What We Do

Oxfam South Africa works at multiple levels including at the grassroots and with policy-makers, engaging directly with communities as well as decision makers to ensure that people living in poverty can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them. Combining long-term development programming with catalytic, responsive and timeous interventions, capitalising on key moments and opportunities in the socio-political spectrum, Oxfam South Africa employs a one programme approach understanding that social, economic and political issues do not exist in isolation and that failures in governance manifest in social injustices and poverty.

We have identified three streams of programming and influencing as OZA’s contribution to respond to the drivers of poverty and inequality. Our programmes work together to highlight the ways in which poverty and inequality impact work and livelihoods, accountable governance, and natural resource justice.

Our work focuses on the following:

Work & Livelihoods:

Realising just and dignified work and livelihoods policies and practices that offer people dignity, stability and autonomy of choice and decision.

Our Work & Livelihoods stream has supported consistent and dynamic organising and campaigning with women workers in different industries from domestic workers, women working and living on farms, small scale farmers, healthcare workers and precarious formal and informal workers. We tackle the unequal pay of women in the workplace, unpaid and underpaid care-work and the unsafe working conditions including the violence faced by women in the workplace.

Accountable Governance

Holding government to account more intentionally and strategically on policy and practice at local through national and regional levels, including on accountability on GBV and LGBTIAQ rights.

Our Accountable Governance stream works on ensuring universal access to services for all communities, with a focus on the water crisis in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and other areas of South Africa. We also support budget activism with a focus on targeted local government issues. We also work to hold government accountable at all levels for the scourge of Gender Based Violence in South Africa.

Our work is at a local, regional, and global level. We support disaster management and building urban resilience in communities in partnership with various arms of the South African government. We partner with many institutions including UN+ Habitat on climate change adaptation planning at the town or city level with projects in Mozambique, Comores and Madagascar. We also work to ensure women’s and community participation in global, regional, and local development projects funded by regional and international finance institutions (IFI) through our participation on the BRICS Civil Society Network.

Natural Resource Governance

Realising just natural resource governance of South Africa’s land, water, mineral deposits, and energy sources.

Our Natural Resource Governance stream is focused on ensuring economic justice for mining communities. We have made significant strides through our Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) training for communities. We have also worked hard to ensure the Social Labour Plans (SLPs) are brought to life with women and communities at the centre. Our partners on the ground have been working together with mining companies and the Department of Mineral Rights (DMR) to hold all in the system accountable for ensuring community centred and women led development takes place. We have also implemented various mechanism for communities to have a voice and channel their complaints against mining companies. We also continue to advocate for the legalisation and regulation of artisanal miners by the Department of Minerals and Energy.

Our Method

Feminist principles inform all aspects of our work:

Our programming and advocacy work is informed by feminist principles. Our work prioritises those most affected in society and women and non-binary people are a primary vulnerable group that we focus on in everything we do in our quest to end poverty and inequality.

Research and learning are used to develop evidence based programmes:

Oxfam globally is known for delivering research that highlights poverty and inequality. At Oxfam South Africa we invest time and resources into conducting area specific, participatory research so that all our programming work can be targeted at the problems identified by people living in those areas. We regularly release reports which inform policy making in South Africa and beyond.

Movement Building is at the heart of our work:

We have facilitated and assisted in the growth of the following collectives, Shayisfuba feminist collective, BRICS Civil Society Group, ANDDI Movement for Socio Economic Justice, Qina Mbokodo and Siyanqoba Platforms for Rural Development.

Partnerships and Strategic Engagements are our lifeblood:

We partner with national and provincial government departments and statutory bodies. These include our annually renewed Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Cooperative Governance (COGTA); Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA);  Department of Mineral Resources (DMR); Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO); Department of Labour (DOL); SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC); and the Local Government Sector Education & Training Authority (LGSETA).


Oxfam South Africa works in partnership with grassroots organisations to create deep-rooted sustainable changes in people’s lives. We do this through long-term development programming and link it to positive policy changes at various levels. We work for the socially excluded and most marginalised communities by mobilising them to campaign for greater economic and social reforms.

We seek partnerships with funding and non-funding partnerships with a range of development actors: grassroots NGOs, academic institutions, research think tanks, national and international advocacy groups.

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