Taking a stand against the Oxfam effect By Ed Wethered I’ve been shocked and saddened to read the reports and revelations in the press of alleged abuse carried out by aid workers and staff at Oxfam. Investigations are still ongoing but it goes without saying that acts that have exploited or taken advantage of the vulnerable, or those in need, should be whole heartedly condemned and those involved held fully to account. The allegations are understandably causing shock waves through the charity sector, the press and public discourse as a whole. It’s particularly worrying in the current atmosphere of public mistrust towards charities. When I was at school, the teacher used to keep order by punishing the whole class when any of us did something wrong. It was powerful stuff, since no one wanted to be that person that would get shouted at and pushed around in the playground for ruining everyone else’s day. It’s my sincere hope that when the dust has settled, that the same discipline isn’t applied to the charity sector as a whole. We can’t let the actions of a select number of individuals, and the press storm that follows, further undermine trust in a sector that saves and transforms millions of lives every day. Now more than ever, we must rally. We must remember that there are exceptional charities that we can trust – that continue to work in impactful ways, to the highest standards, as they go about improving the lives of others in ways that we could only hope to do if we had the time to ourselves. Take a look at our Charity Updates to see just a few examples. Tarring everyone with one stroke of the brush is frustratingly easy. While it’s right to condemn those responsible, let’s not collectively punish the whole class, just because it’s the easiest thing to do.