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How does your list compare to this one provided by Oxfam?

Oxfam identifies its primary stakeholders as ‘people living in poverty or suffering in the countries where we work’ (Oxfam 2016: 27), and identifies other stakeholders in its work as:

  • Partner organisations and allies

  • Individual supporters, including those who campaign with us as well as those who donate to us

  • Governments, multilateral organisations and other corporate and institutional donors

  • Staff and volunteers

  • The targets of our advocacy at local, national, regional and international levels: including politicians, governments and private sector organisations

  • Public in each affiliate host country (the Oxfam confederation has 17 affiliates/networks covering 80 countries)

  • The environment

It is an extensive list which reflects the size and complexity of Oxfam’s international operation. Its primary stakeholders reflect its core values and purpose, but are there any surprises in the longer list of secondary stakeholders? Within a wide range of contexts and situations they will generate different and unique stakeholder lists.

We will be looking at affected populations, government, multilateral organisations and NGOs in more detail over the course of the week. For now, let’s consider some of the other stakeholders on the list.


It is important to distinguish between different types of donors and their potential level of influence and engagement. In its 2015-16 Accountability Report, Oxfam International highlighted total income of Euro 1,071 million, with an approximate percentage breakdown of key donors as follows:

19% Domestic government institutions
18% Trading revenue
16% Regular giving
6% EU and EU institutions
6% UN and UN institutions
6% Humanitarian appeals

(Oxfam 2016: 16)

These are substantial amounts of money and while this data pre-dates the Haiti sex scandal revelations in 2018 and the potential impact that had on fundraising, it still demonstrates how Oxfam needs to inform and demonstrate accountability not just to affected populations and local partners, but also to extensive and varied donor base. Within that range of donors, it is also worth considering the varied mandates and motivations each individual stakeholder has for giving money to organisations like Oxfam – these could range from generosity and compassion to corporate social responsibility, meeting funding targets, delivering government policy, raising profile and more.

New humanitarian actors

There is also the reality of a new dimension of support from organisations and governments from outside of what is seen as the formal international humanitarian system. As the CHS Alliance (2015) noted, some of this support from the Muslim world develops its own codes of conduct, more compatible with its principles.

The increased presence and resources of Chinese and Turkish state-led humanitarian actions also presents a new challenge to the western perception and ideal of humanitarianism.

The presence and engagement of non-traditional actors varies by context. In Syria, the response has involved private sector, diaspora-based organisations and local volunteer groups, whereas in the Central African Republic, the diaspora and private sector are both smaller. The potential for non-traditional actors to play an active role is heightened by new technology, for example, crowd sourcing, as a funding tool (CHS Alliance 2018).

The need for public and private investment in DRR is highlighted throughout the Sendai Framework (UNISDR 2015), and reinforces the potential benefits to local and national business of risk reduction in terms of more stable local markets and conditions for economic growth. This should be balanced by a recognition that some business can benefit from disaster events, for example by increasing the market price of relief items.

Relief actors in Syria

Look at the attached document: Relief Actors in Syria, part of ACAPS Syria Needs Analysis Project (ACAPS 2016). Note the interesting stakeholder relationship map on page two and the list of international organisations with Government of Syria permission to operate in the country on page eight. The operational situation on the ground has moved on to some degree, but this document still gives a realistic view of the extensive range of actors involved in one of the most complex crises of recent times.

Your task

Returning to your analysis of stakeholders in the previous exercise, but updating it based on the information presented above, reflect on the following:

  • How do you feel perceptions and importance of accountability vary across different stakeholder groups identified here and what might be some of the reasons for this?

  • Are there any key stakeholders missing?


ACAPS (2016) Relief Actors in Syria. ACAPS [online] available from https://www.acaps.org/special-report/relief-actors-syria [11 December 2018]

CHS Alliance (2015) On the Road to Istanbul: Humanitarian Accountability Report. Geneva: CHS Alliance

CHS Alliance (2018) Humanitarian Accountability Report. Geneva: CHS Alliance

Oxfam (2016) Oxfam Accountability Report 2015-2016. Oxford: Oxfam, Global Reporting Initiative & Accountable Now

UNISDR (2015) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030. Geneva: UNISDR

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This article is from the free online course:

Disaster Management and Accountability

Coventry University