Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

What we do

What we do

One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilising the power of people against poverty.

Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

In all we do, Oxfam works with partner organisations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.

Operating at all levels — from individual households to global forums — Oxfam Australia strives to:

  • save lives before, during, and after humanitarian crises
  • work locally with people and communities to support their development and influence policies and practices that will reduce poverty
  • influence governments, institutions and businesses to develop and implement laws, policies and practices that help people rise out of poverty.

We also run humanitarian appeals — to which the Australian public responds generously — and successful campaigns to mobilise Australians to take positive action to bring about change. The success of much of our work is thanks to our diverse and committed supporters and volunteers.

Our Oxfam shops help to build our profile, educate the public, raise funds for our programs, and, by selling a range of Fair Trade and other selected products, support small-scale producers in countries where we work.

Working in partnership to deliver programs that change people’s lives

Oxfam Australia works with hundreds of program partners: small and large organisations working locally to deliver programs that help to save lives and tackle poverty and injustice in practical and innovative ways. We also work with our partners and allies to deliver programs at the national and international level. By developing relationships with organisations, coalitions and movements that share our values, we aim to address the root causes of poverty, vulnerability and injustice. Adopting this approach means that the people and communities we seek to benefit develop their own equitable and long-lasting solutions as well as the confidence and skills to voice and claim their rights.

Contributing to long-term development

Poor people can take control, solve their own problems, and rely on themselves – if they receive the right support. We fund long-term projects around the world and work in a range of areas, from water and sanitation to education and health, to bring about positive change in people’s lives.

Campaigning for change

Poverty has many complex causes, which means that there is no single, quick, or easy solution. Long-term change of the necessary scale requires more than just supporting people on the ground — it also requires political change, which is why our work must increase the power and self-determination of poor and disadvantaged people.

In just the last two decades, 660 million people have risen out of poverty. We believe that with the necessary human action and political will, it is possible to achieve a world that is free of poverty.

To achieve change, Oxfam Australia:

  • works with local organisations to build their capacity to influence and effect change that improves the lives of poor people and enables them to voice and claim their rights
  • supports women and first nations peoples to claim their rights and hold leadership roles in order to influence and achieve change
  • brokers, mobilises, and participates in networks that influence governments, corporations and institutions to become more accountable and bring about sustainable and systemic change locally, and internationally
  • brings together organisations that represent poor people, with relevant governments, corporations and institutions, so that they can discuss problems safely and with dignity, and work collaboratively to identify ways of redressing the imbalance of power.

We also continuously develop our understanding of the issues that cause and perpetuate poverty, and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs in order to improve them. To this end, we research the causes of poverty, identify and respond to opportunities to address systemic barriers to equality, and learn from our own and others’ work so that we can develop new and innovative ways of tackling poverty.

Responding to emergencies

People need help in an emergency – fast. We save lives by swiftly delivering aid, support and protection; and we help people prepare for future crises. Right now, we’re responding to these emergencies around the world.

All of our work has one goal: to bring about positive change in the lives of people living in poverty.

Our right-based approach

Our work with people living in poverty is guided by a rights-based approach – the belief that every human being has rights and that these rights are inalienable, universal, indivisible and interdependent. We believe that respect for human rights will help lift people out of poverty and injustice, allow them to assert their dignity and bring about sustainable development.