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Oxfam aWASH with Expertise to Transform Lives


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DateSeptember 30, 2014 Posted by: Charles Humphreys   Keywords: award winning, custom content, #GetTheEdge14, innovation, learner engagement, learners

"Lift one person and they will lift others.” Oxfam is a globally renowned aid and development charity with 70 years of experience, working and campaigning with partners in over 90 countries worldwide.

The business goal of this initiative

The shocking truth is that nearly 800,000 people worldwide lack access to clean water and a further 2.5 billion people do not have access to sanition. Oxfam GB's WASH projects operate in 49 different countries and aim to positively impact people's lives through improvement in:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Hygiene Promotion

 - in areas of the world where there are significant public health risks due to natural disasters, conflict and political unrest. 

How did learning and business work together to acheive the goal?

In its 70 years of activity Oxfam has always invested heavily into building the capacity of their staff 'on the ground'. With the WASH project two training needs in particular were identified. The first was for public health promoters to develop the necessary skills to tailor responses to the emergency that would meet the community's needs and culture. 

Secondly, there was a clear need for technical project managment  - how to balance the elements of quality, cost and time, whilst understanding how to manage external contractors to deliver these projects on the ground.

Oxfam sees its most important duty as being able to react as quickly and effectively as possible to deliver assistance where its needed most. As a result of the reactive nature of their work it was essential that the way that the organisation delivered training was able to flow was rapidly, without cutting corners on quality. This would ensure that the aid workers, who are often seasonal workers, quickly aquire the skills required to deliver an emerency programme. 


What was the solution?

To achieve this Oxfam used an award-winning suite of e-learning that was not only cost effective but would also meet the learning styles and cultures of workers on the front line worldwide. 

Innovation and originality was delivered by generating compelling, real-to-life story telling. In the context of a limited bandwith and accessibility on the frontline, this is what innovation was all about - engaging with workers and encouraging active participation and sharing information. 

Inputs from subject matter experts ,bringing their frontline experience from Eygpt and Brazil, allowed content to paint situations that were realistic, ensuring training modules that were regularly interspersed with relevant exercises and activities. The resulting modules were both compelling and had resonance, allowing the trainee to watch their own ability to react effectively to emergencies grow.

Getting the Edge at Oxfam

The project is judged a huge success by project sponsors and has been well received across the worldwide audience as it  transferred critical skills to the frontline.Participants found the courses useful and informative and many stated that it helped them to think through the processes they use in their everyday jobs and find ways to improve them.

Click on the case study below
to discover the full story of how they succeeded and further tips from the Oxfam GB.

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