My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Oxfam America, Boston, MA, USA
I thought I should write this after I read the Oxfam review below by mcelmmp (or here: http://greatnonprofits.org/users/reviews/144113). The issue raised - should Oxfam join in making an advertisement about the Dodd-Frank Act - is very important, but this action really does help poor people.
You can help people in two ways: give them direct assistance, or help them help themselves.
Mining industries have huge environmental and social impact on the people living around the mine, and yet the local people very seldom benefit. Often, there is a negative impact on them, in terms of the loss of land, pollution and ground water contamination.
Mining creates huge flows of money, but these go into the coffers of the corporations and the governments. Unfortunately, it also can cause much corruption, because there is no accountability.
The purpose of the Dodd-Frank Act on this subject is only to ensure disclosure. This will reduce corruption and allow the local people to ask for their fair share of the mining profits. I’m sure you will agree disclosure is a good thing, so the question is whether Oxfam is right to support the advertisement. I believe it is, because it is acting as an advocate for the poorest and weakest people in the world.
So, think of it as a choice: how would you like your donation to be spent? Should it be spent directly on grants to repair the damage caused by the mining? Obviously, that is a great thing to do, but how could Oxfam ever afford to repair the impact of even one mine?
Or should that same donation be spent on establishing a disclosure program that can empower the local people to hold the mining company accountable for the damage they do, and to know what funds are available to reduce the impact?
There is a huge multiplier here. $1 on relief is $1. $1 on empowering the local people will generate $100s from the mining operations, who really ought to take the responsibility for the local impact, not you and me as donors. I share mcelmmp’s discomfort, but, in the end, isn’t that smart relief work by Oxfam? It really does help the poorest people. I’m just hoping mcelmmp could reconsider.
And the great thing about Oxfam is that because they do so much work on the ground, with the poorest people, that they can talk knowledgably about what is happens when mining comes to the village.
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