Program Principles And Areas Of Focus
The Oxfam-Monash Partnership conducts research with the following thematic focus:
Accountability: How best to support communities to provide feedback to development agencies and governments and, in so doing, hold them to account.
Oxfam and others have been experimenting for many years on how best to do this. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the people whom aid seeks to benefit are inadequately involved in determining the targeting and distribution of this aid, and are not sufficiently consulted on the effectiveness of this aid. The challenge is to develop innovations in aid further, to research which of them are most effective in different contexts, and to influence the aid sector - including government aid programs - to adopt more innovative practice.
Climate Change: How best to support communities to adapt to climate change.
The reality of climate change is already evident in communities Oxfam Australia supports and in the nature and severity of the disasters it has responded to in the past few years. The Copenhagen talks made little progress on the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of global warming, though the issue of climate financing for both mitigation and adaptation was raised. The fact is that poor communities are already adapting to climate change and this need will increase - even if radical steps were put into place now, they would not produce any significant difference until after 2020. It is therefore imperative that communities are supported in the processes of adapting and building resilience. This means not only supporting existing initiatives, it means piloting new ideas and sharing the results of well-researched experiments both at a community level and with other agencies.
Gender Equality: How best to support gender equality to positively impact upon women's lives, family well-being, and community development.
There is conclusive evidence to suggest that improving gender equality not only has a major impact on women's lives, but also has major impacts on family well-being, health, and broader processes of community development. However, it is also recognised that progress on achieving gender equality has been patchy and lagged badly in a number of areas. Scaling up the lessons from effective community level work with women is a major challenge in the face of political, cultural and organisational constraints. Research in this area explores progress at the local level and tests ways to implement changes that address these systemic obstacles. Possible approaches include: working with men, addressing gender and culture issues, promoting women's enterprise, and addressing the organisational constraints to mainstreaming gender equality.
In this research and all other activities, the Partnership adheres to the following principles, as enshrined in its Memorandum of Understanding:
Statement of commitment and principles of partnership
Through this partnership we strive to enhance the effectiveness of development, humanitarian and advocacy action, based on an ethical obligation and accountability to the populations we serve. We also have a strong joint commitment to build a nurturing and effective partnership. In doing so we embrace the following principles:
Equality requires mutual respect between members of the partnership irrespective of size, power and influence. We will respect each other's mandates, obligations and independence and recognise each other's constraints and commitments. Mutual respect will not preclude us from engaging in constructive debate, dissent and dialogue.
Action-Research oriented approach
Effective development, humanitarian, and advocacy work is outcome-based and action-oriented. Effective research contributes to a better understanding of what constitutes effective action and contributes to building broader knowledge and understanding of it. This partnership seeks to create real synergy between action and research with a view to, directly and indirectly, improving the lives of people living in poverty.
Transparency, Responsibility, and Ethical Behaviour
Transparency is achieved through dialogue (on an equal footing), with an emphasis on early consultations and early sharing of information. Oxfam Australia and Monash University have an ethical obligation to their stakeholders, and to each other, to accomplish their tasks responsibly, with integrity and in a relevant and appropriate way. Both parties will respect these ethical obligations.
The differences between Oxfam Australia and Monash University are an asset if we build on our comparative advantages and complement each other's contributions. We will seek to overcome any professional or cultural barriers that might be obstacles to this. We will also engage with other agencies and universities as part of a broader constituency for development and learning.
We seek to undertake our joint work in a manner that builds the sustainability of our respective individual and joint programs, including sustainable change for those we seek to assist. In addition, we seek to work in ways that minimise our negative impacts, including minimising our carbon footprint.
Both Oxfam Australia and Monash University seek opportunities to build on our joint work in order to scale up and multiply the impact of the projects.
Overall aims of the project
In sum, the aims of this Partnership begin and end with the goal of improving and extending good practice on the ground. We work to achieve this through various activities: