Oxfam thanks public for continued support during a challenging year

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Oxfam helped nearly 13 million people with life-saving aid and longer-term support last year and overall income remained steady, at just over £434 million, despite what was a challenging year.

Oxfam’s 2018/19 annual report, published today, shows an exceptional year for all legacy income and sales of the Sourced by Oxfam range of new products increased by £1 million to £10.8 million, driven by greater public demand for ethically sourced and environmentally conscious products. Overall trading figures were slightly down on the previous year due to a difficult year for the UK High Street. There were also fewer emergency appeals which had an impact on income.

Oxfam’s Chief Executive, Danny Sriskandarajah, said: “We are extremely grateful to all the people who continued to support Oxfam. Last year was arguably the most difficult in Oxfam’s 76-year history and we will strive continue to make improvements to our safeguarding and demonstrate to our supporters that we deserve their trust and support.

“As I said when I joined Oxfam in January this year, my key responsibility will be to help the organisation to act on the lessons learnt from what happened in Haiti and build to become a more open and accountable institution for the future.”

During 2018/19 Oxfam’s safeguarding team received 80 reports. This is lower than the previous year which was expected as its appeal for survivors to come forward resulted in a marked increase in reports – many of which related to historical cases. Oxfam continues to encourage people to report concerns and has increased support to those that do.

In the last year Oxfam appointed a Global Director of Safeguarding, more than doubled the number of staff in its specialist safeguarding team and introduced enhanced screening for the recruitment of staff working overseas, as well as engaging with other aid agencies to work towards sustainable improvements across the sector.

While it is impossible to tell how many supporters Oxfam lost in 2018/19 as a direct result of the criticism over past safeguarding failings in Haiti, because income from regular giving fluctuates year on year, the organisation lost 7000 regular givers in the immediate aftermath, as acknowledged by former Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, at a Select Committee meeting in February 2018.

Oxfam saw a reduction in income from institutional donors, partly because it withdrew from new funding applications from the UK government in light of the Charity Commission’s investigation. The organisation predicted a significant drop in income for the financial year in the immediate aftermath of the criticism over past safeguarding failings in Haiti and, as a result, made the difficult decision to cut some support roles from head office. Oxfam expects the challenging financial environment for the sector and the High Street to continue and will monitor and control costs in the coming year.

The aid agency responded to a number of humanitarian emergencies in 2018/19, from the earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia, to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Oxfam continued to provide a lifeline to those affected by the war in Yemen and built the largest ever waste management system in a refugee camp, helping to protect 125,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh from disease.

In 2018/19 Oxfam’s campaigning and advocacy work helped to push the UK government to play a lead role in securing a crucial ceasefire in the port of Hudaydah, Yemen, which allowed vital aid to continue reaching people in need. And Parliament passed legislation requiring British Overseas Territories to be more transparent in order to prevent tax dodging – something Oxfam has been campaigning for since 2013.

Sriskandarajah said: “In many ways, our divided and increasingly volatile world needs organisations like Oxfam more than ever. From the communities who have been devastated by the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the families struggling to survive the war in Yemen, I’ve seen for myself how crucial our work continues to be.”

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For more information, or to receive a copy of Oxfam’s 2018/19 annual report, please contact the Oxfam media team on: 01865 472498 or email: media.unit@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:

All figures are for the financial year 2018/19.
· In total Oxfam helped 12.8 million people to fight poverty, including 9.7 million people affected by conflict and disaster.
· Total income was £434.1m, compared to £427.2m in 2017/18.
· Legacy income was £54.4m, compared to £18m in 2017/18.
· Trading income was £92.8m a slight decrease from £93.9m in 2017/18.
· Oxfam’s safeguarding team received 80 reports, compared to 155 reports in 2017/18.