Where does the money actually go?
The simple answer is that it goes to the people who need it most. In Zimbabwe, I met school children, mums, new-born babies, nurses, and families who have been helped by Oxfam's work. And that's all made possible by donations from people like us in the UK.
How does the money make a difference?
"In Zimbabwe, the work I saw was about helping with food, water and making a living. Some people I met had been part of Oxfam's work for a while and some for just a few weeks or months. The longer they'd been part of a project the more their lives had been changed. So the money definitely makes a real difference.
Isn't Oxfam's work just about charity handouts?
"Absolutely not. What's clear to me is that simply giving people food or clothes or whatever else, just isn't enough. The families I met all just wanted to be given support they need to earn a living, put food on the table and send their kids to school - the same things as you and me. And that's what Oxfam's doing with regular gifts - helping people find long-term solutions to their problems.
Oxfam answers your questions
Why does the See For Yourself advert state that Esther is unable to breast feed because she is malnourished? This is incorrect.
The core message of the See For Yourself campaign is transparency and to show Oxfam supporter Jodie's personal, first hand experience of an Oxfam project.
Esther, the mother featured in the advert, personally told Jodie that she did not have enough milk to breastfeed her twins because she doesn't have enough to eat, so this is what Jodie reported back as part of the campaign.
However, Oxfam recognises that although in theory it is potentially feasible for Esther to feed her twins despite being underweight, they would take several hours to feed each day and night. The reality of Esther's life is that she must collect water, cook, clean, farm and care for other members of the family which leaves her with insufficient time to feed the twins regularly enough. As breast milk supply is affected by demand, irregular feeding could result in Esther having insufficient breast milk to feed the twins.
Oxfam recognises that breast milk provides everything an infant needs up until six months, including nutrition, hydration and support to the immune system. For this reason - among others - Oxfam will always encourage breastfeeding where possible. One way we do this is by helping to provide clean water and sanitation for mothers, as well as improved access to food and income sources. This is the main focus of the work we are doing on the project that Jodie visited. One benefit of these changes is that mothers will have more time to breastfeed and better access to safe and nutritious
food and water for themselves. Oxfam decided to include this in the See For Yourself campaign as this exchange with Esther was a significant moment for Jodie during her trip to Zimbabwe. As a mother of two small children herself, Jodie was extremely moved by Esther's account of not feeling able to breastfeed her children. We therefore felt it was appropriate to include it in an accurate representation of her experience.
Are Jodie and her family actors?
No, Jodie and her family are real and still living happily together in Barnsley!
How do we know you allowed Jodie to talk honestly about her experiences?
Transparency is at the heart of this campaign. We're confident and proud of our work, and always ready to answer any questions or challenges our supporters have about how we spend their money and the impact it has. The trip was totally unscripted, we asked Jodie questions on camera, but all the answers were her own. You can email Jodie at firstname.lastname@example.org. if you want to ask her youself!
How did you decide who to take on the trip? Surely you just picked the person most likely to say what you wanted them to say?
No. We picked the person most likely to give a fair reflection of the situation they experienced. An important part of our application process was to get people to tell us the three questions they'd most like to ask Oxfam. We did this in order to find someone who our donors would feel represented them, someone who would ask the questions they wanted answering. We were also looking for someone curious who would ask the kind of challenging questions that non-supporters would want to know about. Jodie was that person. We were very keen to avoid the campaign being predictable
and staged - we want to give supporters a genuine insight into where their money goes.
Who paid for the trip?
All costs were covered by a very generous donor (who would prefer to remain anonymous) who has already been to see Oxfam's work first hand, and it's amazing impact on people's lives. They felt the experience was extremely worthwhile and wanted to give someone else the same opportunity. They are also very supportive of our fundraising work and wanted to help us attract new regular donors, so this trip was the perfect solution.
Aren't you just sending people on a free holiday?
While this was an exciting opportunity for Jodie it was a far cry from a comfortable holiday. Oxfam works in some very remote places and the trip involved tough travel and living conditions. We did, of course, ensure everyone who traveled was safe and looked after but it was a challenging journey with ups and downs - all of which Jodie reported back on in our social media campaign to give people a real insight into Oxfam's work. We also asked Jodie to sacrifice a lot to come on this trip - time off work away from her family, commitments before, during and after the trip to
publicise the campaign through social media, and interviews etc. She was filmed during the whole trip, and in her home preparing beforehand. Jodie also saw some distressing scenes, which she had never encountered before - so it definitely wasn't just a holiday! We are now using Jodie's image and story on TV, internet and press ongoing, until the next trip.
How much of our donations goes on admin?
83p in every £1 goes towards Oxfam's work on the ground - with just 7p being spent on fundraising and 10p being spent on admin and support costs. We are proud of this figure and have successfully worked to reduce the amount that is spent on administration costs over the past few years. Through See For Yourself we are taking a supporter to see where the vast majority of money donated to Oxfam goes - on projects helping overcome poverty and suffering around the world.