by Graham Pierrepoint
Oxfam – one of the most widely-known humanitarian charities the world over – has been embroiled in a major scandal in recent months with regard to aid workers visiting Haiti in 2011 – where they were intended to help relieve locals – yet it seems that such workers had reportedly used prostitute services while in the country supposedly delivering aid. That’s not all, however – as it emerged that Oxfam appeared to have taken steps to cover up findings of such abuses of position – and they are not the only charity to have come under fire for alleged abuse in recent months, opening up what appears to be a shocking indictment of the way that certain charitable organizations are appealing to allegations of a certain nature.
Oxfam has already lost its Deputy Chief Executive – Penny Lawrence – as it emerged that full details on prostitute use by aid workers operating for the organisation were not made fully apparent to the Charity Commission, who acts as a watchdog to ensure that such charitable bodies are operating on a fair and legal basis. Oxfam denied any such covering-up – advising that they were continuing to investigate allegations relating to bullying and sexual behavior believed to be wholly inappropriate. Several workers have resigned and have been let go from the body as a result of the emerging news – and, this week, Chief Executive Mark Goldring has publicly advised that he will be stepping down from the firm, though the brand has firmly stated that his resignation is unrelated to do with his handling of the unfolding crisis.
▶ Oxfam CEO steps down
His intentions to do so come as Goldring advises that it is time for someone new to transform the charity. “This journey will be best led by someone bringing fresh vision and energy,” his statement advised. Goldring has continued to publicly deny covering up such claims and has emphasized that Oxfam is deeply ashamed of the mistakes it has made – while a further spokesperson has made clear that Goldring’s stepping down is unrelated to his handling of the Haiti scandal.
This therefore means that there could be big changes afoot for Oxfam in the very near future – though it may need to transform itself in the eyes of many who have raised concerns about where donators’ money actually ends up – if it is to transition successfully and beyond this very public scandal.