Even It Up

Even It Up: Oxfam’s campaign to tackle extreme inequality

Inequality is central to Oxfam’s mission to fight poverty. Oxfam in Vietnam launched the Even it Up! (EiU) Campaign in January 2017.

The overall goal of the campaign: Improved policy and practice to fight inequality and more effective redistributive measures to address poverty and gender injustice by 2025.

Background

Vietnam has a strong record on poverty reduction, but today increasing inequality is threatening decades of progress. Vietnam’s 210 super-rich earn enough in one year to lift 3.2 million people out of poverty and end extreme poverty in Vietnam for good. Economic inequality is reinforced by inequality of voice and opportunity, with the poorest excluded in favour of the rich. Millions of people – ethnic minorities, small-scale farmers, migrant and informal workers, and women – are more likely to remain poor, excluded from services and political decision-making, and facing continued discrimination.

Our objective

A number of campaign activities aim to strengthen the voices of civil society. Our objective is for a greater number of citizens and civil society organisations around the world to actively influence decision makers to pursue policies and practices that combat extreme inequality. The campaign is focused on achieving substantial policy and practice change, aiming for a number of major reforms to reverse economic, political and gender inequalities.

Specific objectives

  • Shifting/setting the terms of the debate: Promote public debate on inequalities, grow consensus amongst decision-makers, influencers, and citizens on the reforms needed to tackle inequalities (economic, political, and gender).
  • Policy and practice change: Change the rules that perpetuate inequality and introduce measures to reduce inequality.
  • Alliance building: Multi-stakeholder platforms (CSOs, think-tanks, researchers, policymakers) organise and discuss solutions to address inequality.

Strategic approaches:

  • Producing analysis, evidence and stories on inequality (economic, voice, participation) used at policy dialogues and public debates.
  • Deepen the public’s and policymakers’ understanding on a range of inequalities (economic, voice, participation) and their intersectionality, which potentially perpetuates the cycle of inequality. Increase understanding of what can be done to address inequality in Vietnam.
  • Strategically engage and facilitate dialogues with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on reducing inequality and poverty and with the National Assembly (Social Affairs Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee) and the Ministry of Planning and Investment on multi-dimensional inequalities, and the monitoring and implementation of SDGs with concrete actions to tackle inequality. Put inequality at the top of the agenda of policy debates and discussions via direct engagement with CAF/VASS on the human economy idea and framework.
  • The Multidimensional Inequality Framework (MIF) was developed by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics and Oxfam. It is based on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and provides guidance to assess inequalities in seven domains that matter for human life, such as health, education and knowledge, and the ability to have influence and voice.
  • Leverage programme work on specific inequality thematic issues such as health care, fair financing, and tax advocacy (health out-of-pocket payment expenditures, race to the bottom/tax incentives, migrant worker rights, etc.)
  • Develop strategic partnerships with the US Embassy, Hexagon, REACH, ECUE/CSOs to co-organise the BridgeFest music festival to promote diversity and shift inequality debates among the public and youth. The event promotes key themes and messages on fighting discrimination and inequality through a series of interactive activities for the public, especially the youth. Thematic talk shows, CSO display booths, music concerts and media engagement are just a few of the festival’s activities. With the messages “Bridging the gap”, "Be the change", and "Change starts with yourself”, BridgeFest has been well received by audiences in Hanoi each year from 2018-2020.[1]
  • Using the ASEAN Summit in Vietnam as momentum (as Davos is used for global momentum) to open discourse and shift the terms of the debate on inequality, words have been turned into action to ensure “no one is left behind”; and the ASEAN engagement plan and influencing targets within the framework of EiU in the Asia region have been created. Vietnam was ASEAN chair in 2020.
  • Link up with regional/global actors to generate worldwide pressure and pilot initiatives to strengthen EiU advocacy and influencing (Davos and CRI).

[1] In 2020, it attracted more than 15.000 visitors participating in over 50 exciting activities, with the participation of nearly 33 CSOs, and more than 60 artists performing in the event

Collaborations and partners

In the Even It Up campaign, Oxfam is working with research institutes, think tanks, youth groups, civil society organisations and the media to generate evidence and create debates. Findings and recommendations from policy research will be presented to and disseminated through the National Assembly and government agencies. 

Publications 

The Inequality Virus

Multidimensional Inequality in Vietnam

[Policy Brief for Vietnam] Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2020

Public Good or Private Wealth? - Oxfam Briefing Paper

Inequality Matters - Issue 1

Inequality Matters - Issue 2

Reward Work, Not Wealth

An economy for the 99%

How to tackle inequality in Vietnam?

Inequality on the rise - What do people think?