Oxfam tackles the complicated logistics of its move to Nairobi

Nairobi in Kenya. Photo by: Ninara / CC BY

NAIROBI — The Oxfam International Secretariat has begun a slow move of its headquarters in Oxford, United Kingdom, to Nairobi, Kenya in a complicated process that requires flexibility as the organization navigates issues including delays in work permits, transitioning staff into new roles, and providing various types of employee support, among other challenges.

The decision to move was aimed at adapting the organization to the “rapidly changing development landscape,” Adrie Papma, project lead for Oxfam International Secretariat move from Oxford to Nairobi, told Devex. “We want to strengthen the legitimacy of Oxfam’s voice, its accountability and relevance in the south.” The organization had been located in Oxford for over seven decades, since its founding in 1942.

Some of the first steps the organization took were to seek out guidance from peer international nongovernmental organizations based in Nairobi, got financial and legal advice and set up an internal project management team for handling the move, covering areas such as logistics.

The move will span two years. During that time, as many as 40 roles from offices around the world will move to Kenya. Currently, there are 66 roles in Oxford and around 16 of those roles will move to Nairobi. The Oxfam International Secretariat currently employs approximately 160 people around the world. The roles that were set for relocation to Nairobi were announced more than 18 months ago.

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About the author

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    Sara Jerving

    Sara Jerving is Devex's East Africa Correspondent based in Nairobi. She is a reporter and producer, whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Nation magazine, among others. Sara holds a master's degree in business and economic reporting from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow.