Oxfam to cut programmes after sex scandal costs it £16m
A spokeswoman from Oxfam has confirmed numerous reports last week that the charity is facing the prospect of making redundancies and cutting aid programmes after losing out on some £16m of unrestricted funding due to the charity’s ongoing sex scandal.
According to reports in the national media last week, Oxfam’s outgoing chief executive Mark Goldring circulated an internal document to staff which said that the charity will be forced to make redundancies and cut back on aid programmes after losing out on £16m worth of funding due to its ongoing sex scandal.
A spokeswoman for Oxfam GB confirmed the reports, and said that the charity will be “cutting head office and support functions” to deal with its sudden unrestricted funding shortfall.
The spokeswoman said: “We are devastated that the appalling behaviour of some former staff in Haiti, and shortcomings in how we dealt with that eight years ago, means we now have less money to provide clean water, food and other support to people who need it.
“We are immensely grateful to all those – including more than nine in 10 of our regular givers – who have continued to support us during these difficult times. This support makes a massive difference to people struggling to escape poverty and to survive disasters around the world.
“We are cutting head office and support functions to ensure that we can continue with the majority of our lifesaving and life-changing work on the ground, such as helping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and people struggling to survive war in Yemen.
“Our other top priority for investment is our action plan to strengthen our continuing efforts to root out sexual harassment and abuse.”
Internal staff document
In the document, seen by The Guardian last week, and since confirmed by the charity, Goldring said Oxfam GB will “have to save substantial amounts of money to put [us] on a more stable and sustainable footing” in the future.
He also said that job losses will be “inevitable” and raised the idea of selling off high-street shops and reducing the number of countries in which Oxfam GB operates.
“We need to be running a smaller infrastructure,” he said. “Sadly the loss of some roles is inevitable as we cannot otherwise make savings of this scale”.
It continues: “We will seek to maintain our overall level of support for country programmes but narrow the range of support we offer within our themes of water, women, work and equality. In addition, from 2019 we will begin to reduce the number of countries in which we invest as a partner affiliate.”
Oxfam has been reeling since allegations of sexual misconduct were first published in The Times in February. Since the initial stories were published, the Department for International Development has temporarily disqualified Oxfam for applying for funding, and Goldring has confirmed he will be stepping down from the organisation.
Last week, the Haitian government also effectively banned Oxfam GB from operating in the country, citing the charity’s “violation of its laws and serious breach of the principle of human dignity”.
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