International NGOs Must Reinvent Themselves To Be Part Of Global Movement For Social Justice, Former Oxfam Executive Director Writes
Devex: Opinion: INGOs — it’s time for us to go further, faster
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS and former executive director of Oxfam International
“…When citizens assert themselves and link with each other in solidarity across countries, they can realize more just and equal societies. In both the North and the South a resurgence of social movements is essential. … Oxfam needs to be part of the global movement for social justice. We have learnt, may I say, from painful experience, that one cannot take on powerful corporations and political leaders while upsetting no one. Fighting inequality is rightly disruptive. … But when movements build strong collective power, transformative social change can happen: that’s how our forebears won the fights against slavery, colonialism, apartheid, and crushing debt. In this new era there are many dangers, but one of them is standing still. … To be frank, we are behind the times. We must catch up, and overtake, or we, and the millions we work alongside, will be left behind. The solutions to our unjust world are to be found in citizens challenging the imbalance of power and wealth, joining together with others in collective struggles for dignity and the right to shape their own destiny. Oxfam’s role is to be on their side, and at their side. To do that we must speed up our journey to reinvent ourselves, fast…” (11/8).