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A year in pictures what we accomplished together in 2021

Pascaline, public health officer, shows the community at the Mwaka IDP site, DRC, how to use a new handwashing station that can be quickly installed in a variety of emergency settings. Photo: Arlette Bashizi/Oxfam

2021. So much continuing turbulation and uncertainty for everyone. A year – another one – when the need for us all to stand up and stand together, to help others, has been so very difficult to do. But a year – another one – when time after time, across the world in big ways and small, the power of people to organize, reach out and help one another prevailed – inevitable, vital, positive and affirming – again and again.

 

End of Year 2021

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Our supporters and partners reached over 25 million people last year through Oxfam’s humanitarian and programmatic work, more than 14 million of them directly from our Covid-related responses. With your support, we worked with 4128 partner agencies and implemented 1843 projects worldwide. Thank you. We hope all of our supporters, partners, staff, the people living in the communities across the world, can take a moment of reflection and pride in this snapshot of stories that hint of the work we accomplished together to make a real difference in many millions of people’s lives in 2021.
Photo: Roanna Rahman/Oxfam

In India, we raced against time to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19.

When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India in late April, it created a public health crisis that left hospitals overwhelmed and people literally dying in the streets. In less than a month, the country saw more than 100,000 deaths, bringing the total death toll to more than 300,000 – the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil. To help government hospitals cope with this deadly second wave, Oxfam procured and delivered medical equipment such as oxygen generators, thermometers and oxygen tanks, beds, and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for frontline health workers. We also assisted people who have lost their means of livelihood and helped migrant workers stranded far from home with no work, money or food during lockdowns.
Photo: Kaff Media/Oxfam

In Yemen, we worked tirelessly to provide relief to the most affected.

Salem* and his son Omar* (name changed) had been displaced four times before moving to Alswidan Camp in Marib, Yemen, where they now live with five other members of the family in a tiny tent. Each time they would leave behind everything and walk for days to reach their next safe location. Omar was born in 2015, the year the war in Yemen started – war is all he has ever known. Conflict continued for a sixth year in Yemen, devastating livelihoods and leaving 13.5 million people suffering from acute hunger. Almost 70 percent of the population urgently need humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing clean water and hygiene items to help people avoid cholera and COVID-19, cash to help them buy food, and support for earning a living through agriculture and small businesses.
Photo: Hosam Salem/Oxfam

In Gaza, we helped Palestinians rebuild and recover from violence.

Abdelsamad Alqanou, Oxfam Water and Sanitation officer, is following the implementation of water and sewage maintenance work in a neighbourhood in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza. After 11 days of intense bombardment over the Gaza Strip, a ceasefire was called on the 21st of May. According to the Ministry of Health, 242 Palestinians were killed, and 1,900 were injured. Israeli attacks caused severe damages to residential and commercial buildings, schools, and infrastructure, including roads, electricity networks, water installations and agricultural lands. Over 2,500 people have been made homeless due to the destruction of their homes. To meet the urgent needs, Oxfam provided water and sanitation services with spare parts for operation and maintenance during emergencies, including water and sewage pipes, valves, pumps, filters, and oil.
Photo: Shaikh Ashraf Ali/Oxfam

In Bangladesh, we strove to promote health and safety across the refugee camps.

In July, several days of heavy monsoon rain in Southeast Bangladesh led to severe flooding and landslides in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Rainwater displaced families and inundated roads and bridges, shelters, and critical infrastructure – heightening the risk of water-borne illness.

Impacted communities were surrounded by water—but none of it was safe to drink. The flooding occurred as Bangladesh was logging a record spike in Covid-19 cases – placing refugees, host communities, and responders at heightened risk from the virus.

With our partners, we provided critical repairs to water and sanitation facilities, distributed jerry cans of emergency drinking water and water purification tablets, and shared essential health awareness information to keep refugees safe in the crisis. (Photo: Shaikh Ashraf Ali/Oxfam)

Photo: Mustafa Osman/Oxfam

In South Sudan, we protected girls’ education from the pandemic impacts.

Winnie (name changed), 17, is a graduate student in Oxfam’s Education for Life-program in Juba, South Sudan. A lot of young girls in her area have left school during the lockdown, but with Oxfam’s support, many have been able to return. “I knew that I would eventually go back to school after the lockdown. My biggest dream is to become a lawyer, to solve the issues in my society,” says Winnie.

Women and girls have been the most severely affected by conflict, COVID-19, and climate change in South Sudan. The pandemic and resulting closure of schools in March 2020 exacerbated many of the challenges they face in pursuing an education, like early and forced marriage, teen pregnancy and gender-based violence.

Photo: Zaid Al-Bayati/Oxfam

In Iraq, we supported families with cash assistance and grants to start businesses.

It is four years since the city of Mosul and its environs were returned from ISIS control to that of the Government of Iraq.  Thousands of families, who had fled the violence and lived in camps, are now returning. They join others living among destroyed houses, lacking access to healthcare, education, and water. The challenges are immense. We have been supporting people of Mosul with cash assistance, grants to start businesses, repairs to schools and access to water.

Farah (name changed) started her own hair salon after the liberation of the city. It is the main income now for her and her family. “After ISIS everything changed. I gained more independence as now our society has finally realized that women can provide not only for themselves but for their kids and whole family”, she said.

Photo: Arlene Bax/Oxfam

In Vanuatu, we used blockchain technology to revolutionize humanitarian aid.

In times of crisis, traditional aid distributions of food, shelter and other emergency supplies are not always the best or most efficient way to provide relief. Oxfam is one of the first humanitarian organisations to use blockchain technology for cash transfer programming, to deliver emergency cash in a faster, cheaper and more transparent fashion than ever before.


The UnBlocked Cash solution consists of the e-voucher “tap-and-pay” cards used by beneficiaries, a smartphone app through which vendors receive the payments, and an online platform where NGOs like Oxfam can monitor transactions remotely and in real-time.


After a ground-breaking pilot in Vanuatu, we scaled the project to distribute cash and voucher assistance to over 35,000 beneficiaries affected by the Category 5 Cyclone Harold and COVID-19. 
 

Photo: Juanito Bantong/Oxfam

In the Philippines, we sowed the seeds of climate resiliency.

When devastating Typhoon Goni barreled across the Philippines November 2020, it came at the worst possible time - rice harvest season – and while the region was still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Quinta a week before. These typhoons are a common occurrence in the country. They have grown in severity and frequency and are in large part due to climate change. Every time, it takes months for farmers to recover. 


After Typhoon Goni, Rice Watch Action Network (RWAN) offered community leaders in Carangcang village to help them start growing vegetables hydroponically (without soil) through a project funded by Oxfam. Instead of distributing seeds, RWAN and Oxfam distributed seedlings. This way, not only would the community have seeds, but they also had the ability to grow plants that could supply seeds to other farmers. 
 

Photo: Samuel Turpin/Oxfam

In Burkina Faso, we helped farmers grow food in a hot and dry climate.

Imagine growing vegetables in temperatures approaching 50 degrees with recurrent droughts. In Burkina Faso, where farmers struggle to survive the effects of climate change, it is a matter of survival for much of the population that depends on agriculture for their food. “All my life I have been farming," says Alizeta Sawadogo, 55, “I used to grow cereals. But it rains less and less, and the dry season is getting longer and hotter. Yields are getting lower and lower.”


With the support of Oxfam and local partner ATAD, Alizeta joined a group of 50 vulnerable and landless women in a collective farm of two hectares, where she learned about climate change adaptation. For Alizeta, it is an opportunity to reinvent herself: “I have learned to produce organic food using environmentally friendly techniques,” she says. “I can feed my family all year round.” 
 

Photo: Tatiana Cardeal/Oxfam

In Brazil, we revealed labour exploitation in coffee farms.

Inequality in the food system has never been higher. Despite the food industry generating revenue of trillions of dollars annually the vast numbers of people who go to bed hungry are themselves food producers or agricultural workers. Covid-19 has sharpened these inequalities and pushed many food workers and farmers in the Global South into greater poverty.

FELIPE NAME CHANGED, 33, lives in the north of the state of Minas Gerais, where he earns his living from temporary jobs. With the pandemic, opportunities became scarce. He worked in slavery-like conditions on a coffee farm in the south of the state. He and a colleague harvested about 2.5 tons of coffee a day and received no salary. They drank contaminated water, slept on the floor and received no equipment to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Photo: Andy Aitchison/Oxfam

In cities across the world, we marched for climate justice.

Climate change has no borders and affects us all. It especially hurts those in poorer countries, which are also the countries that contribute the least to it. The next decade is critical to putting us onto a safer track. We only have eight years left to turn the tides and prevent a catastrophic global temperature rise.

As world leaders gathered at COP26 in Glasgow, we joined the World Climate March to pressure them to act now on the climate crisis. On 6th of November, the Global Day of Action saw thousands of people marching for climate justice in cities and towns across the world. In Glasgow and London our march brought the voices of thousands of activists, particularly the most affected people and areas, to the streets via video screens, ad-bikes and pedicabs.

5 ways you helped Oxfam fight inequality in 2021

In a year of continued struggle and upheaval, you never stopped showing up in the fight against inequality.

As 2021 has come to a close, we are amazed by Oxfam’s supporters and their dedication to ending poverty and injustice around the world. 2021was not easy—with an ongoing pandemic - but you continued to show up and make your voices heard.

Here are some of the ways you made a difference in 2021.

1. You helped the most vulnerable survive COVID-19 in India.

When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India in April this year, it created a public health crisis that overwhelmed hospitals and left people literally dying in the streets. Within a month, there were more than 100,000 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to over 300,000—the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

Through your donations and support, Oxfam was able to provide medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, beds, PPE kits, and more to frontline health workers at hospitals across India, and we worked with 60 partners to provide hygiene kits, thermometers, and oxygen level meters to families.

In addition to providing material resources, Oxfam has urged the Indian government to assist migrant workers returning to their homes with free COVID-19 tests, cash, shelter and isolation centers for those needing them, as well as to increase efforts to prevent violence against women.

Oxfam staff Nikhil Wagh and Parmeshwar Patil carrying an oxygen concentrator into the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital. Oxfam has distributed two oxygen concentrators and 50 safety kits for frontline health service providers in Pune, Maharashtra state. Oxfam India

2. We demanded a People’s Vaccine.

Oxfam co-founded the People’s Vaccine Alliance in order to fight for a patent-free, mass-produced, and fairly distributed vaccine available free of charge to everyone, everywhere. We are in partnership with Amnesty International Ireland, Trócaire, The Irish Global Health Network, and many more organisations. Over 400 leading doctors and scientists have issued a letter to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, requesting an urgent meeting to ensure Ireland is working to support the TRIPS waiver. A small representation from the Doctors for Vaccine Equity group, who are part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance in Ireland, and the Irish Society of Immunology presented the letter to the Taoiseach’s office.

3. You responded to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In May of this year, Gaza was devastated by rocket attacks and shelling in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, resulting in nearly 450,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 100,000 displaced people. Contributions from people like you allowed Oxfam to work with local aid organizations in Gaza to provide blankets and mattresses, hygiene items, and the material needs to supply drinking water for 400,000 people. We also were able to give cash to farmers so they could restart their work. Oxfam plans to aid 19 schools in repairing their water and sanitation systems.

An escalation in the conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel has brought extensive damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools, roads, electricity network and water installations, and agricultural lands in Gaza. Fady Hanona

4. You supported ongoing humanitarian work in Bangladesh, Yemen, and other countries.

Oxfam supporters remain crucial in our ongoing humanitarian work in places like Bangladesh, where Oxfam and local partners have been assisting Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar and are now living in dangerous, overcrowded conditions. In Yemen, your support has enabled us to assist 3 million people since 2015. This year, because of donations from people like you, we were able to provide aid to those in the Marib region who were recently displaced by fighting in the area. We delivered cash to more than 2,000 families and dislodging 55,000 litres of sewage from latrines each day.

Families seeking safety in Marib, including this man and his six-year-old son, have had to flee fighting multiple times. Kaff Media / Oxfam

5. You fought inequality worsened by the pandemic.

If there’s one thing that become abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that inequality makes everything worse. This year you continued to join us in our fight for equality and justice.

This year has not been easy for any of us, and yet you have remained dedicated to tackling inequality at its roots. Your support has helped people living in poverty across the globe, whether they were impacted by COVID-19, surviving a conflict, or fighting for their rights.  None of this work would be possible without you. 

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With millions on the edge of famine, Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Help Now
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Oxfam Ireland calls on Taoiseach to advocate for Covid-19 Vaccine IP waiver at European Council meeting

Oxfam Ireland has today (16.12.21) reiterated its appeal for the Irish Government to support a waiver on intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines and to call on the European Commission to end its blockage of the waiver proposal at the next meeting of the World Trade Organisation.

The development organisation is calling on An Taoiseach Michael Martin to advocate for EU support of the waiver at the European Council meeting, which begins today in Brussels. Over 100 countries worldwide, including the United States, are in favour of the waiver, and the European Union is now the largest block to its introduction.

The call comes as pressure grows within Government and from opposition parties, for the Government to take such a stance. On Wednesday (15.12.21) a motion – introduced by Senator Alice Mary Higgins – passed unchallenged in the Seanad on securing cross party support, including senators from coalition parties.

The waiver, known as a TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver on Covid-19 vaccine technology, would enable the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical companies, vastly increasing vaccine production across the world.

Speaking today, CEO of Oxfam Jim Clarken said: “We would like to congratulate and thank Senator Alice Mary Higgins and all Seanad members who supported the passing of this motion, for showing the leadership that has been lacking elsewhere. It is time for the Government to stop blocking this life-saving action and start working towards fair distribution of vaccines.

“Last night’s Seanad vote shows cross-party support for the waiver, including within the coalition parties. The motion also follows on from similar motions in the Italian and European parliament and pressure is now on the Taoiseach as he meets his EU counterparts today. We need him to be a leader at this point – advocating for the waiver which will save the live of millions across the globe."

“Providing greater access to vaccines in low- and middle-income countries will not only save lives in those countries, but also protect countries in this part of the world from Covid-19 variants such as Omicron. It is no surprise that the Omicron was first discovered in South Africa, in a region where vaccination rates are far below the rates here in Europe. As has been stated by the World Health Organisation time and again, until we are all protected, none of us are protected. The likelihood of new variants, greater suffering and tragedy, and greater economic and social disruption to everyone’s lives will continue unless we ensure that everyone everywhere has an opportunity to be vaccinated.”

Also speaking about the motion passed on Tuesday, Senator Alice Mary Higgins said: “Public health has to take priority in a pandemic. It is clear that a TRIPS waiver is a crucial first step in the global scaling up of vaccine manufacture and access. The longer the European Commission continues to obstruct or delay progress on this, the more lives will be unnecessarily lost. The Seanad has sent a very strong signal that they want the Irish Government to publicly support a TRIPS waiver and to show genuine commitment to human rights by calling on the European Commission to support a TRIPS waiver at the next WTO meeting.”

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