#GE16: Rising inequality is a key election issue for 8 out of 10 people in Ireland

As voters in the Republic of Ireland prepare to go to the polls on Friday February 26th, a new survey by Oxfam Ireland has found that 8 out of 10 (81%) people want politicians to make inequality a key issue in the general election. 
82% agree that the next Taoiseach should prioritise tackling inequality in the new programme for government, specifically addressing tax dodging, equal pay and access to healthcare. 
Above left: Back row from left - Bríd Smith (Anti Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit), John Lyons (Labour), Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Jim Clarken, Lorraine Clifford-Lee (Fianna Fáil) and Eoin Ó Broin (Sinn Féin). Front row - Carol Hunt (Independent Alliance) and Director of National Women’s Council of Ireland Orla O'Connor. Above right: Jim Clarken and Orla O’Connor with economist David McWilliams who hosted the Make Equality #1 event focusing on economic and gender equality. Photos: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
This widespread opinion stems from the broader concern that Ireland is becoming a more unequal place – the survey revealed almost 8 out 10 (79%) of Irish people believe the gap between the richest and the rest of society is widening. 
The Empathy Research nationwide survey was launched today at the Make Equality #1 pre-election event hosted by Oxfam Ireland and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and was chaired by economist David McWilliams with general election candidates Lorraine Clifford-Lee (Fianna Fáil), Carol Hunt (Independent Alliance), John Lyons (Labour), Eoin Ó Broin (Sinn Féin) and Bríd Smith (Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit) debating economic and gender inequality.

You can listen to the full 'Make Equality 1' debate below.

Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Jim Clarken says: “This survey confirms that rising inequality is clearly at the forefront of Irish people’s minds as they prepare to go the polls. We live in a world where the richest 1% own more wealth than everyone else put together. Ordinary working families are up against odds that are impossible to beat and poorer people are paying the biggest price for rapidly increasing inequality.
“Every day Oxfam works to close the inequality gap from the bottom up by helping people to lift themselves out of poverty. Today, along with the people of Ireland, we demand more action in closing the gap from the top down too, tackling a toxic tax system, ensuring quality services for all and closing the gender pay gap. 
“Inequality is not inevitable – it is the result of policy choices. The upcoming general election offers an important opportunity to shape a recovery that includes everyone.”
Director of National Women’s Council of Ireland Orla O'Connor says: “NWCI are calling on the next Government to prioritise equality budgeting and serious investment in public services. Tackling violence against women, delivery of quality health and maternity services, and providing a universal pension are all essential for women’s equality and all dependent on the resources being invested. There is a real danger that parties which focus on short-term tax cuts will not be in a position to deliver that investment.  
“Equal pay is a major concern highlighted in the survey and in Ireland the gender pay gap has actually risen. A majority of those on low pay or insecure part-time contracts are women with 50% now earning €20,000 or less. This negative spiral must be halted and reversed. Whichever parties form the next Government they must legislate against precarious work, support a living wage and attach strong employment, equality and environmental standards to public spending while also promoting gender balance in senior roles.”
84% of Irish adults believe that women in Ireland being paid over 14% less than men is unfair – with women stronger in this belief than men (92% vs. 74%).
The NWCI is calling for an end to the gender pay gap to be named as a goal within the new programme for government.
The survey also shows growing concern about large-scale tax dodging with more than 8 out of 10 (86%) of Irish people believing that big companies and wealthy individuals are using tax loopholes to dodge paying their fair share of taxes. 83% agreed that tax dodging means vital public services like schools and hospitals in Ireland and across the world are suffering.

Entertain, educate, organise: how radio supports development

To mark World Radio Day on Saturday 13th February, Oxfam celebrates how radio impacts millions of people every day, and remains an important tool for development and a lifeline in times of emergency. 
Oxfam uses radio as a vital medium in its overseas programme work tackling poverty and assisting vulnerable people during humanitarian crisis.
Radio dramas and entertainment/education campaigns offer the potential to deliver critical information to those who need it most across vast geographic distances via compelling, entertaining programming. 
In Tanzania, for example, Oxfam is supporting a community station, Radio Lolondo FM, by helping to provide equipment, solar powered energy supplies and salaries, as it works to raise awareness about development work in Tanzania. The station educates people about Oxfam’s livelihood projects which help people grow more crops and set up their own co-ops, among other things, as well our campaign against violence on women and girls in Tanzania.
One of its broadcasters, Janet Mbunito explains radio’s benefits and its immediacy as a communications tool for essential information: “Newspapers are slow getting here and few can read them. With radio, we can bring the news of Arusha and of Tanzania quickly and the key is to broadcast local issues in the local language.
Janet Mbunito during a broadcast by Radio Lolondo FM, an Oxfam-supported station in Tanzania. Photo: Geoff Sayer/Oxfam
“We play music, take phone calls, and bring people in from the villages to talk. The station is here to entertain, to educate and to support development...”
Similarly, Oxfam and its partners in Haiti have developed a radio drama to change and influence knowledge, attitudes and behaviours amongst local communities, tackling issues such as nutrition, gender-based violence, destruction of natural resources, cholera, and safe hygiene practices. 
And in Liberia in 2015, Oxfam helped to develop radio jingles and a drama about the signs and symptoms of Ebola, which were broadcast via radio for four days nationwide. In Sierra Leone, the Radio Bintumani station in Koinadugu district also played jingles to highlight the signs and symptoms of Ebola and how to prevent it. Steven Bockarie Mansaray, the station manager, says that the promotion of health messages was key to keeping Ebola out of the district for so long.
Steven Bockarie Mansaray is the manager of Radio Bintumani in Sierra Leone. The district station played jingles to highlight the signs and symptoms of Ebola and how to prevent it. 
Credit: Holly Taylor/Oxfam
Nepal is another powerful example of the positive role that radio can play in Oxfam’s humanitarian work.
Following the two devastating earthquakes that hit the region in April and May 2015, Oxfam quickly responded, ensuring safe and equal access to water and sanitation facilities, and provision of basic needs such as food, cash and hygiene materials. 
However, as our community mobilisation teams in Nepal hit the ground to ask communities what they needed and to better understand the challenges they faced, it soon became apparent that in addition to basic essentials there was more we could do to help connect communities with information.
As Simone Carter, Oxfam Community Mobiliser and Public Health Promoter, says: “Families had lost access to information; their radios and TVs had been destroyed or buried in the earthquake, and travelling to access this information was impossible at the time.
“People were also confused about how to access the much-needed aid from the numerous organisations and relief agencies. This information gap resulted in rumours and questions about everything from selection criteria for reconstruction grants, to myths regarding the next earthquake.
Above: Radio Sindhu DJs Gurash Gureng (22), Deepak Khatri (23), and Asmi Tamang (21) in Nepal. After the earthquake made their station building unsafe they relocated to this open bike shed and set up their equipment for broadcast. The team received regular missing persons calls and helped to reunite people with their families. Photo: Aubrey Wade/Oxfam A Nepalese woman with one of the radios distributed by Oxfam, following the devastating earthquakes in 2015. Credit: Oxfam
“An organisation focused on improving access to information in affected communities, Internews, was in Nepal running a programme called OpenMic Rumour Tracking, which they had first trialled in Liberia with Ebola. 
“They collected rumours from communities and then published a weekly report in English and Nepali comparing these common rumours to facts, as well as providing contact details for people who could provide further information. 
“Oxfam teams did not have a channel to disseminate the information, so we decided to partner with a local community station, Radio Sindhu, to produce a programme, including a section on myth de-bunking.”
The earthquake had made Radio Sindhu’s building unsafe to operate in, and soon the station was receiving calls from people across the area saying they could not hear its shows.
Despite difficulties in getting supplies to the region, the station was given a new aerial, they relocated to an open bike shed, got hold of fuel for the generator and set up their equipment for broadcast. Radio Sindhu was broadcasting around the clock within two days of the earthquake. The team received regular missing persons calls and helped to reunite people with their families. 
Simone Carter explains: “Internews provided capacity building to help the station produce the show with Oxfam, and our community mobilisers worked with communities to gather the content. 
“By working through local radio we have been able to provide communities with the information they want and need, in a way that they find accessible, and which is part of their daily life. The show has been so successful that other local stations have been airing it as well.
“Topics have included health, gender, humanitarian assistance and government programming. Other topics addressed by the show have included preparing for winter, how to tell if your child has trauma, and success stories of communities recovery and rebuilding.
“By also inviting other organisations including the Red Cross and government agencies to be on the show, we encouraged communities to listen to just one station, with one show that aims to address their key concerns. The show has been running since June 2015 and although there are some national radio equivalents it is the only local radio show with community dialogue, focused on serving the needs of the community post-earthquake.
“Oxfam distributed over 1,000 radios to women's groups and youth groups to encourage members to listen. The show is replayed at four different times and on two different stations, allowing these groups different opportunities to sit together and listen. Our community mobilisers and the female community health volunteers also carry recorded versions of the show to play during community visits. This means that when our teams arrive in communities and they bring up key issues, they can play the episode on that topic or take note of the issue and organise an upcoming episode to address it.
“We are now trying to do live segments from communities and to have story collection done by the radio station, encouraging the station to take more ownership of the programme, so that it will be sustainable in the long-term.
“Not only do the radio shows provide key information to communities, they also serve as a constructive forum for the community to discuss and share information and experiences among themselves. We have hosted children's groups, promoted community events and showcased local talent. 
“The show has done more than inform, it has helped to grow and strengthen community bonds, bringing people together in the process of recovery and reconstruction after the earthquakes.”
You can help support Oxfam projects worldwide by making a donation.

Gifts from Oxfam, spread the love this Valentine’s Day!

It can be hard to pick the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day but with our Unwrapped range of alternative gifts, we’ve got you covered.
Here are three gifts from Oxfam that can help spread the love this Valentine’s Day:


Goat Couple €70/£50 (Available online for half price, just €35/£25)
Celebrate your togetherness with the dynamic duo that is our Goat Couple. Now half price online, pick up this pair and help change the lives of people in extreme poverty who rely on animals like goats to provide for their families.


For that someone sweet in your life, give the gift of Honeybees and you could help rural farmers to learn about the latest beekeeping methods and build brighter futures by harvesting more honey from their hives.


There is no better way to show you care than with calorie-free Chocolate – a gift that’s free of guilt and full of potential for farmers everywhere, especially cocoa farmers.
All three of these gifts raise vital funds for our Livelihoods programme that helps make possible a whole range of life-changing livelihoods projects. Whether that’s increasing agricultural production, safeguarding animal health and well-being, or providing small-scale farmers and other producers with access to more opportunities, we promise to maximise your generosity by helping poor families to thrive.
Unwrapped gift cards are available at your local Oxfam shop and online as a printed card or eCard.*

*Please note, the Goat Couple is only available at 50% discount online, not in store. Offer available online until February 16th 2016.


Shining a spotlight on inequality

Our 'Richest 62' stat hit a nerve last week and got the whole world talking. From journalists and economists to celebrities and the US Vice President - here's a selction of tweets which show just how far and wide the news about our shocking report on inequality travelled.


"..and for me, obviously you know inequality is a priority" - Enda Kenny speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

All this talk must be backed up with action. Sign our petition now for a fairer Ireland and a fairer world.


Two sides of the same story

Imagine a tax haven, and you might imagine an island with palm trees, yachts and pristine white sands. Some tax havens look like this, some are less glamorous. But however they look on the surface, underneath a very different picture can be found.
Tax havens are at the heart of a global system that allows multinational companies and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share while 896 million people worldwide are trapped in extreme poverty, and seven out of ten people on the planet now live in countries where economic inequality is worse than it was 30 years ago. Tax havens deprive governments of the resources they need to provide vital public services, like health and education, and to tackle rising inequality.
While the super-rich benefit vastly from this global system, its devastating impact can be felt in some of the poorest communities in the world.
Above: The Jamaica Dump, Nairobi, Kenya – April 2014
When we met him, Morgan said he thought he was five years old but he wasn‘t sure. He was playing at a dump in the Mukuru slum in Nairobi while his mother worked, sorting through the rubbish. The local children often come here to scavenge for food scraps, or work alongside the adults. Morgan told us he wasn‘t at school as his family couldn’t afford it.
It’s a huge injustice, especially when you consider that Kenya is the fastest growing economy in Africa. While some progress is being made, too many ordinary people aren’t seeing the benefit. In fact, around 34% of Kenya’s population live in extreme poverty.
According to the World Health Organisation, there is only around two doctors for every 10,000 people . And for the people of the Mukuru slum, even basic services like sanitation, water and education are scarce. 


In February 2015, leaked files revealed that a small number of rich individuals connected to Kenya were stowing away around $560 million in bank accounts in Switzerland. This is hidden, untaxed wealth - revenue that Kenya’s government needs to ensure that children like Morgan have a future.
This is just one example of a huge problem that’s happening around the world, not just in Kenya. The systemic use of tax havens by wealthy individuals and multinational companies is denying the poorest governments hundreds of billions in unpaid tax, and it’s holding back the fight against global poverty and inequality. 
Every year, the gap between rich and poor gets even wider – and it’s being fuelled by the use of tax havens. As much as $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is being hidden in offshore accounts, and it has a devastating impact on poorer countries.
As much as 30 percent of all African financial wealth is estimated to be held offshore, costing an estimated $14 billion (approx. €12.9bn/£9.7bn) in lost tax revenues every year.
This is enough money to pay for healthcare for mothers and children that could save 4 million children’s lives a year, and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.
Then there are the vast profits made by corporations and stored in tax havens. While rich individuals can hide their wealth in tax havens, multinational companies can use them to shift profits from the countries where they do business. 
It‘s estimated that tax dodging by multinational companies costs the world’s poorest countries at least $100 billion every year.

How the other half live

Barbara is a widow. She spends hours every day walking to collect water for her crops, so she can feed her two children. And when her husband was alive, she had to sell livestock to pay for his care. She never had the chance to go to school. If she had, she would have liked to be a nurse or a teacher. Barbara told us she felt like “a lost person”.

But Barbara knows that things could be different. If everyone paid their fair share of tax, we could have a chance to meet the basic needs of people living in poverty, give them control over their own lives and the opportunity to change their futures.


Every day, kind and generous people are doing what they can to help change things for people facing poverty - and great strides are being made. In fact by 2030, we can end extreme poverty completely. To achieve this, we need a powerful and practical response. We need to make sure economic growth benefits the poorest people. If we’re going to end extreme poverty, we need to make sure global tax rules work for the many - not just the few. We all need to be part of the solution. And you can help right now, by signing a letter to the government calling for an end to tax havens. It’s time for change.


Did you hear the one about 62 billionaires with the same wealth as half the world?

When one talks about 62 billionaires on a bus with the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population, it may sound like the start of a surreal joke – a bad one, with no punchlines and no laughs, except for the privileged few. 
That’s because the world has become a much more unequal place and the speed of the runaway inequality bus is accelerating. 
Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, and in September agreed a global goal to reduce it, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. 
We now have a world where 62 people – so few they would fit on a single coach – own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population. This number has fallen from 80 last year and 388 as recently as 2010.
Above: Faith is a banana farmer in Zambia, where she struggles to make ends meet. Zambia is among the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, yet despite economic growth, inequality is getting worse and most of the population are not seeing the benefits of this economic development. The number of people living below the $1.25 poverty line grew from 65 percent in 2003 to 74.5 percent in 2014. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
The wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion (approximately €1.62/£1.22tr.). Meanwhile, the wealth of the poorer half of the world has fallen dramatically by 41% since 2010, despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period.
These shocking statistics are highlighted in a new Oxfam report, An Economy for the 1%, which has been published ahead of this week’s annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Oxfam’s prediction – made ahead of last year’s Davos – that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us by 2016, actually came true in 2015, a year earlier than expected.
Above: Faith outside her house. Faith lives with her husband Jackson and six children (her two daughters, granddaughter, two nephews, and niece) in Chiawa, Zambia. It’s a rural area with few transport links, health centres, and employment opportunities. One of the reasons inequality in Zambia is so bad is because global tax rules allow multinational mining companies to generate vast profits from their operations in the country, whilst paying very little tax. Lost revenue is desperately needed to improve infrastructure and invest in public services. Oxfam’s research has shown that this is one of the most effective ways of tackling extreme inequality. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Poorer people are paying the price of rapidly increasing inequality. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate. 
Rather than an economy that works for the prosperity of all, we have instead created a global economy for the 1%. Ordinary working families are up against odds that are impossible to beat. The big winners are those at the top and our economic system is heavily skewed in their favour. 
Power and privilege allows the richest individuals and companies to write the rules of the economic game to avoid paying their fair share to society. An elaborate system of tax loopholes and an industry of wealth managers ensures that vast wealth stays untaxed, far from the reach of ordinary citizens and their governments. 
This potential tax revenue is needed to pay for vital services like schools and hospitals; the services which play a vital role in tackling inequality and escaping poverty. It means governments keep putting their hands in the pockets of ordinary taxpayers to pay for the shortfall – many of whom can least afford it.
Above: “I only manage through survival. It’s just survival,” says Barbara Chinyeu, an Oxfam-supported banana farmer in Zambia, pictured with her children 10-year-old Gertrude and Edward, aged 5. Barbara is a widow who risks her life every day by gathering water in a crocodile-infested river so she can to irrigate her crops and feed her two children. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Oxfam analysed more than 200 companies, including the world’s biggest and the World Economic Forum’s strategic partners, and has found that 9 out of 10 companies analysed have a presence in at least one of 10 jurisdictions classified by the report as the most aggressive for tax avoidance, a list that includes Ireland.
It is estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least $100billion every year. Globally, it is estimated that a total of $7.6tr of individuals’ wealth sits offshore (i.e. is deposited in low-tax jurisdictions) – a twelfth of the total. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190billion would be available to governments every year.
Just consider how that money could help the vulnerable poor in a country such as Malawi, for example. 
Video below: Hear a nurse and teacher in Malawi speak about their daily challenges to help patients and pupils.

Inequality in Malawi: Health & Education

Because despite growing wealth among the urban elite over the past seven years, Malawi – one of the world’s poorest countries with seriously under-resourced health and education systems – has also seen inequality increase. 
As well as a crackdown on tax dodging Oxfam is urging world leaders to increase investment in public services and act to boost the income of the lowest paid. 
The new Oxfam report shows how women globally are disproportionately affected by inequality – of the current ‘62’, 53 are men and just nine are women. The majority of low paid workers around the world are women. 
Oxfam Ireland is also calling on our politicians to do more to end the gender pay gap that sees that sees women earn less than men (almost 14% in the Republic of Ireland; 12.5% in Northern Ireland).
It is time our politicians take note and reject this broken economic model. We cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of people to go hungry while resources that could be used to help them are sucked up by those at the top.
Inequality is not inevitable. Inequality is the result of policy choices. We need our leaders to tell the 1% that the 99% and particularly those struggling to make ends meet here and overseas have had enough.
Above: Barbara carries water to her house. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Oxfam is calling for urgent action – a crackdown on tax dodging, increased investment in public services and action to boost the income of the lowest paid – to tackle the inequality crisis and reverse the dramatic fall in wealth of the poorest half of the world. 
Allowing governments to collect the taxes they are owed from companies and rich individuals will be vital if world leaders are to meet their new goal, set last September, to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. 
As a priority, Oxfam is calling for an end to tax dodging which has seen increasing use of offshore centres by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying their fair share to society. This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality. 
With 2016 being an election year throughout Ireland, north and south, Oxfam is calling on election candidates to prioritise inequality and inviting voters to join its campaign calling on politicians to tackle tax dodging, roll out universal access to healthcare and end the gender pay gap in their respective new programmes for government.
Jim Clarken is Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland. Follow him on Twitter here.

As winter settles in, refugees from Syria face increasing hardship

Hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the ongoing conflict in Syria face another winter of dreadful conditions in Lebanon and Jordan.

Above, left: A Syrian boy stands in front of his family’s flooded tent in a settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. As the first winter storm hit the country, thousands of refugees have little means to face the harsh weather. They urgently need warm blankets, stoves, and fuel. Above-right: Syrian refugees inspect the damage inflicted by the first winter storm to their settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Tents were flooded and the agricultural land on which the camp is set up turned into muddy pools. Photos: Joelle Bassoul/Oxfam

It is nearly 5 years since the start of the conflict in Syria, and an unprecedented human tragedy continues to unfold on an unimaginable scale.

After being forced to flee horrors which they would never have imagined, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria have seen another winter descend on the Middle East – for some this is their fifth away from home in increasingly difficult living conditions.

Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, which hosts the majority of refugees in this small country, is already shrouded in white, while nights in Jordan’s camps are extremely cold with temperatures dropping to zero. Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in camps and improvised shelters are particularly vulnerable to these conditions.

Above: Children in Zaatari – the refugee camp’s transition into a town is presenting huge challenges as the need for infrastructure and access to jobs grows. Photo: Tom White/PA

Asma Qasim, a refugee in Jordan’s sprawling Zaatari camp which hosts about 80,000 people, said: “It’s hard enough to be far from home and our family. I have been living in Zaatari with my husband and three children since 2013. Winter used to be my favourite time of the year until I got here. We can’t sleep most nights because water leaks in and makes everything wet. I am very worried for my children. I think of going back to Syria every day.”

It is not unusual for Zaatari, set in Jordan’s Northern desert area, to witness snowfall, strong winds and freezing rain. Oxfam is helping families to dig drainage channels around their households, to ensure they do not flood.

Oxfam teams are also going door-to-door, informing refugees of ways to keep safe and dry. In case of heavy rains, flooding or snow melt, Oxfam’s Zaatari team has a contingency plan that includes installing additional emergency water tanks, and helping refugees whose homes are damaged to reach communal shelters. We have also mapped flood-prone areas to guide our teams when they reach out to the most vulnerable in the camp.

Outside the camp, we are helping about 1,000 vulnerable families (70% of them refugees, the others Jordanian) by providing relief items such as heaters, gas cylinders, warm blankets and cash to pay for gas refills.

In Lebanon, Oxfam is providing cash transfers through ATM cards to hundreds of Palestinian refugees from Syria. About 450 families will receive a total of US$400 for the winter months in North Lebanon, which will enable them to buy much-needed heating fuel, tools for improving their shelter, and other items, such as blankets, children’s clothing, and stoves. They could also spend this cash on rent, as they all pay to have a roof over their heads.

Above: New lives: Syrian refugee children outside an Oxfam facility in the Zaatari camp, where Oxfam is campaigning for a permanent water and sewage system. Photo: Tom White/PA

In both countries, refugees have seen their resources dwindle as the conflict in Syria drags on. With little or no access to work opportunities, they are forced to rely on humanitarian aid to survive.

The Syria crisis is an unprecedented human and humanitarian tragedy. It is time we ask for accountability from world leaders to take action and solve this together.

If you can, please help by donating to Oxfam Ireland’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

In Jordan Oxfam works in both Zaatari refugee camp and in Jordanian communities that are hosting Syrian refugees. Zaatari camp is now the fourth biggest city in Jordan, housing around 80,000 Syrian refugees. Oxfam currently works in three of Zaatari’s 12 districts, supervising water and sanitation, and also co-ordinating hygiene promotion activities. In addition, together with UNICEF and other international actors, Oxfam is installing a water network in the camp, which will ensure refugees have safe access to water.

Above: Born on the run: baby Sham is just a few hours old, the youngest resident of Zaatari, the Syrian refugee camp in Jordan which has become a semi-permanent city for its residents. Photo: Tom White/PA

To date, Oxfam’s response has included:

  • Building 50 water, sanitation and hygiene blocks, including 318 toilets, 288 bathing areas, 72 laundry areas, and 100 water points, serving up to 15,600 people.
  • Maintaining 120 water, sanitation and hygiene blocks in 3 districts benefitting around 25,000 people.
  • Installing 270 portable latrines as a temporary measure.
  • Distributing 75 commodes for disabled users.
  • Provided 19 x 95,000 litre and 378 x 2,000 litre water tanks.
  • Installed 10 hand-washing facilities in the market area.

Syria Crisis: Winter in Zaatari


A year in pictures: the impact you helped make happen in 2015

It’s been a busy year! 2015 saw considerable global challenges – such as the Nepal earthquake, rising global inequality, conflict in South Sudan and Syria and the refugee crisis, among others.

It was also a year of momentous achievements – world leaders committing to 17 Sustainable Development Goals designed to end extreme poverty by 2030, and an historic if imperfect global climate deal at the COP climate talks in Paris.

Thanks to the inspirational support of our donors, campaigners, supporters, volunteers and staff, Oxfam’s programmes during the past 12 months helped a record 25 million lives around the globe, through our emergency responses, development projects and campaigning.

So to review the year, we wanted to share just a small selection of photos which illustrate how your support helped Oxfam make an incredible difference during 2015.

Vanuata was left devastated by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. Pictured here is Marie-Lea with a voucher from Oxfam. We have been assisting families affected by Cyclone Pam by distributing vouchers to be exchanged for farming items, building materials, and other general goods. The aim is to help them rebuild their livelihoods and grow food. Photo: Adrian Lloyd/Oxfam

A man in Kathmandu, Nepal washes his face at an Oxfam tap stand in the Tundikhel camp for people displaced by the earthquake in April 2015. We have delivered essential aid – including emergency shelters, hygiene kits, clean water and sanitation facilities – to more than 445,000 people affected by the quake. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

All summer, we brought our Even it Up campaign around Ireland, north and south, and 25,000 people backed our call for action on inequality. We highlighted that just 80 people – few enough to fit on our double decker bus – have the same wealth as half the world’s population and urged world leaders, including the Irish and UK governments, to tackle the root causes of inequality. Photo: Press Eye

August 2015: Female Food Heroes, the Oxfam-supported initiative in Tanzania, continues to empower female farmers through its accompanying reality TV show. The programme highlights the vital role played by women in lifting communities out of poverty, as participants compete in farming tasks and learning about leadership, women's rights and finance management. The show attracts 21 million viewers – approximately half the population of Tanzania. Pictured is participant Edna Kiogwe, tackling a task during filming. Photo: Coco McCabe/Oxfam

Children participate in a lesson about hygiene at an Oxfam community centre in Zaatari camp, Jordan, in September 2015. By providing drinking water, toilets and showers, community centres, hygiene promotion and waste collection, we support some 25,000 of Zaatari’s 80,000 residents displaced by the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Oxfam has so far reached more than 1.6 million people in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon with life-saving clean water and sanitation. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

The public showed their compassion for the plight of people fleeing conflict and poverty and urged governments to make ‘Refugees Welcome’ – here standing up and being counted on Sandymount Strand, Dublin, in September at an event organised by a coalition of Irish NGOs. The Irish and UK Governments committed to opening their borders to more vulnerable refugees. We are supporting asylum seekers who have arrived in Serbia and Greece, as well as in Italy. Photo: Steve Kingston

Pictured in November 2015 is Zewudie Dagnew with her son Ashenafi Aragaw in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, where Oxfam’s R4 Rural Resilience Initiative is helping farmers increase their resilience to challenges like drought. Farmers there speak of how weather patterns have changed over time and how the rains that feed their crops are coming later than they used to and departing sooner. Photo: Coco McCabe/Oxfam

Megacone perform on the Oxjam stage at Electric Picnic 2015. As well as organising events and campaigning at summer festivals, Oxfam Ireland called on music fans across the island to put on their own pop-up events as part of the Oxjam Gigmaker campaign. Photo: Olga Kuzmenko.

Oxfam aid worker Amy Christian talks to refugees from Afghanistan as they wait outside a registration centre for migrants and refugees in Preševo, southern Serbia in October 2015. We are working in Serbia to help some of the thousands fleeing to safety, providing clean water, toilets and showers. In Greece we are providing hot meals and winter kits, while in Italy support includes housing, food, psychological support, legal assistance and language classes. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam.

“Clean water – thank you Oxfam!” Brian collects water from an Oxfam water tap in Lologo, Juba, South Sudan. Since conflict broke out in December 2013, more than 10,000 people have lost their lives and 1.5 million people have been forced from their homes. We are currently supporting 690,000 people with humanitarian assistance, including clean water, hygiene facilities, food, fuel and income support. Photo: Fred Perraut/Oxfam

We are one of 17 Oxfams working for change in more than 90 countries – these pictures represent just a few of our projects in Tanzania, Nepal, Jordan, South Sudan, Vanuatu and Ethiopia.

None of the work we do could happen without your support. You helped save lives and rebuild livelihoods after natural disaster struck Nepal. You showed generosity and compassion to those affected by the fighting in Syria. You gave a voice to those affected by the migrant crisis and forced our governments to strengthen their responses. You pushed businesses and institutions to reform practices that reinforce inequality.

You shopped with us in our 49 shops throughout Ireland. You danced with us at Oxjam 2015. You hosted your own events to raise awareness and funds. You donated to our fundraising efforts, including our Oxfam Unwrapped campaign. You supported our Even it Up campaign, to tackle the root causes of inequality.

You are making a difference – thank you! We look forward to your continued support in 2016 so that we can secure further progress towards our vision of a just world without poverty.

On behalf of Oxfam, Happy New Year!


Ireland rugby star Andrew Trimble helps us tackle poverty

Christmas is a special time. I recently became a dad, so I am looking forward to spending a first Christmas with our baby son.

The festive season is also a time for sharing. As we remember those less fortunate than us, I’m proud to support Oxfam Ireland’s Unwrapped range of alternative Christmas gifts, to help families in emergency crises and extreme poverty worldwide.

Oxfam Ireland Ambassador Andrew Trimble is pictured with siblings Micah and Lucy Campbell and a Clutch of Chicks’ (€19/£15), one of the charity’s Unwrapped range of alternative Christmas gifts, which help families in emergency crises and extreme poverty worldwide. Photo: Press Eye Photography/Oxfam.

To promote the Unwrapped gifts I recently took part in a photo shoot at the Oxfam shop in Botanic Avenue in Belfast, with the help of two-year old Micah and his five-year-old sister Lucy, along with some chicks from the Ark Open Farm in Newtownards. The cute chicks soon drew a small crowd of admiring customers, with Oxfam staff explaining how these simple Unwrapped gifts can transform lives.

2015 has been an incredibly challenging year for the people Oxfam are trying to help. War and conflict has forced millions more people from their homes and everything they knew. Earthquakes, cyclones and other extreme weather events have destroyed lives and livelihoods that people worked so hard to build. People just like me and you, but who now have the odds stacked against them.

Oxfam shops across Ireland, north and south, are offering a wide-range of Unwrapped gifts that give back, making a positive impact in the lives of people.

One of those gifts is called ‘Care for a Baby’ (€17/£12). It helps Oxfam to provide life-saving emergency aid to families from the youngest member to the oldest, helping them survive crisis situations with what’s needed most like food, clean water, shelter and sanitation. Gifts like these are vital to people fleeing conflict in places like Syria.

Another gift that makes a big difference is the Unwrapped ‘Cooking Stove’ (€10/£8). This gift is eco-friendly and fuel-efficient – it only uses half the wood of traditional methods and it’s hotter too. Oxfam’s emergency workers give the stoves to families who’ve lost everything in places like South Sudan, providing people with warmth and a way to cook food. It also reduces the need for women to venture in search of firewood into areas where they are at risk of attack – and makes it one of the ways Oxfam keeps women and girls safe after they’ve been forced to flee their homes in an emergency.

Andrew's Pick: Unwrapped Cooking Stove

Other Unwrapped gifts range from giving girls the opportunity to reach full potential with ‘Educate a Girl’ (€25/£19). through to helping poor farmers thrive through agricultural projects with cards like a ‘Goat’ (€35/£25). or a ‘Clutch of Chicks’ (€19/£15).

The ‘Clutch of Chicks’ gift is more than a bit of yellow fluff – you’ll actually be helping to make possible a whole range of life-changing livelihoods projects. By providing communities who depend on animals for their livelihoods with new opportunities, you’ll be supporting them in a variety of ways, including veterinary care for their animals, agricultural training or even village grain banks.

Oxfam Ireland Ambassador Andrew Trimble with Micah Campbell and a baby chick. Photo: Press Eye Photography/Oxfam.

Whatever Unwrapped gift you buy, Oxfam will ensure that your money has the best possible impact on the communities who need it most, from providing safe water that saves lives in emergencies to helping farmers to grow more crops as well as lots more besides. Please help those who have so little this Christmas to build a better future in 2016. Thank you.

Unwrapped gifts are available at your local Oxfam shop as a printed gift card and can also be purchased online at www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped which also has e-card versions, or over the phone by calling 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland).

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Andrew Trimble is an Oxfam Ireland Ambassador.


20 Christmas gift ideas guaranteed to spread smiles

Following a recent survey, we  discovered over 8 in 10 Irish people are open to buying a charity gift this Christmas. So we wanted to show you the Christmas gifts we have on offer here at Oxfam Ireland. We are very excited about our gift range this year - these gifts are guaranteed to spread smiles on your family and friends’ faces this Christmas morning!

1. Chocolate - This gift helps people to develop sustainable and secure livelihoods like cocoa farming. For example, you could help support cocoa farmers by providing them with everything they need from cocoa seeds to tools, training and marketing advice.

2. A Share in a Farmyard - This gift gives people livelihood opportunities as part of our Investing in Futures projects. You’re helping communities who rely on animals to make a secure and sustainable living by helping to provide what they need most which may be livestock, agricultural or veterinary or grain banks.

3. Eco-Stoves - This gift helps people to stay safe and warm in emergency and crisis situations. Fuel efficient eco-stoves provide people with warmth and a way to cook food. They also reduce the need for women to venture in search of firewood into areas where they are at risk of attack – and makes it one of the ways we keep women and girls safe after they’ve been forced to flee their homes in an emergency. 

4. School books - This gift will support amazing Oxfam initiatives in Malawi aimed at helping orphans and vulnerable children get into school and to stay there. It will open a new chapter in life for children affected by severe poverty, helping them to access the education they need to learn and grow.

5. Care for a baby - Babies are among the vulnerable people Oxfam watches over when disaster strikes. By giving this gift of care, you’ll help families, from the youngest member to the oldest, survive crisis situations through life-saving emergency aid.

6. Honeybees - This gift helps people to develop sustainable and secure livelihoods like bee-keeping. For example, you could help rural farmers to learn about the latest beekeeping methods and how harvest more honey from their hives.

Some photos from our Season of Smiles Christmas event at Oxfam George's Street featuring Houdini the pig who came along to help us promote our Unwrapped Gift Range including the gift of Three Little Pigs.  Photos: Nathalie Marquez Courtney

7. A Clutch of Chicks - This gift is more than a bit of yellow fluff – you’ll actually be helping to make possible a whole range of life-changing livelihoods projects. By providing communities who depend on animals for their livelihoods with new opportunities, you’ll be supporting them in a variety of ways, including veterinary care for their animals, agricultural training or even village grain banks.

8. Educate a Girl - Girls are more likely than boys to be kept out of school, which denies them life-changing opportunities. Supporting women of all ages to learn and grow is one of the many ways this gift makes a positive difference. This gift is enabling girls to get an education and reach their true potential.

9. Safe water for families - The gift of safe water saves lives and helps families to thrive. With this gift, we can help set up or maintain a safe water supply with pumps, tanks, taps, purification systems or pipes.

10. Fix a Well - This gift can provide labour, tools and other support to maintain a well or water point, or fix a fractured supply. Repairing fractured water supplies and ensuring people have safe drinking water is just one of the ways you can help save lives through our humanitarian work.

11. A Goat - This gift supports people who depend on animals like goats for their livelihood. By donating a goat, you’ll be helping families to develop a sustainable way of living and lift their communities out of severe poverty in a variety of ways, including veterinary care for their animals, agricultural training or even village grain banks.

One of our Oxfam Unwrapped gift cards. There's 15 to choose from starting from as little as €5 / £3. Photo: Keith McManus / Oxfam Ireland

12. Feed 10 Families - This gift supports vital humanitarian work through our Saving Lives programme. Providing food in the aftermath of a natural disaster or in a refugee camp is just one of the ways you’ll help families in the most difficult of times. 

13. A Goat Couple - This gift supports people who depend on animals like goats for their livelihood. A breeding pair will not only produce twice the fertiliser but they’ll also make more goats for either growing the herd or passing on to another family.

14. Three Little Pigs - We all know the story of the three little pigs, but this gift provides a happy ever after for many families by funding a variety of livelihoods projects that develop better farming methods. By purchasing this gift, you’ll be helping people who rely on animals for their livelihoods to lift their communities out of severe poverty.

15. Safe Water for a School - This very generous gift is for those who want to make a big change for many. Large gifts like this can be tailored to the areas of work you’re interested in. For example, you could help set up or maintain a clean water supply for a school with pumps, tanks, taps, purification systems or pipes and help children, teachers, parents and community leaders understand just how important hygiene is to health.

16. An eCard – Maybe you’re looking for something last minute or easy to send overseas? And a goat doesn’t immediately come to mind! All of the gifts listed above are available as a physical card or as a beautifully designed eCard, personalised with your details.

17. An Oxfam computer – The computers available in our online store have been fully restored, tested and given a new lease of life. They have a 12 month warranty, are a fraction of the retail price they cost new and as each sale contributes to our work to end poverty. They really are good computers! 

Pick up a refurbishedor in-store while stocks last. Photo: Brian Malone / Oxfam Ireland

18. A Christmas donation – With your support, we’ll be able to respond immediately during disasters, while also supporting people’s efforts to overcome poverty for the long term. Around the clock and around the world, we’re working tirelessly to right the wrong of poverty and injustice and we can only do it with your help. 

19. A book - Whether it's a fictional adventure to imaginary lands, a biographical piece with lessons from history, or something entirely different, Oxfam bookstores located throughout Ireland contain lots of books that have the power to spark curiosity, introduce innovation, and open opportunity!

20. Something nice for your home - Our Oxfam Home stores offer a superb range of furniture and homewares to suit every budget and home and so make the perfect Christmas gift. As well as helping raise vital funds for our work with communities affected by poverty, buying from Oxfam Home means you’re helping the environment too by recycling furniture that was destined for the local landfill. 

Well there you have it - twenty charitable Christmas gift ideas! The majority of these gifts can also be ordered online, giving you more time to do the things that really matter this Christmas.

For gift card delivery before Christmas, order by Friday, December 18th if you’re buying online or by phone (RoI: 1850 30 40 55 / NI: 0800 0 30 40 55). If you find yourself in need of a last-minute gift, however, don’t worry - you can buy an Oxfam Unwrapped eCard super quick on our online store.