Oxfam Government Funding Cut Off After Haiti Scandal

Charity agrees to demand from development department to stop bidding for grants until ‘high standards’ met

Oxfam has agreed to withdraw from bidding for government funding until the Department for International Development is satisfied that it can meet the “high standards” expected.

In a statement, the international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said she had made a set of demands in light of the sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti and had received a formal response from Oxfam agreeing to them. She said that the government “reserves the right to take whatever decisions about present or future funding to Oxfam, and any other organisation, that we deem necessary”.

The news comes as the head of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, announced a wide-ranging reform plan – including an independent commission to review Oxfam’s culture and practices – and warned that what happened in Haiti“is a stain on Oxfam that will shame us for years”.

The charity, which received £31.7m in taxpayer funding in 2016/17, also announced that it would publish a 2011 internal investigation into staff involved in sexual and other misconduct in Haiti as soon as possible.

In the statement sent out on Friday afternoon, Mordaunt said she had demanded that Oxfam make clear how it would handle any forthcoming allegations around safeguarding, whether they be historic or live, that they report staff members involved in incidents to their respective national governments, and that they fully cooperate with the Haitian authorities, including handing over all evidence they hold. She said that Oxfam had confirmed that it had complied with all these points.

She added: “Following our discussions, Oxfam has agreed to withdraw from bidding for any new UK government funding until DfID is satisfied that they can meet the high standards we expect of our partners.

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SOURCE: The Guardian – Nicola Slawson