British charity Oxfam has reportedly announced that it will reduce some of its overseas aid programs and lay off a number of staff due to a drop in funding after the Haiti sex scandal.
The charity has faced a public backlash over claims that its staff exploited female victims in the wake of a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010. After the sex scandal emerged, thousands of people stopped making regular donations and the UK government suspended its funding to the charity.
According to an internal document seen by British paper The Guardianon Friday, Oxfam has told staff it will urgently need to make savings of about 21 million dollars a year and scale back the number of its aid projects abroad.
The seven-page document, which is marked confidential, said the aid organization would “have to save substantial amounts of money to put [us] on a more stable and sustainable footing.”
The document circulated by the chief executive of Oxfam, Mark Goldring, also said, “It is clear … that the size of our programs will be substantially reduced for this year and next … this means making tough choices,” adding that job losses were “inevitable.”
“We will seek to maintain our overall level of support for country programs but narrow the range of support we offer within our themes of water, women, work and equality. In addition, from 2019 we will begin to reduce the number of countries in which we invest as a partner affiliate,” it noted.
The charity also pledged to “sell freehold property to quickly raise substantial funds. This will be done mainly on a sale and lease back basis to preserve our ability to trade from these locations.”
Following the announcement of the cuts, an Oxfam spokesperson said the charity was “devastated” that it would have to reduce some of its aid programs.
“We are devastated that the appalling behavior of some former staff in Haiti and shortcomings in how we dealt with that eight years ago means we now have less money to provide clean water, food and other support to people who need it,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are immensely grateful to all those – including more than nine in 10 of our regular givers – who have continued to support us during these difficult times,” she added. “We are cutting head office and support functions to ensure that we can continue with the majority of our lifesaving and life changing work on the ground.”
The document was revealed two days after the Haiti’s government said it was withdrawing Oxfam’s right to operate in the Caribbean country “for violation of Haitian law and serious violation of the principle of the dignity of the human beings.”
The charity group has previously apologized unreservedly for misconduct allegations against staff members in Haiti but emphasized that it has no intention to cover up the scandal.
Goldring announced his resignation last month, saying that someone else should help “rebuild” the group following the scandal.
Oxfam, which employs around 5,000 staff and has 23,000 more volunteers, received 43.8 million dollars (31.7 million pounds) from the government in the last financial year.