Africa, a vast continent comprising over 50 countries, offers a captivating blend of diverse landscapes, wildlife, history, and culture. However, despite its natural riches, including tropical rainforests, deserts, fertile grasslands, and mountains, many African nations still rely on international assistance to address the needs of their populations.
Approximately 500 million people in Africa are estimated to live below the poverty line. The continent faces a multitude of unique challenges, such as limited access to clean water, prevalent diseases and famines, internal conflicts, the erosion of women’s rights, and violence against children. In response to these pressing issues, NGOs tirelessly dedicate their efforts to reach as many people as possible and fulfill their needs. The following is a compilation of ten prominent NGOs that provide continuous support to various causes in Africa.
Who they are: Founded in 1945 in the US as an international humanitarian NGO, CARE became known for delivering basic supplies and emergency food packages to millions of people affected by the Second World War in Europe. They work across all continents, providing support in 111 countries. Their goal is to fight hunger and meet the basic needs of people while reducing poverty, injustice and promoting equality.
What they do: In their work, CARE puts girls and women in their focus because they know poverty cannot vanish until everyone has equal opportunities and rights. They conduct many programmes to defeat poverty and achieve social justice-crisis response, food and water, health, education and work, climate, and equality.
Their impact: In 2022 alone, CARE has reached more than 174 million people worldwide through their humanitarian aid and poverty-fighting programmes. In Africa, their programs reached over 20 million people.
CARE’s work massively impacted the life of 12-year-old Mikre from Ethiopia-who was forcefully married to a man twice her age. Even though she managed to escape from the marriage, Mikre was still bullied for her actions in her own community. She found her salvation through CARE’s programme, which teaches youth how to save money, as well as about the danger of early marriage and importance of education. Mikre started her own business of raising chickens and is studying to become a doctor…
Ways to get involved: There are many ways through which you can support CARE- from volunteering, donating, to letter writing and sending CARE packages. You can also apply for available positions through their website.
Who they are: Doctors Without Borders is an international NGO that provides medical services and assistance to people affected by disasters, epidemics, conflicts, and exclusion of healthcare. The NGO’s team consists of tens of thousands of health professionals, administrative staff and logistic- working tirelessly to meet the demands of affected populations.
Doctors Without Borders are present in more than 70 countries worldwide. Currently they operate in 35 countries in Africa.
What they do: Regardless of where they work, Doctors Without Borders follow an already established set of practices to use their expertise to maximum effect. The NGO is known for a quick response by keeping pre-packaged kits so that they are always ready to provide a rapid lifesaving assistance. This includes a variety of materials such as surgical kits, inflatable hospitals and cholera kits.
The NGO’s programmes include emergency response, medical care and innovation, insecure environments, and quality of medicines. In Africa, the Doctors Without Borders are working to assist the population with the COVID-19 response, as well as continuing to provide care for HIV and TB patients, vulnerable migrants, and victims of sexual violence.
Their impact: In the last year, Doctors Without Borders conducted 12.6 million outpatient consultations, responded with 1.6 million vaccinations to measles outbreak, and admitted 1 million patients in 72 countries.
Ways to get involved: If you wish to join Doctors Without borders as an employee or to donate to their cause, you can do that directly through their website.
Who they are: Save the Children was established as an international NGO in 1919 in the UK by Eglantyne Jebb, whose conviction was that ‘’children have the right to grow up healthy, educated and safe’’.
Today, Save the Children works in over 100 countries. They ‘’do whatever it takes’’ to provide children across world better education, access to health, and economic possibilities. They also act in times of natural crisis or war and conflict.
The NGO has been present in Africa for over 65 years. They provide support to children in several countries, including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, and many more.
What they do: Save the Children conducts programs to meet the unique needs of children, give them a healthy start in life, protect them from harm and provide them with an opportunity to learn.
A diversity of programs, such as protecting children from trafficking or early marriage, are the core of Save the Children’s work. They also conduct programs in health, keeping children protected against diseases and malnutrition. Save the Children is most known for Sponsor a Child project through which supporters gain an opportunity to sponsor an individual child from an underserved community, support their growth, health and education.
Their impact: On an annual basis, Save the Children impacts the lives of around 200 million children. Through their work ‘’every second of every day, a hungry child is fed, a sick child gets car, a young mind is learning, a vulnerable child is protected, or a family gains tools to overcome poverty…’’
Who they are: Humanitarian Emergency Response Africa or simply HERA, is an international NGO that was established in 2020 to respond to COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. During the short period of time HERA has evolved into an NGO that also responds to humanitarian crises and fosters community resilience in Africa.
What they do: HERA works towards creating a new humanitarian ecosystem. Through local communities they are fostering the localization of aid and encourage new solutions to the crisis. They support the development of local networks around Africa and provide maps, graphs, and analytical reports on humanitarian crises.
To support a more efficient and more cohesive response to emergencies, HERA also works for a better coordination between humanitarian actors. Currently, HERA implements projects on COVID-19 and Ebola response.
Their impact: HERA’s impact can be directly seen on their website, where other humanitarian actors can access reliable and updated data on COVID-19 and Ebola in 54 countries in Africa. In this way, NGOs and other actors can respond to global crises effectively and efficiently.
Ways to get involved: If you wish to know more about HERA’s work or get involved, you can contact them directly through their website.
Who they are: World Vision is a faith-based advocacy and development NGO operating worldwide to empower local communities by tackling the causes of injustice and poverty. Their aim is to achieve the sustained well-being of children both within their families and communities.
World Vision is present in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. In Africa they work in 27 countries ensuring that all children enjoy good health, are educated, cared for, and protected.
What they do: World Vision implements a variety of different programmes to strengthen the child protection, provide clean water and sanitation, tackle climate change, and pressure local authorities and governments to meet the needs of their population.
The NGO works to keep children in Africa safe by responding to COVID-19 pandemic, hunger crises, and calling to an end of child marriage. Currently they are responding to emergencies in East Africa, more particularly in the Central African Republic, The Democratic Republic in Congo, Mali, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe-to ensure that children have access to shelter and clean food and water.
Their impact: In 2021, World Vision sponsored 3.42 million children globally, provided access to clean water to 3 million people, and helped 30.1 million people in emergencies.
Who they are: YUVA is an NGO that operates in Mauritius in East Africa, as well as in India in Asia. They are one of the largest and most active youth-led organizations. They received several awards for their work, including 2-times winner for the Africa NGO Leadership Award.
What they do: YUVA’s programmes focus on 4 key outcomes for youth and children in Mauritius- quality education, good health, empowerment, and employment.
YUVA is focused on these 4 outcomes ‘’because they are all interconnected and essential to achieving the big goal-helping to break the cycle of poverty’’. They help youth and children to acquire proper education and develop healthy habits. Building leadership skills in children is one of YUVA’s core activities, as well as helping young people to develop technical skills to ensure employment. To empower youth, YUVA has launched YUVA Academy that builds up on the skills of leadership, entrepreneurship, and humanities.
Their impact: The NGO directly impacts young people and empowers them to become leaders in their communities. One prime example is Dayana S., a 22-year-old YUVA Academy graduate: ‘’For me, YUVA is a door to success. YUVA has had a great impact on me because it helped me grow as a leader. This programme changes lives-it changed mine. I participated in almost all programmes here. Now, I am a volunteer, teaching the kids everything I learned…’’
Ways to get involved: You can get involved with YUVA in many ways- from donating to their field operations to sponsoring a child in need. All donations are accepted through their website.
Who they are: West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF) was established in Ghana in 1999 as an NGO that helps Western African countries battle the spread of HIV/AIDS, TB and other infectious diseases that deeply affect underserved communities.
They work hand in hand with the International Healthcare Center, to provide people in the end stage of life with an appropriate care to ensure a dignified death. WAAF’s goal is ‘’to champion Ghanaians and other West Africans to take charge of their health by reaching out to them with needed health services for behavioral change.
What they do: After more than two decades of existence, WAAF has implemented many projects in Ghana and across other Western African countries which changed the lives of many individuals.
To ensure health for all, including the socially excluded, WAAF promotes the positive change through school-prevention projects, out of school programmes, and community-level education. They also empower persons affected with the HIV, TB, and other similar diseases, and provide early treatment and retention in care, home-based care, and stigma reduction. C
Their impact: During the years, WAAF has reached over 5 million people and educated them on the consequences on HIV. They have screened and tested 645.242 people for HIV and screened 66.724 people for TB. Moreover, they have enrolled 3.640 people in HIV treatment and treated 268 persons for TB. WAAF saved the lives of 3.200 babies from mother-to-child transmission of HIV and provided 1463 HIV patients with end-of-life care and dignified death.
Ways to get involved: WAAF is in search of volunteers, interns and employees with medical background. If you wish to work with them or simply get involved by donating, you can do that directly through their website.
Who they are: Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA) is an international NGO that was founded in 1994 as a response to atrocities committed in Rwanda. Today, they are present in several countries -Cameroon, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda- where they deliver humanitarian aid, recovery, and advocacy.
AHA is known for responding to humanitarian crises related to displaced persons, migrants, refugees and returnees-irrespective of their origins or cause of their needs.
What they do: At the heart of their work is delivering of community-based services. They work in the areas of nutrition, WASH, healthcare, livelihood, protection, food security, shelter and logistics.
AHA provides vulnerable populations in African countries with the home visits, supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes, counseling services, as well as with food and non-food items. They also aid on the ground with installment of emergency shelters, including rehabilitation of hospitals, schools, and dams. AHA also addresses the issues of infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria and provides support to mental health issues.
Their impact: Since their establishment, AHA has supported more than 26 million people in 20 African countries to regain their wellbeing, dignity, and health.
Ways to get involved: If you wish to support the causes of AHA, either through donating, volunteering, or partnering up, you can do that directly through their website.
Who they are: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) was founded at the call of Albert Einsten in 1933 to help people affected by humanitarian crises-to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.
Today, the IRC works in over 40 countries affected by crises worldwide, as well as in several communities in Europe and the America. They empower communities and individuals to become self-reliant, implement healthcare programmes, education programmes for children, as well as tackling the inequalities facing girls and women.
What they do: The IRC’s mission is to ‘’put in place high-impact, cost-effective solutions that help people affected by crisis’’. At their focus is working on the economic well-being to make sure that people have enough sustainable income, as well as education- ‘’an ultimate empowerment tool’’ for children and their communities to thrive after a conflict or a crisis.
Other programmes include healthcare services and safety, which enable people to access the necessary resources they need to ensure their safety and a healthy life. Last, but not least, the IRC works to empower girls and women to change their own future and uplift their entire communities.
Their impact: The NGO reported that in 2021 they reached over 31.5 million people affected by crisis. Moreover, they provided over 6 million outpatient consultations, admitted 429.256 people for nutrition services, reached over 1 million people with cash assistance and enrolled 370.771 children and youth in learning programs.
Ways to get involved: There are so many ways you can support IRC in their work, from simply donating to even sending a gift for someone in need. More information on how to get involved with IRC is available on their website.
Who they are: The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an international humanitarian NGO that helps people forced to flee their countries.
The NRC started to operate after the Second World War and today they work in more than 40 countries around the work. Their mission is to protect displaced people and help them build a new future. The NGO currently employs around 16 thousand humanitarian workers in 5 continents. The NRC works in 18 countries in Africa.
What they do: The organization specializes in six areas-education, shelter, food security, camp management, legal assistance, and WASH. They also advocate and promote people’s rights in local communities with national governments and international actors.
The NRC works worldwide with partners through NORCAP-a global actor in humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development expertise. Their aim is to find sustainable solutions to meet the needs of people at risk. For example, in Africa they conduct several projects, such as climate change adaption and boosting female climate experts to better meet the needs of their communities.
Their impact: In 2021 the NRC assisted almost 10 million people. Around 4 million people benefited from their WASH projects, 1.6 million were impacted by livelihoods and food security work, 1.5 million were provided with a shelter, and nearly a million people benefited from their education projects.
Ways to get involved: You can support people forced to flee by donating or buy a gift that saves lives. If you wish, however, to join the NRC as an employee you can apply for available positions directly through their website.