Women farmers in Liberia harvest wheat while singing and receive fair wages for their work.

These women farmers in Liberia harvest wheat while singing and receive fair wages for their work. Oxfam has been one of the main advocates of fairer trade with farmers and producers around the world since the early 1960s.

Oxfam in Liberia

Oxfam closes in Liberia 
In March 2020, Oxfam’s Executive Board decided to phase out Oxfam activities in 18 countries of the world including Liberia. This decision was made in order to adapt to the continuing financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two years later, in March 2022, Oxfam in Liberia closed most of its programs implementing activities in the country.

Legacy of Oxfam in Liberia

Over the last 25 years, in times of war and peace, Oxfam has been fighting alongside local organizations to tackle the causes of poverty and reduce its impacts. From emergency to long-term development projects, Oxfam worked to improve access to essential services for Liberians and to enable them to claim their rights to a better life without inequality. 

During the civil war that ended in 2003, Oxfam in Liberia provided displaced people with clean water and sanitation facilities. During the 2014 Ebola pandemic and more recently during the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, Oxfam distributed hygiene kits, conducted sensibilization campaigns on good hygiene practices and proceeded to cash transfers to women petty traders to help them cover their families’ basic needs. In times of peace, Oxfam advocated to ensure access to education for women and girls and inform them of their rights. 

Oxfam also made it a priority to work with other NGOs in the country, to learn and share with each other for a greater impact. This included strengthening local partners’ capacities so that they can continue the work started and grow past country borders. Through these allies, the legacy of Oxfam in Liberia will live on.

Increasing access to essential services

Since 1995, Oxfam and its partners have been providing access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities in health units, schools and communities, particularly in rural areas. We also implemented water control solutions against floods. 
We supported advocacy for essential services – especially water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education – so more people can participate fully in economic, social and democratic life.

To increase women and girls access to higher levels of education, we worked on a scholarship project that would allow them to pursue a quality tertiary education in universities across the country. At Oxfam, we believe that the education of female students empowers them to become self-reliant and self- confident agents of change.

Championing gender justice

We believe that gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to poverty reduction and sustainable development. To tackle gender based violence (GBV) in the country, and especially sexual violence, we conducted training and awareness campaigns with other partners. 
Violence against women and girls is widespread, with about 40% of women reporting at least one instance of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.To make it easier to report GBV cases, we distributed phones to women in local communities. 

Through our different projects in Liberia, we promoted policies and practices that challenge and redress unequal power relations between women, men, and youth. In Liberia, women are grossly underrepresented in political decision-making. For example, they represent only 6% of local government position. To tackle this issue head on, we trained more than 16 women to participate in elections and engage other women in their communities to engage in local decision-making bodies. 

Supporting citizens to claim their right to a better life

We built and strengthened advocacy skills and networks, so more women and youth can exercise their rights, influence decisions of people in power and hold them accountable. For over a decade, we brought together stakeholders from government, civil society, and development actors to work towards the development of the country.

To make a significant impact on the lives of people living in food insecure communities, we trained small farmers in agricultural techniques that would help increase their incomes. Along with this, we supported civil society in their efforts to influence policies and allocations in favour of smallholder farmers.