Oxfam: Improving Livelihoods

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The mission of Oxfam GB (Oxfam) is to tackle poverty and inequality across the world, including the UK and Ireland where more than 13 million people live in poverty.

Poverty today

You’re more likely to be poor if you’re a woman – women earn just 10% of the world’s income, yet work two-thirds of the world’s working hours.

Poverty is about injustice and inequality, wherever you are. It can mean children going to school hungry or to bed without enough food.

It can mean not being able to afford a winter coat or to heat your home. It’s no coincidence that people in poor communities are in worse health and have a shorter life expectancy, and as costs soar, the problem is expected to get worse.

Combating poverty through improving nutrition & self-esteem

The Unilever Foundation’s partnership with Oxfam will improve lives around the world through programmes designed to empower individuals – particularly women – and to deliver good nutrition and clean, safe drinking water.

In the UK and Ireland, the Unilever Foundation is supporting Oxfam’s efforts to combat poverty in underprivileged communities with a focus on improving nutrition and self-esteem. The goal is to work together to enable women and their families to move from surviving to thriving.

Unilever is working with Oxfam in three ways:

  • Developing projects with people living in poverty to improve their lives and show how things can change.
  • Raising public awareness of poverty in the UK to create pressure for change.
  • Working with policy-makers to tackle the causes of poverty.

With support from the Unilever Foundation, Oxfam is focused on ensuring that people in the UK and Ireland have a secure income which gives them enough money to live on.

Oxfam is also tackling the discrimination that makes women, ethnic minority groups and others more vulnerable to poverty.

In July 2012 Unilever Thailand set up a programme with Oxfam to “enhance women’s livelihoods in Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani”. The programme is in line with the Unilever Foundation’s global mission of promoting self-esteem and aims to give women the basic skills needed for sustainable farming and to develop their understanding of business, so that they can create a better – and more sustainable – future for themselves and their families.

Unilever works with Oxfam Australia and has embarked on a three-year partnership with them in support of programmes in Australia and Cambodia. In the Australian region, one programme that aligns well with our business is in the area of health and well-being work where Oxfam is helping to raise life expectancy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by providing healing and culturally targeted health services.

In Cambodia, Unilever is providing support that will help Oxfam to build clean water systems and toilets, provide water filters and promote hygiene across 71 villages. Many people in these villages lack access to clean water and adequate sanitation, and infectious diseases are widespread.

In Mexico, we are collaborating with Oxfam Mexico in a project called Safe Water, Health Promotion and Food Safety, supporting two communities in Tabasco, one of the Mexican states that is most affected by climate change.

Unilever also works with Oxfam on disaster and emergency relief and has responded emergencies in Pakistan, across Africa and the Syria Crisis.

More information about our partnership with Oxfam in other countries will be shared here as it becomes available.