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Oxfam is an international charity which is focused on fighting poverty and empowering impoverished individuals around the world. 13 partner organizations belong to Oxfam, working with a number of affiliates in 100 countries to provide everything from donations of clothing to legislative advocacy. This charity is very highly ranked by many charity rating organizations, and it is very respected in the international aid community.
The organization started in Great Britain in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, a name which was later shortened to Oxfam. It was established by Quakers and social justice advocates who were concerned about starvation in Greece, and the organization grew to encompass poverty issues in general, rather than the Greek famine specifically. In the 1960s, the first international Oxfam office opened in Canada, and it was eventually joined by offices in the United States, Australia, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Hong Kong, and Quebec. Together, these 13 non-governmental organizations joined in 1995 to create Oxfam International.
There are three different ways in which Oxfam initiatives work. In the first, the organization works on development projects which are designed to improve quality of life in developing nations. The organization also works on humanitarian schemes, such as HIV/AIDS education, and it gets involved politically, advocating for people who might not otherwise have a voice. While Oxfam is often associated with fighting hunger due to the roots of the organization, this is only a small part of Oxfam's work today.
Like other charities, Oxfam International relies on donations from individuals, other non-governmental organizations, and governments. In addition to accepting cash, the organization also accepts supplies which are used in its worldwide projects or sold in its charity shops to raise money to fund the organization's programs. Individual volunteers can also work for Oxfam, supporting the work of its programs with their skills, experience, or willing hands. It operates highly efficiently, funneling as much of its donations as possible into its campaigns, with minimal administrative costs.
Oxfam also plays a role in disaster response. The organization sends supplies and teams to regions which have been struck by national disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and wildfires, lending expert assistance to governments which may be in need. As part of its role in disaster relief, the organization also promotes disaster preparedness to prevent widespread loss of life and property in natural disasters.
@umbra21 - It might be because of the way that Oxfam works that they are more effective than other NGOs. They are more of an umbrella, allowing other, perhaps smaller grassroots efforts, to work under their care.
I've often looked for any jobs available at Oxfam, but unfortunately, they are so well respected among the aid work community it's next to impossible to get work with them unless you've got years of experience.
I really like the fact that they focus on disaster relief and political change. I think those two things are more important than other issues when it comes to long term change.
A mishandled disaster can devastate a country for years (just look at Haiti after their massive earthquake) and of course political change will eventually remove the need to have these kinds of organisations.
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