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Oxfam UK to make £16m cuts following sex scandals

Oxfam UK will cut jobs and aid programmes across the world following the sex scandal as the charity attempts to regain donor confidence

Oxfam UK has warned staff that job losses are inevitable as the foundation radically reduces resources to come up with £16 million in the wake of the Haiti sex scandals.

According to the seven-page document, marked confidential and circulated by Chief Executive Mark Goldring, the charity will reduce aid programmes in the countries they currently operate in and sell off high-street shops.

“It is clear … that the size of our programmes will be substantially reduced for this year and next … this means making tough choices,” the document read.

The UK charity has been yet to regain support from governments and donors following allegations that members of its staff used sex workers during a relief mission after an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010 and then failed to disclose details.

The organisation also lost thousands of donors in the aftermath of revelations published in The Times newspaper that its staff had been found to have sexually exploited victims, exchanging food and aid for sex with women and children.

The document, which was obtained by the Guardian, acknowledged that the charity has yet to win back confidence: “We know we need to better inspire and engage the UK public.”

In an attempt to regain support among donors, Goldring stepped down in May. Goldring said it was important for Oxfam to rebuild so that it can continue “to help as many people as possible around the world build better lives”.

Oxfam UK said in a statement that they are “devastated” by the behaviour of former staff and that the shortcomings of the internal investigations “means we now have less money to provide clean water, food and other support to people who need it.”

The Guardian revealed the document confirmed the £16 million figure represents 10% of the charity’s relevant income. Over the next two years, the charity will aim to “protect and reinforce women’s rights, gender justice and culture change”.

However, with less money coming in and their programmes now slashed, the document says: “We need to be running a smaller infrastructure … sadly the loss of some roles is inevitable as we cannot otherwise make savings of this scale.

“We will seek to maintain our overall level of support for country programmes but narrow the range of support we offer within our themes of water, women, work and equality,” the document added. “In addition, from 2019 we will begin to reduce the number of countries in which we invest as a partner affiliate.”

Oxfam had to end biddings from institutional donors following the scandal. However, upon the DFID ban being lifted, big donors could continue to back the charity.

Haiti has also announced it is withdrawing Oxfam GB’s right to operate in the country “for violation of Haitian law and serious violation of the principle of the dignity of the human beings” following an investigation into how the charity handled the sexual exploitation case.

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