First Person

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. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+