developing countries like China and India, while the majority of developing countries have not done deals and have to share the COVAX pool of vaccines between them.This demonstrates that one company alone cannot hope to supply the whole world, and that only open sharing of technology between vaccine producers can make this possible. 
  • The figures have been calculated by analysing data from Airfinity for November 2020. The statistic ‘nine out of 10 people missing out on vaccines in 67 countries’ is based on the fact that 30 low income countries and 37 lower-middle income countries currently will only have access to any vaccine through the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). The 67 countries do not include middle income countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam, who have also made their own bilateral deals. So far, the COVAX AMC has managed to secure 700 million doses from the leading vaccine candidates, to be distributed between the 92 countries that have signed up.  The figure was reached by dividing 700 million doses by the population of the 92 countries (3.6 billion), then dividing that by two, as two doses are required by the vaccines already secured by COVAX AMC to vaccinate each individual. Details  of the COVAX AMC can be found here: https://www.gavi.org/news/media-room/92-low-middle-income-economies-eligible-access-covid-19-vaccines-gavi-covax-amc 
  • Calculations of proportion of doses for rich and poor nations were based on analysing data on supply deals gathered by Airfinity. We examined the vaccine candidates that are in phase three trials that have done significant supply deals with countries across the world, cross-checking with original sources. There are currently eight of these: Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novovax, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi/GSK, Pfizer/BioNTech, Gamaleya/Sputnik, Moderna and Sinovac.   
  • According to data from Johns Hopkins, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine have had over 1.46m cases between them: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html 
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International Day of Education: I want to stay in school. It will help me forget about my past

This Sunday, 24 January, marks the third International Day of Education. It would have been difficult to imagine, this time last year, the disruption that the pandemic would bring – especially to education systems around the world.

The closure of schools, universities and other institutions, as well as the interruption of many learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries.

While governments mobilised quickly to provide alternative solutions, the UN estimates that at least one third of the world’s students have not been able to access remote learning.

For the world’s most vulnerable children and teenagers, the closure of schools due the virus could mean the end of their education. Teenagers like Okello*, who – after many difficult years – had just returned to school.

‘Most of them are losing hope’

Okello (17) fled the war in South Sudan and now lives in the Palabek refugee camp in northern Uganda. For a while she did not go to school. Luckily, she was able to join the Oxfam-led Education for Life programme, which helps young people like her get back into the school system through an accelerated learning project.

Okello* in Palabek refugee camp, Uganda. Photo: Emmanuel Museruka/Oxfam

For a brief moment, she imagined a better future. Then the pandemic came along. “Covid-19 has forced me to drop out of school again. I’m pregnant now. And I’m really sad,” Okello says.

Unfortunately, Okello’s story is far from unique. In her district, the number of teenage pregnancies has risen by 40 percent during the corona lockdown. It will affect the girls for a long time, says Johnson Okwera, programme manager for AVSI in Palabek, which is implementing the EU-funded Education for Life programme at 24 schools in the area.

“I really worry for all of our learners – but especially the girls. Thirteen girls from the Education for Life program have become pregnant during the coronavirus crisis,” Johnson explains.

“Most of them are survivors of abuse, some have just been unlucky – or they have not had access to sexual reproductive health information, because people fear to go to health facilities due to the pandemic. Covid-19 has gripped focus from other health care services – there is no room for family planning services, means of livelihoods or parenting at the moment. But one thing is certain: these girls did not choose to become pregnant at such a young age.”

Schools are a safe space

For children in vulnerable contexts, school is much more than a place where they can learn how to read and write. Schools provide security and protection against violence and abuse, and their closure is hitting this part of the world hard.

For the more mature learners, the loss of school is especially hard. As they are already older than typical school children, they cannot necessarily postpone schooling until later. And a large proportion of these learners fled the war in South Sudan alone, without their parents, so there is nobody to take care of them when they stay at home during the crisis.

“My learners are deeply demoralised. Many of them are losing hope,” says teacher Jennifer Cynthia Akongo.

With the already biting poverty in the refugee settlement, the pandemic has only made the situation worse. Food resources are scarce, and many families have no income at all.

Teacher Jennifer Cynthia Akongo now provides home schooling and support. Photo: Emmanuel Museruka/Oxfam

“Some of the learners have even returned to South Sudan, now that the school is closed and they have nothing to do here. Recently we heard that one of the boys has been killed. It’s unbelievably sad.”

Jennifer and the other teachers in the programme have been fighting hard, working tirelessly to keep the learners’ education going on. Every day, they walk around the settlement knocking on the learners’ doors to offer home schooling and support.

‘In the beginning, we distributed home-study materials to all the students,” Jennifer says. “Then we started gathering them outside in small groups of four or five students, to support them in their self-study once a week as they work in the garden and do home chores – we are doing our best amidst their schedules.”

Through the Education for Life programme, teachers are trained to pay extra attention to the most vulnerable children – who, for various reasons, are at extra risk of dropping out of school. They guide the learners and listen to their problems. Okello says it makes a world of difference.

“I feel sad because of the pregnancy,” she says. “I am not free to move among my classmates. I fear being laughed at by my fellow students if I return to school. But my teachers have visited me several times during the last few weeks, and they have helped me a lot. They have been telling me that this is not the end of my life. After a safe delivery, I can go back to school.

“I really want to continue with my education. It will help me forget about the challenges in my past and continue with a normal life. My dream is to become a teacher one day, so I can tell future generations to stay in school and finish their education. It is so important.”

*Name changed to protect identity

Okello’s story by Rikke Hovn Poulsen. This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Education for Life consortium partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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Smart shopper? Oxfam has amazing green new deals this Christmas

With the government having eased the lockdown restrictions earlier this week, it’s beginning to feel a lot like… well, Christmas. And if you’re looking for ethical presents, our network of Oxfam shops has got you covered. After being closed for six long weeks, our stores in the Republic have once again opened their doors – and are chock-full of sustainable gifts for young and old.

Drop into any of our shops to see our Sourced by Oxfam range – comprising festive food, gifts and homeware that are made with care, protect the planet, and help the women and men who produce them to earn a decent living. By choosing one of these amazing gifts this year, you’ll be providing these burgeoning producers the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.

Why not give a loved one something sweet this year, like delicious Dark Chilli Chocolates (€6), Hazelnut Truffles (€11) or Dark Flaked Truffles (€11)? Or you could make it a green Christmas for that special someone with a Fairtrade Eco Friendly Worry Doll (from €2) or a Carolyn Carter Bamboo Cup (€14). Our shops also have a great range of educational books for clever kids, including The Sea Book (€10) and Plastic Planet (€9).

As always, you can pick up an Oxfam Unwrapped gift card either in-store or online and support our life-saving work around the world. So, why not splash out this year and buy a life-changing gift like Safe Water for a Family? For just €25, you’ll be helping help to provide clean water, soap and hygiene kits to families during the pandemic as well as information on how to stay as safe as possible. Alternatively, for just €15, you can help give the gift of education to vulnerable children with our Life Long Learning card.

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said:

“We are calling people to shop with purpose this year by visiting their local Oxfam shop and browsing our wide range of gifts that support both people and planet – from Unwrapped alternative gift cards to the beautifully unique ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ items. Each gift makes a lasting impact by supporting small traders the world over while helping to raise vital funds for Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty.

“Every year we give and receive presents that we don’t necessarily need or want. This Christmas, we’re asking people to give something different by shopping more sustainably with us.”

To find your local Oxfam shop, visit oxfamireland.org/shops. But if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds this festive season, you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Our new online Christmas shop is just a click away.

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Oxfam Ireland on locals to “support people and planet” as shops prepare to reopen for business

  • Go green this Christmas with Oxfam’s sustainable gifts

  • Power people this Christmas with Oxfam’s handmade gifts

  • Oxfam’s Christmas gift range: Something for young and old alike 

30 November

This week, Oxfam Ireland shops around the country will reopen for business after six weeks of closure due to Covid-19. Like many other local businesses, this was the second time they had to close their doors this year – to protect staff, volunteers, and customers and play their part in Ireland’s response measures to save lives. 

As they reopen their doors, Shop Mangers are encouraging people to give something precious this Christmas - a gift that supports both people and planet - buy picking up an ethical and sustainable present in-store. 

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said: "We are calling people to shop with purpose this year by visiting their local Oxfam shop and browsing our wide range of gifts that support both people and planet - from Unwrapped alternative gift cards to the beautifully unique ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ items. Each gift makes a lasting impact by supporting small traders the world over while helping to raise vital funds for Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty.”

Available online and in-store, there are new additions in Oxfam’s Unwrapped gift cards for 2020. The new range includes the Congratulations on your New Kid card (€15) that supports communities who depend on healthy animals for their livelihood as well as the Happy BEE-day card (€20), which provide brighter futures by helping parents earn enough to cover essentials like school fees. Or perhaps you’d prefer to give a Get Well Soon card (€5) that also helps give families who have lost everything access to clean water and decent sanitation to stop the spread of deadly diseases. 

Meanwhile in-store, the Sourced by Oxfam range contains an abundance of festive food, gifts and homeware that are made with care, protect the planet, and help the women and men who produce them to earn a decent living – providing them with a way to lift themselves out of poverty. Present ideas new to this year’s gift range include more Fairtrade food choices like the Zambian Honey Gift Set (€17), colourful Handmade Embroidered Wash Bags (€11) and lots of notebooks, decorations and homeware like Brass Photo Holder Sets (€6) to keep those special memories safe.

Oxfam shops also have a range of great educational books for children and young people including the ABC of Kindness (€8) and Plastic Planet (€9), and fun Moomin Calendars (€11) to start making plans for 2021. And, for that someone in your life who is notoriously hard to buy for? Pick up a pair of cosy Thermal Socks (€8) (or Novelty Socks (€3) if that’s their thing) and a Matchbox Game or Puzzle (€6)! 

McIlwaine concluded: “Every year we give and receive presents that we don’t necessarily need or want. This Christmas, we’re asking people to give something different by shopping more sustainably with us.

“Everything in our wide range of gifts is guaranteed to last much, much longer than the festive season, as all of them contribute to our mission to beat poverty for good by raising vital funds for our work across the world. 

“From supporting development projects that transform communities, to saving lives through emergency responses in places like Yemen – where millions of people already on the brink of famine now face a deadly winter freeze – your gift will make a difference for people most in need and help to protect our shared planet.”

Commit to #GiveSomethingDifferent as one of your gifts this year by dropping into your local Oxfam shop.

Oxfam Ireland are aiming to have all of their shops in the Republic of Ireland back open for business this week - but ask people to contact their local shop to confirm opening hours.

To find the Oxfam shop nearest to you, visit oxfamireland.org/shops

To see Oxfam’s full range of Unwrapped gifts, visit oxfamireland.org/unwrapped

To browse Oxfam’s online Christmas shop, visit shop.oxfamireland.org/ 

ENDS

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:

  • Last year alone, the generosity of people shopping at Oxfam, especially at Christmas time, raised enough money to fund life-changing projects that positively impacted the lives of 7.9 million people across 10 countries – including supporting women to develop businesses and earn an income, getting safe, clean water to people in desperate need, and helping communities prepare for extreme weather events.
  • For example, Zaytoun's Fairtrade Extra Virgin Olive Oil is sourced from family-owned olive groves in Palestine. Zaytoun is an award-winning social enterprise where 100 percent of profits are reinvested into furthering their mission of supporting Palestinian farmers by paying a fair price - enabling them to fund community projects and invest in farming tools. 
  • Each of the Unwrapped gifts represent one of four funds – Livelihoods, Saving Lives, Water for All, or Investing in Futures – and all money raised through the sale of Unwrapped cards/e-cards will go toward the relevant fund and help Oxfam's work worldwide. For more information on Unwrapped
  • Selection of images free for use: https://oxfam.app.box.com/folder/126328474483?s=jxbn842rn9o2jteynvkzof8zzka502gh
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