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Oxfam’s Emergency Response Network – working with corporate partners to save lives when disaster strikes

Posted by Peter Hall Partnerships Manager

10th Aug 2016

As one of the world's leading humanitarian organisations, Oxfam is there when an emergency hits. Climate change, rapid urbanisation and more conflicts mean we're responding to more emergencies than ever before.


With 70 years' experience, Oxfam knows exactly what is needed in a crisis. When disaster strikes, we are on the ground straight away to provide support such as shelters to protect families, clean water to prevent the spread of deadly diseases and the basics such as food, soap and cooking utensils. All of this is vital and all of it is life saving.

Interestingly, research shows that nine out of ten global consumers expect companies to play a role in disaster relief. To this end and to help secure income for our emergency programmes, we recently hosted an event to launch Oxfam's Emergency Response Network.

The unique event took the shape of an emergency simulation based on a fictional earthquake in 'Teppalli'. It was designed to provide guests with a real insight into a large-scale, sudden-onset disaster, showcasing the expertise of Oxfam's Global Humanitarian Team and encouraging participants to think about the critical role their company can play.

So how do you make an emergency simulation feel as real as possible? First, you find an appropriate venue such as the White Rabbit in London and kit it out with genuine emergency equipment such as a huge water tank, water tap stations and an actual latrine. Then you add some actors playing internally displaced persons and government officials. Finally, you keep the format a well-guarded secret from your guests in the run-up.

On arrival, those guests were immediately thrown into the action with a Skype call from Oxfam HQ briefing them on what had happened in Teppalli. Teams were then tasked with carrying out a 'needs assessment' following the earthquake as if they were part of the Oxfam team on the ground. Once completed, they had to submit their critical recommendations at a co-ordination meeting, which required difficult decisions to be made and tough challenges to be faced. The result for participants was a much greater understanding of Oxfam's work during a crisis.

50 corporate companies attended including Innocent, Deloitte, Whistles, Vodafone and Sainsbury's. Below is some of their feedback on the event.

"It really brought to life the amazing work you do under such challenging circumstances. A real pause for thought." Nectar

"It would be fantastic if we could do something like this at head office, it was an excellent way to demonstrate just how important both what the relief teams do and how critical immediate cash responses are." Ted Baker

"I can't remember a more enjoyable and informative afternoon spent at work in a long time." Vodafone

Why become an Emergency Response Partner?

Partnering with Oxfam means we are better prepared to save more lives during disaster situations.

We know that no two companies and no two partnerships are the same. Therefore, our Corporate Partnerships Team prepares bespoke plans for organisations,

covering areas such as type of emergency to respond to, areas of Oxfam's work to focus on and the timing for the activation plan.

Whether it's new ways of inspiring employees and customers to give, making a corporate donation or tapping into the skills and expertise of staff, we will design a plan that revolves around business needs and objectives.

Joining Oxfam's Emergency Response Network can give a company, its staff and customers the chance to save lives. Together, we will be prepared and ready to help more people than we can do alone.

If you're interested in becoming an Emergency Response Partner, contact Peter Hall: 01865 473445 / pehall@oxfam.org.uk

 

Blog post written by Peter Hall

Partnerships Manager

More by Peter Hall

Pete Hall