Oxfam closes shop in Tanzania

Friday May 22 2020

 

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. At least 50 people will lose their jobs and several projects affected in Tanzania after Oxfam International announced closure of offices in 18 countries.

The global aid organisation has seen its funding model hit by an accumulation of crises and had been bleeding cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past five years, the organisation spent some 32.194 million Pounds on its projects in Tanzania.

Oxfam International is laying off almost 1,500 staff due to cash flow challenges.

Oxfam said the move will affect about 1,450 out of nearly 5,000 programme staff, and 700 of its 1,900 partner organisations.

“I would like to place on record my deepest thanks to our staff and the brilliant work they have achieved in helping the people and communities we work with improve their lives,” Oxfam International’s interim executive director Chema Vera is quoted  by UK’s The Guardian.

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Oxfam will shut down its country offices in Thailand, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Paraguay, Egypt, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia and Mauritania.

Although the international organisation had begun a 10-year strategic review in late 2018, the charity finances have been pushed to the brink by the coronavirus pandemic which has shuttered Oxfam shops in the UK, Belgium and Germany and seen fundraising events cancelled The Guardian reports.

In Tanzania, Oxfam currently employs 50 people based in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha and Kigoma regions, according to the Oxfam country director in Tanzania, Mr Odokorach Shanty Francis.

He said the reorganisation will take time to complete and that the official date would take time to be decided.He said, however, that the organisation will take a respon-sible and collective approach involving all its stakeholders to ensure a responsible phasing out within a two-year period.

“We feel a deep sense of responsibility and we will do everything we can to ensure the people we work with will be able to look to the future with confidence,” he said.

In Tanzania, Oxfam has 14 live projects implemented in regions of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Mtwara, Lindi, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Kigoma, Geita, Manyara and Arusha.

Oxfam has been operating in Tanzania since the 1960s but during the past five years, said Francis, it has spent 32.194 million Pounds (about Sh90 billion) in implementing various projects in Tanzania.

 One of Oxfam’s partners is Relief to Development Society (Redeso). The two work together in implementing a sisal project to villagers in Kishapu, Shinyanga.

Redeso manager Charles Buregea said yesterday that though they have not received any official communication, they were aware of the planned pullout after read-ing the reports on the internet.

“The impact will be there. There are some associations that will shake due to the volatile mar-ket conditions but once they start they will continue,” he said.

Oxfam currently operates in 66 countries and 20 affiliates. It will retain a physical presence in 48 countries.