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8 ways you helped Oxfam fight inequality in 2023

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Illustration: Emily Eberly/Oxfam

Your partnership helped Oxfam make real progress toward a more equal future.

2023 was a tumultuous year from start to finish. We saw crises deeply impact the lives of people around the world with devastating and unequal effects. As we close the year, from places like Gaza to Ukraine, too many people are experiencing droughts and flooding, hunger, inflation, as well as violent conflict.

Oxfam at its core is a hopeful organization. We refuse to accept an unequal world and we believe that a radically better world is within our grasp. We’re also realistic; we know that working toward this future will be a difficult fight. That’s why we are so thankful for you, our community. Your energy and support is what drives us and makes the seemingly impossible possible. Here’s what you helped us accomplish in 2023.

1. You helped us shift the conversation on systemic issues driving poverty and injustice

Over the last two years, Oxfam and allies helped stop fossil fuel companies and their allies in Congress from weakening the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We put pressure on the Biden administration to restore key pieces of NEPA and delivered 21,976 petition signatures to the Council on Environmental Quality, demanding the protection of NEPA and other important environmental justice laws. This summer, the White House made a vital advancement with the proposal of a new rule to streamline permitting for clean energy and other projects under NEPA that would require agencies to consider environmental justice and climate change in project reviews.

For years, Oxfam has been calling attention to rising inequality through our annual Davos reports and sustained advocacy to close the inequality gap by making the ultrawealthy pay their fair share. Last February, President Biden proposed an economic agenda in his State of the Union address that called for raising taxes on billionaires and corporations. This was an important step in the right direction and we plan to continue pushing the Biden administration and Congress to follow through on these proposals.

2. You helped us respond immediately and equitably when earthquakes struck

Members from the Matiya Women's Cooperative and Oxfam KEDV's Neighbourhood Leadership program pack prepared meals in Türkiye in early March. Photo: Yalcin Ciftci/Oxfam KEDV

Across Türkiye and Syria, more than 50,000 people lost their lives and an estimated 3 million people were forced to relocate from their homes as the result of two powerful earthquakes that hit in February. In the first six months of emergency response, we reached 952,428 people across Syria and Türkiye with food, water and sanitation facilities, awareness raising about health and hygiene and health issues, and interventions to address harms people face. In Türkiye, our affiliate Oxfam KEDV worked through its network of women’s cooperatives and community-led groups, which allowed us to reach more people and ensure that our response activities were tailored and appropriate, including for women. The response is now shifting to long-term recovery efforts.

In September, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake made impact in Morocco, causing severe destruction. It is estimated that 300,000 people, a third of whom are children, were directly affected and had their homes destroyed or damaged. With your help, Oxfam is launching a partner-led response, providing support to three Women’s Rights Organizations. Working through Women’s Rights Organizations helps ensure that our response is gender-sensitive and prevents an unequal response.

3. You helped us take action on climate change and make polluters pay

More than 75,000 people, including Oxfam supporters, showed up in New York City during Climate Week NYC, to demand an end to the era of fossil fuels. We marched together to send a message that we stand in solidarity with everyone who is facing the worst effects of climate change and demand accountability from the world’s highest emitters—wealthy polluters.

4. You helped us show up for the people of Israel and Palestine

Since hostilities began in early October 2023, Oxfam has supported the distribution of cash, food, and hygiene items to people in Gaza. In early November, Oxfam began providing food to people from Gaza who were working in the West Bank and have been unable to return home, serving three hot meals per day to more than 1,000 people in Ramallah and Jericho. In addition to providing aid, Oxfam has called for the release of hostages by Palestinian armed groups, an immediate ceasefire, and humanitarian access to civilians in Gaza. We also backed a letter to President Biden signed by artists like Jennifer Lopez, Bradley Cooper, Gigi Hadid, and Selena Gomez demanding a ceasefire.

5. You helped us shine a light on inequalities impacting the daily lives of Black women

Oxfam's panel, "This is How We Win," featured (l to r): Roishetta Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana, Ashley Shelton, executive director of Power Coalition, Dr. Lekeisha Richardson, Louisiana, Shamyra Lavigne, RISE St. James Rise, Maria Harmon, co-director/co-founder Step Up and Louisiana State Rep. Delisha Boyd. Photo: Partee Photography/Kayland Partee

Oxfam works closely with Black women and organizations representing them to build a movement that will define and promote policies for higher paying jobs, job protections, more resources for job training and other ways to break down barriers to upward mobility. This June, we launched the New Era for Black Women’s Initiative at Essence Fest, and since then, we are undertaking a listening tour throughout the Southeast region to hear from low-wage earners about their economic realities and hopes for the future. Our plan is to start working closely with Black women’s groups in the Southeast to co-create and support implementation of a Black women’s policy and advocacy agenda that addresses racial, gender, social justice, and economic inequality.

6. You helped us call attention to a care crisis in the US 

Oxfam launched the US Care Policy Scorecard in July, which assessed 30 federal policy indicators related to both unpaid care and underpaid care work in the U.S. The scorecard—which we co-published with National Women’s Law Center, Notre Dame University’s Integration Lab in the Keough School of Global Affairs, and the National Partnership for Women and Families—showed that federal policies are severely lacking, and the needs of caregivers and care workers are not being met. Oxfam supporters sent 6,914 letters to senators asking them to ensure families are not further harmed by a worsening childcare crisis.

7. You helped us tackle global hunger 

Zainabu Hussein, from Buna, Wajir County, Kenya, was displaced by floods. She is pictured here cooking outside an old government building provided by the chief of Buna. Photo: Mark Wahwai/Oxfam

As a result of ongoing conflicts, global inequality and surging food prices, 26 million people face crisis levels of food insecurity in South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This year, more than 1,500 of you helped draw attention to hunger by participating in our Skip A Meal campaign. And thanks to your financial support, Oxfam is partnering with local organizations to reach 1.24 million people across the four countries. Together, we're providing clean water and rapid flexible cash assistance matched with longer-term support to help communities be more resilient to the changing climate.

8. You lent us your ears and helped us with activism

This summer, we hung out with Oxfam supporters and made a lot of new friends at Bonnaroo. More than 600 festivalgoers engaged with us to talk about climate justice, fighting inequality, and activism. Throughout the year, nearly 6,000 music fans signed up to urge bolder action on climate action at SXSW, Bonnaroo Music Festival, and concerts including Paramore, My Morning Jacket, Dead & Company, Del Water Gap, Caroline Rose, and the 1975. You rock!

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