When failure is an option

Innovative, unfiltered, and impact-driven. Lyndsay Stecher describes what it means for Oxfam to work in partnership with trusts and foundations. Everything we do at Oxfam is possible because of funding. We are not naïve to the fact that this has an impact on programme decisions. Funding provides great opportunities, but when misapplied, it can also drive the wrong priorities. Last …

A user-centred handwashing kit for emergencies

Foyeke Tolani, Public Health Promotion Adviser and Project Coordinator, describes how a collaboration with a UK school sparked the process of developing Oxfam’s innovative new handwashing kit. For over a decade, we had been exploring handwashing kit options to replace the Tippy Tap. The Tippy Tap requires lots of promotion for sustained use, and as a device it is not …

Solar study lamps in Sierra Leone

Renewable Energy Policy Advisor, Kevin Johnstone, outlines some of the educational benefits of solar study lamp campaigns, and their potential to achieve much more. The cost of night studies Sometimes Bintu’s family couldn’t afford batteries for home lighting, and on those nights, she couldn’t complete her school work. Bintu’s mother explained that if “you don’t have batteries, your children will …

Making change happen

Oxfam GB’s Head of Publishing, Emily Gillingham, explains why and how we developed a free, online course for changemakers, and what the early results show. “I’m hoping this course will help me focus my objectives a bit more and discover what small but important steps I can take towards promoting change, changing minds and minding our community.” This comment from …

Handwashing innovation

Joel Trotter describes how it feels to see Oxfam’s brand-new handwashing kit tested, refined, and ready to go into action. Oxfam’s Promotion and Practice Handwashing Kit is a robust, user-friendly handwashing station that is easily assembled in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. It allows for improved, timely handwashing and reduces people’s health risks in emergency displacement camps. It was …

Reinventing the toilet

Brian McSorley on Oxfam’s contribution to ensuring the poorest people on the planet have access to a loo. Earlier this month, Bill Gates stood up to address an international conference holding a jar full of human faeces.  In a sector that has been underfunded and overlooked for decades, The Gates Foundation has been a disruptive and positive force in raising …

What can blockchain do for the humanitarian sector?

Nicole Hahn and Josh Hallwright from Oxfam Australia explain why they are excited about the possibilities which blockchain systems offer to improve the effectiveness of aid to the poorest people. It seems as though everyone is talking about cryptocurrencies and blockchain these days and the humanitarian sector is no different. Plenty of people say the whole thing is over-hyped, only …

Empowering girls and women through ICTs

Empowering girls and women through ICTs isn’t just a question of social justice, it’s also smart economics. Kirsten Bickford explains why. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are often cited as the essential backbone behind socio-economic growth. It’s the industry seen to embody the agility and innovation underpinning our future work force and driving improved outcomes for sustainable development. These are …

Evolving ICTs in humanitarian: The power of networks

Amy O’Donnell unpacks the idea that ICTs save time, money and improve accuracy, whilst exploring the conditions needed for them to add value in humanitarian response. For three years, the Scaling Humanitarian ICTs Network (SHINE) funded by Sida has been exploring the role of Information Communications Technologies in humanitarian response. Last month all five countries in the network: Ethiopia, DRC, …