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Oxfam’s commitment to you and our plan to fulfill it

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We are determined to remain strong and uphold the values that have long made Oxfam a force for good in the world.

By now, many of you will have heard a great deal about the sexual misconduct cases that have led Oxfam to take a hard look at our past mistakes. There are no excuses. As an organization built on the highest principles, we have undermined the trust and diminished our credibility with our supporters. Worse, we have failed in our core mission—to protect the most vulnerable people everywhere we work.

We cannot undo any of that.

But I still believe wholeheartedly in Oxfam. I believe in our integrity, in the power of people to change their lives, and in the work we do to tackle poverty. I am now, more than ever, committed to our aim of holding the powerful accountable. Today, that includes ourselves. I won’t flinch in the face of that truth, as painful as it is.

We will not flag in working to rebuild your confidence in Oxfam because too much is at stake in our world. Too many people living in poverty need your empathy, commitment, and support. And while we have made some serious errors, our basic beliefs have not changed: We have zero tolerance for abuse of people in any form, and we stand firmly against the exploitation and abuse of women and girls. We are one hundred percent committed to learning from our mistakes and to building a culture where abuse stands no chance of festering.

Our first step is to form an independent commission to carry out a wide-ranging review of Oxfam’s practices and culture, including our handling of past cases of sexual misconduct. We have asked a team of women’s rights experts to serve in this high-level group and will grant them access to Oxfam records and interviews with staffers, partners, and the communities we work with around the world. This new commission is part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen safeguarding systems across our organization. Other measures include:

  • The immediate creation of a new global database of accredited referees—designed to end the use of forged, dishonest or unreliable references by past or current Oxfam staff. Oxfam will not be issuing any formal references until this is in place.
  • An immediate injection of money and resources into Oxfam’s safeguarding processes, with the number of people working in safeguarding more than doubling over the coming weeks and annual funding more than tripled to just over $1 million.
  • A commitment to improve the culture within Oxfam to ensure that no one faces sexism, discrimination or abuse, that everyone, especially women, feels safe speaking out, and everyone is clear on what behavior is acceptable or not.

We are determined to remain strong and focused on our important work and commitment to our mission. I will work tirelessly to honor you, our caring supporters, through this difficult time as we face the ever-important fight still ahead: ending the injustice of poverty.

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    Wow Abby, this is great! Such unshakable commitment from the senior levels supported by a working system will enable to make remarkable gains. Bravo

  2.'Patricia E. Savage

    I had just renewed my membership the week before I heard the allegations. I have been a supporter for a long time and always read your bulletins with great admiration. I am glad you are not making excuses. These things happen but it is important that they be addressed and corrected.

  3.'Regina Doyle

    It’s terrible when such things happen within such a well meaning and heretofore worthy organization. You’re doing the right thing now to admit mistakes and institue measures to try to prevent future sexual exploitation. We appreciate your finally being open.

  4.'Jake Jacobs

    How could this have happened with an 85% score from Charity Navigator? They gave positive ratings on every criteria including transparency and oversight…blah blah blah.

    According to reports I’ve read and heard, Oxfam was aware of these serious abuses at least since 2011. Only now you are supposedly facing the issue. Is that because the money is about to be turned off by the UK? — DUH!

    One tries to do some small thing to help and look what we get. I’ve unwittingly been contributing to predators! You will no longer be receiving my meager contributions.

    P.S. I noted that there was no link to unsubscribe to further emails in the email you just sent to me….an oversight?

  5.'Sue Douglass

    Nice replies but most likely from shills. In the Economist it says nothing about Mark Goldring resigning or being fired. Was he? Talk is cheap I will wait to see what develops before giving you any more money.

  6.'Nicole Morel

    I am a student in University who is studying to become a doctor and go help poor countries. When I heard about the incident, I was disgusted by how it is possible these grown men could commit such crimes.

    I am so thankful for this commitment. I hope you all succeed, and hopefully, in the future, I could help strengthen and rebuild the trust as well. Amazing job.

  7.'Eric Oxelson

    Finding and preventing the ethical violations that you are now addressing is a huge challenge. My support depends upon your responding comprehensively to ethics violations in a timely and effective way. I want you to overcome this and to keep us up-to-date.


    Thank you. You have done, and will do, so much more good and I don’t want to see that forgotten or further endangered.

    Deborah (a monthly contributor)

  9.'Ted Killheffer

    Abby, Oxfam should commit to involving law enforcement whenever a violation of criminal law is charged. This will insure Oxfam’s continuing credibility.

  10.'Suzanne Prenger

    While I applaud the efforts to improve, it is still quite vague. Also unclear is the role that local women’s leadership will play in the review and in future work in country.

  11.'FT Clark

    Thank you for contacting me. I believe in the goals of Oxfam and I look for you and the commission to maintain transparency as well as a clarity that restates and recommits to the goals of elimination of poverty.
    FT Clark

  12.'David Kull

    This response seems a bit weak to me. I would have liked to have heard what exactly went wrong. What management processes failed? Which managers? What has been done to correct those failures? Has anyone been fired or resigned? I just have a hard time imagining how something like this could have happened and this message doesn’t help. Maybe if I knew what referees and safeguarding processes are this would be a more satisfying response. As it is I still feel in the dark and that’s an uncomfortable feeling.

  13.'Chris Hufstader

    We want to thank all of you for your comments here. We appreciate these expressions of support, but we also want to acknowledge all of you who are making more critical comments because they are raising important questions and issues we are working hard to address. For some answers: You can find Oxfam’s recent statements about the measures we are taking to change our policies and ways of working, as well as some more specific details about the independent review of our work, on our Press section of the web site: For those who are asking specifically how we handled the situation in Haiti at the time, you can read the internal report on the matter we released last week here:

  14.'Joe L

    I have read the internal report on Haiti and share a degree of curiosity and incredulity regarding the perceived inaction of Oxfam for the past seven years. Until this question is addressed I will be withholding all future donations to Oxfam.


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