Top 10 things you need to know about Oxfam

By Chris Hufstader

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1: Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice.

We believe that poverty is wrong, and that it is not an inevitable fact of life. We work to end poverty-- to right this wrong-- by saving lives in emergencies, working on long-term solutions for the underlying causes of poverty, and campaigning for social change.

2: You can trust us.

We are highly rated by leading independent charity evaluators, including the American Institute of Philanthropy. In 2012 Oxfam was awarded four (out of four) stars from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest charity evaluator. Oxfam America is a member of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and meets their high standards of operations, spending, truthfulness, and disclosure. We do not accept any funding from the US government; this helps us stay independent.

3: We work with local and national organizations: our partners.

We provide local partners grants for their anti-poverty programs and work with them to build alliances, networks, and effective organizations that will eventually be self-sufficient. Most important, we work with our partners to learn; what they teach us about the best solutions to poverty is just as valuable as the funding and collaboration we provide them.

4: We believe that fighting poverty is about fighting injustice.

Poverty often arises from the violation of people’s basic rights. When someone is denied the right to own land, the right to education, access to basic services like clean water, a fair price for the crops they grow, or a fair wage for the work they do, the result is poverty.

5: The projects we fund are community driven.

Our local partners do the work, so the results are theirs. Locally informed and locally driven solutions to poverty are the best solutions—the most sustainable and the most appropriate—because they come from the people who can keep the initiatives going after Oxfam and its funding goes away.

6: Poverty puts people in harm's way.

Poverty makes people vulnerable to calamities—from armed conflicts to earthquakes. It is poverty that forces people to live in violent areas or to build their houses with flimsy materials in locations vulnerable to floods and landslides. We help people in vulnerable communities to reduce their risks, and to advocate with their governments to support their efforts.

7: We help people learn about their basic rights and how to defend them.

By educating people about their rights, we help to build strong communities that compel governments and other institutions to deliver on their responsibilities. When citizens hold their governments accountable, they can change the systems that keep people trapped in poverty.

8: We are a member of the international confederation Oxfam.

We are an international confederation of 17 like-minded organizations that collaborate on global campaigns and major humanitarian interventions. We work with 3,000 local partners in more than 90 countries and devote more than $1.1 billion annually to fighting poverty.

9: Laws, policies, and institutions have an enormous impact on poverty.

Yet, poor people are not consulted about major issues like international trade law, climate change talks, or how wealthy countries administer foreign aid programs that are supposed to help them. We work to help people directly affected by laws and policies to have a voice in their formulation. And we wage campaigns to convince decision makers to respect the views of poor communities.

10: You can join the effort. Everyone—including you—has a part to play in the fight against poverty and injustice.

With the power of many voices speaking together, we can call on companies and legislators to change the laws and practices that keep people in poverty. We can also raise awareness and inspire action on some of the world's most urgent issues. We can't do this alone. Please join our eCommunity; we need your voice and your support. No matter who you are, or how busy you are, you can make a difference.

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