What Oxfam is doing
Since 1999, Oxfam America has been working through our partners to improve the lives of families in East Asia by building their skills in pond aquaculture, natural vegetable gardening, rice farming, and small businesses.
Our current program focuses on helping small scale rice farmers increase their rice yields through the System of Rice Intensification, and mobilizing local savings groups through Saving for Change. Using an integrated approach that combines these two programs and engages entire families, Oxfam America is empowering farmers through networking, promoting ecologically-friendly agricultural practices, community finance, knowledge-sharing and mutual cooperation with neighbors. In addition, Oxfam America advocates for policies that create a better environment for small-scale farmers to produce and sell their agricultural products so that they can ensure a better future for their families.
While Oxfam America employs a variety of strategies to achieve our mission, the goal in all our endeavors is the same: to enable poor people to exercise their right to manage their own lives.
Program in practice
Oxfam America has taken great strides to build human connections through our Saving for Change community finance program in Cambodia, which teaches rural people to form savings groups within their own villages. Through these groups, farmers pool their own money, and together make decisions about setting interest rates and handing out loans from the community fund. Oxfam’s partner organization, CEDAC, pairs Saving for Change training with the System of Rice Intensification, or SRI. A process of 12 low-cost, simple practices, SRI helps small farmers increase their yields of rice by 50 to 100 percent while allowing them to save on seed and water costs.
In East Asia, headline-making disasters strike frequently in the form of tsunamis, cyclones, and earthquakes. But along the Mekong Delta, natural disasters such as flash floods and droughts remain hidden from a wider audience—even when they destroy the livelihoods of the poor people who rely on the land to support their families. In addition, climate change-related erratic weather and rising sea levels have caused even more floods, droughts, and storm surges.
Following an emergency, Oxfam brings in supplies and skills to help meet people's basic water, food, shelter and sanitation needs. Our efforts, along with our partners, aim to safeguard public health, which is key to a quick recovery.
In the long-term, Oxfam stays to work with affected communities on plans that encourage economic security and self-sufficiency; these plans include replacing work tools and supplies or agricultural training programs. We also work with communities, governments, international aid groups, United Nation agencies, and regional scientific and development organizations, to research, design, and implement cross-boundary activities that teach people to strengthen community resilience to climate-related natural disasters and pandemics; improve disaster communication and damage assessment; and raise awareness and build skills to implement large-scale disaster preparedness at the national and local levels.
Program in practice
When Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar's delta region in May 2008, Oxfam committed $800,000 to help non-governmental organizations in the area meet the immediate needs of the people through a mixture of funding, technical expertise, and equipment.
Oil, gas, and mining
Oil, gas, and minerals, or the extractive industries, are the fastest growing and richest sectors in the Mekong Region. For example, in Vietnam, the government relies heavily on extractive industry revenues, with 33.8 percent of Vietnam’s national budget coming from oil, gas, and mining and 250,000 people employed by this sector. Oxfam America brings the government, civil society, and the private sectors together to work for a transparent and accountable process in all of the extractive industries across the Mekong Region. Oxfam works with strategic partners with the objective that oil, gas, and mining projects are designed in ways that respect the rights of poor people and contribute to long-term poverty reduction efforts. We do this through education, supporting legal reform, and building up the capacity of individual organizations and larger alliances. Oxfam works with communities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that information about the development of extractive industries reaches those affected, and that they are able to influence decisions on the industry development.
Program in practice
Oxfam brought together NGOs from different sectors in Cambodia and helped them to form alliances to focus on effective revenue transparency and management as well as mitigating the impact of the industry on communities and the environment. At the same time, Oxfam assists Cambodian and Vietnamese governments to reform their mining laws in order to make them internationally competitive.