The Oxfam Saga in African countries

Oxfam has been making headlines a while ago and all for the wrong reasons which is very ironic given the fact that this is a combination of about 17 charitable organisations operating in 90 countries including African countries like Nigeria, yet one would think it is only mentioned for bringing relief to those marred with disasters.

After being all over the News for allegedly using sex workers while they were at work in Haiti after the devastating earthquake, Oxfam is yet again under fire for further alleged sexual abuse in South Sudan.

It is reported that 11 to 14% of the staff in 3 countries said they were allegedly molested or raped by their counterparts.

These allegations caused the Oxfam Deputy Chief, Penny Lawrence to resign saying she is horrified all this happened under her watch which h is ironic because a staff member tried to bring these actions to light but was denied a hearing from the senior officials


How the abuse comes about in African countries

Oxfam and other charitable organisations usually come up in incidents of devastation like earthquakes, floods, wars, and the after effects of such events. This therefore means that they come into contact with very vulnerable people who at times have nothing on them and are facing hunger, deadly sicknesses, can’t go to school are have no roofs over their heads. This puts certain staff of organisations at positions of power thus exploiting the vulnerable victims or weaker and younger staff into doing things against their will in exchange for necessities.

Languages and Oxfam

One may say that maybe language has something to do with this entire saga. Well, although the staff may have a language in common it may not be the case with the people on ground; these might be the aid receivers or the volunteers. Maybe if there was effective communication then some of these alleged abuses or misbehavior would be avoided. Here professional translation services come in handy when interpreters of native languages as per region of operation are put into place. The main working languages for Oxfam are English, Spanish and French.

Some of Africa’s big names linked to Oxfam include a Ugandan; Winnie Byanyima, an Oxfam executive Director and wife to Uganda’s face of opposition Dr. Kiiza Besigye and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African who resigned as an Oxfam ambassador after the organization was hit by sexual abuse allegations.

African countries
Archbishop Desmond Tutu to cut ties with Oxfam.

According to Soft power, Byanyima stated in her African mother tongue; Runyankore “Okuruga ahamutima gwangye, mutusaasire”, which loosely translated is ‘from the bottom of my heart, forgive us’. She went on further to promise a beefing up in the safeguarding processes on Oxfam projects to ensure that such unfortunate events take place no more.

African countries
Winnie Byanyima; a high ranking executive in Oxfam.

Translation services best for charitable organisations

Some of the African countries where Oxfam operates