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Water, health and education

A boy washes himself at a water pipe in Kebkabiye, North Darfur. Eva-Lotta Jansson/Oxfam America

All people should have the right to equitable access to education, health care and water. We meet the need for water and sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH) in crises and support rights holders to campaign for the provision of essential services by duty bearers in the long term, as well as working with others for more and better financing of essential services.

Oxfam's programming on education, health, and HIV and AIDS has directly benefited people who are excluded from such services and also provided evidence to strengthen policy and campaigning work. 

Visit our WASH and Public Health in Emergencies pages for more on water and sanitation in emergencies.

Key strategies

Holding governments to account to meet the needs of people living in poverty

We strengthen national coalitions and networks so that they ensure rights to essential services are being met and  governments fulfil their duty to meet the needs of people living in poverty. Where necessary, we provide direct support in emergencies or pilot approaches that provide new evidence of effective service delivery.

Strengthening capacity and capability of citizens

We work at local, national, and global levels to help raise awareness about rights and responsibilities of the most vulnerable and strengthen civil society's ability to engage on issues of health, HIV and AIDS, education, and water.

Campaigning and advocacy

We work with civil society at local, national, and global levels to campaign and advocate for policy changes and increased accountability of service providers. We strengthen the capacity of citizens and their organisations to hold governments to account for provision of gender-equitable services and systems for responding to HIV and AIDS that meet the needs of poor people.

Advocacy priorities

Oxfam believes in a rapid scale-up of publicly provided free education, health, and water as the primary strategy to reach poor people. Oxfam is against rich countries and the World Bank pushing risky and unproven private sector solutions to health education and water in poor countries.

Oxfam will:

  • Support more low-income countries to remove fees and scale up access to health care, and to resist inappropriate health insurance schemes.
  • Encourage donors to support UNITAID to cut the price of medicines.
  • Urge drug companies to adopt medical policies that do not undermine access to medicines.
  • Press the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) to be transparent about the prices of vaccines and proactive in cutting prices.
  • Campaign for reform of The Education for All Fast Track Initiative to create a Global Fund for Education and donors urged to support this.

The 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals is a major opportunity to push donor countries to delivery on their promises at the same time as renewing and refreshing the development agenda and we will work with others to maximise this.