Improving safeguarding and culture at Oxfam

Oxfam volunteers in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Oxfam volunteers at work at Nayapara makeshift camp in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The key objective of our response is to provide life-saving basic assistance in settlements, camps and host communities, and to seek protection, dignity and safety of Rohingya refugees. Photo: Saikat Mojumder/Oxfam

In 2019 Oxfam has developed an “Improving Safeguarding and Culture Plan” to drive its work over the next two years. The plan builds upon our ongoing work and is strengthened by the recommendations from both the Independent and Charity Commission reports.

It aims to align our approach to safeguarding across Oxfam’s international confederation (i.e. 20 independent affiliate members, seven regional platforms, and 65 country teams). It links our work on safeguarding, culture change, gender, programs and human resources, within an improved governance framework.

Adapting to a new context

In 2020 we continued to deliver to these commitments. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted on plans, with attention diverted to a humanitarian, programmatic and influencing response of global proportions. Oxfam is acting fast to adapt to this new context.

The outbreak has brought unprecedented changes for individuals, families and communities.The risks related to sexual exploitation and abuse are heightened in the face of stress, fear, economic uncertainty and chaotic environments. At the same time, the barriers to reporting and responding have also increased.

In response, we have created a number of additional tools for staff and partners and we have been working in collaboration with interagency mechanisms to support and deliver best practice initiatives in these unique circumstances.

Read our latest progress report, which includes our safeguarding data, to learn more about what we have done over October 2020 to March 2021.