Oxfam May Distance From UK Engagement in Afghanistan

A member of the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh waits until it is time to move off for a patrol in Helmand, Afghanistan. Oxfam, whose Afghan aid work is concentrated outside the province of Helmand, says it will unlikely accept any offer to participate in U.K-backed development efforts in the conflict-torn country. Photo by: Maj. Paul Smyth MOD/UK Crown Copyright 2010

Oxfam GB mulls distancing itself from the U.K.’s efforts in conflict-torn Afghanistan after the donor country announced its plan to link aid to foreign policy, according to the organization’s chief executive.

The organization does not currently receive any funding from the U.K. Department for International Development for its operations in Afghanistan, and Oxfam is likely to turn down any offer to participate in U.K-backed development initiatives in the conflict-torn country, Barbara Stocking, Oxfam GB’s chief executive, told politics.co.uk.

“There’s nothing wrong with them having integrated policies. In fact we think joined-up policies are a good thing,” Stocking explained, referring to the U.K.’s recent decision to allocate more aid for fragile and conflict-afflicted countries. “On the other hand, if you’re really going to bring the military together with humanitarian response, and so on, we would have to distance ourselves from that so we are seen as quite impartial and independent, so that the people know we’re not going around following DfID.”

Oxfam does most of its work in Afghanistan outside Helmand and other heavily militarized provinces, politics.co.uk notes.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.