Oxfam Haiti Crisis and us

Posted: 13 February 2018 in Haiti, International Development, Poverty
Tags: , ,
Embassy Visit

HHA team with UK Ambassador and Hospital leadership. Us in our DFID T-shirts. team work. no abuse. May 201

Orgies, sexual favours – all part of Oxfam’s 2011 Haiti crisis. And in South Sudan also.  We were in Haiti in this period too, and also help in South Sudan.  After the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake – Hope Health Action and The Baptist Hospital swiftly repurposed buildings to take in spinal injuries, and later cholera victims.  Working intensely with other agencies and of course, the Baptist Hospital, many lives were saved, though many many more were beyond our reach.  It was a desperate time.  And Oxfam, with its hugely larger funds, backed with UK-Aid was able to reach more. 

Didn’t some Oxfam staff there, behave wickedly: orgies, abuse of power, sexual exploitation?  Wrong in 2011, wrong in 2018, wrong always.  Oxfam Chad Director Roland van Hauwermeiren should have been sacked, not reappointed to Haiti, where the bad apple spoiled yet another barrel.  Why? The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt put her finger on Oxfam’s “moral leadership”, and correctly so.  It is about honesty at the top, even if some of the 32,000 staff, contractors and volunteers behave appallingly.  In a secular world, no one is comfortable with the word “moral”.  But it is “moral leadership” that can willingly embrace a reputational knock on transparency that costs millions in donations/grants foregone –  compared to now when tens of millions are now at stake.

But why surface a seven year old story now?  Why the furore?  Well – look at the papers leading with this.  There is a campaign from a certain section of Brexiteers, not the Open-To-The-World types, but the Pull-Up-The-Drawbridge Brexiteers.  They see foreign aid as a waste of money and have been campaigning for quite a while on this, and use it to attack the Open-Brexiteer and remain conservatives.  PM Cameron and PM May have resisted them, but the Oxfam scandal is highly timely considering Conservative Party internal politics.  And it combines in a truly toxic cocktail with the continuing UK and US sexual abuse stories.  In that context, it is a right and proper concern.  “Big” boys in power need to grow up and become proper men, treating women – properly.  Running an international charity, or just running a charity shop.  Yet will the human abuse story, be abused for party political ends.

Is charity goodwill going to get trashed now?  I fear a reputational earthquake will shatter credibility for all charities– and you know who will really suffer – the poor in Haiti, the vulnerable in South Sudan.  Let’s say punish the guilty, and put the money in the hands of others.  Come on Penny (International Development Secretary), if you cut UK-Aid money to Oxfam, give it to us. We have handled UK-Aid money before, we can do it again.

Not an orgy.jpg

No orgy here. Thank you meal before back to work.

I’m going back to Haiti again next month, working with senior national colleagues at the Baptist Hospital, as well as UK based volunteer doctors and nurses.  As in this picture, it’ll be only burgers, not “hot babes”.  And the only naked flesh that will get pressed – will be under the surgeon’s knife, or the midwives hands.


  1. Carol Legg says:

    Very well said Bill…..Carol and Chris

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