Methods and approaches

Emelina Dominguez, agricultural technician, 42, watering broccoli. (Honduras, 2007)

All Oxfam's work is under-pinned by a rights-based approach. We believe that all people have social, economic, political, and civil rights, as well as rights under humanitarian law. We believe that when they have sufficient resources and power, people can solve their own problems, so we support self-reliance, not dependency.  We also work towards addressing wider national, regional, and global issues and our work on the ground informs our campaigning to secure lasting change.

How we work

Working with others

Working with others is central to Oxfam's mandate - we can achieve much more by working together than if we act separately. We work with local communities and local NGOs to find the best solutions, as we believe that they and other civil society partners have the best understanding of how to represent and address their rights, needs, and aspirations.

Our partners are central to creating the conditions necessary for effective structural change. We are building partnerships with an increasingly diverse set of groups, including governments, international organisations and the private sector, in order to be as effective as possible in the fight against poverty and inequality.

Putting women at the heart of all we do

The majority of people living in poverty are women and girls. Although progress has been made towards more equality between women and men, variations remain across countries and regions, classes and ethnic groups.

Putting women's rights at the heart of all that we do will help us to achieve our mission to overcome poverty and suffering.

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation

Climate change is already affecting many of the communities with which Oxfam works, undermining their livelihoods through gradual changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and increasing the frequency and/or intensity of natural hazards such as floods.

Oxfam can only fulfil its mission to overcome poverty and suffering if we address the underlying causes of climate change and deal with the unavoidable consequences. We therefore aim to integrate climate change adaptation across our programmes.

Monitoring, evaluation and research

Accountability lies at the core of Oxfam's values. In all our work we strive to help people living in poverty to know and demand their rights and to hold to account those in power (including ourselves and other NGOs). For Oxfam to call for greater accountability from others, we must be accountable ourselves.

We monitor our progress through collaboration with partners and communities to collect high quality data against programme indicators, and commission independent evaluators to carry out assessments of the impact of our work.

Oxfam conducts and uses research across our campaigns, policy and programming activities. Research enables Oxfam as an institution to look ahead and plan strategically in a fast-changing world. It underpins our advocacy and campaigning work and helps us to design, monitor, and assess the impact of our country-level programmes. 

Oxfam published our first accountability report in 2007. This set out our definition of accountability and our targets for becoming more accountable to all our stakeholders. We report back on the extent to which we have achieved these targets and set out or objectives for improved accountability for the future.