Oxfam Scandal: Foreign Aid Sits in the Firing Line

A series of allegations of sexual exploitation have been made against the UK charity Oxfam. The scandal has prompted the discussion of corruption in foreign aid, which has led to a call for funding cuts. Furthermore, it has reopened a longstanding debate about foreign aid in the UK. Theresa May faces growing pressure in light of these new allegations. She is being urged to abandon Britain’s commitment to its 0.7% national income to the world poorest people. According to the government, the money helps create a ‘safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and the UK’.

In its simplest of terms, foreign aid is known when money, food or other resources are given to another country. Bilateral aid is often sent to countries such as Pakistan, Ethiopia, Syria and Nigeria amongst many others.

On Monday night, the former head Penny Lawrence resigned after it was revealed that teenage volunteers have been abused in UK shops. Alongside this, it has been reported that overseas aid had been traded for sex during the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Following public outrage, social media users have taken to Twitter to condemn what is being considered as an ‘extremely serious violation of human dignity ‘ by Haiti President, Jovenel Moise.

It has been argued by some, that the British taxpayer should no longer be obliged to fund the failings of Oxfam. Yet others, examine the stance of the true victims here. One user echoed it is ‘Wrong to argue cuts to the foreign aid budget in light of #Oxfam problems’ as cuts will ‘leave communities poorer and with less access to vital resources’. This takes into consideration the vital necessities that would be stripped from people who have committed no wrongdoings, which would punish them for the failures of the charity.

To gauge our own narrative, iCov Political News Day launched its own enquiry on social media. A snapshot of some responses shows that there appears to be lack of trust amongst the wider public.











With a shift in public views as seen above, it posses the question as to whether systematic action will be taken as public condemnation continues. The scandal has subsequently broken public trust and damaged the confidence in charities. The tone and feedback shown on social media, implies an increasing amount of people are taking matters into their own hands. Instead of donating through conventional means, the public is now using independent measures. More significantly, this sends a message to the government that people are readily making social changes. Their altered perceptions are clearly indicated by the statistics generated online. 9 voters took place in the poll generated on Twitter. It shows a divide amongst users with 44% voting ‘Yes’, 44% answering ‘No’ and 12% remaining undecided.

As debates continue and uproar intensifies, we encourage the public to continue to share their view on social media, using the hashtag #OxfamScandal and #iCovTalks. With extensive news coverage, we wait to see action from Theresa May and how the world will respond to Oxfam following on from this breaking news.



Monifa Bobb-Simon

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