After more than five decades in Rwanda, Oxfam International – considered Britain’s other eye on the global stage, is ending its operations in Rwanda.
The global development charity is withdrawing from 18 countries and laying off almost a third of its program staff amid financial pressures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the east African community region, Oxfam is pulling out of three countries and only staying in the other three. It will leave Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania – but remain in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.
The other countries where Oxfam is shutting down are; Thailand, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Paraguay, Egypt, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia, and Mauritania.
According to a strategic review of the charity, now spearheaded by its Interim Executive Director Chema Vera, the move will affect around 1,450 out of nearly 5,000 program staff, and 700 of its 1,900 partner organizations.
Oxfam International began downsizing its operations since 2018 under Winnie Byanyima, the current UNAIDS executive director. Oxfam’s troubles have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen fundraising events canceled and Oxfam stores closed.
In Rwanda, Oxfam is involved in a range of sectors including humanitarian support for Burundian refugees, horticulture sector, empowering rural women in the fight against gender-based violence, and the judiciary.