Last year, we deepened the implementation of our new strategy for FY 2016-20 “Demanding Rights and Creating Opportunities”. The focus was more on turning the focus on widening inequalities, especially in the area of gender justice. In February 2018, Oxfam India released its first ever India Inequality Report. The report argued that contrary to popular perception, India is a high inequality country by global standards. Inequality in India is multi-dimensional: There are inequalities in wealth, income and consumption, as well as structural inequalities of opportunity, region and social groups. Further, what is worrying is that inequality has been on the rise over the last 3 decades. What makes inequality a particularly volatile and potentially disrupting phenomenon in India is because of the existence of structural and historical inequalities in the society.
During the year, we continued our journey through the thematic areas we work on. Oxfam India, through its partner grassroots agencies, was involved in facilitating & developing models of community-based monitoring & management of schools & public health facilities, creating common platforms for village, district and state level networks towards improving access to quality health & education services. OIN partners were instrumental in enrolling 3000 children in schools in 2017-18. Our 'Access to Medicines' campaign in Bihar and Odisha was received well by the people and the government. It involved working with CSOs and health networks to demand state governments to implement ‘Free medicine schemes’ to ensure access to medicine on a sustainable basis through public health facilities. In 2017-18, OIN took forward the “Bano Nayi Soch” campaign in our focus states. Oxfam India responded to the flood situation under its humanitarian mandate in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Manipur during the year. With the humanitarian response the yearlong DRR work reduced the vulnerabilities to the pre, during and post crisis situation. Our interventions supported around 101544 people during floods. In our Private Sector Engagement work, as a result of our continuing advocacy with regulatory bodies, both the national stock exchanges launched dedicated indices based on environment, sustainability and governance (ESG) factors. Through our Economic Justice work, 554 new Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims were submitted and 4300 IFR claims were followed up for recognition. The community groups were successful in getting 13 Community Forest Rights (CFR) claims.
The civil society arena is also undergoing dramatic transitions and we as an INGO have added challenges. In this context, we do need to take a pause from doing routine things and re-visualize our role and responsibilities. During 2017-18, our total income was Rs. 57.21 crore, as against Rs. 58.53 crore in 2016-17. We continued to work in 105 districts of six states with 132 partners around our themes with a special focus on Muslims, Dalits, Tribals, and Women.
This has been a difficult year for Oxfam globally. The serious allegations of sexual misconduct in Haiti and questions emerging from it have shaken up the entire system. Many believe that for a value-driven organization like Oxfam, which took leadership in terms of norm-setting in diverse arenas with a particular emphasis of the rights of women across the world, is a broken system after the shock. Oxfam certainly is shaken but far from being devastated, I see a tremendous resolve to rebuild. Importantly, there is acknowledgement across the system that we first need to recognize the issue at hand, understand the procedural and systemic causes along with deeper cultural issues; and simultaneously work towards ensuring justice for the local Haiti communities and other stakeholders. This is an honest and sincere attempt to transform the Oxfam system.
On behalf of Oxfam India, I would like to thank each and every donor (individuals and institutions) for their trust and support for our work. Their continued support enables us to work towards our ambitious goals of dignity and justice. I would also like to thank our supporter, peers and co-travellers who walk with us and strengthen our work through collective energies and commitment. Any note of thanks is incomplete without acknowledging the work our partners do on the frontlines. We do share a deep bond of shared vision and mission with our partners, which enables us to walk the difficult and challenging path tirelessly. A big thanks to all our partners. The board continued to guide us with their sagely advise and backstopping support as and when we needed their help. A sense of gratitude to the team of Oxfam spread across India, as they work tirelessly and with an unending passion to achieve our organizational goals.
Let me end this foreword with a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude to Nisha Agrawal. She has very ably steered Oxfam India through the last ten years and I am extremely fortunate as a leader to inherit a very steady ship from her. Nisha, in her decade as the CEO of Oxfam India achieved several milestones and has set the foundations of a very strong organization. This was not an easy journey and entailed multiple challenges, both internal and external. She overcame all these challenges and set Oxfam India on a course from where we can make a lasting contribution to help people lead a life with dignity.
It is a personal privilege to be able to write this foreword on behalf of the organization as this annual report documents the work done by Oxfam India in the year 2017-18. I joined at the beginning of the financial year 2018-19. It is surely is a huge honor and privilege to lead Oxfam India. However, I also see this as a huge responsibility in terms of measuring up to the high standards of Oxfam (globally) and more importantly in making a powerful contribution in our daily struggles for justice and dignity for all.
We would be very happy to hear from you and greatly appreciate any feedback that you might have for this annual report or for our work. I am sure your wisdom and advise would help us make become more effective and strengthen our resolve to build a just and peaceful future for all.
CEO, Oxfam India
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