NGOs are civil society organizations that operate independently from governments and business interests. They are usually formed to advocate for a specific cause or group of people, and they use a variety of strategies to achieve their goals. Below we have collected 10 inspiring examples of NGOs that change the world.
Peace Brigades International
Peace Brigades International (PBI) is an NGO founded in 1981 to undertake the task of peacekeeping and peacebuilding through the method of nonviolent intervention. The organisation works in different contexts with the aim to establish sustainable and lasting peace among communities. PBI works as a third-party force in a non-partisan manner while respecting horizontality. Moreover, it creates the space for peace and human rights protection through the physical accompaniment of human rights and land defenders.
The organization implements projects in different countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia and Nepal. In all these contexts, PBI works to protect the work of human rights defenders and the lives of their community members. It is mostly composed of volunteers coming from different parts of the world who decide to embrace the mandate of the organization and to create a more sustainable and durable peace.
Norwegian Refugee Council
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent humanitarian NGO based in Oslo, Norway, that started its relief efforts after World War II. With its 14.000 aid workers, NRC works today in more than 31 countries around the world to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to millions of people who have fled their homes.
The organisation works on camp management, education, information and legal assistance, livelihoods, food security, shelter, WASH, gender equality, protection, cash-based activities and other development and humanitarian projects. In 2018 the organisation assisted more than 8.5 million people in 31 countries, provided food and livelihoods opportunities to 2,682,755 people in need and shelter to 1,569,081 people across the world.
Danish Refugee Council
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is the Denmark’s largest international NGO founded in 1956 and currently working on humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities since the strike of crisis. It engages to ensure a dignified life for displaced people and communities in 40 countries of the world and it counts of 9,000 staff and 7,500 volunteers.
DRC focuses its activities in 10 main areas of work: protection, shelter and non-food items, coordination and operational services, income generation activities, food security, community infrastructure and services, WASH, Armed violence reduction, humanitarian mine action and education.
Human Rights Watch is an international NGO and independent organization based in New York. It was founded in 1978 with the mandate to investigate and report on abuses happening in the world.
It is composed of 450 people from 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists and others who work to protect the most at risk.
The organisation advocates for the protection and respect of human rights towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or implement their laws, policies or practices. The organization does not accept government funding and to maintain its independence, it accepts donations that are consistent with its mission and values. Human Rights Watch conducts field work in 100 countries around the world, uncovering and denouncing facts that create an undeniable record of human rights abuses.
Greenpeace International is an independent NGO founded in 1971 and it is comprised of 27 independent national and regional organisations present in over 55 countries across different continents. The organisation works directly with communities and people who are fighting to protect their environment.
It is the leading organisation focusing its campaigns on issues related to the protection of the environment and the Earth, such as climate change, deforestation, commercial whaling, nuclear issues, overfishing and much more. Moreover, the organisation works focusing on the preservation of forests and oceans and to protect and restore the most valuable ecosystems for the climate and for biodiversity. Moreover, its staff and volunteers work to challenge the power of fossil fuel corporations and seek to hold big polluters to account.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the world’s leading conservation NGO founded in 1961 with the mandate to protect and preserve the wilderness and reduce the human impact on environment. Its mission is to conserve the nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. The organization works in six main areas: wildlife, food, fresh water, climate, forests and oceans.
WWF focuses its work to help local communities conserve their natural environment, transform markets and policies toward environmental sustainability and protect and restore species in their habitats. The organisation is composed of experts coming from different parts of the world as well as volunteers working to ensure not only the preservation of wildlife but also advocating for the rights of local communities while supporting community management of natural resources and helping them to protect such resources against outside threats. Furthermore, the organisation is engaged in collaborating with other international organisations on humanitarian partnerships to launch innovative conservation projects that merge conservation and human wellbeing.
Doctors without Borders (MSF)
Doctors without Borders (MSF) is an international, independent medical humanitarian NGO providing medical assistance to people affected by disasters, epidemics and conflicts. It is composed of health care, logistics and administrative professionals working in the most fragile contexts of the world.
MSF was founded in 1971 in Paris by a group of journalists and doctors and it is currently composed of 67.000 people across the world who are guided by medical ethics and by the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality. MSF works in more than 70 countries around the globe: the 82% of its donations are used for social missions, the 13% for fundraising while the 5% for management and general administration. At the core of MSF extensive humanitarian work is the rapid and effective response to emergencies aiming to save many lives as possible in the shortest time.
Médecins du Monde
Médecins du Monde is a humanitarian NGO providing relief and long-term medical care to the most vulnerable communities of the world. It was founded in 1980 in France and it started to work the same year in Afghanistan. Today, the organization is active in 64 developed and developing countries of the world to provide care, bear witness and support social change. Its action is built on five priority areas such as assistance to victims of crisis and conflicts, sexual and reproductive health, harm, reduction and fighting against HIV and caring for migrants and other displaced communities.
With its headquarters in Paris, its work is based on the values of openness, transparency and collective working, always focusing on the most vulnerable communities left behind. The organisation works also to enable women to take informed decisions on their lives while advocating for their rights, access to contraception and legal and safe abortion. Moreover, it assists and protect the most vulnerable children from avoidable causes such as malnutrition, treatable diseases and lack of vaccination.
Humanity and Inclusion (Former Handicap International)
Humanity and Inclusion is an international NGO founded in 1982 to take action and bear witness alongside vulnerable populations. Since its foundation, the organisation has been working in emergency, reconstruction, chronic crisis and in development contexts to enhance the resilience of vulnerable people, particularly people living with disabilities.
Humanity and Inclusion works in sixty countries to build solidarity and inclusion among communities through the values of humanity, commitment, inclusion and integrity. In 2018, Humanity and Inclusion reached with its services and projects 2.130.25 beneficiaries and 8.132,.987 indirect beneficiaries. The organisation works in different contexts in Europe and North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East with programs focused on innovation, health, education, livelihoods, protection, armed violence and emergency response to crisis.
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is one of the world’s leading NGOs working to defend and promote freedom of information. It was founded in 1985 in Montpellier and it is now based in Paris as an independent NGO with consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, Council of Europe and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF). Moreover, it counts of ten offices around the world.
The organization is founded on the value of freedom of information and it provides information about the media freedom situation worldwide and in different languages. The organisation issues press releases about abuses lived by journalists in all corners of the world. Every year, the organisation compiles the World Press Freedom Index to evaluate the level of freedom available to the media in 180 countries. It focuses its activities on four areas: advocacy towards governments, awareness campaigns to promote freedom of media, assistance and legal aid and cyber security. In addition, it protects journalists and bloggers in danger worldwide.