March 29, 2018

Can Winnie Byanyima right the wrongs of Oxfam International?

We ask the boss of one of the world's biggest aid groups whether it can fix a reputation damaged by sex abuse scandals.

“This is shocking. This is appalling. It hurts me very deeply.”

Those were the words of Oxfam International’s Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, after revelations that members of her staff had been involved in sexual misconduct during missions in both Haiti and Chad.

In February, reports surfaced that some aid workers paid prostitutes for sex while on assignment to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. A 2011 internal investigation led to the firing of four staff members. Three others, including former country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, who was linked to the events in Chad, were allowed to resign. Former Oxfam workers claim prostitutes were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house in Chad in 2006. Van Haiwermeiren was the head of the aid group in the country at the time.

Byanyima was not heading up the organisation when the alleged events took place but she is now tasked with repairing a damaged reputation. Since news of the scandal broke, Oxfam has lost 7,000 regular donors.

So can Byanyima right the wrongs of Oxfam International? We will ask directly when she joins The Stream to discuss the allegations and what happens next.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Winnie Byanyima @Winnie_Byanyima
Executive Director, Oxfam International

Paula Donovan @AIDS_Free_World
Co-Director, AIDS-Free World

Teddy Ruge @tmsruge
Co-Founder, JadedAid

Read more: 

Oxfam apologises to Haiti over sex abuse allegations - Al Jazeera  
UK threatens to cu Oxfam aid over staff sex scandal - Al Jazeera 
Oxfam abuse scandal is built on the aid industry's white saviour mentality - The Guardian  

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.