Oxfam is embarking on an ambitious new drive to tackle the root causes of poverty in 2014, with an even greater focus on programmes that will help lift the lives of even more people.
The international development charity will launch campaigns to tackle the two biggest threats to ending poverty - the growing gap between the richest and poorest people, and the damage caused to poor people by climate change.
There will also be a new fundraising campaign - backed by TV adverts launching today - which profile Oxfam's work and how it sets a chain reaction in motion so that the benefits ripple out beyond individuals and families to wider communities and beyond. Oxfam is asking for the public's support so it can 'Lift Lives for Good' in a world where one in eight people go to bed hungry.
Oxfam is responding to a changing world where the gains of economic growth are increasingly captured by the wealthy. The richest one per cent now holds more than 46% of the world's wealth, while the poorest 90 per cent have just 14 per cent. Rising prosperity in some middle income countries has done too little to lift people out of poverty and by 2050 climate change could increase the number of people going hungry by between 10 and 20 per cent compared to a world without climate change.
Oxfam Global Ambassador Dame Helen Mirren said: "I have seen for myself the importance of Oxfam's work for the world's poorest people - from the victims of domestic violence and gun crime in South Africa to the child soldiers in Uganda.
"I am so pleased that as an Oxfam Global Ambassador, I was able to play a part in the world now having an Arms Trade Treaty, which will help protect people like those I met. Oxfam's work changes people's lives, which in turn helps lift others out of poverty and build safer futures for good."
Oxfam's Chief Executive Mark Goldring said: "At a time when money is tight for us all, it's important that people understand how their donations to Oxfam - however small - can make a huge difference. Oxfam has a track record of lifting lives for good but we cannot afford to be complacent and we owe it to the generous UK public to embrace a changing world."
Oxfam's campaigning and programme work has contributed to massive recent improvements in the lives of people living in poor countries. Over the last ten years 50 million more children in Africa go to school. A global fund on HIV is saving 3,000 lives every day and debt cancellation has freed up millions of pounds to fund teachers, nurses, classrooms and clinics.
The charity is reviewing its international programme work so that it can lift more lives for good. Oxfam wants to be more agile, bring about more policy change in the governments of the developing world, harness the potential of innovative technologies and put women - who are central to ending poverty yet often overlooked - at the heart of what it does.
Oxfam, which has had to respond to twice as many disasters as it did a decade ago, will also continue to help people rebuild their lives for the future. In response to the Syria crisis, for example, Oxfam is helping refugees facing the harsh winter and providing water and sanitation needs, but also working towards a long term peaceful solution so they can return home one day.
The TV adverts are inspired by an Oxfam programme where people in Sri Lanka were provided with cows, training and support to establish a co-operative. This led to more cows, milk and co-operatives being set up by local groups to make ice-cream and ghee, creating more jobs, better incomes and opportunities for more people. The TV commercial shows how a mother receives a cow and then her six-year-old son is lifted off the ground as his dream of going to school becomes a reality. Others in his community are also lifted as their fortunes change for the better.
Lift Lives for Good builds on previous Oxfam fundraising campaigns such as the famous 'Give a man a fish' advertising campaign which ran for a decade from 1992. The campaigns on inequality and climate change look to build on recent public campaigning successes including , the UK fulfilling its historic promise to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid and the UN voting to adopt the world's first international Arms Trade Treaty. Both happened in 2013 after years of campaigning by Oxfam and allies.
For more information, interviews and to see Oxfam's report Lift Lives for Good: Actions to tackle Inequality and Climate Change, contact Lucy Brinicombe 07786 110054 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to editors:
For photographs from the TV advert click here: http://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=15230&k=a952d2dab1
Oxfam is calling on UK public support - however small - to help it lift lives for good. To donate £4 text LIFT to 70064 or click here for more information: www.oxfam.org.uk/lift.
Lift Lives For Good aims to inspire the UK public about what their support for Oxfam can achieve. A lift can empower people to make change, helping them to alter the course of their lives, so in turn they can lift others around them, setting in motion a process of change that spreads throughout their community. So by supporting Oxfam people are not just lifting one person, they're lifting the lives of entire communities - now and for good.