Oxfam America Unwrapped

Cheryl Cirelli
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Oxfam Pictures

If you are looking for a creative gift idea, consider an alternative gift from Oxfam America Unwrapped. This organization's efforts are making a difference around the world. Find out more in this informative interview with Zeenat Potia, Press Officer, Branding for the program.

Interview with Zeenat Potia

What is Oxfam America Unwrapped?

Oxfam America Unwrapped is an online alternative gift catalog - a unique way to give someone a meaningful gift while also supporting Oxfam's programs around the world.

What is the history of Oxfam Unwrapped?

We created Oxfam Unwrapped in 2006 as an educational tool as well as a fundraising vehicle. We're teaching people in a compelling, gentle way about our work delivering emergency aid and advocating for long-term solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Can you tell us how it works?

It's simple: when you buy a gift at our site, your loved one gets a card, and the money goes to those who need it most. You'll find more than 60 gifts in our alternative gift catalog, many of them new this year. Your gift supports our efforts to provide lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice in over 100 countries. All gift contributions are general donations to Oxfam America and are fully tax-deductible.

So you mean, if I buy a goat, I don't really give a goat?

Working with communities, we listen to what people tell us will help them change their lives. Whether it's a dozen chicks, a goat, or school uniforms, we fund what's needed most. Your donation will go to the people who need it, and where it will have the greatest impact: to improve the lives of people living in poverty.

What's new this year?

In its fourth season, Oxfam Unwrapped has introduced a new, easier-to-use website that links gifts to stories and videos that illustrate how your donation affects the lives of people around the world. In the Gifts in action section of the site, visitors can learn about Oxfam America's work around the world:

Ethiopia's Singing Wells is an inspiring short video about how the Borena people survive a harsh climate. A related gift is a water purifier. In Donkeys to the Rescue, we learn how the people of Darfur found a safe way to earn a living in the midst of conflict. The related gift is a donkey. A heartwarming account from a seed bank in Gambia sheds light on how locals cope when food is scarce. That related gift is a packet of seeds.

In this economic climate, what has been your approach to encourage giving?

We've introduced many new products this year that are affordable and make giving and doing good fun, engaging, and educational. Parents can use Unwrapped to teach their kids about making a difference and eschewing the excess of the holiday season. Some affordable gift options include:

  • Manure, $12: This green gift transforms waste into power-agricultural power. Organic manure increases crop yields and is cheaper, greener, and safer than chemical fertilizers.
  • Mosquito nets, $18: The gift of mosquito nets protects a family against malaria and other deadly insect-borne diseases.
  • A school meal program for one child, $25: It's hard to nourish the mind if the belly's empty. This gift ensures that children in poor communities get a nutritious meal at school.
  • Soap, $12: For many of us, a bar of soap is a staple by the sink. For others, a bar of soap can save a life. Soap can stop the spread of disease or keep a child healthy.
  • Goat, $50: A hardy goat is the gift of sustainability, which means fertilizer and food for families.

What are some of the new trends and new products?

We are definitely seeing a move toward charitable and green gifts. Our animal gifts are very popular; folks like fuzzy gifts like sheep and donkeys. Not surprisingly, our education gifts rise to the top of the class too. Books for kids, school supplies and many more such gifts appeal to people who understand the connection between education and fighting poverty. As a general trend, people have become weary of consumerism want to give gifts that do good.


LoveToKnow would like to thank Zaneet Potia for her time and informative answers. We wish her and the Oxfam Unwrapped program continued success in their efforts to make positive changes happen around the world.

Oxfam America Unwrapped