New Secretary General at Oxfam Sweden
Today we have happy news! Oxfam Sweden has a new Secretary General - Suzanne Standfast. We took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her background and how she thinks about her mission at Oxfam.
Tell me briefly about you and your background, what have you done before?
I have been working in civil society for the past 14 years, most recently with Save the Children. There I had the privilege to work both nationally and globally. I have also worked in the field, for example in Bangladesh, India and the Balkans, creating communication on issues such as children in migration and the right of all children to education. I have also worked at SVT for several years in various editorial departments, including the children and youth department. For more than 10 years of my life, I worked full-time with music in various forms, running both a publishing company and a record label.
Why have you chosen to work in civil society?
I have always been interested and involved in social issues, ever since my school days in Karlstad. Civil society has a very important role to play in the development of society and in ensuring that countries develop democratically, that human rights are respected and that poverty is reduced.
Why did you apply to Oxfam and what do you find most interesting about Oxfam as an organisation?
Over the past year, it has become so clear to me that Oxfam's expertise and long experience in fighting inequality and poverty is needed more than ever. A year and a half into the pandemic, we see that hunger is causing more deaths than the coronavirus and that decades of success in tackling poverty are in danger of being lost. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty risks almost doubling as a result of the pandemic, which means that half a billion more people will live in extreme poverty. It is almost hard to take in and totally unacceptable that people who were already living in vulnerability are now even worse off.
What are your plans for the organisation?
To meet the growing needs of people living in poverty, we need to pull together. I therefore see that we need to arouse even greater interest and commitment to Oxfam's work here at home in Sweden to get more people to support us in our work. The commitment of our donors and the cooperation with our partners is incredibly important. With increased engagement, we can grow as an organisation, have an even stronger voice and, most importantly, our work can reach even more people living in vulnerability and poverty.
What do our donors mean to you and to the work Oxfam does?
You donors mean so much to the fight against poverty, inequality and injustice. Thanks to you, people around the world who are most vulnerable and affected by crises and disasters receive vital help and support. I would say that you are invaluable.
We are of course interested in you as a person too. Do you have any hobbies or interests you'd like to tell us about?
I listen to a lot of music, from pop to classical. I have three children who all love music too and my eldest son, and my husband, play several instruments so it's never quiet at home. I am also very fond of football and two of the children play in football teams so I spend a lot of time beside the football fields. Hiking is another favorite pastime, and being with my family and friends. It's the best thing I know.
We are delighted that Suzanne is here and welcome her to Oxfam!