Feminism under siege: Maria Al Abdeh on the work of Women Now for Development in Syria, and the impact of Jo Cox

June 5, 2019
This is the first post of a new mini series on ‘Being a feminist in difficult places’. Recently I spent time with Maria Al Abdeh, Executive Director of Women Now for Development (WND), a Syrian feminist organization. She was in London to help launch the UK branch of Global Fund for Women, which helps fund organizations like hers. WND runs

Inequality kills: the cold, wet fate of refugee rights in Lebanon

February 7, 2019
Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Anna Chernova uses her own experiences as a refugee to reflect on how Lebanon can tackle inequality and protect the rights of millions of Syrians. Back in 2015, I remember standing in a damp, soaked tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, watching kids run around in the snow in slippers. Their parents looked on in desperation

Gender, disability and displacement: Reflections from research on Syrian refugees in Jordan

May 24, 2018
This guest post is by Bushra Rehman, a Research Officer with the Humanitarian Academy for Development, which is the research and training arm of Islamic Relief Worldwide. The post is based on her prize-winning Masters dissertation. It is mid-afternoon in Jordan and the weather is stiflingly hot. I arrive at a derelict building in Irbid, a city located 20 km

European Governments’ treatment of refugees is doing long term damage to international law

June 15, 2016
Maya Mailer (@mayamailer), Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy & Campaigns, reflects on a recent visit to Greece on the day it launches Stand As One, a big new campaign on refugee rights I visited some of Europe’s refugee camps recently. Oxfam was founded in 1942 to help civilians that were starving in Nazi-occupied Greece, and now, more than 70 years later, we

If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World Humanitarian Summit be a damp squib?

April 22, 2016
Ed Cairns Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, sets the scene for next month’s World Humanitarian Summit as we publish our curtain raiser for the event. After years of preparation, and a roller coaster of expectations plunging and soaring, it is almost upon us. One month from tomorrow, dozens of world leaders will gather in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit. The

Links I Liked

November 9, 2015
Powerful, harrowing photo essay of Syrian refugee children asleep. Suffragettes v suffragists. Nice movie, shame about the (lack of) theory of change – it was really the suffragists wot won it Oxfam America takes on Big Chicken in the US, using leader/laggard tactics to push for a better deal for 250,000 workers and getting some very quick wins Remember all

‘Thanks, but the truth is I hate being a refugee’: a young Syrian introduces Oxfam’s new briefing

October 7, 2015
  The arrival of tens of thousands of Syrians at Europe’s borders in recent weeks has been a sharp reminder of the tragedy engulfing the people of Syria. Today, Oxfam publishes its latest briefing on the country’s continuing conflict. Dima Salam (not her real name), a young Syrian refugee now working for Oxfam in the UK, introduces the new paper.

Links I Liked

October 5, 2015
Why people are fleeing Syria – fear of Assad government is given four times more often than fear of opponents. New Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index ranks governments on their political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition Women in Bangladesh are taking charge – from grassroots up to government. Good overview on women’s rights, education, politics Going to use this

Why Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean ‘migrants’

August 21, 2015
  The whole piece is powerfully written and well worth reading (h/t Craig Valters) “The umbrella term migrant is no longer fit for purpose when it comes to describing the horror unfolding in the Mediterranean. It has evolved from its dictionary definitions into a tool that dehumanises and distances, a blunt pejorative. It is not hundreds of people who drown

How is the Syria situation changing on the ground, after 4 years of fighting?

May 29, 2015
Went to a fascinating briefing on Oxfam’s work in the Syria crisis last week, which set out the underlying trends and the evolving challenges for aid agencies, beyond the periodic TV news bang bang coverage.. The numbers are stark: Total of 18 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside and outside Syria – including almost 4m registered refugees and

Four years into the Syrian conflict, we must never lose sight of the civilians behind the ‘story’

March 12, 2015
As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy and Campaigns, Maya Mailer, reflects on a recent trip to Lebanon and Jordan, where she spoke with Syrian refugees, and asks whether we have become immune to the suffering of Syrians. If you type ‘Syria’ into Google News, the headlines that normally appear are about airstrikes,

The best thing I’ve read on Syria’s nightmare: Five conflicts in one; don’t send arms

May 30, 2013
Some excerpts from a great overview of the Syrian conflict in the London Review of Books by Patrick Cockburn. Read the whole piece if you can. It helped confirm for me that Oxfam’s right to oppose the EU’s ending of its arms embargo. Simon Jenkins’ polemic in the Guardian also helped. ‘That Assad’s government is on its last legs has