US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The humanitarian aid organization Oxfam International has not escaped the coronavirus crisis. It is preparing to lay off nearly 1,500 people, and to end its activities to combat inequality in 18 countries.
The global financial crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic added to several difficulties that the organization had already faced for some time.
Heavily dependent on its stores, notably located in Europe, and on citizen donation campaigns, Oxfam saw its revenues decrease considerably with the containment measures. Two years ago, the scandal of sexual abuse committed in Haiti by employees of the organization during the 2010 earthquake had already caused a drop in donations, especially in England, where the confederation is based.
Oxfam is currently present in 66 countries, and has 20 national subsidiaries. After restructuring, it is expected to maintain a physical presence in 48 countries, but staff are concerned that the budget cuts will lead to further job cuts.
According to initial reports, Oxfam should lay off 1,450 people among its 5,000 employees, and end its collaboration with 700 partner organizations, out of the 1,900 it has today.
“The organizational changes we announced [Wednesday] , combined with other phases of transformation in the months to come, will form the basis of our future over the next decade, as the long-term effects of this pandemic devastating will become clearer, ” said Chema Vera, the executive director of Oxfam International.
The 18 countries affected by the closure of the national offices are Thailand, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Paraguay, Egypt, Tanzania, Sudan, the Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia and Mauritania.
Chema Vera said that Oxfam will nonetheless continue to support social movements in these countries, and will try to influence governments and the private sectors with the help of its partners “in favor of positive change”.
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