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Oxfam Aotearoa And Ministry Of Foreign Affairs & Trade Announce Partnership

A historic moment for Oxfam Aotearoa and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) as both sign a partnership for a new programme called Kōtui that will support our Pacific neighbours.

The total $12.4 million investment will help those people who have the least power to get the resources and opportunities they need to keep themselves and their families safe, well and cared for through climate breakdown and extreme weather.

Anna Mosley, International Portfolio Manager at Oxfam Aotearoa said that the joint initiative will change so many lives for the better, and expressed how proud Oxfam is to be working with civil society organisations across the Pacific and Timor-Leste that have a wealth of experience and deep connections to communities:

“Our partner organisations in the Pacific will bridge the gap between communities and policy makers, making sure that governments are responsive to those hit hardest by climate change,” said Mosley. “Across the Pacific, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because they are more likely to depend on gardening and selling produce rather than formal employment, and because they have less say in decision making and fewer resources.

“There is international funding available for climate change adaptation, but it’s not always reaching those women who need it most, or meeting their needs. Kōtui will help women to negotiate better access to the resources they need.”

MFAT’s Partnerships Manager Salli Davidson said about the partnership and the Kōtui programme: 

“We’re excited to be embarking on a new phase of our partnership with Oxfam Aotearoa. With MFAT’s $9.7m co-investment, together we will make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.

“Within the next five years, we expect they will be more actively involved in local governance so that communities, including the vulnerable and marginalised, are more resilient to climate change. Oxfam Aotearoa’s resources and relationships will help to achieve this.”

Kōtui will improve women’s access to key adaptation resources – climate finance, land, water, services, information – building sustainable resilience for 238,000 people across Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.

Oxfam’s partners in the Pacific and Timor-Leste also expressed their excitement for the programme and partnership:

Raijeli Nicole, Regional Director at Oxfam in the Pacific said: 

“Our excitement for the Kōtui programme stems from our own experience in partnering with others in building more inclusive, accountable and transformative governance mechanisms that deliver to marginalised groups, particularly women and girls in all their diversity, the promise of full agency and autonomy.

“We are incredibly excited to be a partner with Oxfam Aotearoa as well as with local NGOs WARA and SICAN in Solomon Islands, and Touching the Untouchables in PNG to implement this programme.” 

Dr Alice Aruheeta Pollard, co-founder of the West ’Are’Are Rokotanikeni Association (WARA), said:

“We are looking forward to this new partnership with Oxfam. It is a positive step forward that will enable WARA to expand its important work of reaching out to rural communities to empower women and shift norms and expectations around the role of women. Making decisions together will mean that rural families and communities in Solomon Islands are better able to prepare for and cope with king tide/serious high tide and other climate change impacts.” 

Fausto Belo Ximenes, Country Director of Oxfam in Timor-Leste said:

“We are honoured to be working with MFAT and Oxfam Aotearoa on this very critical and timely programme initiative – Kōtui – that will undoubtedly bring positive changes to the lives of women, girls and other vulnerable groups in Timor-Leste and the Pacific Region as a whole. We believe Kōtui is critical to building our vision of a truly just, inclusive and sustainable Timor-Leste.”

Notes to editor: 

· What is Kōtui? The te reo Māori word kōtui means the binding together, or interlacing, during weaving. The woven mat represents dialogue and joint problem-solving in Pacific countries and in Timor-Leste. It is an appropriate symbol for a programme focused on inclusive and equitable governance. The term “haere kōtui” describes people walking together arm in arm. This programme seeks to walk together with people across the wider Pacific, binding us together to weave a more resilient future. The purpose of the Kōtui

· MFAT will fund $9.7 million of the programme, whereas Oxfam will fundraise the remaining $2.7 million through public donations

· Read more about Kōtui here.

· Oxfam Aotearoa is a part of the wider Oxfam confederation and works specifically within Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. Much of the work Oxfam Aotearoa does includes working towards ending gender inequality, tackling climate change in the fight against poverty and inequality, and more recently, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oxfam helps people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, save lives in disasters, and create lasting solutions.

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