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Oxfam Australia started when two leading Australian international aid agencies, Community Aid Abroad and the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign merged together.
In 1953, Community Aid Abroad began in Melbourne’s suburbs as a church-affiliated group called Food for Peace Campaign, founded by Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker. Food for Peace sent weekly donations to a small health project in India, and eventually, Food for Peace groups were established throughout Victoria.
In 1962, a full-time campaign director was appointed and the name was changed to Community Aid Abroad. It’s name changed to reflect an aim to assist communities more broadly, rather than just providing food in order to maintain peace. Throughout the 1960s, local Community Aid Abroad groups were established across Australia.
In 1961, the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign was launched following the launch of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s five-year campaign, Freedom from Hunger. This community-based group aimed at raising global awareness about poverty issues around the world and gave the opportunity for people to directly support anti-poverty programs in developing countries.
Membership was only initially open to organisations rather than individual people. In 1964 the campaign grew to become a national organisation that conducted appeals for countries including India, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Ethiopia. It also supported Aboriginal issues and programs in Australia.
In 1992 the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign and Community Aid Abroad merged to became Oxfam. Oxfam Australia is currently one of Australia’s largest international development organisations and is one of Oxfam International’s founding members.
Oxfam been fighting poverty and injustice for over fifty years, but how does it accomplish this?
Contributing to long-term development
People can take control, solve their own problems, and rely on themselves – with the right support. Oxfam funds long-term projects around the world and work in a range of areas, from water and sanitation to education and health, to bring about positive change in people's lives.
Campaigning for change
Poverty isn’t just about lack of resources. In a wealthy world it’s about bad decisions made by powerful people.
Empowering communities in developing countries to realise their rights and improve their lives.
Engaging with organisations and governments to change policies that cause poverty and inequality.
People need help in an emergency – fast. We save lives, swiftly delivering aid, support and protection; and we help people prepare for future crises. For example, the current flooding in Queensland.
Approach Economic Justice
Supporting people to make a decent living, leading dignified lives free from poverty and hunger.
2. Essential Services
Helping people to have access to clean water, healthcare, education and sanitation.
3. Rights in crisis
Supporting people to live safe from war, violence and natural disaster.
4. Gender Justice
Supporting women and men to enjoy equal rights, and live free from violence and discrimination.
Oxfam Australia employs 723 people working in 12 countries. It has 307 staff in its Australian offices, 150 staff in the shops division and 266 in their overseas offices
There are 111 experienced humanitarian aid workers on Oxfam’s Australian register.
From 2009–2010, Oxfam’s 3,174 volunteers contributed 115,325 hours of work. This included 1,781 volunteers at events, 715 serving on state committees and groups, 347 in Oxfam’s shops, 279 in national and state offices, 44 in Oxfam’s warehouse and 8 with Oxfam Trading.
Oxfam’s 2,775 office, community and event volunteers contributed 70,527 hours of volunteer service. This represents a dollar equivalent of $2.4 million in productivity or an additional 38.75 full-time positions.
Oxfam’s volunteers come from a diverse range of age groups and ethnic backgrounds — 75% are women, 29% come from non-English speaking backgrounds and 51% are aged between 18 and 30.
Who’s In Charge?
The Executive Director, six directors and the Chief Financial Officer form Oxfam’s management team. Each director heads a specific section of the organisation and is supported by business unit managers and their staff. The functions and activities are divided into the following areas of work:
International programs Public policy and outreach Development effectiveness Operations and finance Retail Marketing
Andrew Hewett is the Executive Director. He is in control of operational management and has been working for Oxfam for over 20 years.
He is Vice President of ACFID, the peak council of non-government overseas development agencies, Co-Chair of the Make Poverty History coalition and a member of the Oxfam International Board.
Methods Used To Raise Money
Despite raising money to support local organisations distributed in less fortunate regions of the world and helping individuals help themselves Oxfam also aims to raise awareness about issues such as poverty and injustice. This is achieved through campaigns, public meetings, writings to the local newspaper and through the media.
Oxfam has numerous shops all over the world (Oxfam Unwrapped), which sell many fair-trade and donated items. The proceeds from these items usually go out to different charities or are used to further Oxfam's relief efforts around the globe. Much of the stock comes from public donations however recently products from developing countries ,for example clothing, toys and handcrafts are being bought.
Local fundraising events and collection is another method that Oxfam uses to raise money that they then use to pay for emergency and improvement work in the developing countries.
If you’re an employee, you can donate money directly through your pay on a regular basis and receive a tax-deduction as you give . It is a simple method to establish and run if you’re an employer.
Fundraising for Oxfam is another great way to support there work around the world and have fun while you're doing it. All that needs to be done is choose your type of fundraising activity for example a barbeque and fill in the fundraising application form. Once your fundraiser has been approved of you Oxfam will send a website link where you can start fundraising online through the website.
Where Is Oxfam Located?
Oxfam is an international confederation of 14 organisations working hard with over 3,000 dedicated people to fight poverty and injustice world wide.
The organisation has established offices and programs in regions including South Asia, Africa, East Asia and The Pacific within countries such as India, Zimbabwe, China, Cambodia, Fiji and Australia.
However these are over 70 countries and 8 regions Oxfam is situated at.
Oxfam Australia’s national office is situated in Leicester street, Carlton Victoria.
Oxfam Trail Walker is one of the greatest and toughest team challengers. The challenge is hike, run or walk across 100km of Australian bush with a team of four individuals in less than 48 hours whilst simultaneously raise at least $1,000 to help to overcome poverty and suffering around the world. On average more than 700 teams take part in the challenge. Oxfam Trailwaler originated in Hong Kong in 1981 as a military training exercise for the Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment. Over time Oxfam Trail Walker has become one of the largest fundraising sport events in Hong Kong and now has massive success annually in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Belgium.
The Pakistan floods is one of Oxfam's current appeals. Recently Pakistan has experienced its worst floods in living memory and in order to help people deal with the current crisis and its aftermath Oxfam has launched a rapid relief effort to reach people with clean water, sanitation kits and hygiene supplies.