Here’s what you helped Oxfam accomplish in 2020

By Divya Amladi
Graphic: Emily Eberly/Oxfam

In a year marked by disruption and change, you kept us going.

The year 2020 has been tumultuous. The year kicked off with devastating wildfires in Australia and only grew grimmer—with a global pandemic that is producing a hunger crisis and rising inequality; racial tensions coming to a head; and a contentious election cycle.

Despite all of that, we do have something to be thankful for—you. We have been able to count on your support of Oxfam and the people we work with around the world. Together, we have been able to respond where people need us the most.

As we wind down the year, we look back at some of the work we were able to accomplish.

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Nur (name changed) uses a contactless handwashing device Oxfam installed in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Credit: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

You helped us respond to COVID-19.

As soon as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Oxfam mobilized a global response centering on our more than 400 local partners. As of November 30, we have reached 11,325,456 people in 63 countries with advocacy and aid, including water, sanitation, and public health promotion. In July, we learned an estimated 12,000 people a day could die from hunger linked to COVID-19. As a result, we started providing food and cash assistance as well as social protection services to people in 26 countries, as well as COVID-19 protection and personal hygiene kits.

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Oxfam staff called on Whole Foods to protect its workers. Photo: Becky Davis

You stood with essential workers in the US.

Early in the pandemic, Oxfam realized that grocery stores were prioritizing profits over the health and safety of their workers. We analyzed the worker protection policies of major US grocery stores and found that they were all failing in terms of safety, protection, and dignity on the job. In June, we delivered more than 50,000 signatures to executives of Albertson’s, Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods, calling on the sector to protect its workforce.

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Samiha Ali collects water in a jerry can at a distribution point built by Oxfam in the Taiz Governorate, Yemen. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

You helped us keep people healthy when crises multiplied in Yemen.

The pandemic amplified the effects of ongoing conflict and emergencies, such as in Yemen, where five years of conflict led to a cholera crisis. With your support, we rehabilitated three water systems in Lahj, Yemen, transforming pumps so they can use solar power—thereby ensuring they are sustainable. Now, over 12,000 people have access to clean, safe water.

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Oxfam staff secure a water supply tank inside the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar to protect it from the impact of Cyclone Amphan. Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

You helped us save lives when natural disasters struck.

Cyclone Amphan, the strongest cyclone recorded in the Bay of Bengal, hit India and Bangladesh, threatening the lives of people who were already vulnerable to COVID-19, including hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Before the storm, Oxfam and partners in both countries prepared shelters and spread public awareness . After, we promoted hygiene awareness and delivered food rations, clean water, and sanitation facilities to those in the cyclone’s path.

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Graphic: Sandy Stowe/Oxfam America

You helped us defend unaccompanied children.

In November, Oxfam, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, won a class action lawsuit against the Trump administration for using COVID-19 as an excuse to deport thousands of unaccompanied children. The order had resulted in the expulsion of at least 13,000 children; blocking it will allow thousands of children and families to find safe haven. This win in court led to direct relief for the plaintiff and 97 additional kids.

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Photo: Becky Davis/Oxfam

You helped us advocate for an inclusive democratic process.

Oxfam demanded Dignity for All throughout the 2020 election cycle. Along with partners like When We All Vote, we aimed to ensure everyone had a voting plan and access to the information they needed to vote in person or by mail. We also worked with a coalition of partners, such as Common Cause and Public Citizen, to encourage early voting and advocate for voter protection and access to mail-in voting.

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Photo: Jed Regala/Oxfam

You helped us highlight gender inequality in caregiving.

In January, Oxfam released a report revealing that women around the world spend more time than men on unpaid care and domestic work. That gap has only widened as pandemic lockdowns and school and daycare closures have increased unpaid care in households around the world. This summer, Oxfam participated in the global #howIcare campaign, which was supported by real-time research in five countries. The result: In all countries, women were experiencing rising levels of illness, stress, and anxiety because of the additional care work.

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You rocked out for COVID-19 relief.

On March 22, our musician friends Lucius and Courtney Barnett played an online concert to benefit Oxfam’s COVID-19 Relief Fund . The four-hour livestream featured a dozen performers, including Sheryl Crow, Lukas Nelson, and Fred Armisen, and raised about $38,000. “The Oxfam benefit concert thrown by Courtney Barnett and Lucius set a very high bar for online concerts to come,” wrote Billboard Magazine.

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Photo provided by San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

You helped us show up for undocumented workers.

Oxfam staff and allies in Washington campaigned for months for state relief money for undocumented workers as part of the Undocumented WA Worker Relief campaign, led by the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network. Undocumented workers previously weren’t eligible to receive federal relief money, but the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, announced in October, provides $1,000 per approved adult.

We also partnered with the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium by providing seed funding that led to their launch of a COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, which helps immigrants in San Diego County—particularly those without documentation.

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You joined us in exploring the power of storytelling for activism.

In August, Oxfam co-hosted a horror storytelling webinar tied to Jayro Bustamante’s political horror film La Llorona. The film, available on Shudder.com, reimagines a classic fable as a metaphor of Guatemala's civil war. The panel discussion featured Bustamante, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Guatemalan Congresswoman Lucrecia Hernández Mack. In November, La Llorona was submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film of the Academy Awards.

Your support this year has helped people living in poverty across the globe, whether they were impacted by COVID-19, surviving a natural disaster, or fighting for their rights. Without support from our Oxfam community, none of this work would have been possible.

Help us continue to work toward ending the injustice of poverty.

Donate now

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